The first item of the day is a hearty but belated Merry Christmas. It is my sincere hope that it was a time of great blessing filled with joy and laughter.
|Wigwam Motel, Rialto, California|
Our weekly feature highlighting great new books and travel tips begins with a couple of lodging suggestions. First, on the west end of Route 66, we have the Wigwam Motel in Rialto. If you are looking for clean, basic lodging for a budget price in the L.A. area, look no further. If your quest is to discover life as it was on Route 66 before the dawning of the generic age the Wigwam Motel should be a destination. Now, if you have a family and are looking for a fun place where memories that last a lifetime can be made this has to be added to your list. The neighborhood is a bit dog eared but Kumar and the staff at the Wigam Motel have dusted off a jewel and transformed it into an oasis as well as a living time capsule. If your travels take you into the Ozarks of Missouri the small city of Springfield is an ideal base camp for exploration of the area. My lodging choice when staying Springfield is the historic Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven on Glenstone (Route 66). A central location, reasonable rates, historic property, clean, and comfortable. What more can the traveler ask for? Now, my suggestion of the week for roadside attractions – Henry’s Rabbit Ranch in Staunton, Illinois. Even though this roadside wonder is a relatively recent addition to Route 66 it epitomizes the attractions from the glory days of Route 66 when that storied highway was truly the Main Street of America and gleaming new Studebaker’s rolled from the factory in South Bend. The recipe is a simple one and Henry’s rabbit Ranch follows it to a “T”. Take a simple theme, build on it so there is something for every age group, mix in a bit of educational opportunity, add some history and a great gift shop filled with unique items and you have the classic quintessential roadside attraction. Our book reviews for the week are again a very mixed bag. We have an encyclopedic reference that just happens to also some excellent reading between the covers, what just may be the ultimate book profiling America’s favorite pony car, the Mustang, and legendary hot rods. Now, I am not a big fan of hot rods or custom cars. If properly executed I can appreciate the craftsmanship but it pains me to see an original car go under the torch. However, I must admit that hot rods and custom cars have been an integral component of the American automotive world since at least the days of Ransom Olds and the curved dash model that bore his name. E.L. Cord kicked off his business empire with customized Model T Ford’s and an argument can be made that a key component in our success during World War II was the result of a generation of young American men well versed in the art of transforming junk into transportation or even a race car. http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1934709220&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrFrom that perspective the American hot rod is an important part of automotive heritage. It is the search for the historic hot rods, the dry lake racers, and the cars that graced the covers of hot rod magazines of the 1950s that is the subject of Lost Hot Rods: Remarkable Stories of How They Were Found, published by CarTech. In mid December the author, Pat Ganahl, sat down with Jay Leno to discuss the book. Here is a link for that interview. If your interest trends toward interesting stories of automotive archeology I am quite sure you will find this book of interest. The book is available by following the link to Amazon.com or through CarTech by calling 1-800-551-4754 or their website, http://www.cartechbooks.com/.Next on the list is American Cars, 1946-1959: Every Model, Year by Year by J. Flory Jr. Released through McFarland Publishing (http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/) 1047 hardback behemoth is truly stunning in scope. An overview of the industry and market year by year, complete weights and dimensions for each make and model, paint codes, engine codes, and http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0786432292&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifravailable options listings are merely the tip of the iceberg. Even the independent companies such as Crosley, Kaiser, and Tucker, are awarded the attention to detail usually reserved for makes such as Chevrolet or Ford. My hat is off to Mr. Flory for this is truly an epic undertaking. The next book is a bit of an older title as it was released in 2007 by Motorbooks (http://www.motorbooks.com/). Still, this astounding 348 page, hard bound wonder with 480 stunning color, and 110 black and white, photos written by Mike Mueller just may be the ultimate book on the legendary Mustang. Initial prototypes, pace cars, and limited editions are detailed through concise, well researched text accompanied by fine art quality photographs and historic images, many never before published. Additionally, there are sections on street and competition driving and models as well as a detailed appendix featuring in depth information ranging from prices, engines, and engine codes. To say The Complete Book of Mustang: Every Model Since 1964 1/2http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0760338302&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr is the ultimate book on America’s favorite pony car is akin to saying winter in Duluth is a bit chilly. This book is far more than a classy dust cover for the coffee table or colorful shelf filler, it is a must own for any automotive library. In the next weeks there will be lots of interesting, and possibly exciting, things here at Route 66 Chronicles. I will fill you in on the adventures of mastering our new Canon EOS 50D that we hope will not be to frustrating or comedic. Of course this means we will be providing some new images of our colorful corner of the world. I will also be providing a few sneak peaks from Ghost Towns of Route 66, provide updates on the Route 66 encyclopedia, and discuss ongoing plans for our attendance of the big Route 66 festival in Amarillo next June that will include the unveiling of our new Ghosts of Route 66 photo exhibit. And, of course, next week there will be more reviews and travel tips.