OF CONDOLENCES AND CELEBRATIONS

Pull up a chair and sit awhile. We are going to be here for a bit but I think it will be worth your time. 
The past couple of days have been filled with an almost endless series of exciting announcements and developments. 
On our 2016 calendar we have the weekend of July 16 circled in red. Between now and then we will be marking days from the calendar with eager anticipation.
Announcement was made with the launch of a Facebook page that the European Route 66 associations will be working together to develop a Route 66 festival in Germany next year and we fully intend to be there for the festivities. Cyrus Avery and his band of cohorts were visionaries but I bet they never imagined that the Main Street of America would become this famous or popular. 
Dreamers and fans of the double six at de Prael in
Amsterdam. 

Meanwhile, the unleashing of the Don Quixote complex has developed into a most fascinating endeavor. My request for honest input from Route 66 associations, business owners, museum directors, and an international cast of individuals with a vested interest in the old double six has opened my eyes, confirmed long held suspicions, and convinced me that the spirit and essence of Route 66 is alive and well. 
All of this has left me quite eager to compile the responses into a comprehensive report and get it into circulation. From a collegiate or academic standpoint I doubt that it would pass muster but still, I am rather confident that the apathy made manifest in the lack of a response from some organizations and the heartfelt passion of grassroots activists and business owners, the very foundation of the Route 66 renaissance, will result in a fairly accurate picture of the Route 66 community and the challenges we face. 
My hope is that it will foster honest and open discussion, and lend itself to the development of productive partnerships. No one can ever accuse me of not dreaming big.      
While we are on the subject of big dreamers, here is a little inspiration for those working, sweating, and suffering through what seems like insurmountable frustration in an effort to utilize the resurgent interest in Route 66 as a catalyst for community transformation. This was submitted by Jane Reed in Cuba, Missouri. 


Cuba, MO—Route 66 Mural City—population 3400
The latest Route 66 revival of Route 66 kicked-off with the non-profit Viva Cuba’s outdoor mural project along the Route 66 Corridor in 2001. Viva Cuba adopted the goal of 12 outdoor murals by 2007, Cuba’s sesquicentennial. This project brought about many other projects to fruition, including a Tourism Tax to help promote Cuba and establish a Visitor’s Center. The following events and attractions have drawn many to Cuba’s “Six Miles on Route 66.”
*Creating the Viva Cuba murals, business murals and small pocket projects along 66
*Providing Viva Cuba step-on-guides for the large tour coaches that visit Cuba’s Route 66 attractions
*Restoration of the 1930s Phillips 66 Cottage Style Station–now a restaurant
*Rehabilitation of a 1930 gas station as Spirals Art Gallery
*Re-landscaping of the Viva Cuba Garden at the intersection of Route 66 and Hwy 19, which involved plantings, seating, and building a brick wall and replica of a historic Cuba train
*Painting historic scenes on the Traffic Control Boxes adjacent to the VC Garden
*Restoration of the 1930s Wagon Wheel Motel starting in 2009
*Erection in 2008 of the World’s Largest Route 66 Rocking Chair at the Outpost US66 Store
*Adopt-A-Street/Adopt-A-Highway Program along the Route 66 Corridor
*Opening the Route 66 Room at the Crawford County Museum in Cuba
*Route 66 Cuba Fest the 3rd Weekend of October/Narrated Trolley Tours of the Mural District
*Cuba, MO Route 66 Products-Print/Post Cards, Mural City Candy Bar, Route 66 Mural City Patch, Cruisin’ Route 66 Mural T-Shirts, Mural Art cards & Mural City Brochure
*Route 66 Shields Applied to the Streets/ Lions Club Route 66 Car Show/Cruise-in in September
* Branding, promotion, and social media bring media attention and visitors. Cuba MO Murals & More Facebook, websites, Cuba, Missouri Pinterest, Viva Cuba Twitter
*Revitalization of the Historic Business District with Grants for lighting, new sidewalks, planters, benches, and adoption of a color palette for the buildings.
*Route 66 Race to the Rocker, a 4-mile race on Route 66 from Historic Cuba to the World’s Largest Rocking Chair  The race has raised tens of thousands for kid’s health & fitness projects. From 800 to 1200 a year have taken part during the last seven years
* Bob’s Gasoline Alley is a private collection of nostalgic/neon memorabilia. The owners give tours by appointment. It is one of the largest private collections in the Midwest.
*Viva Cuba involves Cuba’s young people-4th graders study the Route 66/Mural Curriculum and then receive a spring narrated Mural Tour of Route 66 and the Mural District/8th Graders take a narrated walking tour of the Route 66 historic district and then visit the History Museum
*Stable Businesses along the Route 66 Corridor provide dining, retail, and specialty shops that appeal to tourists
* A 30-60’ sculpture of Osage Native Americans traversing the area on the grounds of the Cuba Visitor Center is its initial stages. Approval is being sought from the Osage leaders.
*A welcoming, friendly small town attitude from our citizens who encounter Route 66 travelers
Cuba, MO embraces the designations Route 66 Mural City, A Town Where Art Meets History, and a Small Town with Big Ideas. Local citizens, organizations, businesses, and the local press have all supported this Route 66 Revitalization. Cuba has many members in the Missouri Route 66 Association to help promote our legacy.

Submitted by Viva Cuba, Inc www.cubamomurals.com and the Cuba, MO Tourism Board 

These folks dream big! Even better, they come together as a community and make those dreams come true. 

Cuba, Missouri during Cuba Fest. 

On more than one occasion, especially when we share the delights of a Cuba Fest weekend with friends, flights of fancy lead to thoughts that, perhaps, the time has come for my dearest friend and I to pull stakes, that perhaps its time to seek greener pastures.
From its inception, Route 66 was the road of dreams and promises. It was a haven for those willing to bet it all on a dream and the visionary. It was ribbon of inspiration.  It still is. 
Look what the folks in Europe are doing with their Route 66 dreams. Stop in at the Roadrunner Lodge, Blue Swallow Motel, or Tee Pee Curios in Tucucmcari, see daring dreams made manifest and breathe deep the life changing inspiration. 
The past few days filled with exciting news and delightful conversations shared with Route 66 dreamers has been nothing short of exhilarating. They were also tempered with sadness at the tragic news of the Germanwings crash in the French Alps and thoughts of the mourning that has embraced the village of Haltern am See in Germany. To all who lost family and friends, I offer sincere condolences. 

      
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