Mar 042013
 





The very best thing one can do to support Route 66 is to travel it. Period.
A traveler can stop and visit restaurants, motels, gift shops and so on, and so on – and by purchasing items, meals, overnight rooms, this is the best way to make sure the route not only ‘stays open’ – but grows as well.

So, what if you can’t get out and travel the route (anytime soon at least)? Do what I do: Support the different Route 66 associations.

I have been (and still am for the most part) a ‘business member’ of most of the Route 66 State Associations. I believe in what they stand for on a smaller level as they concentrate only on their state, with once in a while crossing state lines to help a neighboring project on the route.

I am also a fan of any national Route 66 associations or alliances – but the state level is where I like to be. All in all: They all have their purpose.

I have created a link with all the different associations so you can check them out yourself. I enjoy getting all the news letters and info either mailed to me or even Emailed to me and I always try to help them any way I could.

The only ‘downer’ I have is I was surprised on how many folks who are sort of the ‘who’s who’ of the route do not support these associations – even if only in their own state the route runs through. There may be a slew of reasons and I do not want to name names, I just hope they will see the example so many other folks have become members to support the route in yet another way.
I believe those who are in the ‘know’ should always be a great example of how to do the right thing on the route by supporting it. Hopefully we can get a few more members on board!!

Route 66 Association of Illinois

Route 66 Association of Missouri

Kansas Historic Route 66 Association

Oklahoma Route 66 Association

Texas Route 66 Association(They do not have an active website)

New Mexico Route 66 Association

Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona

California Historic Route 66 Association

National Historic Route 66 Federation

Jan 052013
 





The Route 66 Association of Illinois will begin seeking nominations for the 2013 Hall of Fame. Nominations are accepted from January 1st, to February 28, 2013.


Nominations must include accurate documentation or declaration of the Nominee’s qualities, deeds, and history on Route 66 that merit this honor.

To qualify for election to the Hall of Fame, Nominees must have made significant contributions to the character or history of the Illinois portion of Route 66. The purpose of the Hall of Fame is to honor and commemorate those people, businesses, attractions and events that helped give Route 66 such special character and historical status in Illinois.

The Hall of Fame is located in Pontiac, Illinois, at the Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame and Museum. The Hall of Fame and Museum is one of the most visited attractions on all of Route 66 in Illinois with visitors from all over the state as well as all over the world.

The committee invites anyone to submit a nomination. It must include a strong fact-based essay. It must include details about the nominee’s contributions to the character or history of the Illinois portion of Route 66. We encourage that photos, news clips, and other memorabilia accompany the essay but they are not required. A panel of historians and Hall of Fame members will judge all nominations.

Please submit nominations and all accompanying material to:
Route 66 Association of Illinois
ATTN: Hall of Fame Committee
110 West Howard Street
Pontiac, IL 61764

All nominations are kept for 3 years and presented to the committee for discussion. There is no limit on how many nominations can be submitted. The final decision regarding how many members are elected into the 2013 Class of the Hall of Fame is decided by the Hall of Fame committee. The Hall of Fame committee is comprised of 14 people who include current Hall of Fame members, Association historians, the Preservation Committee Chairman, and members who are appointed to the committee by the President based on their Route 66 knowledge.

Dec 282012
 




I spoke with Bill Thomas and he mentioned to me if anyone wantes to do this (which I am!) – should use ‘outdoor paint’ on these signs as they will – obviously – be displayed outside. I will let you know when I receive mine!

ATLANTA — As a member of the Atlanta Betterment Fund, businessman Bill Thomas is a firm believer in holding brainstorming sessions and discussing ideas that could generate positive feedback for the Logan County community.

And almost always, Thomas said, the town’s connection to Route 66 tends to be the focus.

“We often take an idea, incorporate other ideas from projects that have worked either here or someplace else, and come up with a plan,” Thomas said.

The newest plan is based on Chicago’s “Cows on Parade” exhibit, a 1999 idea in which local artists, architects, photographers and designers painted, decorated and dressed up fiberglass cow statues and then displayed them around the city for several months.

The first Route 66 Reinterpreted” project will encourage artists to create their own take on the U.S. Route 66 Highway Shield. Each will be provided a blank 2- by 2-foot wooden cutout of the shield, painted white, which will become their personal canvas.

The only requirement is to incorporate the text “Illinois U.S. 66” somewhere on the face of the shield. The signs will be put on permanent display along the route.

“It is just a great way to get people to visit our town and see something different,” said Atlanta resident Dale Colaw, a member of the Atlanta Betterment Fund board of directors. “It reminds me of the old Burma Shave signs we had out near the entrances to town which we had local artists do, but now those are so damaged and they don’t resemble what they once were.”

The project is open to anyone over age 16 and Thomas said up to 50 entries will be accepted. All entries will be displayed along Route 66 in downtown Atlanta from May through Aug. 31.

“This is a great way to bring national attention to Route 66,” said Geoff Ladd, President of the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway. “Stay tuned for this because once it is done, there will be big celebration and we will have some beautiful art to showcase when we do.”

The Atlanta Betterment Fund board will select 10 shields as finalists and the public can vote at selected Route 66 attractions or at www.atlantaillinois.org. Five winning shields, along with the names of the artists who created them, will be displayed permanently in the Atlanta Route 66 Park.

Completed applications, including a $25 entry fee, are due Feb. 1. More information is at www.atlantaillinois.org.

Kevin Barlow – Pantagraph.com

Nov 122012
 




This is our third guest article on Route 66. This one focuses on the ‘winter’ of, or ON, Route 66!

Traveling down the historic Route 66 is a unique way to get your family together during the Christmas holiday. Gather the troops from across the country and reconnect on the old historic “Mother Road” that, at one time, was best passageway from the Midwest to the West.


Drive through the streets of a fabulous world of kitschy Americana, follow each other in a caravan of cars or pile in an RV (try to avoid motorcycles during winter — it can get cold!). Each little town you pass has a legend attached to it. You may find yourself touring an old school house, visiting a nostalgic ice cream shop and looking over your shoulder in one of the many ghost towns along the tour. With the wind in your hair and not a worry in the world, this will be the best Christmas EVER!

Step into a history rich with roadside attractions, neon signs, rusty gas stations, 50s diners and vintage motels. It’s all part of the experience, part of the adventure. What do you need to know and where do you go?

Driving Tips

  • Be sure you have appropriate car insurance (with roadside assistance) so you are 100 percent protected and carefree on your journey.
  • Don’t advertise you are away from home. When in a city with inhabitants, keep your maps out of plain sight when stopped and use the truck stops if in need of rest — they are generally the safest place to rest your eyes.

Great Idea No. 1

Before you go on this fabulous family vacation, make a playlist of Christmas songs and old country driving tunes (Willy Nelson would be a great choice). Burn it to a few disks and bam! Christmas gifts, done! You’ll be singing all the way from Amarillo to Tucumcari. Pair that with the EZ66 Guide for sale at Route 66 World Bookstore and Roadfood and you’ll be on your way to worry free holidays.

Great Idea No. 2

Roadfood. It’s a must-get book. Ever wanted to eat at little off the beaten path at classic regional restaurants but don’t know how to find them? This book was written by a couple who went on a country-wide trip, finding and rating the best unknowns. While the directions are good, a navigational device is extremely helpful.

Fun Places to Stop

Christmastime along the Route 66 is vibrant with life and lights. It’s quirkiness illuminates with decorations aglow.

  • Chain of Rocks Bridge — Constructed in 1929, the bridge crosses the Mississippi from Alton, Ill. to St. Louis, Mo. and has a 30-degree turn midway across a mile-long bridge, according to nps.gov. Today, it has trails for walking and biking — fun for the whole family.
  • The Blue Whale — Sitting in Catoosa, Okla. is an 80-foot long smiling blue whale that Hugh Davis built for his whale-collecting wife, Zelta, as a gift. The attraction dates back to the 1970s.
  • Sandhills Curiosity Shop — Located in Erick, Okla., this wacky shop is full of music memorabilia. But it’s not just a shop, it’s an experience. Sit for awhile and have a chat with the owners, Harley and Annabelle Russell.
  • Restored Phillips 66 Gas Station – Between Clinton and Amarillo, Texas, this is where gas is 19 cents a gallon. That was all the way back in 1927, according to ridingroute66.us.
  • Cadillac Ranch — Amarillo, Texas has a mythical land covered with 10 historic Cadillacs, noses stuck in the earth as they erect from the land. You are free to graffiti your presence on the pieces of art, says legendsofamerica.com. They are open to the public to decorate.
  • Tucumcari, New Mexico – A pleasant reminder of the good old days. With historic motels like the Blue Swallow and Motel Safari, you can sleep under the pretty neon signs which light up the route through town.
  • Winslow, Ariz. — Simply, so you can stand on the corner in Winslow, Ariz. and live in the Eagles song, “Take it Easy.”
  • The Grand Canyon Railway’s Christmas Polar Express — In Williams, Ariz., a charming little town sits along the Route 66. During Christmas, the railway turns into a magical Christmas train to the North Pole.
  • Santa Monica Pier — Route 66 ends with an amusement park, an old carousel and the lovely California coast.

Lastly, be sure to take special care of our Route 66. Help preserve historic landmarks along the 2,400 -mile stretch. What can you do? Clean up after yourself and others, drive slow and enjoy the sites and get into the nostalgia by helping the local businesses survive.

Article by Olivia Lewin

Nov 082012
 

 



My good friend Rich Henry sent me an Email asking to help reach out to support a clause close to his heart…

Big Red is helping support and promote the House Rabbit Society, St Louis, Mo, chapter in selling their annual calendar for 2013. He did not want me to mention, that he is the September bunnie on it (see picture). All proceeds, other than mailing costs, will go directly to the Missouri House Rabbit Society. It is a very nice, heavy quality calendar.

Price, including shipping within continental United States for one calendar is $15.00. Save on shipping on mulitiple calendar orders. Pickup at Henrys Ra66it Ranch for $10.00 each. If requested on a calendar for no extra charge we will add a personal touch to it. For more info, questions, or to order e-mail us direct at Route66@midwest.net.

Please do not respond thru the group e-mail to us. They make excellent presents, whether Christmas or otherwise.

The House Rabbit Society is a non-profit 501,C3 organization. Their goal is to save abandoned rabbits and find forever homes for them. For more info on the HRS go to http://www.rabbit.org. Most of our bunnies here at Henrys Ra66it Ranch are rescues with a few being children born of rescue parents.

Thank-you, Rich, Big Red and rest of Queen Montana’s legacy

Oct 032012
 





Well, this is disappointing news. I (personally) thought this was a great idea to restore an old gas station into a local museum not only to show off Litchfield’s history, but also to celebrate the route which travels right trough it…

LITCHFIELD — Organizers of the Litchfield Museum & Route 66 Welcome Center have their work cut out for them in their effort to win financial support from the city.

The Litchfield City Council on Tuesday effectively rejected their request for $20,000 to pay for display cases and other furnishings for the Art Deco-style museum, currently under construction at the former site of the Vic Shuling gas station along Historic Route 66.

The council split 4-4, and Mayor Tom Jones abstained. The money would have come from the city’s tourism fund, which is supported by a local tax on hotels and motels.

“The museum is nearly done (being built),” city administrator Andy Ritchie said. “We just hope it carries itself.”

Jones said he abstained from voting because he has “no opinion one way or the other.”

“I’m not opposed to the museum at all,” he said, but organizers shouldn’t have started building before they lined up money to furnish the museum.

Smaller request

After originally asking for $100,000, organizers pared the request down to $20,000 this summer. The city asked them to come back with a more detailed business plan. Representatives from the museum association met individually with city council members prior to a committee meeting last week, gave them a copy of the museum’s “very detailed business plan,” and briefed them on its contents, Ritchie said.

Lonnie Bathurst, a local businessman who chairs the museum’s steering committee and helped develop the business plan, said the aldermen who voted against using money earmarked for tourism promotion to help the museum aren’t seeing the bigger picture.

Travelers along Route 66 spend millions of dollars each year in communities from Chicago to Southern California, Bathurst said.

“We happen to be lucky enough to be on there. We’re just not capitalizing on it in the biggest way possible,” he said. “A museum of that size and cost and magnitude, in terms of its quality, would compare to maybe only half a dozen others along the whole length of the highway.”

While it’s possible for the museum to get off the ground without city support, Bathurst said, “it would be much easier to have the city behind it going forward.”

“I don’t think we’re finished in our efforts with the city council,” he said.

Fundraising continues

Organizers also hope the city will devote a half-percent from the 3 percent hotel tax to help cover the museum’s operating expenses, but they haven’t made a formal request.

Dan Petrella – The State Journal-Register

Oct 022012
 






Joliet has really stepped up its game in realizing Route 66 is an important part of it’s town…

An illuminated, interactive “hub” directing visitors to Route 66 tourism sites in downtown Joliet will be erected sometime this fall, Assistant City Manager Ben Benson said.

The kiosk is already in hand and it’s likely location will be somewhere along Ottawa Street, near the Joliet Area Historical Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center, Benson said.

“Many consider Joliet the gateway to Route 66 through Illinois,” he said. “The need we have is to help direct people to visit local attractions.”

The three-part display is one of about 20 that will be installed in towns that dot the “Mother Road” across Illinois, now designated and Illinois Scenic Byway. The idea is for drivers following the historic trail to stop in towns along the way to learn about the road’s history and what Route 66-related sites each municipality has to offer.

Hundreds of people take the Route 66 journey every year, starting at Buckingham Fountain in Chicago and following the highway sections that remain all the way to Los Angeles. Route 66 was one of the first cross-country interstates in the U.S. Highway system, officially opening on Nov. 11, 1926, and formally removed on June 27, 1985.

Berwyn is the first town to put up their commemorative kiosk, and more will be rolled out over the next year in towns such as Wilmington, Lincoln, Pontiac and Carlinville.

Joliet’s display is being funded with a grant from Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the city will use on-staff workers to do the installation and a local electrical company to hook up the wiring, Benson said.

There has been some debate about where Joliet’s sign should go given that southbound Route 66 follows what is now Route 53/Chicago Street through the city. At one point it was to go in at Bicentennial Park because the Heritage Corridor tourism office located there. Ultimately, however, it was decided the best location was near the Route 66 Visitors Center, where most making the pilgimage are likely to stop, Benson said.

Karen Sorensen – Joliet Patch

Oct 012012
 





Five men and a vintage tractor named Betsy will today begin a trek along Route 66 in the US in a fundraiser for the Irish Cancer Society.

The group is led by retired sheep farmer Kevin Curran from Waterville, Co Kerry, and includes several farmers. He began fundraising for cancer research in 2010 after his wife Eileen, who had named the tractor, died from cancer.

The group accompanying Betsy, a 1963 Fordson Dexta, will leave Los Angeles today and travel 2,500 miles east to Chicago. Mr Curran estimated it would take 15 days, assuming there were no major setbacks along the way.

Because tractors are not allowed on part of the route, Betsy will travel on a trailer for 15 per cent of the journey.

Betsy’s support team includes Maurice Fitzgerald, Frank Meara, Ogie Moran and Mark Walsh.

Mr Curran’s previous fundraising tractor runs with Betsy included Malin Head to Mizen Head, the Ring of Kerry to Dingle, and Mizen Head to Carnsore Point, but this is the first time they have left Ireland.

The tractor was shipped to the US in July and arrived with little time to spare. The team has been contacted by many Irish people living in the States who have offered support and spare parts, should Betsy flounder on the unfamiliar roads.

Mr Curran said the group had chosen the Irish Cancer Society “as each one of us on the team has been touched by cancer either directly or indirectly and we want the funds raised to go to fund cancer research so that future patients have better outcomes”.

Irish Cancer Society chief executive John McCormack said he was thrilled that the charity had been chosen by the fundraisers.

“Kevin and his team have taken on this fundraiser for the last three years raising significant money for the Irish Cancer Society and to see him take this fundraiser across the Atlantic shows a huge amount of creativity and passion for the cause,” Mr McCormack said.

ALISON HEALY – Irishtimes.com

Sep 162012
 





SAN BERNARDINO — Route 66 is more than just classic cars and motorcycles.

For decades, the historic highway served as an integral part of the nation’s transportation system.

And in an effort to raise that awareness, the Historical Society of Trucks sponsored a 40-truck convoy that traveled from Illinois along the old Route 66 Highway to the Rendezvous.

On Saturday, the society completed its inaugural Historic Highway Convey by joining the third day festivities of the 23rd Annual Stater Brothers Route 66 Rendezvous in downtown San Bernardino.
“We picked this destination because the event memorialized our Historic Route 66,” said Bill Johnson, executive director of the society.

The national organization, which aims to preserve the history of trucks as well as the trucking industry, began its trek in Illinois on Sept. 6 and drove more than 3,000 miles.

It began with 30 classic trucks in Morris, Illinois, and on Saturday morning they made their final stop of the tour, picking up 10 more vehicles in Barstow.

By 9:30 a.m., the convoy, which stretched about half a mile, were traveling down Old Cajon Boulevard, the original Route 66.

Ken Lund, of San Bernardino, worked with the society’s organizers to bring others from the local chapter to join the final leg of the jaunt.

Lund drove his 1953 GMC half-ton pickup truck but said the local chapter has models dating to 1916 as well as more modern models. A bulk of the trucks come from the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

“It was interesting to see how far away some of these trucks came from,” he said about Saturday’s ride.

Lund was joined by Richard McNamara, 62, who rode into the festivities in his 1946 Mack tow truck.

“It was a lot of fun,” the Riverside resident said about the short road trip.

McNamara’s truck, of the faded orange paint coat is covered in rust, was once used by the American Automobile Club of Southern California. A faded image of the logo is still visible on the side of the truck.

It was used by Highland based company called Bell’s Garage and Tow Service. But for years, it sat in someone’s yard unused. In fact, it hadn’t been registered since the 1970s, he said.

“I just fell in love with it. It had my name on it – Mark,” he said. “These are rare to find on the West Coast, the models were made in New York”, McNamara said.

John Vannatta, current president of the society was among those who road the whole portion of the trip.

“It was it was great everybody has a bucket list, its something you always wanted to do,” he said.

Along the way, the convoy made nine stops different stops at local Travel Centers of America. It was then the public could meet the drivers, or for members to come out and support. The largest turnout was at the Albuquerque, New Mexico stop.

There were even portions of the cross country trip that the convoy was joined by other truck enthusiasts, he said.

Vannatta said it was a big commitment to drive across the country. He commended those who took part in the trip adding that they probably spent around $1,500 on fuel.

Aside from being able to commit about two weeks, most of truckers spent between $7,000 and $8,000 on the excursion.

“The idea of doing it was fun,” Vannatta says. “A lot of people always want to do this, here (was my) chance.”

Liset Marquez – The Sun

Sep 062012
 


I remember growing up in Chicago seeing this thing MANY times – it was so out of place, in the middle of a parking lot, with a Ford Pinto literally skinned and spread out on a wall of a store not too far from the spindle. This is a really good idea!!

Berwyn, IL — The Berwyn Arts Council is hoping to bring back a recreated version of The Spindle, which had been an icon for Berwyn for years when it was torn down in 2008.

The sculpture, often referred to as the “car kebab,” stood in the Cermak Plaza parking lot and was featured in the movie “Wayne’s World,” and even an outpouring of support couldn’t save it from demolition.

Unbeknownst to most, the top two cars of the sculpture were saved in a shed behind Cermak Plaza. Now, a movement spearheaded by Berwyn Route 66 Museum and Berwyn Arts Council member John Fey has taken possession of the two cars and is working toward recreating the piece of art.

The cars will need to be restored, and a pole that used to support an Anderson Ford sign already has been secured to hold the two cars.

Once completed, the sculpture will be erected at the parking lot of the Route 66 Museum on Ogden Avenue.

The VW Beetle also will be on display at the Route 66 Car Show on Saturday, where the Berwyn Arts Council will be fundraising for the project.

Fey also said that a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign is in the works to fund the project.

Brett Schweinberg – GateHouse News Service