Martin Gude’s report in the January issue (of the “Jaguar Enthusiast”, ‘09) on the US Route 66 tour brought back many wonderful memories of my trip the length of that fabled road, one of the last that could be made. Spring of ’57, my first year at college, I fulfilled the goal I’d formed when I first saw the MGTCs that the GIs were bringing back after the war. (The later XK120s were out of my price range.) Regrettably, soon after purchase, something locked up in the front end and I flipped over. That summer, while a few friends and I were putting the TC back together, a man in our Chicagosuburb offered his Mark IV drophead for sale. I was again smitten, and since I was transferring to Berkeley (Univ of California) and since I knew several fellows who were buying sports or collector cars in the Midwest and driving them to Los Angeles for profit—such was the craze out there at that time—I borrowed the money and grabbed it.
The recent bout with illness delayed a few projects, led to the postponement of others, and left me longing for some quite time in the shadow of the Grand Wash Cliffs at Grand Canyon Western Ranch. Among the delayed projects was the plan to begin sharing your Route 66 stories, one each week, and establishment of a new page where those stories would be archived. As you may recall, at the end of each month I will select the best story submitted and send the winner a copy of my book Travel Route 66.
I haven’t had an opportunity to set up the page yet but at the end of today’s post, the first reader submitted story will be shared with you. So, please, submit the story of your most memorable Route 66 adventure today.
This weekend, on Saturday at 5:00 PM, at Beale Celebrations, the Route 66 Association of Kingman kicks off the fund raising for their ambitious 66 Celebrates 90 initiative. The centerpiece for the endeavor is historic neon sign acquisition or reproduction, restoration, and installation. In addition, the plan is to initiate a mural program, install custom benches created by Lomeli Garden Arts, an association member, throughout the historic district, and bolster promotional endeavors to expand on Chillin’ on Beale this year.
The first fund raiser will include a silent auction, dinner, and presentation entitled An Armchair Tour of Route 66. Tickets are $25.00 per person. For more information contact Jamie Taylor at (928)530-2056.
Canyon 66 Restaurant and Lounge at Ramada Kingman is expanding menu options, and introducing a new $4.99 breakfast. Stage two of the motels remodel and update project is also commencing soon. This will move the property one step closer to being the cities only full service Route 66 resort.
The House of Hops in the historic district, with its restored Kingman Club neon sign, is also expanding. Likewise with Rednecks Southern Barbecue that is adding a wood fired pizza restaurant in an adjoining building.
Rutherford’s Route 66 Family Diner is also making a few changes. By this spring the plan is for the restaurant to have patio seating.
Dunton Motors has plans for inclusion of a gift shop by spring with an inventory of exclusive merchandise, including Mr’ D’z items. To expand on their plans to be both an automotive museum and dealership, they are also looking to purchase vintage vehicles, or take them on consignment. This too will be a destination in 2016.
These are just a few of the exciting projects under development in Kingman. So, if your plans this year include an adventure on Route 66 in western Arizona, you might want to add a day or two to the schedule.
Okay, now, a Route 66 story. This one comes from Keith Carlson.
So—in late August ’57 I drove out over many days, mostly sleeping in the back seat whenever necessary, and thus finding that, in the high desert, uncomfortable daytime heat turns to uncomfortable nighttime cold; I was awakened and had to keep driving to ward off uncontrollable shivering! Fortunately, and amazingly, I made the 2,400-plus miles without mishap: not even a belt or hose out in the desert. I made no profit—actually lost a bit—but all worth the adventure and the several months’ enjoyment of an exquisite automobile.
Often on the journey I saw the beginnings of the US interstate system (limited-access superhighways) that had just been approved, as the new highway paralleled 66 in close proximity in several places; often, a new two-lane road was built alongside, traffic transferred to it while the original two lanes were widened and resurfaced, and the thusly-created four-lane divided highway then replacing 66. (Most of 66 was two lanes.) In many other ways the original road was eventually obliterated or abandoned in most sections, and my trip—in one of the best vehicles to have gone the entire length—was thus one of the last to cover the entirety.