Apr 242013
 




SAN BERNARDINO — Two months after the annual Route 66 Rendezvous car show stalled out, one of its organizers said she’s jump-started the show – and is moving it to Ontario under a new name.
Shelly McNaul, who previously served as the director of special events for the San Bernardino Convention and Visitors Bureau, announced the move Saturday on the Route 66 Rendezvous Facebook page.

“I will be continuing under another name called the ‘Route 66 Reunion’ that will be a three-day car show modeled after the Route 66 Rendezvous scheduled for the same weekend, Sept. 20 to 22, 2013,” her post read in part.

The event, which pays tribute to classic cars, hotrods and the famous Mother Road itself, has been huge in San Bernardino for more than two decades, drawing thousands of visitors from outside of the city, filling local hotel rooms and filling local businesses with customers.

Jim Gerstenslager, chairman of the board for the San Bernardino Convention and Visitors Bureau – which stopped day-to-day operations in March – said the Route 66 Rendezvous is San Bernardino’s signature event and nobody ever talked to him about it.

“We can’t stop people from having their own event as long as they don’t infringe on our trademark,” Gerstenslager said. “Our Convention and Visitors Bureau owns the name and Stater Bros., as title sponsor, owns Stater Bros. Route 66 Rendezvous. We’re sticking to it and it’s absolute. “

In Ontario, which is actually a few miles south of the original Route 66, Gerstenslager’s counterpart was already gearing up for the launch of an Ontario event, which the city sees as its own way to attract visitors.

“We’re finalizing details on bringing it to Ontario under a different name,” said Michael Krouse, president and CEO of the Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Krouse went on to say, “It’s a great opportunity to bring visitors to our city, and the goal is to make it bigger and better. “

McNaul had hoped to move the event – which attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors to San Bernardino each summer – to Glen Helen Regional Park, she wrote, but will instead be moving it to Euclid Avenue in Ontario. McNaul has been hired by the Ontario Convention Center and Visitors Bureau, she said. The San Bernardino convention center announced in February that, after 22 years, this year’s Route 66 Rendezvous was canceled because of a lack of funding. In early 2012, Gov. Jerry Brown shut down redevelopment agencies around the state, and redevelopment funds had previously been used to help cover clean-up and security at the event. Several months later, the city declared bankruptcy.

“The challenges with doing the car show on the downtown streets of San Bernardino became greater with an unpleasant element at night,” McNaul said. “We want to give the car enthusiast back the freedom they once had to relax and enjoy the reunion of family and friends while sitting next to their babe. “

Public safety staffing has been an issue in the city.

Between declaring bankruptcy in July 2012 and March 2013, the city lost 285 employees, nearly one in four, including dozens of police officers. Police emergency response time has risen 30 seconds, to 5.4 minutes, and non-emergency calls now average a 30-minute response time.

That hasn’t stopped San Bernardino organizers from organizing something.

Meanwhile, an alternative car show, Rendezvous Back to Route 66, is scheduled for the same weekend at San Manuel Baseball Stadium in San Bernardino. The car show is being planned by the San Bernardino Area Chamber of Commerce and car clubs, including Over the Hill Gang, according to chamber president and CEO Judi Penman.

“It’s already on the car club calendar,” Penman said. “We’ve had a great response so far, with people coming forward to participate.”

Ontario organizers are keeping the spirit of the original Rendezvous.

In her post, McNaul wrote that the Route 66 Reunion will have the same “elements” as the Rendezvous, with vendors, entertainment and a continuous three-mile cruise route looping around Euclid Avenue, from Holt Boulevard to 6th Street.

She added that the surroundings are ideal, with Euclid having three lanes to park cars on both sides and cruise down the middle. Businesses, historic homes and a grass median provide trees for shade for the crowd.

“It really has a great feel, and I think it would be a perfect location for the car participants,” she wrote.

McNaul will be mailing out vehicle entry forms in May, she wrote.

By Beua Yarbrough and Michel Nolan – The Sun

Mar 182013
 






Route 66 Rendezvous volunteers got the bad news on Thursday: The classic car show, along with the San Bernardino Convention and Visitors Bureau that produced it for 22 years, is going the way of the horse-and-carriage.

The CVB had been funded since 1988 by a 2 percent surcharge on hotel stays.
But when the city hit hard times, it had the redevelopment agency take over funding the visitors bureau.

Of course, when Gov. Jerry Brown decided redevelopment must end in California, the city of San Bernardino had inadvertently left the CVB up a creek without a paddle.

CVB Special Events Director Shelly McNaul had put off announcing the demise to her Route 66 volunteers until she was sure no other organization was going to step forward to produce the event.

“The SBCVB Board of Directors and staff… have explored numerous options to make the SBCVB self-sufficient to no avail,” McNaul wrote.

“Therefore, the SBCVB Board voted to begin the process of closing the SBCVB, relinquish(ing) the franchise of the California Welcome Center and eliminat(ing) production of the 2013 Route 66 Rendezvous.”

The Welcome Center, opened just in 2007, handed out maps, brochures and tourist information at a pit stop off Interstate 10. The state only allows a handpicked few, and now San Bernardino will lose its center.

In a letter to the mayor, SBCVB Chairman Jim Gerstenslager reviewed the bureau’s accomplishments since 1988: publishing an annual visitor guide, hosting the Rendezvous, forming a Youth Sports Alliance to bring soccer and Little League tournaments to the city.

Losing the funding for the bureau puts one more nail in the bankrupt city’s coffin.

- By Cassie Macduff

Dec 292012
 





Another in a series of ‘guest articles’ written by folks from all over the world. If you would like to contribute – please send me an Email at info@route66world.com with your article and I just might post it!!

You’re a true road warrior. You don’t let little things like blizzards, freezing temperatures and slick highways keep you away from a cold-weather vacation. You also have a sense of the past and Americana, so taking historic Route 66 is on your itinerary.

Insurance

What also should be on your itinerary— getting insurance. Since winter carries its own unique set of challenges, carrying insurance for your trip will give you coverage in case of trip cancellation, travel delays, lost luggage and medical emergencies. Travel Guard has its own winter storm page, as well as a place to compare travel insurance quotes.

Clothing in Layers

Once you’ve decided that winter hazards are worth the trip, make plans to enjoy the sites along Route 66, which runs from Chicago to its terminus at the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica (CA). Take a few tips from “Blue Coyote,” “Silly Squirrel” and “Cactus Killer,” travelers who chronicled their 2010 trip along Route 66 at the Dancing Weasel. They give plenty of trip tips, especially for those planning to go camping. (Examples: Dress in layers in mountainous areas, and bring sunscreen, no matter what season). Also provided is an interactive trip of the route. At one stop the travelers made along the way was Texola (OK), which they described as not quite a ghost town.

“We couldn’t help but get out and walk around, exploring what happens when a town is on the verge of extinction but still holding on,” their blog reported— they even heard a dog barking from a distance.

Road Conditions & Virtual Road Maps

It might be hard to get that type of experience while traveling on an interstate. RoadTrip America is a spoonful of information on a Route 66 trip. It includes a link to “Guy Randall’s Tour of the Mother Road,” for example, that includes 4,566 photographs, historical anecdotes and updated reports of road conditions. Open a state page to obtain a virtual road map, and then scroll down to the bottom of the page to get a map of that state.

From that page, you’ll open a new page that explains attractions on that section of the route. Use the navigation links for “Route 66 West” and “Route 66 East” at the top of this page or click on the next town shown on the map. Repeat the process when you reach a new state line to continue the trek.

Weather Conditions

To keep track of local weather, click on the Weatherblink.com link for local forecasts, which will come in handy in the unpredictable winter months.

Sleeping Conditions

Eventually, you want to find places to sleep. For a truly unique motel experience, stay at a Wigwam Motel in Holbrook (AZ), or San Bernardino (CA). The California motel has a village-style arrangement of 19 tepees, each 30 feet high and made from wood framing, concrete and stucco. Individual wigwams are equipped with all the traveler’s essentials that Natives probably didn’t have, such as an outdoor barbecue grill. There also is a kidney-shaped swimming pool at the motel.

Extra Tips

The National Historic Route 66 Federation gives some advice on planning a trip. After all, Route 66 isn’t on ordinary maps and there are few road signs to view it. The website store offers a Route 66 kit allowing travelers to plan a trip in advance, which is crammed with motels, cafes and trading posts.

And with winter being the off-season for Route 66 travelers, you won’t have to deal with many large crowds either.

By Dee Paulson – Dee is a retired world history teacher, Dee travels the world and shares cultural and political viewpoints in her stories online. She visits Cairo and Italy every year.

Sep 162012
 





Nice way to start the last day of the event…

SAN BERNARDINO — Car enthusiasts at the Stater Bros. Route 66 Rendezvous started the last day of festivities by giving thanks during a church service in downtown’s Court Street Square.

Preacher Ralph Provost, of Christian Rods & Customs, addressed a small crowd of attendees at 9 a.m. during the nondenominational service. Music was also provided during the service.

“We’re car enthusiasts that love the Lord. We do church services, hot rod church,” said Provost.

“Sometimes we call our cars a pulpit on wheels,” Provost continued. When people see our cars, “that kind of opens the door to share our testimony of Christ.”

By mid-morning, vendors were already setting up their booths and prepping for the crowds. Hot weather is forecast again today. The National Weather Service anticipates a high of 92 degrees today in San Bernardino, with a slight southwest wind.

The Rendezvous shuts down at 4 p.m. today.

Vehicle check-in for the Sunday classic car cruise began at 8 a.m., with the cruise beginning at 10 a.m. through downtown streets. Car owners can get a half-off, Sunday-only registration for $40, according to event organizers.

The Parade of Champions cruise started at 11 a.m. today. The burnout contest will be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Fifth Street and Arrowhead Avenue.

The band Cold Duck takes the stage from noon to 2 p.m. at Court Street Square.

By Andrew Edwards – The Sun

Sep 092012
 




Rachel Pabon
Co-manager of Fair Oaks Pharmacy & Soda Fountain

Rachel Pabon, a manager at Fair Oaks Pharmacy & Soda Fountain, talks about how the business has been at its South Pasadena location for 97 years, predating the Mother Road.

The business opened its doors in 1915 and became a popular rest stop on the westernmost end of Route 66 in the 1930s.

Pabon, a manager of the business since 2005, said a lot of customers still use the pharmacy.

“We get people from every state. On the weekends, it’s hard to even get a seat. On Saturdays we’re completely full, with people waiting in line for old-fashioned ice cream. We’ve even had to double our outdoor seating,” she said.

The business, which has been featured on the Travel Channel, has recently started a Facebook page.




Wigwam Motel, San Bernardino

Co-owner Ramila Patel holds a U.S. map created from old license plates from each state while inside the Wigwam Motel’s lobby in San Bernardino. The motel is a classic Route 66 destination.

The Patel Family
The Patel family – husband and wife Jack and Ramila Patel, with sons, Kumar and Manoj – purchased the iconic Wigwam Motel in San Bernardino in 2003.

The Wigwam has stood for more than half a century as a monument to all that is unique – outlandish, wonderful, quaint and quirky – about the Mother Road.

“The whole essence of the culture of Route 66 is people are seeking the real America – the way it used to be,” said Kumar Patel.

Even during extensive renovations, the family did not close the business, but welcomed travelers while work gradually progressed.

The “village” of 20 concrete tepee cabins is now on the federal list of historic places.

This year’s Route 66 Rendezvous T-shirt design features the Wigwam Motel tepees.





Joe Bono is the owner of Bono’s Restaurant and Deli, which is located along Route 66′s Foothill Boulevard in Fontana. Bono’s Restaurant has been closed for several years and faces the threat of partial demolishment due to the city’s proposal to widen Foothill Boulevard.

Joe Bono
Owner, Bono’s Italian Restaurant and Orange Stand, Foothill Boulevard, a.k.a Route 66, Fontana

Bono, 81, uncle of the late entertainer Sonny Bono, owns iconic Bono’s Italian Restaurant in Fontana, started by his mother, Frances, on Route 66 in 1936.

A retired lawyer, Bono took over the restaurant and deli business after his mother died in the 1990s.

“I like to go out and talk to people who come here, because they are from all over the world,” said Bono, who has been instrumental in keeping Route 66 culture alive.

The restaurant, which has been closed since 2004, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.

He has ongoing issues with the city regarding the widening of Foothill Boulevard in front of his property.






The Saga Motor Hotel is a Route 66 destination in Pasadena. The hotel has been a setting for film crews, including a recent episode of “CSI” and a variety of commercials.

Lori Bluemel and Melody McKinney
Co-managers of the historic Saga Motor Hotel in Pasadena

The Saga Motor Hotel, the rambling terra cotta-colored motel on Colorado Boulevard, a.k.a Route 66, is the quintessential “Welcome to California” to those arriving from other states or countries, according to manager Lori Bluemel.

The timeless motel, surrounded by lush, tropical landscaping, is an original along Route 66.

Because the Rose Parade passes by the motel, reservations are already being taken for New Year’s Eve 2012.

Busloads of international visitors also arrive from time to time, Bluemel said.

The motel has been the setting for film crews, including a recent episode of “CSI” and a variety of commercials.

Aug 172012
 


SAN BERNARDINO – Without $36,000 in donations from the community, there will be no Stater Bros. Route 66 Rendezvous this year, the event’s producer said Thursday, citing the city’s bankruptcy as the reason for the shortfall threatening the city’s signature event.

Wayne Austin, president and CEO of the San Bernardino Convention & Visitors Bureau - producers of the Rendezvous – said that organizers have raised $34,000 of $70,000 needed to put on the 22-year-old event. But another $36,000 is needed to make up the difference the Rendezvous would normally get from the city.

That has Austin seeking help from the community.

“Due to the bankruptcy of San Bernardino, we need your help,” Austin said, adding that he is expecting people to step up and help out.

“It is important to keep this major event within the city of San Bernardino, and we are asking business owners, city and county officials and the public to invest in this classic car show. We value your support.”

The annual Rendezvous, set this year for Sept. 13 through 16 in downtown, attracts about 500,000 spectators, where cars are the stars, along with music, entertainment, sponsor displays, legendary guests, contests and commercial exhibitors. It brings about $40 million to the city.

Typically, the Rendezvous is paid for by car participants, sponsors and vendors.
Total costs for the four-day car show extravaganza range between $520,000 and $550,000, according to Austin.

Of that, in year’s past, the city’s share has been $140,000 in in-kind services such as security, trash collection and traffic control.

But because of the city’s filing for bankruptcy, the city was restricted by what it could provide.

“We simply had no capacity to help any more, given our budget and the bankruptcy,” Mayor Pat Morris said.

That left the producer with the bill for the free event, including the costs of tents, insurance, electrical, private security and special events staff expenses.

“This year, they can only provide $70,000 in in-kind services and then send me a bill,” Austin said.

Still, Morris and others say they’re confident the money would come from a community that loves the event.

“We did put the cry out for donations, and already people are responding,” Morris said. “We will produce a wonderul Rendezvous.”

Austin, too, was seeing a response.

“I am feeling a lot of love so far,” Austin said.

Morris said the event comes at a time when the city deperately needs a celebration – the city filed for bankruptcy on Aug. 1.

“We’ll take a moment out, have a good time for a few days. This is a boon for our city,” Morris said.

Jack Brown, chairman and CEO of San Bernardino-based Stater Bros. Markets, touted the value of the event, which his company has sponsored for 15 years.

“Hopefully, this Rendezvous will bring a revival to downtown San Bernardino,” Brown said. “We invest more than $600,000 in the Rendezvous as title sponsor and have more than 300 of our people as volunteers – vendors and suppliers. This is a very important financial commitment for the car owners, as well,” Brown said.

Brown said making the event happen is pivotal at a time when the city is suffering.

“I think this terrific community will step in to help in this time of financial crisis for the city,” Brown said. “Our benefit comes from having a really nice weekend for people – that’s why I always insist it be free admission.”

Austin said he is working with the city, and police will still be there, but the visitors bureau is paying for it.

Austin is putting a promotional package together for area businesses and looking at $1,500 and $2,500 levels as Business Friends of the Rendezvous.

The package would provide a 5-foot-by-10-foot banner that busnesses can hang inside or outside their building. At the $2,500 level, the banner package also offers select spots for “thank you’s” acknowledging businesses that are Friends of the Rendezvous.

Denny Shorett, president and CEO of Crown Printers – which is providing the banners – said he is glad to help the Rendezvous.

“We’re pleased that in spite of the troubles San Bernardino is having, the Rendezvous will go on. It will be good for businesses to come forward and show their support,” Shorett said.

Donations can be made through the Rendezvous website, www.Route-66.org by clicking on the dollar amounts ranging from $10 to $250, making you a Friend of the Rendezvous as Bronze, Silver, Gold, Super or Ultimate Cruiser.

Tony Canul, owner of Molly’s Cafe in downtown San Bernardino, on Wednesday presented Austin with a check for $1,200 to keep the Rendezvous in the city’s downtown streets.

“All the money we receive in donations will be used to replace what we no longer will get from the city,” Austin said. “That is the reality.”

There has been an account set up at the 1st Valley Credit Union, 401 W. Second St., San Bernardino, CA 92401. Checks are payable to “Friends of the Rendezvous.”

Michel Nolan, The (San Bernardino County) Sun