A new morning tradition has commenced in our homestead since meeting with Tim and Bob Kikkert last week and that is the following of their Route 66 adventure on Facebook. It appears as though they have survived the caldron that is the Mojave Desert crossing with their sense of adventure and humor intact. It also appears that once again the Route 66 community has played amicable host to a pair of travelers in search of an authentic American experience.
The one and only Angel Delgadillo.
And now, its time to continue our adventure down Memory Lane as we meander to the landmark of 1,500 posts.
Our first photo of the day is of a man who is unquestionably the most famous person on Route 66, everyone’s favorite barber Angel Degadillo of Seligman, Arizona.
Angel is more than a revered treasure for the entire Route 66 community, he is an inspirational role model for how to live life with a smile while changing the world for the better. His haircuts may not be salon quality but they come with a priceless side order of friendliness, wisdom, encouragement, and infectious enthusiasm.
Galena, Kansas as folks turn out for a performance by the Road Crew during the 2013 Route 66 International Festival.
The dusty old community of Seligman walks a vey fine line between presenting visitors with an authentic and vibrant Route 66 experience and a preview of Cars Land at Disneyland. Still, it is a role model for how communities can harness the resurgent interest in Route 66 as a catalyst for preservation and development.
Galena in Kansas is another community that could also serve as a template for development built on the ever increasing popularity of Route 66. The one and only Melba, Renee Charles, and their cohorts at Cars on the Route, the mayor, and others have worked hard to build cooperative partnerships made manifest in dramatic restoration of this historic mining town.
This photo was taken shortly before a performance by the Road Crew during the Route 66 International Festival in Joplin last year. It was a most delightful evening of music, friends, and infectious excitement about Route 66 and its power to breathe new life into a faded town bypassed by the world.
Next stop on our journey down Memory Lane, a magical place where the past and present flow together seamlessly, and the amicable hosts do more than greet guests, they offer a healthy dose of inspiration with smores.
My dearest friend and I first met the Mueller’s (Kevin and Nancy) shortly after they assumed the role of proprietor at the iconic Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari. They have since imparted their passion, spirit of generosity, and enthusiasm to countless visitors and in so doing have transformed this simple old motel into an internationally recognized symbol of Route 66 framed in neon.
But the Route 66 legacy they are building does not end with their role as steward of this historic treasure. Only time will tell how many motels, trading posts, and roadside gems will be given a new lease on life as a result of the Mueller’s encouragement, support, assistance, and the generous sharing of lessons learned at the Blue Swallow Motel.
Motel Safari, another Route 66 treasure and inspiration, and another Tucumcari gem that has won critical acclaim as attested to by TripAvdisor reviews.
We most always find ample opportunity for a bit of inspiration in our visits to Tucumcari. The Brenner’s, two recent transplants from big city life in Texas, are now breathing new life into a long abandoned historic motel with passion and zeal. The Talley’s have helped put the city on the map with a wide array of promotional endeavors and the transformation of the Motel Safari into a living time capsule. The Engman’s at Tee Pee Curious, recent arrivals from Iowa, are among the individuals who are pouring themselves into breathing new life into landmarks and this town.
Tucumcari is on the cusp of becoming the poster child for harnessing the Route 66 renaissance as a catalyst for turning back the tide of apathy and abandonment, and transforming a community into a destination instead of stop on the road to somewhere. All that is needed now is for business owners and community leaders to create cooperative partnerships built on a common goal and this old town will soar.
Kumar Patel of the Wigwam Motel in Rialto, California.
To close out this mornings look at years past, I would like to challenge you to look toward the future.
There is a tendency to see Route 66 only in the context of neon and tail fins. However, that myopic view overlooks the fact that this road and its vibrant culture has always been in a state of flux and transition.
Electric vehicles are now becoming a common sight on Route 66 and owners turn to websites such as Plug Share for information the way our fathers and grandfathers turned to AAA and the U.S. Highway 66 Association for service station information.
Soon stewardship of the old roads heritage and the task of preserving its legacy as well as its landmarks will pass to a new generation. For those who worry may I suggest you look at the face of the future of Route 66 in the work of Rich Dinkela and Kumar Patel, Dan Rice and Ian Bowman.
I think the old road is in good hands for years to come.