Last week it was lunch and an interview with William Shatner. This week it was a visit with the crew of Jim Conkle’s latest endeavor to preserve a bit of Route 66; Jess McEntire, Len Nordmann, Ester Hollister, Kim Hill and Lucas Wilger. Joining us during their stop in Kingman were musician Chris Commisso, the owners of Rutherford’s 66 Family Diner, and Pat McBrayer.
To say the very least, the last week or two has been a bit hectic as well as rather interesting. Meetings, chasing deadlines, developing new projects, meeting with tour groups, interviews, and working on a few writing assignments such as a revision for Backroads of Arizona were but a few of the highlights.
Barney the Wonder Truck and Jess McEntire’s rolling billboard for a Man on a Mission at the Ramada Kingman.
Counted among the fascinating visits this week was coffee and conversation with Wally Bellows, a collector and enthusiast who has a very broad fascination with early tractor manufacturers, and a collection that reflects his interests. As it so happens I am in the final stages of developing a feature (more than ten months in the making) for Brad Bowling at Antique Power magazine about a restored Galloway tractor here in Kingman.
I recently wrote a feature about William Galloway, the forgotten tycoon of Waterloo, Iowa and his manufacturing company for Legends of America. Meeting with Mr. Bellows, however, was akin to opening King Tut’s tomb.
The complex and intertwined business dealings of Mr. Galloway were but the tip of the iceberg. As Bellows pulled original catalogs, promotional materials, and newspaper articles from what began to look like a magic bag of tricks, I discovered a fascinating lost world. Imagine, there was once a time when Iowa gave Michigan a serious run for their money as the machinery manufacturing capital of America.
I can almost assure you that more than a few articles will be spawned from this meeting with Wally Bellows. I can also assure that this will not be our last visit.
Meanwhile, the remodel and upgrades at the historic Dunton Motors building (future home of my office as well as those of the Route 66 Association of Kingman) continues. As their interesting inventory of vintage vehicles grows, so does my excitement about the view we will enjoy when meeting with Route 66 enthusiasts.
At the other end of town, another development is also fueling my growing excitement about the transformation of Kingman. The upgrades and additions at Ramada Kingman, originally a 1960’s era Holiday Inn continue with the goal being establishment of the cities only full service Route 66 resort.
One of the vehicles under consideration for use as a time machine by the owners of the Ramada Kingman. Courtesy Ramada Kingman
I mentioned this in a previous posting but a rather unique Route 66 attraction is moving one step closer to becoming a reality. How do you feel about a bit of time travel to enhance the Route 66 experience?
That is exactly the concept behind tours currently being developed by the owners of the Ramada. Knowledgeable guides, vintage cars to serve as time machines, and 100 miles of scenic Route 66 peppered with authentic roadside attractions will transport you to the era of I Like Ike buttons and Edsels. My dearest friend and I closed out the week on a most pleasant note; dinner with friends and a most relaxing evening under a desert sky tinged with the glow of neon at the Hill Top Motel. The unofficial festivities kicked off at Rutherford’s 66 Family Diner. Mike and Sharon Ward, Dean Kennedy, Rosie Ramos of Fender’s River Road Resort, Mike May, the Greers from Truxton, Greg Arnold and Alie Reynolds from Giganticus Headicus and a few others made for a lively and boisterous dinner. After an excellent meal and a visit with the owner to discuss his plans for the expansive remodel that will commence on Monday, the festivities moved pool side at the Hill Top Motel. Thank you for the hospitality Dennis and Herberta. A little beer, some wine from Route 66 wineries, laughter, friends and the next thing I knew, it was almost 10:00. And so ended another interesting week on Route 66.