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A war for weiners November 30, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Restaurants.

KSPR-TV in Springfield, Mo., reported an interesting conflict between two streetside hot-dog vendors operating in the city’s downtown and an ordinance that threatens to shut one of them down.

Pete Sterpe decided to start a business, Route 66 Hot Dogs, about a year ago. He chose a spot on the sidewalk where to sell them. Then …

Then, some confusion with city code, stopped his cart in its tracks.

“Two people can’t work with in that area at the same time,” says Sterpe.

“I don’t think it would be in the betterment of any business involved,” says Jeff Bear, who owns City Dogs.

Bear sometimes sets up his cart in front of the Heer’s building.

“If he’s there within 300 feet, then I can’t work there. Period,” says Sterpe.

According to city code, two street vendors can’t operate within 300 feet of each other. Sterpe and Bear’s spots are 270 feet apart.

“We put the 300 in there to separate out the hot dog vendors a little farther because we did have some complaints about them locating too close to each other and they felt that was unfair competition,” says Assistant City Attorney Nancy Yendes. [...]

The city says it will look at lowering the distance required between vendors. That would mean traffic studies and a bill to go before city council.

If it goes to council, the city says, it could be changed as early as next spring.

The ordinance seems to be a slap in the face of the free enterprise system. If two hot-dog vendors are in the vicinity, let them battle it out, and may the vendor with the best product — and, presumably, the most revenue — win. At the least, it seems unfair that a mere 30 feet would threaten a man’s livelihood.

Here’s the big kicker: Bear helped write the ordinance. Doesn’t anyone else see a conflict of interest there?

A dream in the desert November 30, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, People, Towns.

The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif., posted quite an article about Gus Lizalde, who purchased the Route 66 hamlet of Chambless, Calif., years ago and hopes to eventually businesses in that spot.

He described his vision for a multimillion-dollar makeover.

“It’s going to be a full-blown restoration to the way it was built,” Lizalde said. “I want to bring back that nostalgia.”

The renewed Chambless would feature “totem” gasoline pumps with meters that look like clock faces. Lizalde said he wants to track down original pump bodies and retrofit them with modern gas-delivery and metering systems.

The main building would have a 1950s-style diner, a tavern and a souvenir/convenience store. He intends to fix up the nine concrete cottages behind the main building and build a swimming pool in the shield shape of the Route 66 road sign.

For the trailer park area, Lizalde envisions hauling in about 50 vintage Airstream trailers, refurbishing them and renting them out.

Why Airstreams? “They are so cool,” he answered.

Lizalde remains optimistic because the federal Bureau of Land Management is considering dozens of solar-power applications in the Mojave Desert, including three close to his property. But that development may be threatened by legislation.

Lizalde’s excitement about the solar projects explains why he is worried about a move to create what backers have called a Mother Road National Monument. It would honor Route 66 and its colorful past as a conduit for dust-bowl refugees flooding into California and later as an east-west ribbon of freedom for vacationing Americans.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is drafting federal legislation that would create the monument on public land in eastern San Bernardino County, from the Mojave National Preserve on the north to Joshua Tree National Park on the south. It is expected to prohibit energy development in some areas.

Monument supporters fear development of too many wind and solar projects in territory used by the desert tortoise, a threatened species, and other wildlife.

But Lizalde pointed out railroad tracks and a limestone pit sit near his property, and that the area “is not pristine” environmentally.

I agree the proposed monument may be too much of a good thing, and that the Route 66 Alliance, which supports the monument, needs to advocate a compromise that helps meet America’s future energy needs and supports start-up businesses such as Lizalde’s.

Lizalde has a sporadically updated blog about Chambless here.

UPDATE: Jim Hinckley at Route 66 Chronicles, upon reading the story about Chambless and the issues involved, wrote this thoughtful piece.

Catching up on our Bible watching November 29, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Religion.
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I missed the last few videos from the ongoing “Route 66: A Road Trip through the Bible” series. I’m not sure how this happened, although I’ve noticed the search functions for YouTube have become erratic lately.

Anyway, here are the entries on the books of the Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Lamentations (the latter of which has a new nighttime background).

I really have to admire the preacher (the one driving) for keeping a straight face through all this, especially during the Jeremiah chapter.

Deck the cars November 29, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Vehicles.
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Albuquerque recently held its annual Christmas parade on Central Avenue, aka Route 66.

Here, the cars and a fair number of people are festooned with Christmas lights. Given Albuquerque’s long history of colorful neon signs, the parade seems like a nod to that tradition.

A visit to La Posada November 29, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in History, Motels, Photographs, Preservation.
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This slide show posted on YouTube turns out to be a good overview of the historic La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Ariz.

Riding at Route 66 November 28, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Animals, Businesses.

Emily is ready to take Max for a ride at the Route 66 Riding Stables in east Tulsa.

A couple of weeks ago while cruising the East 11th Street portion of Route 66 in rural Tulsa, we noticed a bunch of saddled horses on the old Brashear’s “Rent a Horse to Ride” property.

Seconds later, we spotted new signs on the fence around the property, advertising Route 66 Riding Stables and “Rent a Horse to Ride.” We were intrigued.

Emily, a horse-riding enthusiast, took her first test-drive Saturday of one of the Route 66 Riding Stables horses, a black gelding named Max. Her cost for riding the horse for an hour on the 100-acre property — a mere $15 and the usual insurance waiver.

Needless to say, Emily will be back.

Route 66 Riding Stables is a no-frills operation. It doesn’t give riding lessons, nor does it have fancy facilities. But it does have about a dozen horses saddled up and ready for riders for $15 an hour. It’s mostly for the experienced rider who doesn’t have a horse, or a traveler who’s away from his or her steed and wants to ride for an hour or two. The people who lease the property patrol the grounds on their horses to make sure everything’s OK, but mostly leave customers to have fun on their own.

Route 66 Riding Stables, at 161st and 11th streets, is open Saturdays and Sundays unless the weather is bad. It can be contacted at 918-314-6184. More about the operation can be found in this Craigslist ad here.

Pevely Dairy plant named to National Register November 28, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, History, Preservation.
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The old Pevely Dairy Plant, on the more-obscure Chouteau Avenue alignment of Route 66 in St. Louis, was named to the National Register of Historic Places effective Nov. 18, according to an e-mail from the National Park Service.

Pevely Dairy, especially its ice cream, was a St. Louis institution for more than a century. But Pevely Dairy laid off all its workers about a year ago and shut down the plant. Pevely remains as a division of Prairie Farms. Jim Fox wrote this nostalgic article in the Suburban Journals about Pevely’s long presence in the community.

It was announced in January that a developer had purchased the complex weeks after the layoffs, but one of the factory buildings was destroyed in a fire in March.

More pictures of the fire can be seen here. A video of the building collapsing as firefighters run for their lives is here.

Since the fire, there was speculation of whether the developer would continue to try to spruce up the site.

The plant was at Grand Boulevard and Chouteau Avenue in St. Louis. Chouteau was an alignment of Route 66 from 1929 to 1935. Here’s a decent Google Maps image of that corner at Chouteau and Grand, where the Pevely building and its huge sign on the roof have been a local landmark for decades. This is not the factory building that burned; it was the one about a half-block down the street.

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