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Notes from the road January 28, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Art, Books, Bridges, Motels, Motorcycles, Movies, Museums, Signs, Theaters, Towns, Weather.
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If you’re traveling the Mother Road this week, you may have to make other plans for the midsection.

As this map from the National Weather Service shows, the Route 66 corridor is under a winter storm warning all the way from about Springfield, Mo., to Gallup, N.M. — much of it freezing rain.

Authorities closed Interstate 40 and secondary highways in the Texas Panhandle early Thursday afternoon. I-40 from the Texas border to Tucumcari, N.M., also is closed. And power outages are expected to be widespread in Oklahoma later in the day because of freezing rain.

We at Route 66 News headquarters have a wood stove and a gas water heater, so we’ll be fine even without electricity.

— I’ve been informed that the long-closed Pony Soldier Motel in Tucumcari, N.M., was torn down a few weeks ago. Here’s an op-ed written by one of the former owners, was published in the Quay County Sun.

— Jim Hinckley, a roadie and author based in Kingman, Ariz., announced the forthcoming publication of his new book, “Ghost Towns of the Southwest,” in stores in March. A few Route 66 towns are featured. Hinckley is working on a book exclusively about ghost towns on the Mother Road.

— The historic Uptown Theatre in Rolla, Mo., is endangered by a proposal to build an alumni center for the local university. A resident is circulating an online petition to protest the decision. If you want to sign it, go here. (Hat tip to Ace Jackalope.)

— The trade paperback of Michael Zadoorian’s acclaimed Route 66-based novel, “The Leisure Seeker,” will be in stores Feb. 9. The book has been optioned for film, and Zaadorian told me the script is being shopped to prospective actors.

— According to the Kingman Daily Miner, independent filmmaker Kirk Slack recently donated a 1966 Sears motorcycle to the Powerhouse Visitors Center in Kingman, Ariz., which has a large Route 66 display. Slack is working on a Route 66 documentary for Out West Family Films.

— The next round of Preserve America grants has started, and the deadline to submit them is Feb. 12. These grants are especially for towns and tourist centers wanting help to create their own multimedia attractions (iPhone apps, podcasts, GPS tours, etc.). More information is here.

— The Suburban Journals posted a fascinating article about city logos in the St. Louis area. Among them is Madison, Ill., which features the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge that once carried Route 66 over the Mississippi River. You can see the seal at the top of this document here.

— Check out this garage owned by Roger Sanzenbacher of Orland Park, Ill., where he re-created the huge mural seen at the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum in Pontiac on one of the walls.

Comments»

1. RT - February 1, 2010

They also tore down the Lasso – same family! The reality of their situation was they wanted more than the properties were ever going to be worth, somewhere in the neighborhood of $400K just for the Pony Soldier, they weren’t about to take less, nor did they ever seek anyone to preserve the properties or do anything with them. Stuck with the prospect of sitting on the properties and waiting an eternity for their “Golden Goose” to arrive, it was costing them extra in taxes for land with buildings on it, so they raised both properties to the ground to save a buck while sitting on the land. While the Lasso was in much rougher shape, the Pony Soldier was virtually ready to renovate and re-open. Both of the signs were left in tact, and about the only good news, is a rumor we heard that the family may donate the signs for historical preservation, to either the City or the Chamber? So there you have it, another chapter in the ever growing reputation of Tucumcari and the destruction of its historical buildings. Next up will likely be “5 Mile Park” unless there is some kind of Emergency Intervention? The building and grounds continue to both decay and be barraged with vandalism. The latest being flourescent orange paint balls and a small fire in the main entry to the building. The City has no interest whatsoever in saving “5 Mile Park”, and not too long ago in a City meeting, the City Engineer even publicly stated that it would NEVER happen! The last quote for a complete remodel of the park was $2M, more has been spent the last fews years on various other projects, including $1.4M currently planned for on the Train Depot, but “5 Mile Park” in their words, will NEVER happen? I don’t know, but maybe it has more to do with the water source the City draws on from out there – hmmm???

2. RT - February 1, 2010

We don’t mean it to all sound bad though – while some destroy, others are still making progress! There’s the Blue Swallow, Safari & Historic Route 66 Motels, and rumor has it the Kiva is up next for vast improvements. Then there’s saviors like Yvette and Yvonne of Del’s Restaurant and Kix on 66, now on their 3rd with the recent purchase of Dean’s, soon to be the Rockin Y’s Roadhouse Cafe! We will all keep doing our thing to keep Tucumcari’s history alive, have made some real progress amongst ourselves, but it’s still sad to see the older ones go! While progress continues, it sometimes seems like the destruction continues at a faster pace than the progress can keep up with? It’s pretty tough when your own local EDC doesn’t even recognize their strip of Route 66, all the tourism it already brings to town, the endless oppotunities for improvement, and that the only 2 major industries (really 1) that have ever existed since 1901 there, were the railroad and tourism. I say really 1, because who do you think was getting off that train – tourists!


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