|Courtesy Joe Sonderman
This is the 90th anniversary of Route 66, arguably the most famous highway in the world, and it is shaping up to be the most exciting year in its storied history.
From Chicago to Santa Monica special events and celebrations are being planned. There will even be a European Route 66 Festival in Germany this July.
The most obscure or remote location imaginable is now a destination for legions of travelers from just about every country on earth – if it is on Route 66. A few short years ago the epitaph was being written for vintage auto courts and motels. Now, if they are on Route 66, they are revered treasures, and a few such as the iconic Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, again rated one of the top 25 budget motels in the nation by TripAdvisor, require reservations weeks in advance.
The resurgent interest in the old highway, a renaissance in every sense of the world, is fueling an unprecedented grassroots preservationist movement, and communities large and small, and even empty, are being transformed. To say the very least, it is all quite exciting.
|Grand Canyon Caverns
Early this morning my dearest friend and I enjoyed a delightful breakfast at Rutherford’s Route 66 Family Diner (Texas steak skillet and coffee) with John McEnulty, owner of Grand Canyon Caverns. The once tarnished resort has been given a new lease on life and McEnulty’s infectious enthusiasm is manifest everywhere on the property from tours of recently discovered levels that commence in March to the recently renovated RV park that is receiving accolades. The motel has been outfitted with new beds, there are horseback trail rides and covered wagon trips into the back country, and this fall the caverns grounds will serve as the venue for an expansive music festival.
Organizers of the Route 66 festival in Holbrook have asked that I attend and make a presentation on Route 66 in support of their arts center activities. This embryonic festival includes tours through Petrified Forest National Park on an alignment of Route 66 not open to the general park, except during this festival, in more than sixty years.
The Chillin’ on Beale events in Kingman, held on the third Saturday evening of each month, April through October, will be a part of the Route 66 Association of Kingman’s 66 Celebrates 90 initiative. In addition to pub crawls, car shows, and Cinema Under the Stars, plans are being developed for a series of special presentations to be added to the schedule.
Another development in Kingman is the weekly Live from Kingman program every Friday morning. The three hour program, including a one hour segment on Route 66, can be listened to live via the internet through the KAAA/KZZZ website. Positive comments and reviews are being received from throughout the United States and Europe and it is only the third episode.
If your having an event, or would like to promote your Route 66 business or museum, please, let me know. I will facilitate an interview.
Next week, there will be another installment of Your Story, tales of the road told by readers. Share yours and enter to win a copy of Travel Route 66.
Also on the schedule for next weeks postings will be updates on the Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative, the Rockabilly event in Tucumcari, the Route 66 photo contest at Ramada Kingman, and tours heading down the road in the coming weeks.
To wrap this up, here is the latest press release from the Route 66 Association of Kingman, which is also an invitation. I should note that in the next week or so, they will be accepting membership applications through their website, as well as donations for the neon sign initiative.
Route 66 Association of Kingman
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 19, 2016
building a route 66 community
Route 66 Association of Kingman Builds Partnerships
Kingman, AZ, February 19, 2016– From its inception a primary goal of the Route 66 Association of Kingman was to foster development of a sense of community and community purpose. The cornerstone of that initiative was a monthly “meet and greet” at a member business with everyone invited from association members to the community, and even travelers.
In addition to fostering development of a sense of community, the monthly gatherings serve as excellent networking opportunities. They also provide an opportunity for business owners to showcase their products, and to build recognition within the community.
The March association “meet and greet” is schedule for March 10, at 6:00 P.M. It will take place at Black Bridge Brewery located at 421 W. Beale Street in Kingman, Arizona, one block north of Andy Devine Avenue (Route 66).
The brewery is recognized as one of the “50 Amazing Nanobreweries” in the United States. For more information about the brewery their website is www.blackbridgebrewery.com
. They are also a member of Kingman Circle (www.kingmancircle.com), an innovative pooled resource marketing initiative for Kingman area businesses developed by Ignite Marketing.
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If you would like more information please contact Jamie Taylor or Scott Duntonat (928)530-2056 or (928)897-7766 or email at Route66kingmanaz@yahoo.com.