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Authentic American Spook Light August 28, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Ghosts and Mysteries, Magazines, Restaurants.
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Time magazine put out a list of 50 Authentic American Experiences 2009 — one from each state. The state-by-state listing can be seen browsed here. It’s a great list, with many obscure and quirky attractions.

One that made the cut was the mysterious Spook Light, which is a few miles off Route 66 in a very rural area near Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas borders. More about the Spook Light can be read here and here. No one is for sure whether Spook Light is a natural or paranormal phenomenon (although best-selling author William Least Heat-Moon says he solved the mystery in his latest book — with Route 66 playing a crucial role).

Whatever Spook Light is, it’s fascinated locals and tourists for many, many decades.

Time magazine puts Spook Light in Missouri. Trouble is, Spook Light is an Oklahoma phenomenon. It’s not across the Missouri line by much of a distance, but it’s definitely in the Sooner State. Waylan’s Ku-Ku restaurant on Route 66 in Miami, Okla., is the only place I know where you can acquire a map to the Spook Light, and it most certainly shows it in Oklahoma.

Route 66 documentary in the works August 27, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Highways, History, Movies.

California-based Waterline Entertainment is producing a historical documentary about Route 66 that is tentatively slated to be released sometime in 2011.

Geoff Foley, a writer and producer at Waterline, and I recently made connections through my Twitter account. He said the working title of the film is “Route 66: America’s Main Street.” His partner on the project, Anthony Boyer, envisions the documentary to be like Ken Burns‘ acclaimed historical films.

I e-mailed Foley a few questions about the project. The following are excerpts of his answers that should be self-explanatory:

The focus will be on the history of Route 66 and its impact on American culture through its heyday, and where it stands now. We want to show its history as well as the ghost towns that line the route in some places now. [...]

We’re not sure what the running time will be yet. The editing on this project could take a year, given the scope Anthony has set.

We will complete the project and take it to the festival circuit first and then secure distribution. [...]

We see three different aspects of the project at the moment. One will be a coffee table book documenting the many interviews we conduct along the journey, as well as the best of the thousands of photographs our photographer will take along the way. A second aspect might be a film edited together from the hundreds of hours of footage documenting the three week trip itself, acting as more of a “behind the scenes” look into the documentary. The third, and main, aspect of the project is the documentary itself. [...]

I became involved in this project through my friend Anthony Boyer. It is his baby and we had casually talked about his wanting to do this some time in the next few years. Initially I wanted to go along for the ride as I have read about Route 66 for years and have always loved the idea of family road trips. My family never undertook such an adventure when I was a kid and I figured this would be as good a time as any to experience it.

If Waterline can create a documentary that evokes comparisons to Ken Burns’ work, I (and others, I’m certain) will be singing its praises for years to come.

A tour of Jim Ross’ property August 26, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Bridges, Gas stations, People.
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Oklahoma Route 66 historian and author Jim Ross gives a tour of his house, the design which was inspired by Phillips 66 cottage-style gas stations from the 1930s.

Ross also built roadside-based guest cabin on his property, which sits on a piece of land where two alignments of Route 66 run nearby.

I’ve been to Ross’ house a few times, and I never knew the story about the ceiling beams, which are designed to look like old-time truss bridges you often see on the Mother Road.

Red rock country August 26, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motorcycles, Movies, Road trips.

Here’s a nice video that popped up a few hours ago. This is Route 66 from about Laguna, N.M. You can even see Owl Rock near the beginning.

The music is part of the soundtrack from the “Cars” movie.

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