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Panel advances Oklahoma Route 66 bike trail bill February 23, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Bicycling, Highways.
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The Oklahoma Legislature’s House Transportation Committee advanced a measure Wednesday that would create an approximate 90-mile “Historic Bike Trail” along Route 66 from Sapulpa to Edmond.

The committee passed House Bill 2049 by a 14-5 margin. It is now on the House floor.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Lewis Moore (R-Arcadia) and co-authored by Sen. Andrew Rice (D-Oklahoma City), would:

The portion of State Highway 66 between the Sapulpa city limits and the Edmond city limits shall be designated as the “Historic Bike Trail”.  The Department of Transportation shall cause suitable permanent markers to be placed upon the highway bearing that name.  Contingent upon the availability of funds, the Department shall provide a shoulder lane designated for use by bicycle traffic on the Historic Bike Trail.

A committee report says the markers would cost from $200 to $2,000 apiece, although the report noted that “most markers include a cost near the lower end of the estimated range.”

The measure, if it becomes law, would go into effect Nov. 1.

With Oklahoma’s deficit estimated at about $400 million because of the recession, lawmakers ordinarily might be reluctant to pass the bill. However, HB2049 includes the crucial passage “contingent upon the availability of funds.” So lawmakers simply could pass the bill into law, with the understanding that the bicycle shoulders be built only when finances improve. So Moore’s sensible language in the bill probably improves the odds of its passage.

UPDATE: In an interview in the print edition of the Tulsa County News today, Moore explained why he wanted a bicycle trail on part of Route 66 in Oklahoma:

“I’ve been into road bikes and mountain bikes since at least 1997 and we don’t have a lot of rails to trails for long distance in this state. [...] I live less than a half a mile from Route 66 in Arcadia and I see people from all over, not just from the U.S., who bike or drive the Mother Road. I thought about how great it would be to have a historic trail for people to ride on. As it is now, it is too dangerous unless during a sponsored event with protection for riders. It would be great to improve the whole riding experience so it is safe and not a nerve-wracking time.”

As for why plan a bicycling trail for the area between Sapulpa and Edmond, Moore said if passed, his HB2049 is “just a start. I’d like to see it go all the way to Missouri and New Mexico.”

Moore added that even if the state didn’t immediately have money for the project, he was confident that donations and other funding sources could at least partly cover it.

(Hat tip: Schlegel Bicycles)

‘No chance’ marathon organizer will be rehired February 23, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Sports.
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Joplin’s city manager said there was “no chance” Dean Reinke would be rehired as the director of the 2011 Mother Road Marathon, according to a report in the Joplin Globe.

In an e-mail headlined “A Special Message from the Mother Road Marathon,” Reinke, of Winter Haven, Fla., questions the city’s ability to put on the run this year, and adds that he has received numerous inquiries and requests to step back into the lead planning role.

But Reinke no longer has any rights to the marathon. [...]

Jim Frazier, interim executive director of the Joplin Sports Authority, said of Reinke’s remarks: “I think the perception that he has is without the reality of facts.”

Reinke organized the inaugural Mother Road Marathon last year, which drew about 1,500 runners. But, afterward, the city of Joplin quickly announced that Reinke wouldn’t be rehired and sued him in federal court when he filed a trademark claim for the 26.2-mile footrace.

The Globe reported that a settlement of $30,000 to Reinke was paid late last year.

I’m afraid that with so much confusion about who’s putting on the marathon, you might have dozens, maybe hundreds of runners who simply won’t show up for the event. It also doesn’t help that I still don’t see an official link at the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau for the race.

The Mother Road Marathon goes from Commerce, Okla., to Joplin, and is believed to be the only marathon to traverse three states — Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri.

Exploring the Inland Empire’s Route 66 February 23, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in History, Motels, Museums, Restaurants, Television.
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Here’s a good video about The Magic Lamp Inn restaurant, which has graced Route 66 in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., since 1955.

This is part of the ongoing Inland Empire Explorer series.

Here are more Route 66-related videos about Sierra Bakery and Wigwam Motel in Rialto, and the McDonald’s Museum in San Bernardino (owned by Juan Pollo restaurant chain owner Albert Okura, who also happens to own the entire Route 66 hamlet of Amboy).

(Apologies for the lack of videos on this post, but the makers turned off embedding on each of the clips.)

And there’s even a video of Route 66 Memories, apparently before it closed a few weeks ago.

If you’re in the Inland Empire region, segments can be viewed at these television channels. Or you can view all the videos at its Vimeo channel.

A tour down Route 66 in Missouri February 22, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Road trips, Television.
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This 22-minute video on the Mother Road in Missouri features irreverent hosts Jeremy Wood and Diane Robertson.

The television show is called “Just Down the Road.” Other episodes can be viewed online at its website.

Rust in peace February 22, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Art, Photographs, Television, Vehicles.
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Stumbled onto this segment from the “AAA Presents Highroads with Dan Davis” television program in Arizona about the photography artwork of Cheyenne Rouse:

Rouse’s work features a lot of old vehicles along Route 66. You can see her “Rust in Peace” series on her website here. And, yes, you can buy one of those prints.

Harvey House in Barstow marks 100 years February 22, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Books, Museums, Preservation, Railroad.
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The landmark Harvey House in Barstow, Calif., is marking its centennial, and a  celebration is planned in the coming weeks, according to the Desert Dispatch newspaper.

[T]he Chamber is planning a community-wide carnival style celebration of the Harvey House’s 100th anniversary in the spring, although details have yet to be worked out.

The current Harvey House was completed in 1910 but opened its doors to rail passengers in 1911 as a welcome respite from long periods of train travel. Passengers could eat a fine meal on china and linens and be waited on by “Harvey Girls” or stay the night in one of the station’s 30 rooms. Famous guests include Winston Churchill, who stopped to use the House’s baths in 1929.

However, with rail travel’s declining popularity, the Harvey House closed its doors in 1971 and was slated for demolition. Several local groups came together to save the station and the city eventually purchased the property in 1990.

Rehabilitation efforts were set back in 1992 when the Landers earthquake damaged the Harvey House extensively, requiring some walls to be rebuilt brick-by-brick. The building was painstakingly restored and brought up to modern standards and rededicated in 1999.

Among the tenants at the Barstow Harvey House is the Route 66 Mother Road Museum.

Barstow was at least foresighted enough to preserve its Harvey House. Albuquerque demolished its Fred Harvey-created Alvarado Hotel in 1970 — to the city’s eternal regret. The Alvarado was partially re-created in Albuquerque as a bus and train station. Another Route 66 town — Seligman, Ariz. — also saw its Harvey House fall to the wrecking ball in 2008.

A website devoted to the history of Harvey Houses can be found here. “Appetite for America,” a recent book about Fred Harvey and the rise and fall of his Harvey Houses, also comes recommended (my review is here).

New “Cars 2″ trailer February 21, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Movies.
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Here’s a new movie trailer for Disney-Pixar’s “Cars 2,” which aired during Sunday’s Daytona 500 telecast.

“Cars 2″ will be in theaters on June 24.

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