A few days ago we launched our annual reviews of Route 66 places to eat, sleep, and have some fun. Today, I will share a few more. But first…I want to kick off this afternoons post with a few gift ideas for the Route 66 enthusiast in your life. In a few instances this will sere as a introduction for the reviews, a sort of two birds with one stone approach. When it comes to books that provide a real time capsule feel for the old roads through the use of vintage post cards and photos it is tough to beat the Route 66 series by Arcadia Publishing. Of course, to support the starving artist you can often order books direct from the author rather than the public.As an example, Joe Sonderman has authored or coauthored a number of these guides and sells them through his nifty website. As a bonus the website itself is a veritable treasure trove of time capsules.
Buying books or merchandise from the museums and shops along the road is a great way to get a unique gift as well as support the places that make Route 66 so very special. One of my favorite on line gift shops is the one for the 66 The Mother Road Museum in Barstow. Another great shop, as well as first rate place to lay a weary head after a long day on the road, is the iconic Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari. It is always best if you can do a little in person shopping that includes an overnight stay but as they are offering free domestic shipping until late December, I am quite sure it might be easier on the wallet to do a little electronic shopping. For the Route 66 adventurer the community of Tucumcari is a destination, not just a stop. To ensure the spell of Route 66 is not broken at the end of the day there are two classic roadside motels with the Motel Safari being the second. If your looking for something a bit more unique perhaps you should take a look at the one of a kind creations from artist Bob Lile. His gallery is but one of the many fascinating shops and restaurants located along the often overlooked Route 66 corridor in Amarillo. And if original art work is on your shopping list I would be quite remiss in not suggesting a visit, in person or on line, to the gallery of legendary Route 66 author and artist Jerry McClanahan. As I write this two of his prints serve as constant reminders of the adventures my dearest friend and I have had on Route 66. On the budget end of unique, try the shop at Henry’s Rabbit Ranch. Don’t forget to ask for a Big Red autograph if you order a calendar of post card.
If your looking for unique, eclectic, and really different, my suggestion would Connie’s Shoppe at the Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, Missouri. Again, I would suggest, if at all possible, the inclusion of an overnight stay with your shopping excursion as the old Wagon Wheel Motel is truly a crown jewel in the Route 66 community.My next suggestions are a bit more personal. The first is to order of an autographed copy of one of my books, right column. Then there is Route 66 Souvenirs at Cafe Press with international ordering available. All items in this online store (post cards, steins, calendars, mugs, prints, ornaments, mouse pads, etc.) utilize photographs by Jim and Judy Hinckley. Last but not least, there is Jim Hinckley Studio. Here we have two galleries, one for Arizona prints and another for Route 66 scenes. This Christmas support the mom and pops on Route 66, and put a smile on the face of a Route 66 enthusiast.