Dec 132013
 

midway-trading-post









RETRO – Relive the Route

This is one group who are taking preservation to the next level.

I have had the pleasure to spend time with Roger Holden in and around Moriarty NM. Not only did we speak via Email, Facebook and phone calls, he invited me to stop out when I was coming back from Chicago and gave me a personal tour of all the projects they were working on.

We spent about 4 hours together first meeting at an antique car museum, heading over to the Whiting Bros. Gas Station they are helping with the restoration of the 2 signs, then over to the Midway Trading Post to walk around the property and he showed me what the plans are. We stopped out for lunch to talk preservation and then he told me about a Valentine Diner which was sitting off of the route.

Well, we had to check it out.

These folks are doing GREAT work preserving and growing Route 66 on their stretch of New Mexico.

Visit them on their Face book page at https://www.facebook.com/Relivetheroute

Jul 082013
 






Albuquerque officials want to encourage businesses to add neon lights that will lighten up Central Avenue along the city’s 15-mile stretch of historic Route 66.

The City Council last week approved a package of proposals for incentives. The Albuquerque Journal reported that Mayor Richard Berry intends to sign the proposals.

The proposals would allow larger and taller neon signs along the stretch of Central Avenue within city limits. Also, permit fees for neon signs would be waived if the signs meet design guidelines.

Berry and other supporters said adding more neon would make the area vibrant and encourage businesses to create interesting things to see.

Berry, whose administration sent the proposals to the council, said he hopes the changes will “allow businesses to create more iconic images up and down Central Avenue.”

City Councilor Isaac Benton cast the only vote against part of the package, saying it’s unpredictable how things could work out.

“My concern is that the historic signs are going to be lost in the sea of new pseudo-historic signs,” Benton said
Benton, who did support allowing more flexibility for neon signs in the Nob Hill and Highland area, said it’s not easy to determine “what’s creative and expressive and what’s just garish.”

Councilor Rey Garduno predicted the businesses will regulate themselves because they’ll want something that appeals to their areas.

“They’re trying to enhance what they have,” Garduno said.

Russell Brito, a city planning official, said the proposals center on incentives and don’t require anyone to use neon.
“We’re just hoping for a glowing reception from the business community,” he said. “Pun definitely intended.”

Apr 182013
 





ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A Route 66 motor lodge in Albuquerque where Bill Gates and Paul Allen lived while launching Microsoft Corp. is being redeveloped into apartments as part of a neighborhood revival project.

Officials broke ground Thursday on the redevelopment of the Sundowner Uhuru Apartment Complex, one of many projects sought to help revive a once busy area of Albuquerque.

The federally-funded project will create 70 apartments for veterans, the homeless, mixed-income residents, and residents with special needs.

The Sundowner was built in 1960 during the heart of Route 66 tourism.

Gates and Allen later lived at the Sundowner Motel when they wrote a version of the programming language BASIC for the Altair 8800 computer, invented in 1975 by the Albuquerque-based company MITS. The motel was used as a base camp in the mid-1970s before the pair moved Microsoft to the Seattle-area.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry says the motel was “ground zero” for the personal computer revolution and needs to be redeveloped for history.

“All these historic hotels up and down Route 66 have so many stories to tell,” Berry said. “If the walls could talk….”

Justin Spielmann, the geoscience collections manager at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, said the motel “is practically where Microsoft started” and played a key role in the upcoming technology revolution.

“This is really the cradle where personal computing sort of came into its own,” said Spielmann. Albuquerque is really the seat of personal computers and the Sundowner plays into that origin.”

The $9 million-development includes plans for a growers market, retail, and community space intended for small businesses.

Asbestos remediation on the motel was recently completed and constructed has started on a project official says will bring dozens of jobs to the city.

The Sundowner project is one of many slated for a once popular area of Albuquerque along Route 66.

In recent years, the area around the Sundowner, which was vacant, has been a high-crime zone and known for prostitution.

By Russell Contreras – The Associated Press

Mar 182013
 





Luna Lodge is back to its Route 66 glory, which was no small task.

The motor lodge, originally built in 1949, was deemed substandard by city officials in 2008. Officials said they found syringes, fecal matter and raw sewage flowing into a lot next door. Tenants were given two weeks to find new housing before the lodge was boarded up.

NewLife Homes, an Albuquerque non-profit, recently stepped in.

“We just felt this had a good fit. It was in a good location that needed revitalization,” said John Bloomfield, the executive director of NewLife Homes. “Some projects look challenging, but they can be done.”

Luna Lodge was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1998; because of this, NewLife Homes had to preserve its historic integrity while bringing the building up to code. Asbestos and lead paint had to be removed before the real work could start, turning the 28- unit motor lodge into 14 apartments, with new units built behind the motor court.

The collaborative construction project cost about three million dollars, and was funded largely by grants.

Bloomfield said all of the low-income apartments filled up quickly, which the people NewLife Homes are most looking to help.

“What’s critical is that we are creating permanent supportive communities where people look out for each other, and are also invested in the broader community,” Bloomfield said.

The official ribbon-cutting for Luna Lodge is scheduled for Monday afternoon.

Bloomfield said the next project for NewLife Homes is renovating and converting the Sundowner Motel into a 71-unit apartment complex and mixed-use facility for low-income residents. Tenants should be in the Sundowner by August, according to Bloomfield.

Kayla Ayres – krqe.com

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 032013
 



Albuquerque, at one time, seemed hell-bent on tearing down the old sections of the route for all new development – but it seems they are seeing what a lot of other folks and towns are seeing – the added value of the attraction that is known world-wide as Route 66!

Klarissa Peña remembers cruising on West Central, and now she’s part of the city’s push to try and restore the glamour and the glitz of old Route 66.

“We all appreciate cruising,” Peña said of the West Central community that includes one of the longest stretches of actively used Route 66, the iconic “Mother Road.”

Peña, president of the Southwest Alliance of Neighbors, Mayor Richard Berry and other dignitaries were at a recent ribbon cutting for a gleaming new fire station on 57th Street and West Central. They briefly described to celebrants upcoming projects intended to improve safety and to spur economic development in the area in the next several years. Mentioned were a new library, a series of road, safety and sidewalk improvements, new senior housing and a new visitor’s center on Nine Mile Hill, along with a long list of other potential economic development projects.

“What we hope to do is entice people to get off the interstate to come into the community and shop and to take in some of the sights, like the breathtaking view of the city viewable from historic Route 66,” Peña said.

The City Council in fall 2010 began planning a new West Route 66 Sector Development Plan. The plan noted that in the past 20 years the area suffered from stagnant commercial development, while single-family housing boomed in surrounding areas.

That left a significant imbalance between jobs and services and housing, and thus West Central became a commuter road instead of a destination for jobs, service, retail or more diverse housing.

Peña said she’s “absolutely thrilled” that the building of a new community library is slated to start sometime next summer at Central and Unser, providing critical educational services to area schools and residents.

During public hearings as part of developing a sector plan, the city heard recommendations that it encourage new multifamily and senior housing, attract new commercial development and retain its cultural legacy, including the preservation of Route 66, agrarian traditions, expansive views and the eclectic and unique character of the area, which is marked by its collection of roadside neon lit travel motels, gas stations and cafes.

Particularly involved with the plans for the area have been the mayor, City Councilor Isaac Benton and County Commissioner Art De La Cruz, Peña said.

“We want to bring back the character of the Old Route 66 and develop an Uptown center kind of shopping experience for people on West Central and the West Side,” Peña said. “We still have a long way to go, but with the enthusiasm and the tenacity of the people here, I have no doubt we’re going to be successful.”

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

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 152012
 






The tenth (and final gas station of the year) was just completely repainted and cleaned up with the help of volunteers as Tucumcari continues with their plan to make their town a true destination for travelers on Route 66.

The group started at 8am and worked all day until the building was painted and all the trim was completed. A special thanks to the Tucumcari/Quay County Chamber of Commerce for their funding assistance…






























































































Throught the next week – Doug Quarles of Quarles Art Gallery will do what he does best – start with the many murals and artwork on the building to complete the restoration.

This gas station is located right nexct door to Junior Garza’s gas station we painted last year. Click HERE to see that video.

Sep 022012
 


There are new owners of the old Redwood Lodge by the Tucumcari Convention Center, they’ve been completely remodeling the place for student housing, and I have been told the place looks great.

They gave the place a nice new paint job, all new doors, new a/c, with work done to the exterior and the interior. All 24 rooms will receive a makeover. The units will be fully furnished, utilities and Wi-Fi will be included.

The story is this is a retired family out of Santa Fe NM, who during this economy couldn’t get satisfactory returns on investments with stocks, CD’s and the likes, decided to invest in some real estate rehab projects. Rumor has it they might be interested in buying the Historic Odeon Theatre in Tucumcari, which is on the National Historic Register and for sale by its long time owner, who simply wishes to retire.

They are planning on reopening the Redwood Lodge as student housing for the students who are (or are planning to attend) Mesalands Community College.

It’s a nice change seeing most older motels are being converted to monthly rentals and start slowly deteriorating to the point where they are no longer inhabitable.

Click HERE for their website.