Jun 302017
 








Changing of the guards at the Motel Safari on Route 66 in Tucumcari NM. Richard and Gail Talley have owned and operated the motel for 10 years and now pass the torch to Larry Smith, the new owner.

Starting off with a love to travel, Larry Smith (or “2 Guns Larry” his newly given name) has driven sections of the route over the past decade or so. “I knew what Route 66 was about through shows, music and little things here and there, but I really didn’t know what Route 66 was about fully to the point I probably should have.” A trip from LA to Tennessee (Larry is from Knoxville TN) brought him to Tucumcari. “A buddy and I were driving from LA and we wanted to jump off of I-40 and stay the night somewhere and Tucumcari was the town we stopped in. Even back then there was some neon and these little historic businesses that I started to discover and enjoy’.

After a few trips hitting just a few segments of the route, he decided to embark on a full Chicago to LA trip in 2009 to see what the route was really about and to see and visit the places he researched online.

In 2016, and working for the Scripps Network in the International Division, he felt the open road calling. “It was getting to the point at work where it was nothing but Skype meetings and the same thing over and over and no person to person interaction and I needed a change.” The open road was calling yet again and that road ended up back in Tucumcari.

Ironically, a year later a good friend of Larry’s spotted the story of the Motel Safari being for sale on the Route 66 World website and Facebook page and told Larry this might be the time for something different. “A year earlier (2016) I never thought I would have gone from standing in the parking lot of the Motel Safari taking photos like your typical tourist to actually owning it. When I heard it was for sale I struggled with the time being right or if it was the right time for a change but it kept calling me back and after meeting with Rich and Gail and seeing how the operations are ran and how wonderful the motel was kept and all the neat little architectural details, I knew the time was right”.

Larry moved into the motel last Sunday and is spending the next few weeks going over business details and how to run it and even gets out once in a whole to start getting to know the town of Tucumcari and even stretches of the route – but this time as a business owner. “What should be a quick trip to the store takes a lot longer because folks want to know what my plans are, who I am and tell me about the town and all the other businesses. Rich and Gail not only have been fantastic hosts when I first came to check the motel out, but they have made this transition better than I can hoped for. I just need to keep up what they built so the motel will what the traveler has always known it to be.”

Larry also plans on opening a second suite; the first being the Rockabilly Suite with the new one being the Rawhide suite as well as open the remaining rooms. A small gift shop with Motel Safari merchandise will be available after a little while.

We wish Larry all the best and whole-heartedly thank Rich and Gail for bringing a classic motel back to be a destination on the route.
You can follow Larry and the Motel Safari via Facebook.

Mar 312017
 









A new television series is actively searching for a few charismatic, TV-friendly CAR GUYS
to be a major part of an exciting new show about Cars, Route 66, History and Nostalgia.

A good friend of mine and a fellow Route 66 history buff is looking for one or two extremely unique guys who were just MEANT to be on TV and you know it right away.
Not looking for those same generic monster garage car guys you see on every car show on TV …
These guys need to have the super outgoing and likable nature of Mike Wolfe and Frank —
as if Mike and Frank had younger brothers who knew as much about restoring cars as they do about picking.
Or like Bo and Luke Duke on the Dukes Of Hazzard, with the talent to bring any old car back to life and then maybe also RACE it when they’re done. The ideal guys would be really skilled customizers who are experts at faithful vintage restoration …

They know how to find an old hot rod or classic car and put it back in original new condition,
but they also have a great personality, a huge love for history and nostalgia — and the ability to chat strangers up and make friends instantly wherever they go. There’s a reason why Rick Dale and The Count and Mike Wolfe are STARS — they stand WAY out from the average guy — and that’s the kind of guy that will be right for this amazing new series.

If you think this might be YOU — or you know somebody who just happens to be the greatest undiscovered star —
any recommendations are welcome. Please email anything you have — photos, video links, Facebook or Instagram pages,
articles, website URLs, etc. to Damian Sullivan of Irwin Entertainment in Los Angeles at calldamian@aol.com

IMPORTANT: PLEASE include a PHONE NUMBER so you can be reached (EVERYONE forgets to include a phone number!).

Please feel free to share this Casting Call or re-post elsewhere! Thanks for spreading the word!

Mar 272017
 










Historic Meteor City Trading Post has been bought by Joann and Mike Brown from Jeffersonville IN. The couple finalized the purchase on Monday March 27th and are looking forward to bringing back the location to what it looked like when it was in its former glory.

Joann and Mike first saw the property while traveling Route 66 towards the west where they are originally from and they kept gravitating towards the trading post. Joann says her husband is a huge fan of Two Guns and the locations were very close to each other.

“This is our working retirement, if that is what you want to call it” said Joann. It was back in Aug when they just came home from traveling the route and decided that they wanted to really look into the possibility of purchasing the trading post. “These places need to be saved and this one had our name all over it. We remember it being for sale at one time but the price was a little too high” Joann stated.

She told me about a rock she took from the trading post and kept it in her car and said every time she was driving around, she would see the rock and it kept the trading post in her thoughts. They contacted the previous owner and after many phone calls, and literally to the last day which a lien was already on the property and was due to expire; Joann and Mike finally came to an agreement with the previous owners to purchase the property.
After checking to make sure it had a clean deed and getting the green light to close on the property, the Brown’s are now the new owners of Meteor City Trading Post.

The plans are to have them relocate to the trading post from Indiana and live there permanently while rehabilitating the trading post and surrounding property. “The first thing we have to do is to secure the property and get the majority of the place cleaned up. A lot of folks still stop out there to take photos and we want to make sure it is getting ready for them” Joann said.

The next phase will to be getting the electric shored back up and stable and start getting T-shirts designed and sold to help fund repairs and remodeling as well as other merchandise to sell.

Also on the list of things to do is not only getting the original map wall back up, but to make it longer than what it currently is. The longer term plan is to bring the look and feel of the trading post back to when Route 66 was just outside of its front door, without any knowledge or planning of the I-40 interstate. Joann plans on making the inside of the geodome part of the building a small little ‘historical walk’ through the different times and uses of the trading post. Part of the plan is to finally let the public see the original Justice of the Peace building, which has been sitting to the right (or west) of the geodome, as it was when it was in use back in the 1930’s.

The Brown’s have created a Facebook page for the trading post – visit it by clicking HERE and LIKE it to follow the progress of the restoration of the trading post over the next year.

The Meteor City Trading Post, which is located just outside of Winslow AZ on Route 66 – opened as a service station in 1938. The quirky trading post was another Mother Road casualty of the Interstate system. Located on Route 66 near the Barringer Meteor Crater, Arizona the trading post still stands to see travelers from around the world stop, take photographs and relish in its history.

Mar 012017
 








Richard Talley, co-owner of the Motel Safari reached out to me to let me know the motel is up for sale:

“As we open for the 2017 season and approach our 10th year since purchasing the motel, we would like to be the first to let everyone know we will be offering the Motel Safari for sale this year at $300,000.00

Nothing else will change and the motel continue to operate as normal, we’re just ready to retire and pursue other adventures in life. We have a home in Tucumcari, where we will remain and continue to be involved in our local community, as well as all across Route 66.

If interested, please do not contact the motel or interrupt our daily operations. Instead, you may contact our broker, Richard Randals (NMREC# 16014) at New Mexico Property Group LLC. 575-461-4426 or email him at nmpgnewmexico@gmail.com

We would like to thank everyone for all their support, the Route 66 community and the town of Tucumcari. We love what we do and will continue to do so as usual, until an appropriate suitor is found. Until then, we look forward to seeing everyone on the road.”

Sincerely,

Richard & Gail Talley

The motel has been highly ranked via TripAdvisor as one of the best motels in Tucumcari. With a national and international following and is recognized as one of the top visited motels on Route 66, there is a built in client base waiting to stop back at the Motel Safari for years to come.

This has been my home away from home each and every time I stay in Tucumcari (minus once where I stayed at the Route 66 Motel due to the Safari being sold out!) and I truly love this place. Known for the ‘best beds on the route’ and always a clean and orderly property.

To be honest, it will be sad not to see Rich and Gail at the front desk BUT this really is a golden opportunity for someone to get a great motel at a pretty good price. And with a built in worldwide client base, you will meet folks from all around the world!

Nov 142016
 

susan-croce-kelly








I wanted to wait a little before I posted this story as I wanted to read it thoroughly and understand why we really never heard of Susan. I for one feel a little embarrassed and even ashamed as we have seem to overlook this great author and even greater trailblazer as we have seem to be lead to believe others were the ones who started the ‘resurgence’ for Route 66 – and this is now false. Credit now needs to go where credit is due.
I hope to meet Susan one day to give her my sincere ‘thanks’ and to see how we can help further her goals and dreams for the route we all come to love and share with one another.

The pavement’s presence isn’t what made Route 66 such a success. Instead, it was the people: Folks who breathed life into the memory-making, states-wide street that all of America could call its own.

One of those individuals was Cy Avery, a promoter from Tulsa who drove the road into the national spotlight after it officially began in November 1926.

Another was one of Avery’s biggest fans: An author named Susan Croce Kelly, who today lives near Lake of the Ozarks. Nearly 60 years after the route began, Kelly and photographer Quinta Scott published “Route 66: The Highway and Its People,” a photographic essay that captured stories along the road.

It was the first of its kind. The book came three years after the road was decommissioned, before it was back in vogue, and a time when it was a crumbling shadow of its former self.

And it led a national fascination down the Main Street of America.

How it began
Kelly’s awareness of Route 66 began at an early age. She grew up in a suburb of St. Louis, and heard stories of the world-famous road from her mother, who spent her childhood in southwest Missouri. “She would say, ‘This is the most famous road in the world,’” recalls Kelly. “I do remember that, because I was like, ‘Sure.’ Even at 5.”

Despite Kelly’s initial reaction to the route, she was born into historic preservation: Her great-aunt was Lucile Morris Upton, a longtime Springfield journalist famous for covering Ozarks nooks and crannies.

As an adult, Kelly followed in Upton’s footsteps, also spending time as a newspaper reporter in Springfield in the mid-1970s. During that time, the Mother Road caught her interest — especially a ghost-like portion near Halltown, Mo., around 20 miles from Springfield.

“It just evokes the 1930s,” she said in a 1989 article in the Springfield News-Leader. “You feel like you’re going back in time to a certain extent.”

It wasn’t until 1979, however, when that fascination began to grow into something more. She was introduced to Scott at a truck stop along Route 66, which led to the duo working on several articles for newspapers about the route; Scott would shoot photos, and Kelly would write the text.

“We started out, ‘Tell us about your building. Tell us about your business,’” recalls Kelly. “And then we began to do serious oral histories – what happened in the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s and ’50s.”

Scott and Kelly found people ready and willing to share their stories. Looking back, Kelly believes part of that was because the people they spoke to were behind businesses along the road.

“People were used to talking to anybody who walked in the door because they might spend money, … and they were invested in the highway,” says Kelly. “I think I paid (attention), not because it was important, but because they were storytellers.”

They heard about the route’s early days, when Avery and others promoted it into the history books. “In Oklahoma, they said Cy Avery ‘invented’ Route 66, says Kelly. “It’s one of those words you remember because it was so bizarre.”

There were stories of the “Bunion Derby,” a transcontinental foot race in 1928 that drew national attention. And, of early trips down the road that were perhaps more dangerous than desirable. “It wasn’t for the faint of heart to travel by car,” she says. “But these intrepid people would get out there, and they’d write about it.”

Books such as “The Grapes of Wrath” showed a trip many families — heading west, and to a better life — began to make. And few years later, the journalists learned of World War II taking soldiers up and down its path.

“And then they came home,” says Kelly. “That’s when it was fun. … My father’s generation came back from World War II, and companies offered paid vacations for the first time. So people could go.”

Those hoards of travelers, however, also resulted in horrific stories along the aptly nicknamed “Bloody 66.” And later, there were tales of downturn when the people’s road left them behind. Such stories painted an authentic portrait of America’s Main Street; one told by the folks who saw the road’s rise and felt it fall — and who were quickly disappearing.

Becoming a book
Those conversations took place over a near six-year period. And, eventually, it seemed like the timing was right for more. Route 66 was kind of on the radar, and if we were going to write a book, ‘It’s got to be now,’” recalls Kelly.

“I had sent a draft chapter and outline and some of Quinta’s pictures to the University of Oklahoma Press,” she said in 1989. “They wrote back in a couple of weeks and said this is great, go for it. So I quit my job.”

Over the next year, Kelly dedicated her time to creating a book based on nearly 225 interviews the duo gathered. One of the biggest challenges, she says, was figuring out how to present the material. “You’ve got the states, you’ve got the timeline, you’ve got the businesses,” she notes, mentioning that the book was ultimately presented by decade.

It was published in 1988. “The marketing people at (the University of Oklahoma Press) knew what they had,” says Kelly. “They did posters, I was lined up to do radio interviews for six months or seven months every week with different people. They really promoted the book.”

And the country took note — even the Wall Street Journal, which published a review about the book on Feb. 8, 1989.

“‘Route 66’ doesn’t ignore the names and dates and political decisions of traditional history. But its appeal lies in the graceful way it explores the impact of that long black ribbon the lives of the people who lived beside it and in the book’s explanation of how U.S. 66 ‘became a highway the country could not forget.’

“Today, as this book’s text and photographs emphasize, there’s not much left besides the legend. The two-lane blacktop has crumbled and most of the people who lived beside the old road have moved away or died. But while the new interstates are faster and safer, it is impossible not to miss old Route 66. Fortunately, the words and pictures of this delightful book preserve the memories of a road that ran through everyone’s life.”

After “Route 66” was published, things began to change. Other books — including Michael Wallis’ “Route 66: The Mother Road” — began to feed the public’s growing interest. The Route 66 Association of Missouri was founded in 1990 (today tirelessly promoted by Tommy and Glenda Pike), and sections were gradually included on the National Register of Historic Places. And in 1999, President Bill Clinton signed the National Route 66 Preservation Bill which allocated $10 million for restoring and preserving historic features along the road.

Today, Route 66 has become a cultural institution, immortalized through the memories of thousands who make the trip each year. And its fame has spread far beyond the country’s borders: Each year, multitudes of foreign visitors specifically come to the United States to drive Route 66. It’s a fascination that’s evident, among other places, through Facebook, where a simple search reveals associations for countries such as Italy, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Japan, Brazil and the Netherlands (where they’re actually having a party to celebrate the route’s 90th birthday on Nov. 11!)

One of those visitors proves its international fascination. “I keep coming back because there’re always great people to meet along the road, and I do love to listen to their stories,” says Lucia Laura, a photographer who lives in Milan, Italy, via email. “There’ s always something new to discover, something that I left behind on my previous trip.”

Laura has been completely down Route 66 twice, but other sections more often — and, even though she loves the scenery, it’s not what she enjoys the most.

“What I love most of Route 66 are all the people I meet, their smiles and their stories attract me like a magnet.”

Ongoing preservation
After “Route 66” was published, Kelly didn’t have definite plans for a second book. But, when asked in 1989, she did mention that the idea was on her mind — and that a possible topic might be Avery.

“Cyrus Avery as a person just fascinates me,” said Kelly back then. “I can’t believe he didn’t know people like Henry Ford, because they were all working on the same thing — really changing this country from one kind of place into another kind of place.”

That percolating plan, however, was put on hold when Kelly stepped away from the spotlight. Life circumstances took her to Chicago and Texas, before coming back to the Ozarks. “(Route 66) really kind of faded into the background,” she says.

But the interest in Avery didn’t go away — and in 2014, it manifested into Kelly’s second book. But “Father of Route 66: The Story of Cy Avery” tells more than Avery’s involvement with the Mother Road. It also recounts his efforts in many other public service ventures, and proves his legacy extends far beyond his lifetime.

After all, Avery died in 1963, seven years after his road was bypassed by the National Interstate Highway Act. Despite his visionary status, even Avery couldn’t have foreseen the impact his road would have nearly a century after it began:

“Today, visitors from all over the world travel to see what is left of Route 66,” writes Kelly. “Some actually ship historic cars and motorcycles from Europe and Asia to ‘motor west, on the highway that’s the best.’ Others band together on buses or caravans for the 2,400-mile trip. Still others come alone to soak up a part of the United States that most Americans no longer know.”

Like Avery, Kelly’s work helped launch a national fascination with Route 66 — and, especially with her first book, preserved a piece of Americana that today would be impossible to capture today.

“The thing that made our book such a fabulously lucky accident was the timing,” says Kelly. “We were interviewing people who’d been out there in the 1920s. We interviewed a guy who had helped pave Route 66. You know, they’re not there (anymore).”

Kelly is a popular presenter about Route 66 and Avery, and regularly visits Springfield, Mo., for its Birthplace of Route 66 Festival (where she was honored with the John T. Woodruff Award in 2015 for her support of Route 66). Visit her website for more information.

“Route 66: The Highway and its People” and “Father of Route 66: The Story of Cy Avery” are available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and directly from Kelly.

Both books are also available for loan from the Springfield-Greene County Library District.

By Ozarks Alive

Sep 202016
 

standin-on-the-corner-fest-2016








18th annual Standin’ on the Corner Fest Friday and Saturday

WINSLOW, Ariz. — Winslow’s 18th annual Standin’ on the Corner Festival takes place Sept. 23-24 in Winslow, an annual event that started in 1999, which coincided with the unveiling of a mural and statue in the park.

The festival will take place in downtown Winslow on Historic Route 66 (West Second Street) and North Campbell Avenue at the Eagle Pavilion located behind the Winslow Chamber of Commerce (Historic Hubbell Building) and Visitor’s Center. The Eagle Pavilion was built by the Standin’ on the Corner Foundation with donations from businesses, individuals, the city of Winslow and funds raised from the festival and volunteers. The foundation’s mission is the redevelopment of Winslow (the mission used to be the redevelopment of just the historic district but it has expanded that mission to include all of Winslow).

The first festival sixteen years ago was an impromptu celebration for the completion and opening of the park, which has now grown into a huge festival, which draws five to 10,000 people over the weekend.

The event celebrates the well-known single “Take it Easy,” written by the late Glenn Frey and Jackson Browne, which became a hit in the 1970s for the Eagles and put the community of Winslow on the map. The verse ‘standin’ on the corner in Winslow, Arizona’ draws visitors from far and wide to stand on that famous corner on historic Route 66.

This year, a Glenn Frey Memorial — a statue dedication — will take place Sept. 23 on the corner of Second Street and Kinsley Avenue from noon to 2:30 p.m. The rest of the entertainment begins at 3 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. on Saturday. Cost is $5 per person. A horseshoe tournament is $20 per person and takes place Saturday.

Throughout the festival, vendors will sell everything from crafts, food and clothing. The event has fun for the entire family. A beer garden will have a tasting tent.

The festival’s returning bands Tommy Dukes, Stephen Padilla and Take it to the Limit, an Eagles cover band, will perform. In addition to these familiar names some other bands including Rhythm Edition, Coyote Moon Band, Triple Play, The Miller Boys and Higeria, a local favorite alternative band, Ty One on, country rock, and One of These Nights, a tribute to the Eagles, will also take the stage. In addition to the bands, NPC Ballet Folklorico, a Mexican Dance Group and the High Country Dance Team will perform.

On Sept. 245 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., the annual Standin’ on the Corner Foundation Auction takes place, which is the big fundraiser for the foundation. Lots of items will be auctioned off, including some Eagles memorabilia.

She said the city of Winslow also benefits greatly from the festival, which is the foundation’s mission.

In addition, the festival is a chance for everyone to shop local, which is important for a small community. Butler said that local businesses are generous with donations to the event and to the live auction.

The money raised ensures the foundation will be able to continue with the annual festival, keeping the park and the pavilion in top form and continuing in the efforts to improve our community, a member of the foundation said last year.

History

The foundation said the history of the park is also important to remember and without the founding members’ hard work and determination, the vision of the historic downtown of Winslow would have been lost.

Seeing the success of their efforts to save La Posada, Marie Lamaar and Janice Griffith focused their attention on creating another attraction in Winslow that capitalized on the hit song, “Take it Easy.”

The Standing on the Corner Foundation was formed by these women and a group of private citizens, including Glenn and Yvonne Howeth, Larry Benham, Chris and Larry Payne, Bert Peterson, Greg and Connie Hacker.

The Standin’ on the Corner Park was built brick by brick with donations made by local businesses, individuals, many volunteer hours and investments by the city of Winslow. The Kaufman family donated the property where the park on the corner is located. John Pugh painted a two-story mural for the park and the iconic, bronze life-size 1970s Rock and Roll guitarist, made by Ron Adamson, was placed over personalized donor bricks.

By Katherine Locke – Navajo-Hopi Observer

Jun 242016
 

Ambler Becker Station - Dwight










Dwight’s restored Texaco station, on popular Old U.S. Route 66, comes to life each year in May. More than 60 volunteers take shifts here, meeting curious motorists from around the world. The following account covers approximately 15 minutes in the lube bay, the office and the old pumps out front.

Ding! A visitor wants to make sure that little black hose works, the one that used to announce a car pulling into a gas station. They don’t need those now at self-service stations.

A driver from the Czech Republic wanted to talk about Donald Trump. A film editor and a sound engineer from Rome talked of creating a movie about their experience. They plan to post it online.

“We want to discover the old America, the real America,” said Luigi Mearelli, 39. “We spent three years planning this vacation.”

Ding! Florian Niederhuber, 33, of Munich, was assisted by volunteer Alex McWilliams. The hosts always ask visitors to place a pin in one of their maps, marking the hometowns of each visitor.

The pins from 2015 were removed, but the European map already was filling up. The U.S. map was busier than expected. You could see other pins in Japan, New Zealand and parts of the African continent.

“We have had visitors come in and discover that they live only 10 miles apart in Germany,” McWilliams said. “I guess they wound up traveling together the rest of the way to California.”

Ding! It seems like like most of the motorists here are coming from Chicago and heading for an overnight stay in Springfield. This stop usually includes photos out front and questions about the next stop, usually in Pontiac.

On this day, the station was missing its celebrity attendant, Paul Roeder, of Kankakee. He wears a Texaco attendant’s uniform and surprises guests with another part of history. There really was a guy who pumped your gas and cleaned the windshield.

Attention always shifts back to the driveway here. The next couple rode up on a motorcycle dressed up to look like a 1957 Chevy. And the trailer it pulled was also tricked out like that Chevy icon.

Ding!

By Dennis Yohnka – Daily Journal

Apr 132016
 

boots-new-neon-02











A green glow that lit up the corner of Central and Garrison for decades in the middle of the 20th century has been restored in the 21st century with the lighting of the neon Saturday at the Boots Court.
In another step in the restoration of a Route 66 icon, Pricilla Bledsaw and Debye Harvey, the owners of the Boots Court, flipped a switch on Friday, turning on yards of green neon tubing along the edges of the classic building.
Bledsaw said the sisters have been working since they bought the hotel in August 2011 to restore the motel to its 1940s configuration, and while Route 66 aficionados have heard about restoration, adding the neon give people more reason than ever to come and see it for themselves.
“We were so excited we were finally going to get the neon on the building because that’s something people will see,” Bledsaw said. “Right now people come because they’ve heard about the Boots, but with the neon on, it just makes it look so much more open. It makes it look like what it is, it’s a Route 66 icon.”

About 75 people attended a two-hour open house at the Boots on Saturday.
Tables were set up with information about the Route 66 Association of Missouri, the upcoming Jefferson Highway Association of Missouri convention and books about the “Mother Road.”
The Carthage Middle School Tiger Choir, dressed in poodle skirts and dark jeans and t-shirts form the 1950s sang a variety of songs to entertain the crowd and several classic cars were on display.

The motel was filled for the night, marking the first time the restored Vacancy/No Vacancy neon sign was used.
As the sun went down and rain drops started to fall shortly after 8 p.m., dignitaries spoke and it came time for the countdown.
Holding up green LED pens, the crowd counted down from 10, then Debbie Dee, the manager of the Boots, turned on the switch inside the building, bringing to life the yards of neon tubing.
David Hutson, with Neon Time in St. Charles, manufactured the neon tubing to exacting standards replicating the green neon that was on the building based on photos and pieces of the original lights that Bledsaw and Harvey had removed and stored.
Route 66 changed when the sun went down,” Hutson said. Route 66 really came alive to try and attract people into the space. So you have this whole thing flooded with light when it gets dark. I think these kinds of places were so inviting for travelers.”

Bledsaw and Harvey said they applied for a grant from the National Park Service that paid for half the cost of the restoration.
Jim Thole, chairman of the Neon Heritage Preservation Committee for the Route 66 Association of Missouri, said restoring the neon is a big step toward restoring the Boots and giving Carthage place that will draw tourists from around the world.

“It’s just a real prize possession of Carthage in terms of tourism. Route 66 tourism,” Thole said. “People are going to go out of their way to see this. And if you’re here at this time of night to see this, what are you going to do? You’re going to stay here, you’re going to eat here, it’s a win-win for everyone.”
“Signs and architecture like this have taken on a new life in the sense that they are now symbols of local pride. They’re local landmarks, symbols of pride for the community, the community can be proud to have this back.”

By John Hacker – Carthage Press

Mar 182016
 

sipp-shoppe-winslow








The Sipp Shoppe across from the Standin’ on the Corner Park in Winslow is doing brisk business as Nikki Greer and Jacob Martin serve up food and ice cold drinks to customers, including Beata King and Bea Cooper, who stopped in on their way from Phoenix to Wisconsin.

Spring is in the air and that usually means the beginning of tourist season along Route 66, but in Winslow the season is already in full swing. It’s a cautious drive along Second Street as tourists step into the road to get a better angle with their camera or take a quick jog to cross from one sidewalk to another surrounding the Standin’ on the Corner Park.
The center of all the attention is the statue of the lone troubadour waiting for a ride, which has become synonymous with Winslow and draws thousands of people each year as strains of Eagles tunes fill the air from the Standin’ on the Corner gift shop.
At the opposite corner from the gift shop is the Sipp Shoppe. There, numerous patrons enjoy a soda or choose from a long list of hot dog specialties such as the Oklahoma Tornado or the Baja Dog. Nikki Greer, who runs the shop, said that it’s been “total chaos” for the past couple of months, ever since the death of Eagles co-founder Glen Frey. “This is usually our slowest month of the year, but so far it’s been crazy busy, mostly with people from in the state,” she said.
A stroll into the Arizona 66 Trading Co. across from the Sipp Shoppe showed visitors sorting through T-shirts with the words, “Take It Easy” and “Such A Fine Sight To See” emblazoned across the chest, and deciding what knick-knacks to buy while a concert video of the Eagles plays on a wide-screen television.
Sabrina Butler runs the shop and said it’s been busy like this since January. “It seemed like the day after Glenn Frey died people just started showing up,” she said. Butler also talked about the success of the Corner and the people who make it happen. “We have a good group of citizens making that effort, between the Standing on the Corner Foundation and the chamber of commerce we have a lot of great things coming up,” she said before going down a list of events that include a Cinco de Mayo festival, the Father’s Day fishing excursion and the Standin’ on the Corner Festival.
La Posada also is a big draw; they get quite a few celebrities over there. We just had (former Diamondbacks pitcher) Randy Johnson in the other day and he was staying there,” she said.
Soon the city will have another attraction for visitors to the downtown. According to Community Development Director Paul Ferris, the $488,000 grant from the Arizona Department of Transportation’s National Scenic Grant Fund has been freed up and the city can move forward with its plans for the Route 66 Plaza park. The park will be located next to the Standin’ on the Corner Park and will feature a mural of Chicago on the east wall and a mural of Santa Monica pier on the west wall. Winding between the two murals will be a pathway depicting Route 66 and all the highlights of the much-loved road. The work is expected to begin next month, with no time noted for completion.
“It’s taken awhile, but things are finally coming together. This plaza will be another added attraction for our visitors and one more reason to stop,” said Ferris.
Back at the Sipp Shoppe patron Beata King summed up why she stopped in Winslow on her way from Phoenix to Wisconsin: “We love the Eagles and of course we stop in Winslow for the food. We love this place.”

By Linda Kor

Jan 212016
 

Terri Ryburn - Sprague Super Station, Normal IL

Terri Ryburn – Sprague Super Station, Normal IL












I have met with Terri a couple times a few years back and she is a genuine person who really would like to see this gas station reopened and enjoyed by all the Route 66 travelers…

From those of us who embrace the Route 66 mythology that comes with living here in its shadow, today’s GO! cover story subject is owed a big debt of gratitude.

As if you didn’t already know that, per her many history presentations, books on the subject and even comedy club routines.

But we’re especially delighted to see that the tireless Terri Ryburn is doing her bit to get both us and That Road on a movie screen near us.

Move over “Grapes of Wrath,” “Cars,” “Two-Lane Blacktop,” “Bagdad Cafe” and all you other cinematic pretenders to the throne — including the fabled ’60s TV series of the same name (“Route 66,” with Martin Milner and George Maharis tooling away for an hour a week).

Ryburn thinks that series has aged none too well, leaving room for improvement.

As chronicled in the story above, Ryburn is hoping to do just that via the odyssey of the fictional pop duo, Hank & Rita.

The proposed film would involve tracking the married pair’s travels through a succession of small, obscure clubs … from Chicago to “Saint Louey” to Barstow to all the stops name-checked by Bobby Troup in a certain kicks-oriented anthem.

If it’s not exactly “the horror, the horror” stuff of “Heart of Darkness,” we’re advised that the road trip marks the gradual disintegration of a union … in fact, the one that comes to a head in the Hank & Rita show we’ll be seeing next weekend at the Bloomington Eagles Club.

If the movie is made, there’s been no word yet on what venues along this stretch of the road might serve as moment-of-truth stops.

So feel free to send your suggestion this way, and we’ll pass them along to Hank and/or Rita.

But back to Terri Ryburn, whose other big Mother Road project of the moment continues apace, at her own pace.

Which she admits is pretty much one mile on the odometer at a time.

Namely, her efforts on behalf of the historic former Sprague Service Station perched alongside Old U.S. 66 on East Pine Street in Normal, where it has stood since 1931.

“I have no money,” she admitted to us recently with the good spirits that fuel her “second career” as a stand-up comedian hereabouts.

“But I have managed to cobble together grants, and to keep plugging away at it!”

Indeed.

She purchased the two-story, 3,600-square-foot Tudor Revival-style gas station nearly nine years ago.

The first Pantagraph story on the project, in May 2007, announced that the then-75-year-old edifice would be reborn as a bed-and-breakfast, with tea room, gift shop and restaurant.

She has since received grants from the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program of the National Park Service and the Town of Normal, which have slowly but surely allowed the project to move forward.

Bringing us up to date, she notes that “I’m getting a new parking lot in the spring and opening a Route 66 visitor center and gift shop.”

In addition, she says, “I’m working on a grant application for exterior work … tuck-pointing of brick … repair of stucco and timber … and painting.”

We’re not trying to stage-direct the movie from our desk across town at the newspaper, but …

We think that the Sprague Station would be a perfect fit for Hank & Rita to come to some moment of their truth … even though, technically, the drama would be taking place in the middle ’80s, when the station was a decade past its life as a gas station and three decades prior to its rebirth as a tea room/etc.

So haul out the artistic license, we say, and let’s dovetail Ryburn’s two big Mother Road dreams into one big fat fantasia of movies, music and memories.

All-singing, all-dancing … all kicks.

Lori Ann Cook-Neisler – The Pantagraph