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Some 2013 Rand McNally atlases also will contain Route 66 error March 28, 2012

Posted by Ron Warnick in Maps.
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Not only did some of Rand McNally’s 2012 road atlases contain an error about Route 66, but at least some of its upcoming 2013 atlases will have that mistake, also.

Frank Gifford of rt66pix.com found the apparent mistake in the 2012 atlases a few weeks ago. They incorrectly implied that Route 66 followed U.S. 60 northeast from Afton, Okla., to Neosho, Mo., then north on U.S. 71 to Carthage, Mo. That path cut off the Route 66 section of Kansas entirely. Excerpts of the maps, including Gifford’s illustration to better show the apparent error, are below:

On Tuesday, Gifford said he confirmed during a phone call to Jennifer Cavallo, director of retail sales and strategy at Rand McNally, that several 2013 editions of the Rand McNally atlases would contain the same Route 66 error. The earliest 2013 editions have already been printed, and will hit the market on April 23.

In an email later Tuesday, Cavallo said the “primary file release dates for our 2013 road atlas line” were Jan. 3, 2012, and Jan. 30, 2012. Gifford initially reported the error to Rand McNally after those dates, in early February. Cavallo said the deadline to update all 11 formats of Rand McNally’s 2013 atlas line was Dec. 26, 2011.

In a phone interview Wednesday, Cavallo said the 2013 atlases that require corrections would be reprinted later in the year. She said she did not know how many, nor what percentage, of Rand McNally’s 2013 atlases would contain the error.

Cavallo has encouraged readers to post requests for corrections at Rand McNally’s customer-support page.

Faces of Route 66 in Illinois March 27, 2012

Posted by Ron Warnick in Gas stations, History, Museums, People, Restaurants.
2 comments

Pounds Media recently videotaped interviews with several Route 66 veterans for Central Illinois Tourism and the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway.

Today, several of those clips were posted on the Internet. First is Ernie Edwards, longtime owner of the Pig Hip Restaurant in Broadwell, Ill.:

http://vimeo.com/39277870

Nick Adam, longtime owner of the Ariston Cafe in Litchfield, Ill.:

Phil Becker of the Ambler-Becker Texaco Station in Dwight, Ill.:

Bill Shea of the Route 66 Gas Station Museum in Springfield, Ill.:

Jim Jones of the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame & Museum in Pontiac:

Betty Estes, also of the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame & Museum.

I’m glad this is being done. In its own way, it’s preserving a slice of history of the Mother Road.

UPDATE: Pounds Media took the videos to private mode shortly after I posted them. According a direct message from its Twitter account, the company didn’t mean to make them public, and wanted their clients to review the videos first. The videos were public on the Internet for about 10 hours.

Famed movie studio buildings in West Hollywood to be razed March 27, 2012

Posted by Ron Warnick in Uncategorized.
3 comments

The bulldozers soon will arrive for a series of buildings in West Hollywood, Calif., that once were used by the Warner Bros. and other movie studios, reported the Los Angeles Times. The buildings sit at the corner of Route 66.

The Times’ arresting lead paragraphs:

Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks worked there. So did Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Clark Gable, Marlon Brando and practically everyone else.

Soon, though, wrecking crews will be at work at the storied West Hollywood movie lot at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Formosa Avenue.

Once known as the Warner Hollywood Studio, it’s now called “The Lot.” Its new owner, CIM Group, intends to raze its aging wooden office buildings and sound-dubbing stages and replace them with glass-and-steel structures.

The Pickford Building and the Goldwyn Building, built in the late 1920s or early 1930s, will be razed first. Later, the Writers Building, Fairbanks Building, Editorial Building and a row of production offices will be demolished. A group of buildings up to six stories tall will take their place.

The Times said:

The redevelopment plans have riled many in the entertainment industry, particularly those who know the studio from past film shoots and television programs.

“A lot of people have a lot of affection for the place,” said Doug Haines, a film editor who has worked on movies there for two decades. “You really had a sense of history when you worked there. Another glass building — that certainly says ‘Old Hollywood,’ doesn’t it?” [...]

Legend holds that a tunnel once connected the soundstages to a bar across the street — the Formosa Cafe — so that stars like Errol Flynn could slip off for drinks between scenes without being pestered by fans.

Fairbanks had a steam bath and gym and is said to have had a private outdoor area where he could exercise in the nude.

Eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes, who kept an office at the studio during his movie-making days, had a secret garage he could wheel into from Santa Monica Boulevard and park without anybody noticing.

The buildings also contain stories or relics involving Harrison Ford, George Lucas, Sam Peckinpah, D.W. Griffith, and many more.

The most aggravating part of the story is that West Hollywood officials have never taken formal action to designate The Lot as a historic landmark, even though locals long described it as one.

Preservationists at the Los Angeles Conservancy said they have been asked to help get historic landmark status conferred on the whole studio to block the demolition.

“We’ve gotten calls from people who are concerned. The problem is it’s an approved development. The West Hollywood City Council essentially has already approved the project,” said Adrian Scott Fine, the conservancy’s director of advocacy.

(Hat tip: Kevin Hansel)

Should Tucumcari get a racino? March 26, 2012

Posted by Ron Warnick in Sports, Towns.
2 comments

The headline above doesn’t dispute that the Route 66 town of Tucumcari, N.M., is qualified to land a horse-racing casino, which it has been seeking for the past few years.

It’s whether Tucumcari should land a racino.

Over the weekend, the New York Times published a well-researched and scathing article about the horse-racing industry. In short, the newspaper found “an industry still mired in a culture of drugs and lax regulation and a fatal breakdown rate that remains far worse than in most of the world,” despite pledges of reform.

This has resulted in more horses dying on the racetrack, and more jockeys being killed or maimed.

Drilling down, the most disturbing part is the evidence indicates that New Mexico has the poorest oversight. Excerpts from the article:

According to the analysis, five of the six tracks with the highest incident rates last year were in New Mexico. [...]

In at least two states, 2-year-olds may not race with any Flunixin. Not so in New Mexico, where they can run with up to 50 nanograms of the drug, more than double the amount allowed in a higher class of competition called graded stakes races. [...]

Tests on horses in New Mexico showed results over 104 nanograms on 68 occasions since 2009, with some registering 1,000 and even 2,400, records show. The levels are so high that regulatory veterinarians in other states say the horses must have been drugged on race day, a practice that is forbidden. [...]

Four of the state’s five racetracks, including Zia Park and Ruidoso, are unaccredited, and the track where Mr. Martin’s injury occurred does not report accidents or positive drug tests to groups that monitor such events.

New Mexico also recorded no positive tests in 2010 and 2011 for the most frequently abused pain medicine in racing, phenylbutazone, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory commonly known as “bute.” After The Times asked why none had been found, the new executive director of the state’s racing commission, Vince Mares, said that after researching the question, he discovered that the previous leadership “had cut back on the tests” for financial reasons. [...]

In recent years, the state commission has had its embarrassments.

One former investigator faces trial on charges of stealing horses while working at the commission. Another trainer’s doping violation was dismissed because the assistant attorney general handling the case neglected to show up in court. And the commission had to drop charges against Ramon O. Gonzalez Sr. for drugging 10 horses because it forgot to file the proper paperwork, according to the state attorney general’s office.

The report contains more damning excerpts about horse racing in New Mexico, but you get the gist.

Many folks in Tucumcari, which has seen a 10 percent drop in population that past 10 years, view a racino as a sort of silver bullet for jobs and the local economy. (Tucumcari has applied for a gaming license that was revoked from Raton, but Raton headed to court to fight it.)

U.S. horse racing already is seeing a decline. Adding a casino almost certainly will increase crime in town. But this apparently poor oversight by the state would be the last straw for me. Barring a strong effort for reform, I would probably say “thanks, but no thanks” if the state of New Mexico offered a racino license.

Surely there are better — and more principled — ways to boost Tucumcari’s economy.

Victorville on verge of landing a bullet train to Vegas March 25, 2012

Posted by Ron Warnick in Railroad, Towns.
10 comments

The Route 66 town of Victorville, Calif., is close to landing a $4.9 billion federal loan that would build a 150 mph bullet train line from there to Las Vegas, according to The Daily Mail and other news outlets.

The newspaper said about the DesertXpress propoal:

The vast park-and-ride project hinged on the untested idea that car-loving Californians will drive about 100 miles from the Los Angeles area, pull off busy Interstate 15 and board a train for the final leg to the Vegas strip.

Planners imagine that millions of travelers a year will one day flock to a station outside Victorville, a small city where shuttered storefronts line the historic downtown. [...]

Victorville Mayor Ryan McEachron envisions a bustling transportation oasis with a hotel, restaurants, maybe even homes, on the proposed station site. [...]

The plan was being advanced by casino developer and contractor Anthony Marnell II, whose credits include building the Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas.

He heads Marnell Companies, the majority shareholder in DesertXpress. [...]

The parking lot in Victorville has room for 15,000 cars. At peak hours, trains would depart every 20 minutes. Mack said an average round-trip fare could be as low as $75, though documents estimated $100.

A decision on whether to give a go-ahead on the plan is expected later in the year.

It’s 180 miles from Victorville to Las Vegas. A high-speed train could traverse that distance through harsh desert and steep mountains in 90 minutes or less.

I’m agnostic about this proposal, although there’s little doubt it would help Victorville.

One person quoted in the story was skeptical about whether people would drive their cars so they could park, then ride a train. However, skeptics should note that the New Mexico Rail Runner Express, which goes from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, has seen a lot of ridership and is expanding its weekend service. And park-and-ride behavior is common with MetroLink lines in St. Louis and with the Chicago Transit Authority.

With the rising cost of fuel and ever-present traffic problems along Interstate 15, perhaps the time has come for a high-speed train to Vegas.

Black Canyon Tours promo video March 25, 2012

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motorcycles, Music, Road trips.
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I see quite a few videos put together by motorcycle tour companies. This one, by the United Kingdom-based Black Canyon Tours, is one of the best and most enticing I’ve seen. And, yes, Route 66 is part of the company’s itinerary.

Music is “The Last Race,” by Jack Nitzsche. He was a prominent songwriter and producer for more than 40 years.

 

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