The latest issue of 66 The Mother Roadis hot off the virtual press. With each issue John and Judy Springs strive to make a good product even better. In the Route 66 community this rising star is a valuable asset for the small business owner and a source of information, as well as inspiration for the adventurer.
In this issue Cort Stevens, another rising star, makes his debut with the first installment in a delightful new series. This boy can really write!
Charming personal touches ensure the Globetrotter Lodge in Holbrook will be a days end destination for Route 66 adventurers.
As the topic of the day is rising stars, here are two lifted from the Route 66 lodging file. First is the Globetrotter Lodge in Holbrook, a truly wonderful little roadside gem that captures the very essence of the Route 66 experience.
It would seem the iconic Wigwam Motel in Holbrook has a bit of competition and the Route 66 enthusiast will be faced with a very difficult choice. However, this dusty little community is not the only place on Route 66 where the traveler has the luxury of having more than one historic motel to choose from.
For a number of years the near perfect time capusle that is the Hilltop Motel in Kingman has been the haven of choice for the Route 66 purist. Now, there is the circa 1939 El Trovatore Motel with its neon beacon that is on the fast track to refurbishment.
Hailing from Wisconsin are a team of rising stars, Chris and Katie, proprietors of Fading Nostalgia. With an artists eye, and a mastery of lighting, they manage to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary and the well worn into true art. My primary complaint, the reference to cameras produced long after I graduated from high school as antiques.
Todays notes from my corner of the world are a bit brief. There is a project that demands my atention but I will return soon with a few surprises, more updates, and, I hope, some fresh and inspirational photos.
The title for todays post was inspired by a series of photos shared by Rich Dinkela. They are amazing for a wide array of reasons including the clarity, the detail, the fact that they are in color, and that they were taken along the National Old Trails Highway in Arizona in 1917. After a bit of research, and input from members of the Antique Automobile Club of America, it was determined that the car is a 1917 Studebaker. So, this would have been a new car at the time the photos were taken. Amazing. Truly amazing. On a somewhat unrelated topic, work is progressing on the creation of the Wold’s Largest Route 66 Museum. The project received a real shot in the arm today with receipt of a disc containing more than sixty images of historic businesses along the Route 66 corridor in Kingman. Thank you, Mike Ward! Next is finding information about these businesses. This will be followed by printing and then mounting at the respective locations.
If you would like to be a part of this exciting new project, and have images or information about businesses along Route 66 in Kingman, please let me know. Additionally, if you have photos of billboards or advertisement on buildings in this area during the Route 66 era please drop an email or note as there is a chance we will bring these back to life to ensure our proposed museum is multi-dimensional. Further indications that Kingman is on the cusp of real transition can be found at the El Trovatore Motel. First the neon was refurbished. Now, the owners, Sam and Monica, have initiated a mural program as a part of their continuing effort to rennovate this historic property. I will have photos of this project tommorrow evening and should have them posted by Tuesday. On the personal front I am awaiting the revised and edited galley proofs for the Route 66 Encyclopedia. Unless there are some serious errors to address this should be the last stop before it is sent to the printer. In the right column is a Route 66 Encyclopedia Update page where you can be kept apprised of progress. Meanwhile, I have initiated work on the new project and am striving toward establishing a habit of working at least one hour each evening. After months of negotiations and false starts resultant of the current economic climate, the project was finally given the green light based on my ability to have the completed work, with illustrations, in the publishers hands by March of 2013. Hence the need to accomplish something every evening.
The historic Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico.
In this afternoons mail I was surprised to find a beautiful thank you note from Kevin and Nancy Mueller, the owners of the landmark Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari. The heartfelt expression of gratitude received from this community for our support and participation in the first annual Wheels on 66 event has been almost overwhelming. Even though making money from writing and photography is a manifestation of my goal to become a writer when I grow up, this not our only incentive. My dearest friend and I are of the opinion that if our sole focus is the money, even astounding success and acclaim will be counted as a loss. Almost from its inception we have viewed our work as a means to help promote the people and the places that make legendary Route 66 truly unique. This should explain why we will be introducing the Route 66 Encyclopedia at Cuba Fest in Cuba, Missouri rather than in Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York City. So, with that said, it is time to sign off and go to work.
Last evening as I spoke before an enthusiastic group about the merits of utilizing the resurgent interest in Route 66 as a catalyst for development that would make Kingman a place people would want to visit, and subsequently live, memories of previous meetings where the enthusiasm melted like ice cream in Amboy in July came to mind. But the most dominating thought that kept rushing to the forefront of my thoughts was the sage advice I received from an old miner about forty years ago.
We were feeding pine knots into an ancient pot bellied stove that was glowing cherry red in a valiant effort to dry our damp clothes before heading back into the drift. The grizzled old man turned to me and asked about ideas I might have that would make wrestling the jack leg and hoses into another drift easier.
Well, the thought that this wizened old man would ask my opinion filled my ego to a point that my buttons almost popped. That euphoria was short lived as the old man patiently listened to my ideas and then said, “Son, that is a damn good idea but you know that ideas and horse feathers are about equal in value. Unless you can find a way to sell others on your ideas they will never be more than a fart in the wind.”
Perhaps there is an element of wishful thinking in the belief that last evening we started the ball rolling on something rather spectacular – transforming a community and providing the Route 66 community with a new destination. Still, I feel the ideas presented fell on some pretty fertile ground. Time will tell.
The projects proposed are grand in scope. One will require money and time, the other, time, effort, and little money. One has been proven viable in Cuba and Pontiac but we can add a a twist as a result of our unique history. The other is a novel concept that might spread to other communities along Route 66, if can get our version off the ground.
Murals have become quite popular along the historic course of legendary Route 66. Ours will portray the rich and colorful history of the Kingman area – Louis Chevrolet and the Desert Classic race of 1914, the Kingman Army Airfield years, the movies filmed here, and, of course, the association with Route 66. Sam and Monica, owners of the El Trovatore Motel, are getting a head start and hope to have the first in a series of murals at the motel finished by the end of the week. However, the one that really fires the imagination is the idea of creating the world’s largest Route 66 museum, a virtual recreation of the Route 66 corridor through the city with the reproduction of post cards and photographs placed at the respective sites. Information about the businesses will be archived at a website and accessed via QR codes. For those familiar with the celebrities and characters associated with the Route 66 community it will comes as no surprise to learn the collectors extraordinaire Mike Ward and Joe Sonderman have offered their services and collections for the project. The possibilities and opportunities this project represents staggers the imagination. A few delays have postponed but derailed the forthcoming Route 66 in Mohave County exhibit at the Powerhouse Visitor Center. This too will represent a major step toward making Kingman a destination. So, stay tuned for details and further developments –
I have spent such a large portion of my life in the desert southwest, on purpose, and enjoyed it that to classify me as a dry roasted nut might not be to far off the mark. I don’t own a short sleeved shirt, often forget that we have an air conditioner in the Jeep, find tremendous solace in wandering the vast empty places, and seem to feel most comfortable when the temperature under a glaring soon surpasses ninety degrees.
Amboy Crater in California’s Mojave Desert.
Still, I do have my limits. That means I avoid the Colorado River country, and Phoenix during the searing months of summer when temperatures in those locales often exceed 120 degrees. Well, to be honest I avoid Phoenix in most every season. There are exceptions to every rule and causes worthy of sacrifice. With that in mind we will be traveling into the cauldron that is Lake Havasu City in the morning for an interview on the Roger Galloway program on KNTR radio. Tomorrow evening I will enter a cauldron of a different type. At 6:00 PM, I will be speaking at Buccilli’s in Kingman on the resurgent interest in Route 66, how communities are utilizing this as a catalyst for development, and what it can mean for Kingman. This is the second installment in what looks to be a developing series. For more information, or to make a reservation for attending this free event, contact Steve Wagner at 928-377-2239. My goal in this is to portray the rergent interest in legendary Route 66 as a key foundational element in transforming Kingman into a tourist destination. The ideal is that if we make the city a place people want to visit we make it a place they would want to live. I will provide updates as to how the presentation is received as well as information on some very exciting developments in Kingman with postings later in the week. I really wouldn’t want to spoil the surprises in store for Monday evening. In somewhat unrelated news the first edits of the galley proof for the Rotue 66 Encyclopedia is complete. What a challenge! At the least minute the publisher decided that we needed to trim a few pages as a cost saving measure. Accomplishing this required some creative juggling as there was nothing to really trim from the text and as a number of images have never before been published, I did not want to sacrifice them. Speaking of the encyclopedia, I have moved the page directory to the right column. I have also added two new pages, one for updates to the encyclopedia and another as a directory for Kingman area events, businesses, and attractions.
At this juncture the encyclopedia page contains information about its launch including Cuba Fest in Cuba, Missouri with the book will debut. However, as the book and promotional material for it will contain a QR code this page will soon contain updates to ensure the books relevancy. As an example, The Apache Motel in Tucumcari was open when I wrote the manuscript but it is now shuttered. Meanwhile it is on to new projects including the next book, a Route 66 travel guide, extensive clean up and a few repairs on the homestead while we decide on whether to remodel or downsize, and of course, promotion of America’s longest attraction. I am quite these projects should keep me busy for awhile.
It seems as though the spring edition of my seasonal newsletter was written last week and now I am composing the summer volume. Time does fly!
I haven’t had a great deal of time to organize a framework for this edition as the schedule has been quite full this past couple of weeks – a trip to Tucumcari for the first annual Wheels on 66 event, finalizing details for a new book contract, evaluation and corrections to the galley proof for the Route 66 Encyclopedia, establishment of an on line photo gallery to allow for international order of prints in a wide array of sizes, and, of course, the daily tasks that consume so much of our days. So, perhaps we should approach this in an “A” to “Z” manner similar to the format for the forthcoming encyclopedia.
A is for Albuquerque and that city is the topic for my latest About Town feature that appears as a regular feature in 66 The Mother Road (http://66themotherroad.com/). This will appear in the next issue scheduled for release on the first of July.
It is a bit lengthy but profiling a city with such a lengthy and colorful history is not something that can be squeezed into a paragraph or two. Complicating this is the fact the city is fast embracing its association with Route 66 as made manifest with businesses such as Enchanted Trails Trading Post and RV Park (www.enchantedtrails.com).
B is for Blue Swallow. Our home away from home during our stay in Tucumcari was the now iconic Blue Swallow Motel. What a delightful little gem!
The Mueller’s who acquired the property last year are generous hosts that truly treasure what they have been entrusted with. This is not the Hilton or Holiday Inn but how can you stay at either of these after having experienced the simple pleasures of the Blue Swallow Motel?
C is for Cubero. On our return trip from Tucumcari I took the opportunity to fill a gap in my Route 66 knowledge with exploration of the ancient village of Cuberoon an early alignment of that highway. As my dearest friend was a bit under the weather we limited that exploration to a cruise but we will return.
D is for driving, something we did a great deal of in a very short time. From Kingman to Santa Rosa the first day, then two days in Tucumcari, and a drive to Las Vegas on highway 104. Holbrook was our last stop before home but that is something to share in a moment.
E is for Edsel. Some one in Amarilloowns a black and salmon pink Edsel convertible. We photographed it last year at the International Route 66 Festival, saw it in Tucumcari, and passed it at San Fidel but have yet to speak to the adventuresome owner with a good sense of taste.
F is Food. When travel it is our policy to avoid chain restaurants if possible. So we had a charming breakfast in Winslow at the La Posada, dinner at Joseph’s in Santa Rosa, and tried a few new places in Tucumcari such as Kix on 66. In Las Vegas we returned to the Plaza Hotel.
G is for Gallup or Grants. Both are interesting towns with a great deal to offer. For a great and unique lunch at a reasonable price, try Angela’s café in the old railroad building that was once part of the Harvey House complex.
H is for Holbrook. Well, it would seem the Route 66 enthusiast is now faced with the enviable dilemma of having two historic motels to choose from. There is the Wigwam and directly to the west, the Globetrotter Lodge, a motel that has operated under the Whiting Brothers and Sun ‘Sand name since opening in 1956.
Until quite recently it was scheduled for demolition. But the new owners, Peter and Mona Hoeller, have transformed it into a real gem. We were quite impressed by the cleanliness, the value, the custom touches, and, best of all, the amiable hosts who truly enjoy visiting with guests and ensuring their stay is a pleasant one.
I is for Iyanbito. That is a teaser. To learn more about Iyanbito you will have to wait until October when the Route 66 Encyclopedia makes it’s unveiled at Cuba Fest in Cubain October.
J is for the Jack Rabbit Trading Post. After all of these years it is still there and still going strong. I checked on the way home from Tucumcari.
K is for Kingman. With the zeal of Don Quixote, I have again taken to jousting at windmills in an effort to bring some of the Cuba, or Pontiac, or Tucumcari magic to my adopted hometown. The next installment takes place Monday evening when I will be the featured speaker for a discussion about the resurgent interest in Route 66 and how communities are using this as a catalyst for development. An RSVP is required; please contact Steve Wagner at 928-377-2239.
L is for Las Vegas, the other Las Vegas. This is one of our favorite stops on our travels through New Mexico. With that said I suggest the Plaza Hotel to ensure your visit is truly memorable and state highway 104 between Las Vegas and Tucumcari to keep that spirit of excitement and adventure alive.
M is for Munger Moss Motel, a true time capsule and Route 66 icon. After more than forty years of making friends and serving as loving stewards of this rare gem, Bob and Ramona Lehman have decided it is time to ass the torch. Let’s hope the new owners will carry on the tradition but they have some very large shoes to fill.
N is for New Mexico. If I were cruelly sentenced to explore one segment of Route 66 for the remainder of my days, my hope is that it would the various alignments in New Mexico. Drive the old alignment from Glenrio to Tucumcari; spend a night at the Blue Swallow Motel, and the wander the old road between Romeroville and Santa Fe, then you will understand why.
O is for opportunity. All along Route 66 communities are awakening to the fact that the swelling resurgent interest in this highway is an ideal catalyst for development. Make your community a place want to visit and you make it a place people would want to live. That is the subject of my next presentation in Kingman on Monday evening.
P is pie. As the rebirth of mom and pop enterprise flourishes along Route 66, I have rediscovered just how good pie or cobbler made from locally grown ingredients, using local recipes, and served in a café where locals gather to chat, can be. Listed among my favorites to date would be the Palms Grill in Atlanta, Midpoint Café in Adrian, and Pine Country Restaurant in Williams.
Q is for Queniro. For fans of the double six the name has association with a vintage bridge and the site of a trading post. Can anyone tell me what the name means?
R is for rainbow. From Chicago to Santa Monica along Route 66 the darkness is being rolled back by the rainbow colors of refurbished neon. This weekend the lights will go on for the first time in at least a half century at the 66 Motel in Needles, California.
S is for Santa Fe. Try as I might, and even when armed with my EZ 66 Guide by Jerry McClanahan, I have yet to be able to rive this city without getting turned around on the old, narrow streets at least once with every visit.
T is for Tucumcari. Drive through in the daytime and there is a distinct impression that taps will begin playing at any time. Spend an evening here, cruise the main drag under the glow of neon, and you will realize the town is only napping, not dying.
U is for U-Drop Inn. A trip along Route 66 will not be considered complete until you have basked in the gentle neon glow of this roadside treasure in Shamrock, Texas.
V is Vega, home of Roark’s Hardware, the longest continuously operated hardware store on Route 66. How is that for some Route 66 trivia?
W is for Williams. The last town on Route 66 to be bypassed is alive and well. When you visit don’t to try the pie at the Pine Country Restaurant.
X is for… Anyone have an idea?
Y is for yeti, one of the few things that haven’t shown up along Route 66 in form or another, or that hasn’t been used for promotion.
Z is for Zeno’s, gone but not forgotten. A stop here for breakfast with esteemed colleagues Dean Kennedy, Joe Sonderman, and Rich Dinkella was one of the highlights during our tour last fall.