Oct 112016
 

grand-canyon-cafe-owners








The front door of the Grand Canyon Café in downtown Flagstaff was swinging open and shut multiple times on Wednesday, Sept. 13, and two waitresses inside moved rapidly between booths alive with animated and hungry customers seated for late breakfast or early lunches. The smell of frying bacon and eggs and toasting bread wafted out from the kitchen in the rear of the establishment.

Mid-September was especially busy at the iconic Route 66 dining spot, as devoted patrons visited to pay their respects to the owners and chefs, Fred and Tina Wong, as they headed for retirement after selling their business.

The restaurant officially closed Saturday, Sept. 17. It is scheduled to reopen in December after being gently revamped by the new ownership team: two couples, Paul and Laura Moir, and Michael and Alissa Marquess, who already own and manage several high-profile restaurants and beverage and food supply businesses in Flagstaff, as well as minority partner Paul Thomas, who is a faculty member at NAU’s W.A. Franke College of Business. The location has been continuously open as a restaurant since 1942, a total of 74 years. In the Wong family since 1945, Fred Wong’s father, Albert, in partnership with his two brothers, Alfred and Edward, and also a nephew, Bill Yee, purchased the restaurant.

Through the years, the café became a beloved destination in Flagstaff, with constant loyal customers and visitors, all seeking that historic Route 66 flavor.

“A visit to the Grand Canyon Café was just part of the day for us,” said Bill Cordasco, Babbitt Ranches president and general manager. “It was an important thread in the fabric of our lives.”

On this Wednesday, Maite Blin and Regis Loock, both from Beauvais, France, came to for breakfast.

“It’s not expensive,” Loock commented. “You have a beautiful breakfast, very complex. And the staff is sympathetic.”

Wong, who was born in a small village in China and came to the U.S. at age three, took over management of the café in 1980 when his father retired.

Among local eaters on this Tuesday was James Burns, 44, a regular at the café. He works next door at the Galaxy Sales leather and saddle shop, which his family has owned since 1949.

“I’m a local pest,” he explained. “I come and harass Fred and Tina every morning when I come and get my coffee. They’re some of the kindest people. They’re the oldest, and we’re the second oldest [business]; there’s a lot of history between these two places. Fred’s been here since he was a little runt peeling potatoes in the back.”

Burns also orders out lunch, to eat at the Galaxy where he took over in 2015 after his father, Isidore (Izzy) Siebenberg, died. Lunch often is corned beef, his favorite, or the chicken fried steak, which he said is “the best in town.”

With its art deco exterior and neon signage, as well as the eclectic novelty items adorning the interior, the restaurant has been featured in many cookbooks, travel guides and newspapers and magazines, including the Arizona Daily Sun and Arizona Highways Magazine.

Retiring from the restaurant will give the Wongs more time to work their farm in Camp Verde, where they have another home. They also plan to frequently visit family in Phoenix. The couple, who married in 1982, have three grown children, Mark, David and Jessica, as well as their first grandchild, born earlier this year. “I’ll be able to spend more time at the farmers markets,” said Wong. “I had to skip this year. My son couldn’t help me; we had our first grandson, four months old. We’ll be going between Phoenix and farmers markets. We’ll go back and forth.”

Tina Wong said she plans to keep busy.

“It’s not retirement,” she said. “I’ll find something to do. I can’t sit around.”

Wong, who was a business major at NAU, first learned his cooking skills from his father, who had worked cooking Chinese food in Colorado. Wong said he had also trained as a chef at Hyatt hotel in San Francisco. The Wongs often cook side by side in the kitchen, working from about 13 hours a day, six days a week. Tina, who her husband said learned to cook “on the spot,” is fluent in the Chinese language and is greatly valued for her tasty Chinese cooking.

“She’s known for her eggrolls, fried rice and Mongolian beef,” he noted. “I’m famous for my chicken fried steak. It’s time for me to retire; I’m 68 this month. We’ll stick around to help the new owners if they need us. Flagstaff is nice and cool in the summertime. We want to thank all the loyal customers through the years.”

One of eight staff members, waitress Paige Sandoval, 23, has been working at the café for 5 ½ years.

“It’s been amazing,” she said. “I’ve known Tina and Fred my whole life, so working here is just like being at home. My great-grandparents, when I was small and we lived in Tuba City, used to bring us in for lunch just about every Friday. Tina and Fred, they’re wonderful employers, but to me, they’re more like a second pair of parents.”

Sandoval is not sure if she will be staying on with the new employers, but another waitress, Beatris Castruita, 28, will be relocating to be with family in Colorado.
“I’ve been seven years at the café,” she said. “I love it. I’ve met so many people here. Fred and Tina have been great. They’re really good people, and it’s time for them to retire and enjoy time with their grandson. I wish them the best.”

Local businessman Mark McCullough was sitting at the “Liar’s Table,” reserved for hunting and fishing friends of Fred in the back of the restaurant.

“I come down a couple times a week,” he said. “I eat healthy; the Chinese is healthier. Tina changes the special every day. They have worked very hard here, but it took a grandbaby for them to retire. I think that’s great.”

Local Flagstaff Unified School District teachers also made the Grand Canyon Café a favorite eating spot for decades.

At a booth against the wall, Linda Harris sat with her husband, Clair, and Dave Brown, both retired Flagstaff High School teachers, along with Judy Davis, whose husband, Terry, had also been a FHS teacher.

“We used to come at least once or twice a week for breakfast for 35 years,” Harris said. “We just moved out of town. We live not far from Camp Verde where Fred lives, so we know where the food will be.”

Teachers were such frequent diners that seats were assigned to them.

“They would come early,” Davis recalled. “Albert opened early on Friday so they could get to work on time. They all sat in the same seats for years and years. The waitress would say, ‘These people are family.’”

The Wongs always made sure everyone left with a full stomach, including a homeless Native American man who sat in front and was fed regularly.

“We have the most prestigious people in Flagstaff, down to that homeless fellow,” Dave Brown said. “Fred and Tina treat everyone the same.”

Jim Muns, a retired history teacher at Coconino High School, with 31 years in FUSD, has been coming to the café since 1968, when he first came to town to attend college.

“His dad, Albert, had the place; I came in to eat,” Muns said. “I’ve known Fred and Tina about 23 years. I come just about every day. I would come down in the evening and work for them, take cash when they were very busy. After I retired, I upped my job; I’m down here five days a week. Officially, I am the cashier. They’re very, very nice people, who work very hard. I think Flagstaff is going to have a very serious case of chicken fried steak withdrawal.”

Many folks were ordering Fred’s chicken fried steak during the last week the chef would be in the kitchen.

I’ve had a lot of local customers,” Wong recalled. “They come and go, generation after generation. That’s one thing I’m going to miss, all my friends here – all my loyal customers.”

By Betsey Bruner, Flagstaff Business News

Mar 222015
 

66-motel-flagstaff









Another classic Route 66 motel is being turned into ‘affordable housing’.

A child’s hand-drawn pictures adorn the walls. The television plays cartoons and Duchess, a bearded dragon lizard, rests in an aquarium next to a humming refrigerator. Jax, the family dog, sits on a bed.

Food, dishes and utensils nestle in milk crates, and a massive tool box occupies space next to the door.

Mom and dad sleep on the queen bed on the right by the door. The girl sleeps on the queen to the left.

“We get funny looks when we say we live in a motel,” said Mandi Creel, 23.

Mandi, daughter Arianna, 6, and husband Albert, live at the 66 Motel in Flagstaff, and now they can focus on saving money to find a more permanent place to live. The motel was taken over by a new nonprofit called ANEW Living at the beginning of the month.

“It provides a room to call a home,” said Lori Barlow, executive director of ANEW Living.

The mission: “ANEW Living offers a unique approach to meeting the housing needs our our community by converting older distressed motels into affordable housing alternatives. The rooms and small apartments available at ANEW Living are offered as a step up from the traditional transitional housing facilities while continuing to provide on-site services geared towards renewing and restoring hope to individuals and families seeking to end their cycle of homelessness and build pathways to a healthy productive lifestyle promoting self-sufficiency.”

Barlow, former executive director at Flagstaff Shelter Services, said that her experiences at the shelter prompted her to work toward making ANEW Living a reality.

“I saw a huge lack in affordable housing for working people,” Barlow said. “I saw many people at the shelter with jobs who couldn’t make that leap to apartment and home.”

She cited expensive rents and low-paying jobs as the primary barriers for people at the shelter being able to make that leap. ANEW helps with that, she said.

So, she approached the pastor of her church, Church for the Nations, and the church agreed to be the nonprofit sponsor agency to offer temporary financial backing. Barlow was quick to add that her organization is a secular one, and there are no requirements for religious activity.

The motel, leased from owner Indu Patel, has 20 rooms for about 40 people that vary from single occupancy to apartment size.

HARD WORK AHEAD

The expenses for the new project are the lease payment, utilities and insurance with a budget of about $149,000, Barlow said. Projected revenues, including fundraising, are $162,000. The money left over will be applied toward fixing the damaged rooms. The ReStore at Habitat for Humanity has been instrumental in donating supplies and materials.

“Our residents are all pitching in and donating all the labor,” Barlow said. “We have several tenants in construction.”

The residents who help receive deductions off their rent payments.

The bottom line, Barlow said, is that without the repairs, the organization would be self supportive, but the building is nearly 60 years old and has very little work done to it over the years – with plumbing, water heater replacements, roof repairs and electrical upgrades.

And, at some point in the future, she said ANEW is planning to expand to other old motels in the city if possible. The nonprofit is in negotiations with the building owner for a possible lease-to-own arrangement.

Whereas before the motel saw a large population of customers with alcohol and drug problems, those customers have moved on. And rents, which were collected weekly, as a motel, are now collected monthly. A single is $600 a month, which is $200 less than before.

Barlow said that one of the rooms will be devoted to offering on-site programs for the residents – financial literacy, job interview skills, interpersonal skills, coping from loss or trauma, social activities, cooking on a budget, computer skills and more.

“We want to create more than a social environment,” Barlow said.

The potential residents will be referred from agencies that have transition programs and work with people who are working their way to independence and self-sufficiency – Catholic Charities, Flagstaff Shelter Services, Veterans Resource Center, and Dorsey Manor and Hope Cottage at Sunshine Rescue Mission, Inc. The advisory board for ANEW is made up of representatives from those referring agencies. The people who stay at ANEW will have to demonstrate income, and if they have mental health or substance abuse issues, must establish that they are stabilized.

“This is truly a step up,” Barlow said.

REDUCED RENT

Mandi and her family also qualified for the program.

“We were actually happy,” Mandi said. “We were kind of worried when we heard rumors of the motel sold and didn’t know if we were going to have to move.”

Their rent was lowered, too, and now they pay monthly. A $200 reduction in rent is important.

“For people who are struggling, that helps,” Mandi said.

Mandi works at Cracker Barrel, and Albert works in the area installing flooring. Arianna attends school at Killip Elementary. They moved to Flagstaff last summer to be with Mandi’s mother, Julie, who also stays in a room at the motel.

They’ve been saving from paychecks and their tax refund will also go toward building a nest egg to afford a home – first and last month’s rent, deposit, and breathing room to ensure they can cover rent. Mandi said she and Albert are in the process of looking right now – something in the $700 to $800 range.

“We need to make sure after the deposits, we can afford it,” Mandi said.

She said her hope is that they are in a permanent place in less than six months.

As for living in a motel, she said, “It’s not something you go bragging about. But it’s a roof over our head, with home-cooked meals. A place you know you can go to bed and be comfortable with.”

The family, this week, was able to move in a refurbished apartment unit on the property, with separate rooms.

Mandi said she appreciates what ANEW is doing.

“There needed to be a place like what she’s doing here,” Mandi said. “What she’s doing here, I can’t begin to say how great it is. It’s awesome.”

CLOSE TO THE ACTION

Barlow is willing to put her money where he mouth is. She said she will be living at the motel in the little apartment off the office.

“I wouldn’t be able to do it from afar,” she said. “It will help me see what we need to do to make this a safe community for our families – for me to live it.”

“We’re starting to chisel away at that hole with have in our continuum of care,” Barlow added.

By Larry Hendricks – AZ Daily Sun

Dec 032013
 

flagstaff-route-66









Angel Delgadillo’s hand vibrates on the stick shift of his ’55 Dodge pickup as he squints out the cracked windshield and gears down to a stop. “The old road came right along here,” he says, sweeping at an expanse of dust-blown asphalt and the juncture where Route 66 hives off from the I-40, which bypassed his small hometown of Seligman, Ariz., in 1978. He may be showing me a road, but what he’s really pointing out is history.

The Great Diagonal Way. The Mother Road. Main Street of America. Route 66, arguably the most fabled and important road in the United States, was commissioned in 1926 and became America’s main thoroughfare, linking Chicago to Los Angeles. Immortalized in song, film and fiction, the almost-4,000-kilometre road was known as the path of opportunity in the 1930s for dust-bowl farmers from Arkansas and Oklahoma fleeing sharecrop destitution in hope of a better life in California, and was a prominent military deployment route for resources and hitchhiking soldiers in the Second World War. By and large on flat terrain, it spawned a trucking industry determined to usurp the rail cargo that paralleled much of the road. Later, it mapped a 1950s travelogue postcard route for the family road-trip vacationers who were California-bound or headed west to see the Grand Canyon. Motels, diners, gas stations, banks and general stores lined the highway and thrived on the wayfarers stitching their way across rural America. That is, until the road was eclipsed by a series of interstate highways built in the late ’50s, a portent of the inevitable decommissioning of Route 66. The bypassing of the last leg in Williams, Ariz., in 1985 was the end of the road. And then it disappeared off the maps.

“We didn’t exist, we didn’t count, we didn’t matter,” recalls Delgadillo of the rejection of the old two-lane road for the newer highway, which abandoned Seligman and other towns like it in this northern stretch of Arizona. Inspired by the survival instinct of those “flight of America” migrants he witnessed travelling westward through Arizona as a child, Delgadillo, hailed as the “guardian angel of Route 66 and a tourist attraction in his own right, and his brother Juan drove the movement to resurrect the spirit of — if not the traffic on — Route 66 and bolster relic Arizona town economies so that folks could stay. Make a living. Matter.

Arizona was the first state to designate the “Historic Route 66” in 1987, reviving the longest stretch of the original route of the eight states it traversed, and invigorating towns for visitors who share Delgadillo’s passion for the old road and who recognize the importance of a history laden with hope and suffering, exuberance and adventure.

Several towns are essential pit stops on this north-central Arizona journey. Oatman is a dusty former mining outpost where wild burros — descendants of the ones from Oatman’s turn-of-the-century mining days — still patrol the streets amid stalls peddling souvenirs and sentimentality. Kingman is home to three museums documenting the cultural history of Route 66 in the state.

Nostalgia has a certain currency, but Northern Arizona isn’t fetched up on a memory lane.

Route 66 traverses part of the Mojave Desert, and there’s something about that chalky landscape that focuses the senses. Your eyes grab for any departure from scrub — something higher like Joshua trees or bright like the “damned yellow conglomerate,” the way I heard someone refer to the flowers that carpet the dry earth. But grape vines? Don and Jo Stetson latched onto an idea that the virgin high desert soil on their ranch near Kingman, along with the hot days and cool desert nights, might be perfect for a vineyard plunked down in a valley against a backdrop of mountains.

It’s too early to say how Stetson’s Winery’s 3-year-old cabernet, chardonnay, zinfandel and merlot grapes will fare when they’re ready for harvest a few years down the line, but until then, they’ve turned out some pretty great wines using cabernet, merlot and chardonnay grapes from California thanks to the skilled eye and palate of one of Arizona’s wine gurus, Eric Glomski.

Arizona has an innate and comfortable frontier swagger, and this, along with the desert climate, has attracted a bold breed of winemakers. Glomski’s own Page Springs Cellars is located in the Cottonwood region of the Verde Valley, home to a more established group of wineries. The rocky, mineral-rich soils and intense heat contribute to the terroir.

Page Springs Cellars’ success has as much to do with Glomski’s zeal to understand and interpret that terroir as it does with his penchant for traditional southern Rhone varietals like syrah and grenache, or his bent for experimentation with new varietals like aglianico, alicante and marselan. He lets the land speak and the fruit guide the wine, which means some grapes are destined for a blend such as Page Springs’ 2012 Ecips, a mingling of cournoise, syrah, mourvèdre and grenache.

Page Springs, along with wineries like Pillsbury, Javelina Leap, Oak Creek and Fire Mountain, has breathed new life into the valley, as well as the town of Cottonwood, an epicurean hub for the area. They know they’re on to something, and the excitement is palpable. Five tasting rooms line Cottonwood’s main drag, including wineries from southern Arizona that want some northern exposure. Locavore, farm to table, snout to tail all infuse cuisine in the valley, with wine as the stalwart complement. It even informs the desserts: check out Crema Cafe’s Dayden rosé sorbet for a cold treat in the desert sun.

Gourmands might continue on to Sedona for its fine dining and chic shops in the northern Verde Valley, but the red rock hills, buttes and mesas are the real attractions in this city. Surrounded by towering rust-coloured spires and monoliths, Sedona’s “vortexes” beckon folk to explore what the Hopi Indians have known for centuries: there’s a spiritual energy in these here hills.

So it was natural for reiki master and native Indian scholar Linda Summers to settle in Sedona. Attuned to the subtle shifts in energy that draw visitors from around the globe to experience these sandstone pools of power, Summers shares her spiritual skills and area knowledge on personalized guided vortex tours, which include a description of the particular history and energies associated with each vortex, meditation at the sites and reiki. Summers points out the swirling pattern in nature at these sites: coils in rocks and twists in trees. Cirrus clouds begin to eddy above us at Cathedral Rock. And then Summers points at the sun, where a halo has formed: I’m hooked. While some come to meditate, absorbing the subtle energy here, others take to the hills for hikes about Cathedral or Bell Rocks, Airport Mesa or any number of treks around these surreal, otherworldly formations.

Sedona’s red rocks succumb to lush forests of gambel oak, ponderosa pine and canyon maple in Oak Creek Valley, and the ascent to Flagstaff is a sight for green-starved eyes. There are plenty of national campgrounds in the valley for those in need of some forest therapy. The road snakes steeply toward Flagstaff. At 7,000 feet above sea level, this official dark-sky city is not hampered by the tang of Route 66 motel neon, a beautiful, tawdry escort in and out of town. Flagstaff is a mix of the new and very old — check out the downtown core and cocktail lounges at the historic Weatherford and Monte Vista hotels once frequented by Hollywood stars like John Wayne and Clark Gable. This university town has an easy hipness reflected in the great restaurants and craft breweries that have cropped up here. The Museum of Northern Arizona refines the area’s history, geology and aboriginal culture artfully under one roof, and is worth a trip before exploring the Petrified Forest or the Grand Canyon or any of the multitude of other natural wonders in proximity to this mountain town.

The Grand Canyon is, of course, the magnificent main draw in Arizona. But no adventurer on a great journey ever made a beeline to the end. There’s too much to see here along the way. Start by climbing a mountain: watch for the Santa Fe train rolling alongside the old Route 66. Then follow.

The writer flew courtesy of the Arizona Office of Tourism and was a guest of Hualapai River Runners and the wineries listed in the story. The organizations did not review or approve this article.

IF YOU GO

All major Canadian and American airlines fly from Canada’s major cities to Phoenix, but there aren’t always direct flights; you’ll probably have a layover at Chicago’s O’Hare. Car rentals are available at a terminus about five minutes away (via a regular shuttle) from Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport.
Winter might be an obvious time for Canadians to visit Arizona, trading our cold for the dry, warm winter and perennial sunshine in the state, where many retire to golf and hike and sightsee. Braver souls who love a dry, hot heat will enjoy easier access to all of Arizona’s wonders at off-season discounts from around May to September.

By Lynn Farrell, For The Montreal Gazette

Sep 112012
 




One of those shows I wish I could have made it to… Oh well, there is always NEXT year!!

Once a year, historic downtown Flagstaff’s narrow streets and redbrick buildings are alight with a unique kind of feeling. With 50s and 60s music blasting on street corners and smells wafting from vendors’ booths, people of various ages and descents crowd the streets and gaze at cars from all eras.

This was the atmosphere of the 8th Annual Route 66 Charity Car Show held this past weekend, organized by the Route 66 Car Club. With craft booths, food vendors and a maximum of 425 cars from the past and the present, there was something for everyone to gaze at. What was so unique about the event was the sense of community among showers, goers and sellers alike.

Route 66 Car Club, a non-profit organization, started in 1985 as club for Chevrolet Corvairs. The club’s interest expanded into other models and eras as the organization grew. Mark Strango, president of the Route 66 Car Club, is one of many who help run the car show. In the past six years, the show has raised about $150,000, $18,000 in the past year, which all went to local charities and the Flagstaff community. The club and show manage to do all this while also bringing business to the town. “[There is] an economic jolt to the economy every time we come up,” Strango said.

In the scope of history, cars and Route 66 have symbolized progress, travel, freedom and community. On the subject, Strango said, “My parents came out of WWII. At that time, you had the big expansion west. In WWII, not everybody owned a car. [Route] 66 was the first main road that went Midwest, starting into Chicago, and ending in Santa Monica, California. That’s how we migrated west. As a kid, I can remember riding in the car on Route 66. It’s the experience…It’s the love of the road; it’s beautiful. I can’t explain it any other way.”

Don Chacon, a Class of 1965 NAU alumnus and an educator for 45 years, was at the show on Saturday as an entrant, showing a classic car he fixed up and remodeled himself. Of the entrants, Chacon said, “You’re not going find a nicer group of people…we’re not here to raise chaos.” Lifting his cap to reveal gray hair, he added, “I mean, look how old we are.”

The car show strives to preserve the spirit of Route 66, small and yet so significant in the grand scheme of history. Strango said, “The main road is fading fast and we need to keep it alive for future generations. I’d like to see more of 66 get back on board – more of the states get together and make it a more continuous route…so people can experience it. [Otherwise,] our kids will never know.”

The show is an interesting, fun way to spend a day. It is a place for young people to learn and for others to relive the past. Walking down the streets, one can hear conversations in different languages, like Japanese and German, all brought together by a common interest in history represented through vehicles. Although a tourist area, Flagstaff is still an intimate community because local organizations, like the Route 66 Car Club, seek to benefit the town.

By Alexis Burnett – Northern Arizona News

Sep 052012
 


Second year in a row I will have to miss this car show, and trust me – I am not sleeping well because of it!!!



Route 66 has earned its place in American history, and the fabled Mother Road lives on in music, films, books and folklore. There may be no better way to celebrate that legacy than with a classic-car show and three-day bash.

FLAGSTAFF ROUTE 66 DAYS
When: Friday-Sunday, Sept. 7-9. Car show is 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Where: 211 W. Aspen Ave.
Admission: Free. Registration is sold out.
Details: 928-451-1204, rt66johnny@gmail.com.

The eighth annual Flagstaff Route 66 Days, sponsored by the Route 66 Car Club of Flagstaff, takes place this weekend in the cool pines. More than 425 vehicles are registered for this year’s show, the seventh sellout in a row.

“We have all years, makes and models of cars, trucks, sports cars, muscle cars, street rods and special-interest vehicles entered in the show,” said John Fajardo, the club’s vice president.
The club is a non-profit, and all event proceeds will benefit local charities. “We have donated over $145,000 back to the community in our first seven years,” he said.

Some of the vehicles in the show are a restored 1913 Ford Model-T touring car; a hand-built 1916 Ford Model-T milk truck powered by a supercharged Chevrolet engine; and a 2002 Sterling diesel tractor.

“We have several large (Arizona) car clubs that come annually to the show, a gentleman comes each year from Michigan, and this year he’s bringing a 1932 Ford roadster powered by a late-model Corvette engine,” Fajardo said. “(Also) this year, we have a gentleman that’s driving his 1968 Mustang fastback from Minnesota.”

David Krippner of Casa Grande entered his daily driver: a custom 1936 Ford pickup built on a Dodge Dakota four-wheel-drive chassis. It’s white with tan flames, and the tweed interior matches the paint.

“The show is just a unique experience, and you get to spend all day downtown,” Krippner said. “And I like the little restaurants and microbreweries.”

Bob Hammons of Cornville entered his 1957 Bel-Air two-door hardtop, which he has owned for more than 45 years. Although his red Chevy seems to be original from the outside, a new Chevy ZZ 350 engine powers it.

“It’s such a nice, relaxed and well-run show, in a great setting, and everyone seems to have a great time,” Hammons said.

New to the event is the evening cruise-in 6-9 p.m. Friday at Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers. It will feature music and top five choice awards for best vehicles.

The show also will feature arts-and-craft, food and automotive-memorabilia vendors. The women of the car club put together a 50/50 drawing and a raffle for gift baskets, and a silent auction will feature various items, including rare Native American jewelry.
The club will hand out more than 90 awards, including for best paint, engine and interior, best Ford, best Chevy and best Mopar. A “sensational six” best of show will receive trophies and cash prizes.

Route 66 Car Club members don’t enter their rides in the show, but they’ll display their vehicles in the city-hall parking lot from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, along with vendors and a farmers market. “Our club is very proud of the fact that the event has become so popular that each of our 425 car-show spaces sold out more than six weeks before the event,” Fajardo said.

by Nick Gallup –  The Republic | azcentral.com

Aug 172012
 


Illuminated, colorful signs for iconic businesses tell Route 66 story best

Editor’s note: Explore Arizona contributor Roger Naylor and photographer Larry Lindahl traveled the length of Historic Route 66 in Arizona to document it in their 2012 book, “Arizona Kicks on Route 66.” In seeking to excerpt the book, we might have settled on the small-town history, the people or the kitschy-cool vibe. But the bright neon photos leaped off the pages. Here’s an armchair tour.

One of my favorite parts of writing “Arizona Kicks on Route 66” was discovering the kaleidoscope blaze of neon that still slices through small-town twilight. From Holbrook to Kingman, from Winslow to Williams, neon-sign language is the lingo of Route 66.

Route 66 neon signs

Neon shimmers and glimmers, it reinvents the dusk and changes the direction of color. Neon is the nightlight of angels and drunkards. Keep your starry, starry skies; give me one twinkling with rainbow hues. If I ever enter politics, the first law I’ll champion will be a tax break for every business that erects a neon sign.

Neon — both old and new — is still in evidence along Arizona’s portion of Route 66. That wavy ribbon of two-lane pavement carves out the journey of a lifetime. Grand adventures mingled with intimate moments unfold, while conjuring images of simpler times. In places where diners are still run by sassy waitresses who call everybody “Hon,” and motel rooms are shaped like tepees, neon signs paint the night softly.

Here are photographer Larry Lindahl’s images of Route 66 neon.

Dairy Queen

This dollop of vintage neon blends in perfectly in Holbrook, where the skyline includes cafes, a historic courthouse, hulking dinosaurs guarding rock shops and motel rooms shaped like wigwams. Not to mention the only Route 66 movie theater left in Arizona. Now, who wants ice cream?

Joe and Aggie’s Café

Sitting at the booth under the “Open” sign at Joe and Aggie’s on a summer evening, it’s easy to lose track of the decades. Folks stroll past on the sidewalk, cars glide through downtown Holbrook, and it’s all bathed in a neon glow. You’re just a snap-brim fedora and a few swooping Chevy fins from 1957.

Museum Club

If the term roadhouse didn’t exist, it would be coined for the Museum Club, a Flagstaff icon. The giant log cabin once housed a taxidermist, then a museum, before becoming a legendary music venue. It’s said to be haunted by the former owners, both of whom died in the club.

Galaxy Diner

Photos and memorabilia line the walls of the Galaxy Diner in Flagstaff. The aroma of chopped-steak burgers wafts through the joint, and banana splits are piled high. Every weekend brings live bands, swing-dancing lessons and car-club meetings.

Western Hills Motel

Neon and Route 66 will be forever linked. Garish, gaudy signs like this beauty in Flagstaff cut through the cacophony of roadside advertising to snag passing motorists. The motel may be a little down at the heels, but is still in operation.

Sierra Vista Motel

The Sierra Vista is a remnant of another era. A cluster of hotels and boarding houses once huddled along a pre-1935 alignment of Route 66 just south of downtown Flagstaff. Now, businesses such as Mother Road Brewing Co. and Pizzicletta restaurant are springing up along this stretch.

Cruiser’s Route 66 Cafe

Cruiser’s Cafe is the unofficial patio of Route 66, right on the Mother Road in downtown Williams. Ribs are almost always sizzling on the grill, and a guy with a guitar plays the soundtrack of a rambling youth. Traffic flows past, and it’s hard to resist ordering one more beer under those circumstances.

Rod’s Steak House

If you build it, they will come. If you build it and put a neon cow on the roof, they’ll stop for a meal. That bovine beacon has been luring hungry travelers to Rod’s Steak House in Williams since 1946.

Snow Cap

The Snow Cap in Seligman is beloved for its tasty grub and the wacky gags of the late Juan Delgadillo. Juan’s legacy lives on as his kids continue delivering his zingers along with juicy burgers. A visit to the Snow Cap is a reminder that life is delicious and should never be taken too seriously.

Supai Motel

Classic neon signs define the Seligman skyline, like the one at the Supai Motel. Pull into town at dusk with those lights beckoning and the seductive promise of New Color TVs, and it’s almost impossible not to stop for the night.

Historic Route 66 Motel

Route 66 pilgrims from all over the world visit Seligman because this is where the preservation movement began. They explore the small town with wide-eyed wonder during the day, then settle in at the Historic Route 66 Motel for the night.

Hill Top Motel

The sign lets you know you’re in for a classic Route 66 experience. The Hill Top in Kingman is an excellent example of the midcentury motor courts that are synonymous with the Mother Road. Enjoy a restful night on a high perch, away from the rumble of trains.

Route 66 facts

Arizona contains the longest unbroken stretch of Route 66 still in existence, 158 miles from west of Ash Fork to the California state line.

Arizona is the birthplace of Historic Route 66. Through the work of a handful of Seligman residents, Arizona became the first state to dedicate a stretch of U.S. 66 as Historic Route 66, thus beginning the preservation efforts that soon encompassed the entire road.

The only national park that Route 66 passes through is Petrified Forest National Park.

In 2009, Historic Route 66 in Arizona was designated an All-American Road under the Federal Highways National Scenic Byways Program. Only 31 roads in the nation have that distinction, and it is the only portion of Route 66 to hold it.

Details: www.arizonakicks66.com, Facebook.com/Route66Arizona, @Rt66Arizona on Twitter.

by Roger Naylor –  The Republic

 

Apr 202012
 



Phase 2 begins on the sign!

On our trip from Holbrook to Needles (I say OUR because I am traveling with Rich Talley, Motel Safari – Tucumcari fame). We decided to hit a few places on the way to Needles.

Now, on the way BACK to Flagstaff, we will be driving most of the route to stop at a bunch of places….

Until then, here are a few places we stopped at:

We met at the Globetrotter Motel and headed out to Flagstaff.
In Flagstaff, it was MANDATORY we stop at the Mother Road Brewering Company.

This is a new business on Route 66 and Rich really wanted to stop here, and we are glad we did!
It was 2pm and although they did not open until 3pm, they let us in and gave us a tour, and even better, a sampling of beer!

These folks are passionate about what they do and I feel they will be a great addition to Route 66. They are distributing in Arizona, but are looking for distributors all along the route.

After buying a 6 pack, we headed out.




























We then headed out to Kingman and decided to stop and eat at Mr. D’s. I had about 8 glasses of their Root Beer and a burger. I was not disappointed.
















We will spend all day getting the sign looking like it should and I will post the updates as well as our trip back to Flagstaff.

Mar 222012
 



Seeing I have the next 12-14 months running back and forth from Scottsdale to Joseph City / Holbrook, I figured I should REALLY get to know the eastern part of Route 66 in Arizona as well as I could…

I usually leave around 5am (or earlier) on my trek north to Flagstaff then east to Joseph City. I like driving in the dark, there is no one out and the road is pretty much yours.

Getting to Flagstaff – the snow was everywhere! Reports said 19-28″ (depending on who you believe) fell over the weekend, and I decided to postpone my trip one day to get the plows out and do what they do best.






I hit a few ice patches in Flagstaff, but just enough to get gas and get on I-40 (sorry, I have a meeting to get to!)

Before I rushed to get to my meeting, I thought it would be nice to get off at the Winslow exit to ‘poke a peek’ at what was happening. I came across this building, which has a story behind it…







This is the ‘Route 66 Palace’ in Winslow – located right across the street from the Winslow Theater (the theater is for sale ya know!) and I stumbled upon the owner via a website dedicated to, his wife’s truck (??)

For those who do not know – I am restoring a 1949 Ford F-3 3/4 ton pickup truck, because I like to work on things. While looking for parts online, I came across an unusal 1948 Ford F-1 1/2 ton pickup truck, and it caught my eye.







The one on the left is hers – the one on the right is mine.

So, I tracked down the owner of the Route 66 Palace Brian, and he and I spoke for about an hour about, well, Route 66 stuff!
I can tell you he is a welcome addition to the ‘owners club’ on the route, and he is going full steam ahead with the restoration of his building, which he told me he will use as a ‘getaway house’. So you might ask, what is he running from? The same type of thing anyone owning a summer cottage, a small home on the lake, or even a ski resort place, this one happens to be on the route!

He and I will meet in the near future!

After my meeting, I went to lunch at the Wayside Cafe in Holbrook for a quick bite. (sorry – no pics!) I have never been here before and the food wasn’t bad. It is truly a ‘mom and pop’ type of restaurant. Quick and easy. I had the Chicken Burrito – and it was good.

I wanted to leave the job early enough to get to Winslow and stop at a few places, but this would not be the case.

One of those stops was to the Old Trails Museum a few doors down from the ‘Standin on the Corner Gift Shop’







Alas, they were closed!
I always wanted to check it out inside and see what they have on display – maybe next time…

I ALWAYS stop in to my favorite LITTLE gift shop – the Standin’ on the Corner Gift Shop just to chat with the ladies and see what is happening in town. As usual, they were chock-full of knowledge.








I ended up buying a few things for my office (it is slowly becoming the ‘Corporate America Route 66 Shrine!’).

I said my good-byes and hurried over to the Meteor Crater Trading Post to check in… only to find they were closed! Um, it’s getting close to travel season folks! Extend the hours a little!







I keep checking out the ‘World’s Largest Map of Route 66’ mural to assess the work that could be done to it, and there will be quite a bit of work to do. They also want to do a few more things around the property – but that little ‘surprise’ will have to wait.

I felt I needed to get home, but as I was driving towards Flagstaff, I noticed a steel structure going up just north of Twin Arrows. Curious by nature, I got off the Twin Arrows exit and went the OTHER way away from the Trading Post and headed up the road. The road is abruptly closed off with gates and signs and warnings, and I slowly approached a couple who happened to be outside.

I asked them if this is where the new casino was being built and the older gentleman simply replied ‘Yep’. Then he proceeded to ask if I were ‘the media’… He told me the name of the new casino will be the Twin Arrows Resort and Casino – because Twin Arrows itself is trademarked, so they went with this name.








Notice they did not change the logo?

Now, here is the hope: If the casino is going up, I am wondering how long until the Hopi Tribe starts working on the Twin Arrows Diner, Trading Post and Gas Station!

There has always been talk of once the Navajo start the casino…. the Trading Post would be right behind it.

So I left and headed back to Scottsdale. Knowing in a few short days (tomorrow actually!) I am back on the road towards Needles to start recon on the 66 Motel sign so we can light that baby up!!

Jan 212012
 



Arizona officially became my ‘new home’ almost a year and a half ago. Being a city boy from Chicago – they say ‘change is good’ – and brother – they weren’t lying!!

I love all Arizona has to offer (yes, even the dry heat) but what I love is I am sandwiched between two other Route 66 states! In Chicago – we had a condo downtown exactly 2 miles due north of the start of Route 66. While some make think it is great to be in such a location, plesae remember – we were at the START of the route, and for us to see any other part of it – it was a drive!!

Enough about me… we have a magazine down here (for all you non-locals) named Arizona Highways. They also have a television show which I catch weekly, not only to see what Arizona has to offer, but to see if and what they show about Route 66 in Arizona, and to be honest, they have been spot on….

They did the magazine entirely celebrating Arizona’s 100th anniversary as being a state – and loaded up the magazine with pictures.

Here are the ones that involve Route 66 towns and Route 66 itself:












































































































The magazine showed pictures from most of the cities in the state of Arizona – but seeing this is a Route 66 website… well, you know…

Copyright 2012 – Arizona Highways Magazine

Dec 312011
 



I started the tradition of ‘The 12 Days of Christmas – Route 66 Style’ and thought: ‘Why not follow up with what everyone else does – a New Year’s Resolution – Route 66 Style!.

This is not truly a resolution – but a checklist and / or goal sheet of what I would like to accomplish on Route 66 throughout the 2012 year. Now please note, I DO HAVE A LIFE! so this is as vast as I can get it without blowing it and not being able to accomplish ANY of them!

I have been thinking about the new year and what I would LIKE to do on the route, and what NEEDS to be done for the route.

The list is as follows:

#1) Work on at least 3-4 preservation projects. – This one will be easy and hard – depending on when and where. I do not mind the travel or time, just timing could be a factor. I have a few in mind though!

#2) Restore the 66 Motel sign – I have been waiting a year to do this one – I know this one will get done seeing I have been planning it all of 2011 – the neon though….

#3) Travel the stretch from Flagstaff to Santa Monica Pier. – I haven’t done this one in a LONG time – so I know things have changed and I probably forgot a bunch of stuff.

#4) Meet Dan Rice & Kumar– Well, if I am going to be driving past the WigWams and ending up at the pier….

#5) Join another Route 66 State Association – I am a business member of most of them (I have lost count!) so the other one(s) I am not a business member to – I need to be.

#6) Get on one of Jim Conkle’s Route 66 TV Show – I think he and I can work something out…!

#7) Get another video up on YouTube of either travel, restoration, or presentation. – This one will be somewhat easy – or maybe not…

Bonus ones which will be a LOT harder to hit:

#8) Give something back to Route 66 – I do not know how this one will pan out – but I will know it if / when it happens.

#9) Purchase a Historic Route 66 Land / Business – this is the ‘Hail Mary’ of the list and a great way to end it! (My wife will kill me if I do this one!!!)

I have a love for the route – and it is one thing to host a site, update it, post pictures or articles, but what do I want to do to give the actual travelers of the route who take their time and hard earned money to try to have the experience of a lifetime?

I think if each one of us reading this just did ONE thing (as simple as joining an association – it goes a lot FURTHER than you think), the route will be so much further ahead of where it needs to be.

Let me know what you think on my Facebook Page by clicking HERE and leaving your comments!

Thanks for following me throught the last year (and stay with me for the next year!) Happy New Years! and God Bless you and your families!!

Ed Klein
Route 66 World