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Hello from Austin July 29, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Music.
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Here are Asleep at the Wheel, with longtime Texas Playboys singer Leon Rausch, performing “Route 66″ during an in-store appearance at Waterloo Records in Austin, Texas.

Rausch and Asleep at the Wheel were at the store promoting their new album, “It’s a Good Day!”

Notes from the road July 28, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Animals, Attractions, Events, Movies, Museums, Restaurants, Web sites.
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The Fanning 66  Outpost in the Route 66 hamlet of Fanning, Mo., is hosting its annual Picture in the Rocker Day on Aug. 7, where you can enjoy the rare opportunity of sitting (or standing) on the World’s Largest Rocking Chair.

The Viva Cuba blog had some of the details:

The Outpost charges $5.00 per person for you or your group to be lifted to the seat of the rocker. You bring your camera and take your own photos. In the past, photos have been taken for Christmas cards or other special events as well as just for the fun of it. The Saturday, August 7 event runs from 9 am to 5pm.

Previously, the Cuba Fire Department used their lift truck for the fund rasier, but they sold the truck. Rather than end the event, this year the Outpost is renting a lift truck, and the money raised will be used to pay for the truck.

In case you’re wondering, the chair is more than 42 feet tall.

TOP ATTRACTIONS: The Blue Whale along Route 66 near Catoosa, Okla., was named one of the “Top 50 American Roadside Attractions” by Time magazine this week. Also cited were the World’s Largest Rocking Chair at the Fanning Outpost near Cuba, Mo., Devil’s Rope Museum in McLean, Texas, and Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas.

RESTAURANT REUSE: Ron Sanderson reported on the Route 66 yahoogroup this week that the long-vacant Red Cedar Inn in Pacific, Mo., saw some good news and bad news. The good news is that the former restaurant’s roof has been repaired, and much of the complex has been brought up to code. The bad news is that the complex apparently is being converted into a used-car lot. That’s better than having a date with a bulldozer, I suppose …

GRIN AND BEAR IT: Amid this story from the Arizona Republic about the Route 66 town of Williams comes some news about a new attraction, Bearizona. It’s a drive-through outdoor animal habitat that features burros, bison, Dall and bighorn sheep, and bears on 158 acres. It also includes a walk-through area where you can see the newborn or young animals. The complex remains under construction, but is open.

REVAMPED WEBSITE: The City of Webb City, Mo., is set to roll out a refurbished website later this week, reported the Joplin Globe. Among the new features is a history of Route 66 in the city. The site can be found here.

TOUR TIME: Here’s a report from the Quay County Sun about the first day of the inaugural New Mexico Route 66 Motor Tour in Tucumcari. More than 40 people participated.

ENCHANTED FOOD: Jane and Michael Stern of Roadfood.com, one of our favorite sites on the Internet, are planning a 2010 Roadfood Eating Tour in New Mexico on Sept. 17-18. On the itinerary so far are such Route 66 favorites as The Frontier and Mr. Powdrell’s in Albuquerque and a slew of Sante Fe restaurants. Tickets go on sale Aug. 2.

OUTDOOR MOVIE: The Rolling Roadshow Tour by Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and Levi’s is presenting a free outdoor screening of “The Blues Brothers” at the Old Joliet Prison Park, on Friday, Aug. 13, just outside the walls of the now-closed but infamous prison. The prison, which becomes the setting for the first scene in the film, is just off Route 66. Alamo and Levi’s are taking a portable outdoor movie screen to select areas across the country this summer.

Author begins work on Route 66 encyclopedia July 27, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Books, Maps.
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Jim Hinckley, a Kingman, Ariz.-based author of several automotive and Route 66-related books, announced this week he is beginning work on a Route 66 encyclopedia and atlas. And he is soliciting help from the Route 66 community to help make the volume more complete.

In a news release, Hinckley said:

To ensure this work is historically correct, provides a comprehensive overview of Route 66, and is as current as possible, I am petitioning historic societies, museums, businesses, and Route 66 organizations for assistance in the form of suggestions for material to be included, contact information, historic information, and information pertaining to the acquisition of material to be used as illustrations.

General topics for inclusion:

1.) Community profile – a profile of each community on all alignments of Route 66.

2.) Biographies – concise biographical sketches of individuals that have played key roles in the roads history. Examples; Bob Waldmire, Cyrus Avery, Micahel Wallis, etc.

3.) Notable events that are directly associated with Route 66 or its predecessor auto trails such as the National Old Trails Highway or Ozark Trail. Examples; the Desert Classic automobile races 1908 – 1914, the Bunion Derby, etc.

4.) Predecessor highway history – the National Old Trails Highway, Ozark Trail, etc.

5.) Current businesses and their history – this category would be historic or new businesses such as Pops in Arcadia and Afton Station in Afton.

6.) Historic businesses now closed – examples for this category would include the Painted Desert Trading Post and Coral Court Motel.

7.) Route 66 entertainment – television shows and movies filmed on Route 66 or locations that were used in these films.

8.) Personal stories – short stories of personal experiences on Route 66 that will serve to illustrate its evolution.

My goal with this project is to chronicle the first 85 years of Route 66 history, to preserve it for future generations, and to further fuel the resurgent interest in the highway.

Those who wish to give information or offer to help Hinckley should e-mail jimhinckley(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Hinckley has written “Ghost Towns of the Southwest,” “Backroads of Arizona,” “Route 66 Backroads” and “The Big Book of Car Culture.” In the pipeline for this fall is “Ghost Towns of Route 66,” and he’s a contributor to the upcoming “Greetings from Route 66.”

The encyclopedia and atlas will be published by Voyageur Press. In a follow-up e-mail, Hinckley said the book is limited to 150,000 words and 2,000 illustrations, making it a sizable volume indeed. He has 18 months to turn in a manuscript, and the clock began ticking on June 1. So it won’t be in stores until 2012 at the earliest.

As for the atlas portion of the book, Hinckley wants it to be similar to the look of Stefan Joppich’s online Route 66 Atlas, and has enlisted his help.

Hinckley said he knows the book will be a huge undertaking, hence his plea to the Route 66 community for assistance.

I accepted the project for a number of reasons but topping the list would be an opportunity to provide a promotional resource for businesses along the highway as well as encourage others to create an Afton Station or Goffs museum. [...]

I fully understand it will be impossible to document every aspect as a result of time constraints, size restrictions, and the changing face of the road as evidenced with the fire at the Riviera and the resurrection of the Wagon Wheel Motel. I am also aware of my limitations and that is one of the reasons for seeking assistance in regards to the acquisition of material. [...]

For illustrations Joe Sonderman has graciously offered access to his post card collection. Likewise with Laurel Kane and Mike Ward. I will photograph the California section in October and if all goes as planned we will combine a photographic safari of the eastern section with a visit to Amarillo in June.

If Hinckley pulls this off (and there’s no reason to think he won’t), this exciting project may become a one-stop place for people wanting to know more about Route 66.

Trying TV coverage to boost a bridge rehab July 26, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Bridges, Preservation.
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The Pulaski County Daily and Waynesville Daily Guide published stories within days of each other about Pulaski County’s ongoing efforts to repair the decaying Devil’s Elbow Bridge in the Route 66 hamlet of Devil’s Elbow, Mo.

The gist of it is:

  • Jerry Plunkett, a local military contractor, is looking for a variety of ways to rehabilitate the 1923 bridge, which can no longer support the weight of tour buses traveling the Mother Road.
  • Rehabbing the bridge may cost up to $3 million — considerably more than the county originally estimated.
  • But Plunkett said he’s talked to television producers, including the Discovery Channel, in an effort to produce a program drum up interest in the historic Route 66 bridge …
  • … which would lead to a greater possibility of getting the federal grants needed to fully repair the bridge.

One of those grants, Plunkett said, can come through the Innovative Bridge Research and Deployment program, via the U.S. Department of Transportation. He said he’s built five bridges through the program.

The grants also could possibly include “green” technology to heat the bridge’s deck to prevent icing during the winter. (That grant, however, which sounds far-fetched.)

New Route 66 Malt Shop holds soft opening on weekend July 26, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Motels, Restaurants.
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Kelly Vickers at the Duke City Fix collective blog posted some photos from the Route 66 Days and Nights street festival in the Nob Hill district of Albuquerque this weekend.

One of the interesting items is that the Route 66 Malt Shop, which once occupied space at the former Horn Oil Co. site, held a “soft” opening during the event and Vickers included a photo of its spiffy new digs.

Vickers wrote:

Great service made up for our new Malt Shop’s lack of preparedness—they were so popular that they ran out of ingredients a few times and had to rush to the store to restock. This was just a teaser opening for them, and they’re poised for great success when they officially launch in August.

According to the Malt Shop’s site, the restaurant is on Central Avenue (aka Route 66) one block east of Carlisle (map here).

According to the New Mexico Business Weekly, the Route 66 Malt Shop will be an anchor to several properties owned by developer Gerald Landgraf:

Route 66 Malt Shop co-owner Eric Szeman anticipates tripling his business there, after 15 years on the periphery of Old Town.

Since 2005, Landgraf and his partner Matthew Terry, through Nob Hill Development Corp., have acquired 12 parcels totaling more than 400,000 square feet. Among the buildings are six downtrodden Rt. 66-era motels, including the Premiere, Royal, Town Lodge, Nob Hill Motel and American Inn.

The Nob Hill Motel, an especially notable motel from the vintage Route 66 era, was retrofitted into an office complex without altering its appearance much.

Nob Hill Development Corp. also owns the historic Aztec Motel; it’s only available for weekly or monthly rentals, but its neon sign has been restored.

Hello from Venezuela July 25, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Music.
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Here’s a version of “Route 66″ by Biella Da Costa, one of Venezuela’s most popular jazz singers. But it’s her band that does a lot of the heavy lifting here:

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