Yesterday exemplified what makes Route 66 unique and special. Sam Frisher, the amicable and colorful proprietor at the historic El Trovatore Motel, stopped by with a journalist from Austria on assignment to travel Route 66 in Arizona and decipher why the roads popularity is growing exponentially.
After granting an interview we discussed his disenchantment with the road resultant of his initial exploration. He cited Oatman where tourism had trumped history and a romanticized caricature of the western mining town served as a back drop for crass commercialism.
I explained that Oatman exemplified the historic nature of Route 66. However, so did the El Travtore Motel and Cool Springs, as well as the very conversation we were having and the stunning scenery that embraced the road.
Still, as I told him, what set this road apart from all others was the people. I then arranged an interview with Angel Delgadillo and the Austrian born proprietors of the Globetrotter Lodge in Holbrook, and provided assistance in the form of listing sites he needed to visit.
Later in the afternoon Tim and Bob Kikkert of the Canadian Route 66 Association who were on a five week father and son adventure that was also fundraiser for prostrate cancer stopped by the office. After a short but fascinating conversation, and talking with Kumar at the Wigwam Motel to arrange Saturday night reservations for the Kikkert’s, we agreed to meet for dinner.
As often happens the conversation continued late into the evening and we rounded out the visit with a walk through the historic district. These gentlemen have truly led fascinating lives.
We enjoyed hearing tales of conversation fostered in the commonality of the Route 66 experience that led to hour long discussions at a gas station in Oklahoma, invitations to dinner, and the meeting of fellow travelers from the ends of the earth at historic motels. This is what makes Route 66 unique and sets it apart from all other highways. This is why its popularity is growing exponentially.
A winter storm in the Black Mountains.
Now, lets get back to our countdown. This photo proved to be quite popular as most Route 66 adventures miss seeing the vast landscapes of western Arizona transformed by winter storms.
The story behind this photo is simple. In spite of the near gale force winds and biting cold, my dearest friend and I simply needed a break from a particularly frustrating week. So, we decided a drive on Route 66 was in order.
Aside from a numb face we captured a number of stunning images. A few of these are included in the Jim Hinckley’s America gallery at Legends of America.
This photo of a Route 66 gem is a favorite of ours resultant of the wonderful memories associated with it. The legendary Wigwam Motel in Rialto, California was our final stop (this was also our first stay) after an exciting and exhausting weekend that included a major book signing in Burbank, a photography project at Santa Monica Pier and along Route 66 in the metro area west of Beverly Hills, meeting with Dan and Jessica Rice at Farmers Market in Los Angeles and exploring the vast Los Angeles Auto Show.
This souvenir is from another Route 66 adventure. As it was only Route 66 related in the sense that it was shared in conjunction with the story of our journey home from Cuba Fest, I was a bit surprised so many people wanted more information about Meramec Springs State Park.
As this treasure is but a short distance off of Route 66 south from St. James, Missouri, if your schedule allows for but one detour this should be it. Fall is best but I can’t imagine a bad season to visit.
Ghost towns and bustling urban centers, landmarks and people, vast landscapes and deep forests, neon nights and tail fins are just a part of the rich and colorful tapestry that is Route 66. This photo was taken during our work on Ghost Towns of Route 66.
The allure of ghost towns is truly universal in nature. Add in an association with Route 66 and they take on an almost mythical stature.
Perhaps the most famous and haunting ghost town on Route 66 is Glenrio, Texas. On every visit I am left amazed that someone hasn’t decided to capitalize on this popularity and preserve one of the buildings by transforming into Texas version of the Hackberry General Store.
The ever growing popularity of Route 66 is transforming this storied highway into a living, breathing time capsule with the thinnest veneer of Disneyland. It is a blending of preserved and revered classics such as the Munger Moss Motel, Ariston Café, and Hilltop Motel, and renovated gems that are becoming classics for a new generation of Route 66 adventurers such as the Motel Safari.
A few landmarks, however, seem to have been transformed into internationally recognized symbols of the road itself. Of course without the people who reverently assume the role of stewards and give these places a sense of vitality, of vibrancy, and infectious enthusiasm, they would be merely another neon lit time capsule.
Well, the time has to come to conclude this mornings stroll down memory lane on our countdown to 1,500. See you in the morning –