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Sherlock Luke October 31, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Religion.
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In this latest episode of “Route 66: A Road Trip through the Bible,” we learn that Luke was quite a sleuth.

Cars Land reaches construction milestone October 30, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Movies.
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The Cars Land complex at Disneyland Resort, patterned after the fictional Route 66 town of Radiator Springs in the movie “Cars,” reached a milestone Friday when a final steel supporting beam was fastened to the Cadillac Range, according to the Orange County Register.

The Cadillac Range is a fictional mountain range patterned after the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas. The Cadillac Range will be the tallest point of the Cars Land complex, reaching 125 feet tall.

It will take up about half of Cars Land and is the backdrop for the Radiator Springs Racers ride.

The 280,000-square-foott structure is the largest rockwork job at any U.S. Disney park — even bigger than the Matterhorn and Splash Mountain. Disney describes the rockwork as “one-of-a-kind” and complex because it has few 90-degree angles.

“Visitors will look at the steel and say, ‘Wow, I’ve never seen anything like this before,’ ” said Dennis Breen, a project executive of Clark Construction who is working on the project. “I’ve been in the business for 40 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

While construction is blocked from the park, the Cars Land steel structure and cranes can be seen from the nearby I-5 freeway and park visitors can see crews and trucks.

The story includes a graphic about the complex that shows what Radiator Springs will feature, including Flo’s V-8 Cafe, Sarge’s Surplus Hut, Fillmore’s Taste-In, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, Cozy Cone Motel, Radiator Springs Curio Shop, Luigi’s Flying Tires, Radiator Springs Courthouse, and Ramone’s House of Body Art.

Cars Land is scheduled to be finished in 2012.

Pontiac museum may come to Pontiac, naturally October 30, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Museums, Preservation, Vehicles.
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In this story Friday in the New York Times about the dying Pontiac vehicle brand, which officially ends tomorrow, I stumbled on this intriguing passage:

“You hate to see them go, but they were floundering and couldn’t find their place in the market,” said Tim Dye, who owns 21 Pontiacs from various eras and a huge collection of Pontiac memorabilia — started with a bottle of GTO cologne from his uncle — that he had assembled over more than 30 years.

Mr. Dye’s home in Oklahoma, along with two buildings on his property, are filled with thousands of items from Pontiac’s past, including showroom brochures, advertising posters, model cars, pencils, ashtrays and matchbooks. Now that Pontiac is gone, Mr. Dye plans to turn his collection into a museum in Pontiac, Ill., a city on Route 66.

“I can’t think of anything better to do than just visit with people about Pontiac every day,” he said.

It turns out that Dye lives in the Tulsa suburb of Broken Arrow, Okla. And, in an e-mail, Dye said he plans to move his Pontiac collection to Pontiac fairly quickly:

The folks in Pontiac are helping us very much and are very excited about the museum. The mayor and city administrator spent last weekend here looking at our collection and getting a handle on the whole project. They can see it will be their largest attraction and a big boost for their tourism. If all goes according to plan we will probably start packing in January, it will take months to move everything. They would like to have a grand opening of phase 1 in June or July, it will probably take several steps to get everything set up and going.

Dye isn’t an ordinary memorabilia collector, either. Going to his website, you can see he’s written a book, and here’s his brochure (Acrobat file) about his Pontiac Vintage Press & Library.

12/7/2010 UPDATE: The Bloomington Pantagraph published a story today about Dye’s upcoming move to Pontiac.

12/14/2010 UPDATE: The Pantagraph reported that the city of Pontiac is still looking for a suitable location for Dye’s museum. The mayor spoke to the city council about the benefits of landing the museum, in tandem with the Route 66 museum, Walldog Museum, and Livingston County War Museum.

Illinois receives grant for bicycle trail October 29, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Bicycling.
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McLean County, Ill., has received a $1.5 million federal grant to help build a 4-mile bicycle trail along Route 66 from Normal to Towanda, according to the Bloomington Pantagraph.

The money came from federal excise taxes on fuel, and can be used for developing alternative forms of transportation. Local matching funds are required for such projects.

The county’s share is $385,000, which also will be covered partially by communities along the trail.

From the article:

The latest grant will cover the distance from Shelbourne Drive in Normal to County Road 29 which enters Towanda from the north. Engineering will be completed in 2011 and work will be done in 2012, he said.

The Historic Route 66 Bike Trail will eventually run about 370 miles from Chicago to the Illinois state line along the corridor of Old Route 66 and its precursor Highway 4, said Doug Oehler of Bloomington, a member of the project’s steering committee and vice president of the League of Illinois Bicyclists, an advocacy group.

Parts of the trail have been completed in Towanda and Lexington as well as a 4.5-mile stretch from southwest Bloomington to Shirley, which officially opened about a month ago. Oehler said the path, which makes it safe and easy to ride to Funks Grove and the popular Sugar Grove Nature Center, is well-used by cyclists and walkers already.

“It’s been a home run,” said Oehler.

Other states are starting to get on board in building bicycle trails along Route 66. But Illinois is way ahead in this effort.

Let’s get some dessert October 28, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Restaurants.
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Here’s a video about Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, St. Louis’ most popular place to get frozen treats.

Woman finishes Route 66 bicycle trip for Komen fund October 28, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Bicycling, Road trips.
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Iris Klein, the woman who decided to bicycle Route 66 to raise money for a breast cancer research fund, reached the end of the road Tuesday at the Santa Monica Pier, according to the Santa Monica Mirror.

Klein, who is German, set up BIKE4THECURE because she lost a close personal friend to breast cancer in 2009. Soon after her loss she became aware October was breast cancer awareness month while on a visit to the United States.

Klein told the Mirror she chose to ride up to 100 miles per day for 44 days on Route 66 because Route 66 “stands for dreams and missions and doing this project was my mission.” Her street address in her hometown, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany is also 66 and her friend who died from breast cancer lived near Route 66 in Illinois. She also liked the fact that Route 66 has “a lot of history and is well known by people.” Klein’s goal was to raise $10,000, but at the time of the Mirror’s interview she was unsure about how much money had been raised. The money is being donated to the Susan G. Komen For The Cure organization. [...]

Klein ended her interview with the Mirror by stating “if I have the money I would do this again in a heartbeat.”

Here’s a video diary of that final day. Klein gets emotional when she realizes the journey is near its end:

The ghost of the Painted Desert Inn October 27, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Ghosts and Mysteries, History, Motels, Restaurants.
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I didn’t know this about the historic Painted Desert Inn, located in the Petrified Forest National Park. Apparently I have a new contender for the top ghost sites on Route 66 that I posted yesterday.

According to National Parks Traveler:

Almost 60 years ago, during the evening of April 9, 1953, the Painted Desert Inn caught fire. A park ranger broke down the locked door and crawled on his hands and knees into the smoke-filled building. He found Mrs. Marion Mace, the hotel manger, lying unconscious in her bedroom. The ranger carried the woman outside and laid her on the lawn. Then he returned to save the structure.

After putting out the flames with a fire extinguisher, the ranger returned to his damsel in distress only to learn that his heroic efforts had gone for naught. Mrs. Mace was dead from smoke inhalation.

No one knows for sure what caused the fire, but most people assumed the smoldering blaze had been ignited by a cigarette, for the flames had started in manager’s bedroom, and Mrs. Mace was rarely seen without a death stick between her fingers. [...]

The ranger was working on the main level one afternoon when she heard someone coming up the stairs from the tap room below. “It was footsteps on stone,” she says, “but when I looked up to wave at the person coming up the stairs, no one was there.”

Other employees report hearing whispered conversations coming from unoccupied rooms, and some have wondered if Mrs. Marion Mace is still lingering around after closing time.

After locking up one evening, one park ranger looked back through the windows and saw someone inside the museum walking from one room to another. Slightly irritated at the wayward tourist, the ranger unlocked the door and stepped inside. As soon as she entered the doorway, the ranger detected the unmistakable odor of cigarette smoke. Now the ranger was royally peeved. Not only was this tourist in a closed government building; the person had the gall to smoke in a museum! The ranger rushed from room to room in hot pursuit of her cigarette-smoking miscreant, until she realized there was no one in the building but her.

The story also tells about a spiral on a boulder at the Puerco Pueblo ruins, where a beam of sunlight hits the center of the spiral on the boulder at exactly 9 a.m. No one is sure what is the purpose of this apparent solar calender.

On 5 p.m. Friday, the park will offer “Ghosts of the Past,” a park ranger-led tour complete with ghost stories, starting at the Painted Desert Inn. Participants can watch the sunset and then explore the historic inn by lantern light.

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