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Holbrook marketing Route 66 more aggressively April 9, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Events, Towns.

The Route 66 town of Holbrook, Ariz., is going to tout its Mother Road ties even more in the coming months, including a new festival, according to an article in the Arizona Journal.

The article contained a lot of interesting tidbits about Holbrook and nearby Winslow, Ariz., including these:

  • A number of new businesses have popped up along the Route 66 corridor in Winslow in the past year, including Dar’s Route 66 Diner, Route 66 Fizz’ n Cream, Los Maria’s restaurant, Arizona 66 Trading Co., Akoshilláa Sheila! gallery and Arizona Indian Art. 
  • Hopi Travel Plaza east of Holbrook is transforming its plaza to a Route 66 theme.
  • Along the route, Winslow added new sidewalks, new lighting and a Route 66 shield on the roadway at Second Street and Kinsley Avenue.
  • A new Route 66 festival, with the theme It Ain’t Your Mother’s Road Anymore, will be in Holbrook in August, right before the International Route 66 Festival in Kingman, Ariz.

And the story implies that movers-and-shakers in Holbrook will encourage businesses to open on Sundays. Numbers at the local visitors center show that is a busy day for tourists, but many places in town are closed. Pontiac, Ill., noting a similar problem, started encouraging its downtown businesses to open on Sundays for the same reason.

The impetus apparently came from the November roundtable for Route 66 stakeholders in Anaheim, Calif., in November and especially the Route 66 Economic Impact Report that documented travelers’ spending. Money talks.

I predicted the report would have a wide-ranging impact on many communities in terms of Route 66 promotions, infrastructure and perception. And it seems that is happening in Holbrook. Due to Holbrook’s proximity to the Petrified Forest National Park, it treated Route 66 respectfully but decidedly a second banana. Now it seems the townsfolk are giving the Mother Road considerably more attention.

(Image of the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Ariz., by Brett Kiger via Flickr)

Photographer will open exhibit in Kirkwood gallery March 30, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Art, Events, Photographs.
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Missouri-based photographer Mark Appling Fisher will open his “Route 66 and Beyond” exhibit at the Ober Anderson Gallery in Kirkwood, Mo., on Friday.

According to a news release from the gallery about his photos:

Among them are hand colored, infrared film images of from unusual sites along the old Route 66, including a pink elephant shot with a homemade pinhole camera, images taken by the unpredictable and quirky, plastic holgas and colorful carnival chalk figurines.

Mark Appling Fisher is a professional fine art photographer from the Midwest. Fisher taught for more than forty years as an elementary school music teacher, a video production instructor and instructional media technologist. He now teaches black and white film photography, as well as alternative processes, toy camera, plastic camera, and pinhole photography. He loves all things film, and has found great satisfaction with digital photography, especially for color work.

Appropriately enough, the gallery is at 101 W. Argonne Drive, which is on a corner of an alignment of Route 66 in Kirkwood (map here).

Fisher recently completed a Kickstarter campaign for his “Turn Left at the Blinking Light” project. This video that came with the campaign shows his talents and interests well:

(Mark Appling Fisher image of the Bel-Air Drive-In sign in Mitchell, Ill., via Kickstarter)

Autry museum launches fundraiser for Route 66 exhibit March 26, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, History, Museums.

The Autry National Center of the American West in Los Angeles has launched an online fundraising campaign to help pay for its upcoming and long-awaited “Route 66: The Road and the Romance,” according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

The Autry wants to raise $66,000 within 30 days through IndieGoGo. The campaign launched Tuesday; through late Wednesday morning, it had raised more than $3,000.

The show begins June 6. Donations as low as $10 come with perks from the museum. The top tier of $10,000 gives you lunch with the museum’s president and curator, plus a slew of souvenirs and perks.

The Times also has some details about the exhibits and artifacts:

The show, which will run until Jan. 4, will include Jack Kerouac’s famed manuscript of “On the Road,” typed feverishly on a single continuous scroll; pages from John Steinbeck’s manuscript of “The Grapes of Wrath”; a Martin guitar that belonged to Woody Guthrie; Dorothea Lange’s famous photography documenting Depression-era desperation; and a new print of a photograph that L.A. artist Ed Ruscha first published in “Twentysix Gasoline Stations,” his early 1960s book documenting a trip along Route 66.

Here’s a video about the fundraiser by the museum:

(An image of the original manuscript scroll of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” which will be displayed at The Autry’s Route 66 show, by Steve Rhodes via Flickr)

Antique truck show will feature Campbell 66 Express March 25, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, Events, History, Vehicles.
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The American Truck Historical Society’s National Convention in Springfield, Mo., not only will feature cruises and speech on Route 66, but a speaker about the town’s long-closed Campbell 66 Express trucking firm, according to news release from the society and its website.

The convention, scheduled for May 29-31 at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds, will include speaker J. Bruce Crim talking about “Campbell 66 Express — 60 Years on Route 66 with ‘Humpin’ to Please’” from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

Crim was an employee at Campbell about 30 years until it closed in 1986, and he owns a large collection of its memorabilia.

Dave Faust, an employee there in the late 1970s, also owns an excellent collection he posted online, as does Jim Steele. And Rich Henry at Henry’s Rabbit Ranch in Staunton, Ill., keeps a few Campbell 66 trailers on his property.

Because Campbell 66 Express’ headquarters was in Springfield, I suspect Crim’s presentation will attract a lot of interest. It’s good a few folks are keeping memories — including its trademark camel — of this unique trucking firm alive.

Tommy Pike, president of the Route 66 Association of Missouri, will talk about “Missouri 66″ from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. on those days.

The convention also will conduct a cruise of Route 66 from Springfield to Joplin, Mo., that includes tours of the Peterbilt truck facility, sellers and parts suppliers. It also will host an all-day “Mother Load to Mother Road Truck Cruise” on June 1 that goes on Route 66 from Springfield through Kansas and into Oklahoma.

Jerome Comcowich also will speak about “C.W. McCall’s “Convoy’, ‘Old Home Bread’ Commercials & Their Creator Bill Fries” from 9 to 10 a.m. those days. A history of Peterbilt trucks will be from 1 to 2 p.m.

You may register for the event online here.

(A 1960s image of a Campbell 66 Express truck by Allen via Flickr)

Tri-County Truck Stop will host ‘ghost hunt’ March 24, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Ghosts and Mysteries, History, Restaurants.
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The long-closed Tri-County Truck Stop along Route 66 in Villa Ridge, Mo., will host a “ghost hunt” by the Paranormal Task Force on Saturday night.

According to a report in the Washington Missourian, the interactive event begins at 6 p.m. and lasts until 4 a.m. The cost is $50. Tickets may be bought here.

Tri-County Truck Stop has been featured on SyFy’s “Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files” segment “Truck Stop Terror,” in The Missourian, and on television news programs and in several books. [...]

The current building, built in 1950 after the previous building burnt to the ground in the late 1940s, became the Tri-County Restaurant and Truck Stop in 1970 after The Diamonds relocated to be nearer to the newly opened Interstate 44.

When the Tri-County still ran, we posted a story or two about its alleged paranormal past. A mysterious presence, nicknamed George by its staff, apparently got a little too fresh with the female help. The restaurant also was known for serving country ham.

The Tri-County Truck Stop closed in 2006, and the boarded-up structure looks a bit worse each time we go by. However, according to its Facebook page, the Paranormal Task Force spent time in recent weeks cleaning up the restaurant’s interior — good to see.

The task force also appears to be maintaining a Facebook page for the Tri-County Truck Stop as well. So it’s nice to see the restaurant get a little care. Hope springs eternal someone can buy and revive it.

(Image of the Tri-County Truck Stop in 2005 by Alan Berning via Flickr)

Tucumcari expands rockabilly festival March 12, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Music.
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The Route 66 town of Tucumcari, N.M., will feature a greatly expanded Rockabilly on the Route festival on June 5-8, according to a news release from the organizers.

According to an email from co-producer Simon Cantlon:

With a whopping 18 bands from across the country, Colombia and Norway, classic car show, Route 66 cruise, burn-out, burlesque show, pin-up contest, parade, bowling, classic movies, and pool party, this event is the largest of its kind in the state and on The Mother Road.

In 2013, in the event’s inaugural year, Rockabilly on the Route drew in an approximate 1,000 attendees from the local area, state, and from as far away as Oregon, Colorado, Texas and Michigan, to name a few, surpassing the all expectations. We are expecting to easily double that for 2014.

Last year, the festival featured nine bands, including rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson. This year, the festival will have 18 bands. The headliner this year is Justin Shandor, a Graceland-endorsed Elvis Presley impersonator. A highlight reel:

More from the press release about the festival:

“I feel that this event has a huge tourism and economical impact on Tucumcari, as well as the state of New Mexico,” says Jessica Elebario, former Convention Center director. “Rockabilly has a huge following around the world and this is our way to bring them to the state of New Mexico via historic Route 66.”

The event is endorsed by Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari, Tucumcari Chamber of Commerce and City Commission, and the New Mexico Department of Tourism.

Tickets for the weekend are as low as $25 if you buy now. The full schedule can be downloaded here.

(Rockabilly logo by tikilab via Flickr)

Overview of the 2013 Route 66 Marathon February 25, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Sports.
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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma yesterday posted this video below about the 2013 edition of the Route 66 Marathon, held in Tulsa in November.

Blue Cross / Blue Shield is a major sponsor of the marathon, but the video serves as an excellent overview of it regardless. In a relatively short time, the Route 66 Marathon has become a major event in Tulsa:

The 26.2-mile course goes over portions of the earlier Admiral Place alignment of Route 66 and a portion of the 11th Street / Southwest Boulevard alignment.

The 2014 edition of the Route 66 Marathon is Nov. 22-23.

(Image of the 2013 Route 66 Marathon medal by AZ_Michael via Flickr)

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