Relighting ceremony for the 66 Motel sign in Needles on Route 66

 California, Daily  Comments Off on Relighting ceremony for the 66 Motel sign in Needles on Route 66
Jun 172012

The Motel 66 neon is ready to be installed!

There will be a lighting ceremony this Saturday, June 23rd at 9pm. It has to be later in the evening because that’s when it gets dark in Needles!

I will be in town late Thursday night working most of the day Friday and Saturday installing the neon, transformers and wiring to complete the restoration of the sign.

We will have a good size crowd that night so if you are traveling Route 66, or even are close to Needles, stop out.

The sign was last lit over 15 years ago so this has been a long time coming.

Thanks again for all of you who have donated and supprted this project!

On the road back to Needles CA…

 Arizona, California, Daily  Comments Off on On the road back to Needles CA…
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.

It begins! The fundraiser for the restoration of the 66 Motel sign!

 California, Daily  Comments Off on It begins! The fundraiser for the restoration of the 66 Motel sign!
Mar 292012

IndieGogo Fundraiser to relight the 66 Motel sign in Needles CA.

Here is your chance to help restore and get the 66 Motel sign lit up again after 15 years of being off!
Every dollar counts! Share this with EVERYONE you know to get the word out to save this iconic historic sign!

We have several folks and businesses along the route who have donated items to donors – so not only do you get the gift of satisfaction for helping such a worthwhile cause – you also GET something from the route!

The painting work has been started and this will be for the neon, transformers, electrical , and installation.
I cannot thank you enough for the help!

Click HERE for more information on how to donate.

Ed Klein
Route 66 World

New Route 66 signs from Barstow east

 California, Daily  Comments Off on New Route 66 signs from Barstow east
Aug 032011

If you put up the signs, they will come.
Well, truthfully, they’re probably coming anyway, but with the signs, they might not get lost.

Sometime in the fall, San Bernardino County will begin erecting 75 signs between Barstow and Needles identifying Route 66.

It’s not like the road’s been lost. It is traveled all the time. There are even painted stencils on its surface to help identify it for those who are pursuing a piece of America’s transportation history. The stencils, which began appearing in 2000, were a response to the theft of the iconic Route 66 road signs, perhaps the most recognized highway sign in the world. The road from Chicago to Santa Monica was the main artery from the Midwest to Southern California for much of the 20th century.

The famous logo of the sign appears on T-shirts, coffee mugs, tennis shoes, you name it.

That will not be what the new signs look like.

Part of the County Route Marker Program — a 1958 initiative to establish signage for tourist routes that highlight points of interest and provide an alternative to the state highway system — the modified pentangle signs will have a blue background with San Bernardino County 66 in white lettering.

First District County Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt said he got the idea for marking the route last year and asked the Public Works Department to research the project.

Route 66 is one of those treasures that we are fortunate to have inherited,” Mitzelfelt said. “It draws visitors from around the world. I think we need to do more to promote it and maintain it better and make it more of a tourist attraction.”

While he hopes the county can eventually install signs every couple of miles along the road from the state line to Upland, right now only the desert section from Barstow east will be marked. The cost of that part of the project will be $30,000. That includes brochures and a website.

Mitzelfelt said he hopes the investment will pay off in increased travel and commerce on the roadway.

With special incentives, he said, he hopes “to encourage commercial and retail development that would have a retro feel to it and rebuild some of that history and generate sales tax dollars at the same time.”

Albert Okura, who owns the local Juan Pollo chain of restaurants, is one of the few people with a retail business on the route’s Barstow-to-Needles leg. But it’s not a Juan Pollo.

Five years ago, he bought the storied town of Amboy and has kept the landmark Roy’s Cafe in operation as a gas station and souvenir shop. No fresh food is served, but Okura hopes to reopen the cafe in the future.

He’s not sure the signs will increase his business, but he does think they will help tourists.

“A lot of people get lost,” Okura said. “We always get people asking directions, especially the Europeans. I think if you have a unified sign they can look for, that would help them.”

Okura said he also thinks there is the potential for more commerce along the historic road.

“What I’m trying to do is get the tourists to drop their money in our county,” he said.

Among the states that Route 66 passes through, he said, California is the only one lagging behind where there’s no organization where people are restoring things and getting businesses going. There are things that could be highlighted between Barstow and Needles. There’s a lot of history out there that people don’t know about.”

But he adds, it’s important not to do too much and maintain the flavor of places like Amboy.

“People are more interested in keeping it the way it is,” he said.

Mark Muckenfuss – The Press-Enterprise

Carty’s Camp in Needles CA on Route 66

 California, Daily  Comments Off on Carty’s Camp in Needles CA on Route 66
Feb 042011

Tucked away behind the famous 66 Motel (Route 66 Motel) in Needles CA – hidden by a fence and some over-growth is the remains of the historic Carty’s Camp.

The camp is probably best known for its cameo in the movie ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ after the family finally crosses into California, and drive up Route 66 with Carty’s Camp in the background as the camera slowly pans to the ‘Welcome to Needles’ sign. You pretty much see the ‘Carty’s Camp’ sign on top of the gas station – but you can not see the actual camp.

It is reported the crew stayed the night here while filming the scene.

While talking to the owners of the 66 Motel, I was given a personal tour of the remains of the camp. The remains pretty much consist of a row of ‘back to back’ rooms which were beyond repair. I was told tents were here before the cabins and there used to be dates in the back area the workers used to go out and pick during harvest season.

I poked my head inside a few cabins and things look almost frozen in time, not touched for years. It almost looked like no one has stepped back there in a very long time.

I really didn’t know too much about Carty’s Camp until I took the tour. I actually went back and watched ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ again, and sure enough – the sign was front and center on the screen!

Please remember it is on private property and the owners of the 66 Motel do not own that property – so you will not be able to go back there – and the owners of the 66 Motel probably do no want to be considered ‘tour guides’ for something which is not theirs.

Route 66 Motel (66 Motel) – Needles CA

 California, Daily, Help Route 66  Comments Off on Route 66 Motel (66 Motel) – Needles CA
Jan 312011

On a recent trip into Needles CA – I was fortunate enough to meet the owners of the Route 66 Motel. The motel is no longer taking guests – as it is now used for monthly rentals. The owners told me they would rather have travelers stay – but with the economy the way it has been, they need to rely on the monthly rent their tenants give them.

They also mentioned the idea of trying to get a grant to ‘work on the exterior of the place’ was not too far fetched. If they decided to start taking travelers – then they would have to go back into the individual rooms and do a 100% remodel.

After talking to them further – we looked at the sign and the owner told me ‘I can’t tell you how many people stop and take pictures of that sign! If I had a dollar….’ It’s funny because most owners who have businesses on Route 66 and have a neat and interesting sign – all say the same thing!!

So, I offered them something they were not expecting. I told them we all know it is one of the most photographed signs on the route and I would be honored to repaint it and replace all the yellow bulbs on it – for free. I do this because I am hell-bent on preserving these historic places on Route 66.

I told them I cannot do the neon because we have to figure a way to make sure the ‘local kids’ stop throwing rocks at it and breaking the neon. I am working on a plan for that as well.

Ironically, they said they felt the sign is it’s own attraction and they really don’t need to use it as a connection with their business – but they see the importance and how much folks love it – and they were very welcome to the idea of me helping them preserve it.

So I will post some pics when I get back out there shortly – and hopefully I will do a decent and respectable job!!

California Route 66 Association holds meeting in Needles

 California, Daily  Comments Off on California Route 66 Association holds meeting in Needles
Jan 202011

NEEDLES – Members of the California Historic Route 66 Association were treated to a tour as part of their meeting in Needles Jan. 8.

The association, a statewide organization divided into three corridors – east, central and west – is focused on preserving, promoting and educating people to the importance of Route 66 in California, Darleen Bitter, organization president, said in a formal statement.

Some goals of the organization include identifying property along Route 66 that is in need of preservation, seeking scenic byways status for Route 66, networking with other groups interested in preservation and educating others about the historic route through outreach activities. Elected officers for the group are Bitter as president; Linda Fitzpatrick, vice president east; Keith Conilogue, vice president central; Dan Rice, vice president west; Terry Kafides, secretary and Lynne Miller, treasurer. Trustees include John Kafides, Steve Bitter, Ed Dietl, Jessica Rice, Tom Miller, Danny Castro, Jennie Avila and Chi Hamilton.

The group met at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant for a general meeting and then took a tour of Needles. They also toured Needles Theater. They met with Bureau of Land Management representative Danella George to discuss the scenic byways program.

Georgia Breault, president of the Needles Downtown Business Alliance; Shawn Gudmundson, city council member; Cindy Semione of the community development department for Needles; and Jim Conkle, Route 66 promoter, all attended the meeting as guests.

The association will rotate meeting sites between Needles, Rancho Cucamonga and Santa Monica. The organization is made up of volunteers and encourages new active members. Anyone interested may contact Linda Fitzpatrick for more information at