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A chat with Rich Dinkela June 4, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Bridges, People, Road trips, Web sites.
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KC Keefer, the guy behind the ongoing Genuine Route 66 Life video series, produced a new clip about “Roamin’ Rich” Dinkela. The interview occurred at the closed MacArthur Bridge in St. Louis.

For a seven-minute clip, it nicely encompasses Dinkela’s approach and his many activities on the Mother Road.

You can follow Dinkela at his YouTube channel here, on Facebook here, on Twitter here, and on his Hooked on Route 66 website.

Blue Swallow Motel named a top 25 U.S. hotel by TripAdvisor May 15, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motels, Web sites.
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The Blue Swallow Motel of Tucumcari, New Mexico, recently was named one of the top 25 in the “Hotels with Exceptional Service — United States” category in 2014 by TripAdvisor.com.

The Blue Swallow was ranked No. 18 on the list and was the only Route 66 motel listed in that category. Of 822 ratings by travelers as of Thursday morning, 704 gave it an “excellent,” the highest mark.

Owners Kevin and Nancy Mueller said in an email they were thrilled with the award:

It continues to be a source of amazement, the chord that the Blue Swallow seems to strike with travelers. We are absolutely thrilled with the support we continue to receive from our guests, visitors, and the Route 66 community for this amazing adventure we are on. Every day brings something new!

Construction began on the Blue Swallow Motel in 1939. Lillian Redman, a former Harvey Girl, owned the Route 66 motel for almost 50 years. It’s been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1993.

Incidentally, one hotel of note — the Hotel California of Palm Springs — made both the U.S. and world rankings on TripAdvisor. And, yes, it bears a fair resemblance to the album cover of the Eagles’ landmark “Hotel California” LP, but I’m certain it’s not the real McCoy.

(Image of the Blue Swallow Motel by Jim Messersmith via Flickr)

Prominent National Geographic writer will travel Route 66 April 7, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in People, Road trips, Web sites.
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Andrew Evans, a prominent writer for National Geographic with his Digital Nomad blog, in a matter of days will travel the full length of Route 66 for Brand USA, a public and private partnership that promotes international travel to the United States.

The announcement of the trip, made in Chicago this morning, contained these details:

For the last 126 years, National Geographic has helped Americans discover the rest of the world. This year, we’ll be helping the rest of the world discover America. This week, I embark on my first in a series of Great American Road Trips. I am especially thrilled to be driving the entire length of America’s Historic Route 66, from Chicago all the way to Los Angeles. The Mother Road represents the evolution of America as a nation, and I can’t think of a better way to see and experience my country then exploring this epic 2,488-mile highway.

I invite all of you to follow along (on this blog, and on Twitter) as I drive the entire length of Route 66, and then embark on a series of other Great American Road Trips in my own wonderful and exotic country, the big, bold and beautiful USA.

It’s going to be really fun.

In addition to his blog, you can follow Evans here on Twitter.

Last fall, Evans spent a few weeks traveling the state of his birthplace, Texas, for National Geographic. Stops in the Lone Star State included a vintage fashion store on Route 66 in Amarillo.

I’ve read a few of Evans’ blog posts in the past, and he’s ideal for this new assignment. He travels with open ears and eyes, with few apparent preconceptions.

As Evans’ blog noted, Brand USA will also publicize nine other road trips this year, including the Blues Highway, Great River Road, Oregon Trail and the Pacific Coast Highway.

A recent report said Brand USA’s efforts generated $7.4 billion (with a “b”) in economic impact and created more than 50,000 jobs in 2013. And in recent weeks, Brand USA has cranked up its promotional engine for Route 66 by releasing a series of videos in various languages.

(Image of Andrew Evans in the field by Brian Gratwicke via Flickr)

A hike to Amboy Crater March 27, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Web sites.
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This new video shows as well as anything what it’s like to hike to Amboy Crater, an extinct volcano near the Route 66 hamlet of Amboy, Calif.

The clip comes from the California Through My Lens channel, which is an offshoot of the California Through My Lens blog.

The guy also uploaded this video about Elmer Long’s Bottletree Ranch near Oro Grande:

(Image of Amboy Crater by Mitch Barrie via Flickr)

Programming note November 6, 2013

Posted by Ron Warnick in Web sites.
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If you have noticed Route 66 News acting strangely in the past few days, it’s probably because our host is doing long-term maintenance work on its servers.

Such work under the hood is necessary, but it occasionally causes odd behavior on the website. In one instance, a longtime contributor’s comment inexplicably wound up in the spam folder (fortunately, I caught it). In another instance, one person’s comment wasn’t coming through at all. And I’ve dealt with periodic, short outages.

For the vast majority of you, Route 66 News will probably look or act normal. But if you encounter something off-kilter, you now know the likely reason.

Just hang in there … everything probably will return to normal in the coming days. Drop me a line if you get hung up interacting with the site; I might be able to fix it.

Roadie will lead a “Breaking Bad” tour on Saturday October 15, 2013

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Events, Television, Web sites.
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Nick Gerlich, a West Texas A&M marketing professor who is a big fan of Route 66 and the acclaimed “Breaking Bad” television drama, will lead a “Breaking Bad” motor tour of Albuquerque on Saturday.

The tour will include more than 30 locations in Albuquerque where “Breaking Bad was filmed, including more than a dozen on Route 66, Gerlich said in a news release.

The free tour begins at 7:30 a.m. with a Dutch-treat breakfast at the Grove Cafe at 600 Central SE in Albuquerque. After that, members will be provided printed fliers of the route and loaned handheld radios for car-to-car communication. Lunch will be at Twisters (aka Los Pollos Hermanos on the show). The tour will make one full circle of Albuquerque, ending by 4:30 p.m. so participants may attend a Walter White Memorial Service in town.

Gerlich says no reservations for the event are required, but an RSVP beforehand by calling 806-683-6489 or emailing nickgerlich(at)gmail(dot)com would be appreciated.

The Emmy Award-winning show recently ended a five-season run on AMC. The series, set in Albuquerque, features middle-aged high school chemistry teacher Walter White, who was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He begins cooking high-quality methamphetamine to ensure his family’s long-run financial well-being.

“Albuquerque is my favorite Route 66 city, and I go there often to photograph the historic buildings, explore old alignments in the nearby desert, and visit my friends,” Gerlich said. “But once I became hooked on Breaking Bad, I knew I had the perfect storm of passions intersecting one another.” [...]

“In many regards, Albuquerque became the lead character in the show, but without any cast listings or Emmy nominations,” Gerlich added. “It would have been impossible to not feature many Route 66 locations, because they are so emblematic of the city. In the process, they made the show very accessible to fans who want to relive the action of Breaking Bad.”

If you can’t make it to the tour, Gerlich has put together this terrific interactive map of “Breaking Bad” locationsan interactive Route 66 map as well.)

The ABQ Trolley Co. also offers “Breaking Bad” tours, but those have booked up weeks and even months in advance.

(Image of the Dog House restaurant on Route 66, a “Breaking Bad” location, by amy_b via Flickr. “Breaking Bad” logo by Justin Taylor.)

Route 66 already feeling effects of government shutdown October 1, 2013

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Businesses, Preservation, Web sites.
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The shutdown of the United States government started only a few hours ago, and the Route 66 corridor is not immune to its effects.

— The office of the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program in Santa Fe, N.M., is closed. As part of the National Park Service, the office cannot offer help on grants and other areas to businesses along the Mother Road because the entire agency has been shut down.

— The Petrified Forest National Park in eastern Arizona is closed. A section of very old Route runs through the center of the park, and a section of the pays tribute to the road.

— The Grand Canyon National Park, a common side trip for Route 66 travelers, is closed for the same reasons as above.

— Other National Park Service historic properties, such as the Lincoln Home in Springfield, Ill., have closed.

— The National Register of Historic Places office in Washington, D.C., has closed.

— All websites related to the National Park Service are down except for a very rudimentary home page.

— Campgrounds at U.S. Forest Service properties have closed.

Most Americans won’t start to feel the effects of the shutdown until about mid-October. But the towns of Williams, Ariz., and Holbrook, Ariz., which derive a lot of tourist income from those two nearby national parks, will suffer well before then.

About the only thing good about the shutdown was it occurred in October, which is the off-season for tourism.

A good rundown of all the things affected by the current shutdown is found at Wikipedia.

(Image from the Route 66 exhibit at the Petrified Forest National Park by CashKate via Flickr)

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