Aug 132013
 




The Hilltop Motel on Route 66 in Kingman recently earned a much-coveted Route 66 Cost-Share Preservation Grant from the National Park Service – the only such grant awarded in Arizona this year.

The Hilltop Motel is an excellent example of the motel experience that was common during the post-war, family vacation boom,” according to a press release from the National Park Service.

Motel owner Dennis Schroeder said he is very happy to get the $20,000 grant, and he will have to come up with a matching $21,478 before the National Park Service will release the funds.

“It’s really a great program,” he said. “It’s funded 114 or 115 projects on Route 66 – everything from oral histories to historic buildings.”

The money from the grant will replace the heating and cooling units in 14 of the 28 rooms at the historic motel, Schroeder said.

The original units were installed when the motel was built in 1954 and were incredibly inefficient, he said.

“The air conditioning units had three levels – on, off and fan,” he said.

“You would turn it on and in a few minutes, you would be freezing. You’d turn it off, and a few minutes later you were sweating.”

The gas heating system was the same way, Schroeder said. Most of the units were replaced in the 1980s, but those systems are now in need of replacement.

He hopes to start work in October.

The hotel has seen a lot of history in its nearly 60 years of existence.

It was originally built with 20 rooms. Over the years, another eight rooms, an innkeeper’s quarters and a pool were added.

More recently, cable TV and then satellite TV was installed.

The motel also has had a few interesting visitors, including the band Cosby, Stills and Nash – who were unable to stay at the motel because there were no open rooms. However, they did get a chance at a shower in one of the rooms.

Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh is probably the most notorious guest.

He stayed at the motel for four days in mid-February 1995. The federal government confiscated his registration card as evidence.

The Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program focuses on business on or near the historic highway that were built between 1926 and 1970. It targets motels, gas stations, cafes, road segments and landscapes. The target of the grant must be within view or directly on Route 66 and must be in its original location.

The grants are awarded on an annual basis. All grant winners have to come up with matching funds.

Since 2001, 114 projects have been awarded $1.6 million in grant funds and $2.7 million in matching funds have been raised to preserve some of the Mother Road’s historic landmarks.

This is the third time that a Kingman business has gotten a grant from the program.

The first Kingman business to receive grant funding was the owner of the Old Trails Garage on Andy Devine Avenue, next to the Brunswick Hotel. A $10,000 grant with $10,000 in matching funds helped repair the roof on the building.

The second grant recipient was the Route 66 Motel on Andy Devine Avenue in 2011. A $10,319 grant with matching funds helped restore the historic sign that was featured in a 1997 issue of National Geographic, as well as repairs to the roof.

Other well-known Arizona landmarks that have gotten grant funds from the Route 66 Preservation Grant fund include the gas station in downtown Peach Springs, the Frontier Motel sign in Truxton and the Wigwam Hotel in Holbrook.

By Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa – Daily Miner

Jun 012013
 





I do hope they reopen the restaurant (and orange juice stand) one day in the near future as I know EVERYONE will want to stop and get a chance to experience this place….

On a day when Fontana was celebrating its 100th birthday, Joe Bono on Friday did just what his family has done for the last 77 years: He offered his hospitality to tourists traveling on Route 66.
Sitting along the parking lot of Bono’s Old Route 66 restaurant on Foothill Boulevard was something Glen Heitritter and Linda Swenson of Omaha, Neb., had not yet seen on their ride down the Mother Road.

They stopped to take a look at the Big Orange, a 7-foot-high stucco ball from which thirsty travelers could buy glasses of fresh orange juice before the age of the freeway.

After the couple posed for the requisite photo, Bono gave them a tour of his place.

An attorney and former deputy district attorney, Bono grew up at the rear of the property at the corner of Sultana Avenue. A neighbor suggested to his mother in 1936 that she ought to sell juice to travelers along Foothill, which at the time had plenty of vineyards but was short on any places to stop for refreshment.

“It was all you could drink for 10 cents,” he told me in an interview some time ago.

That evolved into an Italian market and ultimately a restaurant. Especially during the Great Depression, Mama Bono would hear lots of hard-luck stories from many weary, and penniless, travelers seeking a new life in California and often fed them for free.

For Heitritter and Swanson, the Big Orange proved the perfect Route 66 distraction.

In their striking red Pontiac GTO — naturally, a 1966 model — they have traveled what remains of Route 66 since picking it up first in Carthage, Mo.

Among the notable experiences they’ve had was spending a night in one of the storied Wigwam Motels — with rooms shaped like teepees — in Holbrook, Ariz. They had passed the Inland Empire’s Wigwam Motel on the western edge of San Bernardino a few moments before pulling into Bono’s parking lot.

Before leaving for the end of the road at Santa Monica Pier that afternoon, they viewed Bono’s restaurant and its array of photographs and mementoes.

On a wall is a picture of young Joe and his father working in the vineyards not far away.

“Everything you see out there was vineyards,” he told the visitors, pointing out the windows toward Foothill.

But now Bono has big plans for his landmark business.

Looking over architect’s drawings, Bono said the restaurant, whose front windows are just a few feet shy of the now-four-lane Foothill Boulevard, will be moved south back from the highway. This will accommodate widening of the street as well as the construction of a huge warehouse planned on the other side of Sultana.

He said he was confident that Bono’s restaurant would reopen in the near future, to accommodate Fontana’s next century and for future travelers seeking the romance and adventure of Route 66.

By Joe Blackstock – Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

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 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.

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