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All a-Twitter July 28, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Web sites.
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Long story short: Regular readers of Route 66 News ought to check my Twitter site, which is here. Five of the most-recent Twitter posts also are listed on the main Route 66 News page.

Route 66 News stories are automatically fed to the Twitter page. I also repost entries from Twitter users that should be of interest to Route 66 aficionados.

From time to time, I’ll tweet original material, including the ones yesterday on the closing of the Steer Inn in Chandler, Okla., and my thoughts on the consistently excellent barbecue at The Boundary west of Luther, Okla.

I’d been dinking around with Twitter, but only started using it regularly during my vacation in June when an old travel laptop crapped out. I found that Twitter’s 140-character limit, along with employing a cell phone or an iPod Touch, were ideal to post quick news and stray thoughts from the Mother Road.

Since then, I’ve been following Twitter posts from newspapers, TV and radio stations, businesses, museums, municipalities, chambers of commerce, tourism agencies and bloggers that are near the Mother Road. Although I primarily use Internet news search engines to look for Route 66 material, Twitter is an especially good way to follow breaking stories from the media for material that flies under the “Route 66″ search-terms radar.

So if there’s a Twitter user out there that you think would be a good to follow, drop me a line and I’ll give him or her consideration.

Going through The Mill July 27, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Ghosts and Mysteries, Preservation, Restaurants.
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The Lincoln Daily News has posted a few photos from the 80th-anniversary celebration of The Mill in Lincoln, Ill.

The re-enactors of old characters at the mostly restored Route 66 restaurant are a hoot. I didn’t know the place had an association with gangster Al Capone.

The main story is here. A lot of interesting nuggets are in there.

A paranormal team also went through The Mill. They encountered no ghosts per se, but …

Many reported feelings of having their hair touched, or cold on the back of their necks, while others talked about being tapped on the shoulder or touched on the arm.

Several who took pictures upstairs claimed that there were abnormalities in the photos, such as the orbs that had been described earlier, and beams of light that resembled lasers. [...]

Senger also noted that there are rumors relating to Al Capone and of one or two bodies buried outside the building. She said her feelings did confirm that, but that she sensed a much greater number than what has ever been spoken about. She went on to warn the audience that this was not confirmed, so not to get carried away with it. [...]

They reported feelings of dread, sickness, dizziness, headache, the words “help me, help me, help me” and a sense of feeling drunk.

Historic status sought for Lamplighter property July 26, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motels, Preservation, Restaurants.
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A portion of the Inn of the Lamplighter, a longtime social gathering spot and an oasis for Route 66 travelers in Springfield, Ill., is going to be nominated as a historic landmark, reports the Springfield Journal-Register.

This week a group of residents at the Route 66 landmark-turned-condos begins the work of putting a piece of the property, an indoor swimming pool and deck, on a county register of historic landmarks.

“It (the pool area) still has a lot of its original character. It’s still very much like it was in the 1960s,” said Randy Schick, a Springfield attorney and president of the Lamplighter Home Owner’s Association. “A large part of the rest of the property was demolished, and the remainder was converted to condos.”

The official address is 6600 S. Sixth St. But most motorists probably would recognize it as the dark-brown cluster of hotel-style units visible from northbound Interstate 55 on the north side of Lake Springfield. [...]

Route 66 historians also say the Lamplighter was among the earliest hotels along the historic road to provide an indoor pool. The hotel and restaurant was built in 1948, but the business began to struggle when it was bypassed by the interstate in the 1970s.

According to the article, the Lamplighter restaurant’s 55-foot-tall tower was demolished in 1998. However, the tropic-themed swimming pool, built in 1960, is still being used by residents.

An old postcard of the Lamplighter complex can be seen here.

Roadie opening art gallery in Amarillo July 26, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Art, Events, People.
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One of Crocodile Liles paintings.

One of Crocodile Lile's paintings.

Longtime Texas Route 66 enthusiast Bob “Crocodile” Lile is holding a grand opening of his new Lile Art Gallery in Amarillo on Aug. 7. The event is being held in conjunction with the First Friday Art Walk.

Lile Art Gallery is at 3701 Plains Blvd. (map here) in the Sunset Shopping Mall, the first mall in Amarillo when it was built in more than 60 years ago. It’s now known as the Sunset Center.

Lile explained in an e-mail:

A fellow artist and friend (Ann Crouch) had a dream and purchased (the mall) several years ago; personally I never thought it would be a success, but with time and effort it has grown into about 46 galleries and is the premier place to teach and learn as well as show and sell art in the tri-state area. [...]

I do landscapes, still life and abstract art as well as a figure study now and then.  Featured artists in my gallery will be Mack Stewart, Doug Quarles, Sharon Quarles and Route 66 photographer Thomas Nichols.  I am also looking for another artist or two, and am trying to get in touch with my old and dear friend and internationally known sculptor Lincoln Fox.

Lile said hours would vary, but he can be called at 806-664-3089 for appointments or drop-by openings if he’s not on the road helping with the Route 66 Pulse newspaper.

Tulsa restaurant refurbishing neon sign July 26, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Preservation, Restaurants, Signs.
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The recently repainted El Rancho Grande sign.

The recently repainted El Rancho Grande sign.

Tulsa roadie Brad Nickson dropped me an e-mail about El Rancho Grande, the longest-surviving restaurant on 11th Street, aka Route 66, in Tulsa. Nickson said the owner is giving a face-lift to its distinctive and vintage neon sign.

The neon is off and the re-painting is almost complete.  Owner (John) said it should have the neon back on and re-lit next week.  The are temporarily removing the arrow on the top.  It needs more work …

I guess that big bright glowing thing down the block spurred them to go ahead and do this!

The “glowing thing” Nickson is referring to is this.

(Photo courtesy of Brad Nickson)

Running the route with a twist July 25, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in People, Road trips, Sports.
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Each summer, a few athletes try to run old Route 66 to raise money for charity or to simply challenge themselves.

Two stories came over Friday of runners trying to trudge down all 2,400 miles of the Mother Road. Both featured unusual twists.

First, there’s Internet mogul Tellman Knudson, who is training for a run from New York City to Santa Monica, Calif., much of it on Route 66. Impressively, Knudson is running more than 3,400 miles despite being born with a bone deformity. And he’s running across the country barefoot, to boot (no pun intended). He’s raising money for the Virgin Unite nonprofit.

Knudson will begin his quest Sept. 9. His Web site during the run will be at runtellmanrun.com.

The second case is of Emory Duick of Des Plaines, Ill., who is running “only” from Chicago to Santa Monica, reports the Joplin Globe.

The kicker is that Duick is 71 years old.

“I’m a little slow right now, but I’m still durable,” he said, adding that he averages between 12 and 14 miles a day. He remains active, he said, so he can get the most out of life, no matter what age he is.

He started in June, and hopes to finish by December.

Don’t bypass me by July 25, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Highways, Towns.
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The towns of Holbrook and Winslow, Ariz., like a lot of towns on Route 66, saw a big decrease in traffic when they were bypassed by Interstate 40.

Now, according to AzJournal.com, there is a transportation plan afoot that would bypass even more traffic from those towns onto I-40.

In Holbrook, a proposal has been put before the city council to route all traffic from Highways 77 and 377 completely around the town and directly onto I-40. [...]

The number of visitors that travel through Holbrook to reach Highway 180 in order to travel to the Petrified Forest and areas beyond would also likely be reduced if the bypass provides direct or easy access to 180 without traveling through town. [...]

In Winslow, rerouting traffic from Highway 87 directly to Interstate 40 could result in the loss of up to 1,800 vehicles per day on East Business I-40 through town. In 2006, it was estimated that East Business I-40 is traveled by about 4,700 vehicles per day. The proposed bypasses of Winslow would also connect Highway 99 directly with Interstate 40, eliminating traffic through town from that highway as well.

The proposal is being floated as a way to reduce the growth of future traffic congestion in the town — despite the fact both Holbrook and Winslow have spent untold amounts of money for decades trying to draw people off I-40.

Astonishingly, Holbrook’s mayor expressed support for the idea, despite there being no data in the report on the possible economic impact of those bypasses.

If none of the bypass proposals are accepted, existing roads simply would be improved instead.

In the end, it’s going to be up to those communities to decide what to do. One would hope they learned something from the last time something like this happened.

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