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Route 66

Texas Welcomes the World Route 66 Festival

Please join us at the Texas Welcomes the World Route 66 Festival in Shamrock, Texas!  The fun kicks off on Thursday, July 12, 2018, at 9:00 am and continues throughout the weekend until around 2:00 pm on Sunday, July 15, 2018.  No Route 66 festival is complete without a car show, so there will be some cool cars to view and enjoy.  Do you envision a real life rodeo when you think of Texas?  Don’t miss out on the rodeo and live country music!  Saturday evening will be a real treat for everyone, as the amazing band, The Road Crew, will perform.  They are a favorite of Route 66ers from Chicago to L.A.

One highlight of this fun festival will be helicopter rides and an air show-how cool is that!?!

The festival includes an art show, which will be a display of artists from the Unites States.  And vendors…did we mention vendors?  Yes! Come in out of the heat awhile and see the collector displays, crafts, art, shirts, signs, homemade soaps, hand made jewelry, and much much more.  (RJ’s Route 66 will be there, so please stop by and introduce yourself, we’d love to meet you!)  Some spectacular authors will be with the vendors, so be sure and meet them and pick up some excellent books!  Route 66 Associations from several states will be in attendance; these associations are detrimental for the future of our beloved Route 66 and there are many great reasons to become members. *We will all be located in the Shamrock Community Center, 911 S. Main Street, Shamrock, Texas 79079.

For more information about this great event, click the link to go to the Texas Welcomes the World website.  Can’t wait to see you there!

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Mom, Music, and More

You know when you really like a certain food, you beg your loved ones to eat it, convinced they’ll like it as much as you do?  For example, “Come on Richard, just try this sushi, it’s amazing…”  Sometimes they never even try it, so they don’t know what they’re missing.  Other times, it’s much easier to get them to try it: “Come on Richard, just try this new chocolate pie recipe…” and they’re hooked!

As you all already know, I REALLY love Route 66!  So I had been trying similar tactics (mentioned above) to get my parents interested in Route 66 for several years.  I knew if they had just a sample of that Route 66 pie, they both would be hooked.  Dad has been a holdout for the most part, however, almost 2 years ago I finally talked Mom into spending a weekend with me on Route 66.  I convinced her I would treat her to an all expense paid weekend vacation for her 71st birthday…destination: The Mural City, Cuba, Missouri on Route 66 for Cuba Fest.  It wasn’t an easy sell, but I knew she loved crafts, good music, and she loved me, so she couldn’t really say no.  (I guess she could have said no, but that wouldn’t have been a happy ending, huh?)  I told Mom we would be staying at the iconic and historical Wagon Wheel Motel, she would get to hear The Road Crew perform, and she would get to meet many of my incredible Route 66 friends.

Mom lives back on the farm in Mid-Missouri and I live in Springfield, Missouri.  We decided to meet at the Wagon Wheel and let our fun start there.  I have to say, I absolutely love the Wagon Wheel Motel!  Connie Echols bought the motel in 2009 when it was in very sad shape.  She poured her heart and soul into the motel and turned it into a charming ‘must stay’ destination.  (Richard and I had attended the 75th anniversary of the hotel in August of 2011, where everyone present at the celebration was allowed to see each of the beautiful rooms Connie had recently restored.)

Rock Cabins at The Wagon Wheel

Mom arrived at the Wagon Wheel Motel early Friday evening.  We settled our belongings into our cozy room, then headed outside to find my friend, Dean Kennedy.  The three of us walked around the motel property, so we could visit with the other arrivals, as well as photograph the classic cars that stopped by.

Mike Wallace’s Roadster (He built it!)

Mom really enjoyed meeting my friends and they welcomed her with open arms, as Route 66ers always do.  Connie had a nice area set up behind the office for everyone to gather ’round and listen to friend and Author, Jim Hinckley, give a presentation about Edsel Ford.  I’ve had the honor of listening to Jim give several presentations.  He is very knowledgeable about Route 66 and her history, as well as other important historical topics.  If you ever have the opportunity to meet Jim or hear him speak at an event, do not miss it!  He and his wife, Judy, are both very nice people and they have a huge love of Route 66.

LOVE that neon!

Mom and I awoke the next morning, grabbed Dean, then headed to the craft festival.  Of course, the crafts were nice, but my main enjoyment was visiting with our Route 66 friends, which included several trips to the Missouri Route 66 Association booth to visit with our great friends, Bob and Yvonne Gehl.  (Who doesn’t love Bob and Yvonne!?!)  But I managed to spend most of the day at our booth where I was supposed to have stayed put.  (Ok ,ok, maybe I stayed put 3/4’s of the day…maybe…)  I have to admit, I was happy with our booth location, because one of my favorite photographers was set up beside us.  David Schwartz, a Cleveland based photographer, is a great friend and inspiration; he brought his Dad on the trip with him, too, so we both were introducing a parent to our beloved Route.

We sure love these folks!  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get photos of everyone.

Luckily, I was at our booth when our friends, Woody Bomar, Joe Loesch, Don King Jr., and Jason Harmon from the band, The Road Crew, came to visit.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned them before; they are based in Nashville, Tennessee, but all the Route 66ers I know always look forward to seeing them perform on Route 66.  The guys have written their own great Route 66 songs, but they also play some of the great songs from the 50’s, 60’s, and even a couple from the 70’s.  When they played on the street that day for the festival goers to hear, I could see the familiar twinkle in Mom’s eyes when she’s happy.  It appeared she was enjoying her 71st birthday much more that I thought she would.

The Road Crew made several new fans that day!

The beautiful sunset as seen from The Belmont Winery

The Road Crew

Both the pizza and the wine were excellent!

Although we really did have a great evening, Mom and I were happy to return to our comfortable room at the Wagon Wheel and turn in for the night.  Somehow, her turning 71 made me tired!  (Maybe, in part, it was because I had to watch her do the twist.)

Mom with The Road Crew.

The next morning, Mom and I packed up to leave, sad our fun filled weekend was over.  Of course, I had to take “just a couple” more photos of the Wagon Wheel before leaving.  Looking around, I had to remind myself, when we stop along Route 66, especially when we’re with our friends, it’s not ‘goodbye,’ it’s really, ‘until I see you again.’

The Wagon Wheel Motel Office and Gift Shop.

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Guest Blog: Aurora James of Dog Etiquette

Not long ago, I was contacted about hosting a guest blog.  Hmmmm, a guest blog?  Interesting.  A blog about dogs?  I thought to myself, this entire website is about Route 66, how can I justify a blog about dogs?  Then I remembered several of my Route 66 friends travel with their 4 legged companions, which most refer to as their family.  Therefore, the following guest blog was written by Aurora James.

 

Hitting the Open Road with Fido: Camping Tips for Your Route 66 Adventure

Route 66, the Main Street of America, the Mother Road — whatever you prefer to call it, this infamous road is sure to provide plenty of adventure. Whether you load up the car, van, RV, or motorcycle, your pooch will surely love to ride along too. However, the road stretches as far as the eye can see — over 2,000 miles to be exact — so you’ll be making several pit stops along the way, including setting up camp for the night. If you are looking for something new and exciting to try with your pooch, Route 66 just might be the ticket. Before you hit the road, check out this infographic for resources and tips to make this a trip that will leave Fido barking for more.

photo provided by Aurora James

Additional Resources:

Health:

How do I keep my dog safe while camping?

What if my dog sustains an injury on our trip?

How do I check for ticks on my pet?

Heatstroke and my pup: what do I need to know?

Preparation:

How do I locate dog-friendly campsites?

What are the potential camping-related dangers for my dog?

Gear:

What packing checklist should I follow?

What should I put in my dog’s first aid kit?

Is a collar or harness best for my dog during our camping trip?

Armed with the right information, a road trip can become a fun pastime the two of you can enjoy together as you log miles on your Route 66 adventure. Besides, your pooch never turns down an opportunity to explore, and with all the new sights and smells that the open air brings, he’ll wonder why the two of you haven’t done this sooner.

Aurora believes there are no bad dogs.  She created DogEtiquitte.info to share her dog training tips and advice to dog owners everywhere.

*This concludes the guest blog of Aurora James.  I hope you enjoyed it!  Please check out her website for additional information.

Check back with RJ’s Route 66 soon, as we will have a blog 100% about Route 66 by Judy.  Safe travels!

 

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Hunting Signs in Albuquerque on Route 66

A few months ago, Richard and I traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to visit our friend Dean and his mother.  Our visit with them was wonderful, full of conversation and stories of past travels.  Part of our time in Albuquerque was spent doing a couple of the things Richard, Dean, and I enjoy best, traveling Route 66 and sign hunting.  We have fallen in love with signs and the hunting thereof.  Not all signs will do, however, as old signs are among the best finds, but neon signs?  Now you’re talking!  There are great signs everywhere, big cities, little towns, along beaches and roadways too, but as Route 66 lovers, great signs found on Route 66 are the most beloved signs of all.  It’s like treasure hunting, but for signs.  (OH! And you don’t steal the ‘treasure,’ you photograph it, then continue the search.)

Driving up and down Central Avenue, aka: Route 66, you will see there is no shortage of signs.  Many are vintage and downright iconic, like the sign outside the Westward Ho! Motel, with its large Saguaro Cactus outlined with neon.  What a GREAT sign!  A day time photo of the Westward Ho! Motel is shown below.  Unfortunately, we were not able to take a night time photo, so I can’t tell you if the neon works or not.  Hmmm, maybe that means another Route 66 trip to Albuquerque in my future?

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During our sign hunt, we happened across a well preserved sign uniquely colored to match the colors detailing the motel…or the detailing on the motel was uniquely colored to match the sign.  Either way, it was a great sign!  The pine trees near the sign and motel entrance made a grand view, which was the name of the establishment, the Grandview Motel.

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There was one sign we specifically sought out: the El Vado Motel sign.  Like the Westward Ho! Motel sign, this sign was very iconic as well.  Two different banners are tied on to the building; they read, “The Purest Route 66 Motel Surviving” and “70 years of Continuous Hospitality on Route 66.”  Well, one of those signs may have been true.  For several years now, a tall chain link fence has surrounded the adobe style El Vado Motel, as it sat vacant and deteriorating.  Awhile back, the once beautiful El Vado neon sign was removed from the property to be restored to its former glory.  Once the neon restoration project was complete, the exquisite sign was proudly displayed in an Albuquerque museum, before being returned to its home outside the El Vado Motel.  I believe anyone seeing this sign in its current glory would be in awe.  Although a colorful sign during the day, the sign glows with brilliant colors at night.  The name of the motel is outlined in neon.  The photo on the sign depicts an Indian Chief, adorned in a magnificent headdress consisting of a rainbow of neon.  As for the former motel, it is reportedly being restored, not as a motel, but a boutique shopping area.

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Before our trip was concluded, we stopped at 66 Diner, with its red and blue neon on the outside, and 50’s style décor inside.  I’m certain the food is great, but I opted for a shake.  It was the most delicious shake I’ve ever tasted-chocolate with Oreos…trust me on this one!

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Please remember, a great sign does not always equate to a great motel or restaurant.  Research establishments online, ask friends who have traveled the area previously, and maybe even ask a local.  Have FUN on Route 66 and as always, have safe travels!  (And don’t forget to take photos!)

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Our Meeting With an Angel on Route 66

In November of 2016, Richard and I headed west for a 2 week Route 66 adventure.  Route 66  turned 90 years old last year!  We planned to meet up with several of our Route 66 friends and all stay at the Saga Motor Hotel in Pasadena, California. (It’s on Route 66)  The only thing better than a Route 66 trip, is one with a gathering of Route 66 friends, also referred to as “Route 66 Roadies.”  As I prepared to write this blog, I wanted to talk about EVERYTHING we experienced; great food, amazing neon signs, cool mom & pop motels and restaurants, all the awesome sights…I could go on and on.  My plan was to end this blog by telling you about the one thing that touched our hearts so much, it was the highlight of the trip!  When reality hit me, I realized I could not even begin to write about a 2 week Route 66 trip in one blog.  So, here is the story about the highlight of our trip that I want to share with you.

I’ve mentioned before, Route 66 is fun, beautiful, unique, and so much more, but you HAVE to meet the people.  There’s the small business owners, the artists, the authors, and of course, fellow Route 66 lovers.  I have a special place in my heart for the people of Route 66, past and present.  But there was a certain special someone I had not met yet, even though Richard and I had made several attempts in the past to meet this person.  Deep down, I was worried our attempt this trip would meet with failure again.  The western portion of Route 66 is so far away from our home in the birthplace of Route 66, Springfield, Missouri, it would likely be a long time before we could travel that way again.

As we were heading to California, we stopped at one of my favorite little Route 66 towns, Seligman, Arizona.  There, we ate a ‘killer’ dinner at the Roadkill Café, followed by a nice overnight stay at the Supai Motel.  The next morning, we would have loved to have traveled down the street to Westside Lilo’s Café, where we’ve eaten superb breakfasts before, but we had an important destination… we wanted to meet an Angel!

Angel's Store Front

Down the street, Richard and I went.  We stopped outside a small store, a gift shop, as most people call it.  It was too early for the store to be open, but, as my excitement grew, this was going to be worth the wait, I just knew it!  Soon, we saw a familiar truck drive up and park near the front of the store.  It was not who we were searching for, but he was certainly a super nice gentleman!  Mauricio Perez introduced himself and opened the store.  He invited us inside to warm up, adding he would make some coffee.  After a bit, Richard said, “There he is!  He just rode up on his bicycle!”  Why was I feeling giddy?  I’m not a “groupie” kind of person!   The front door opened, and in walked Angel, The Angel of Route 66, Angel Delgadillo.

Angel entered his store and saw us.  As soon as he did, he smiled and asked us how we were.  Richard then asked Angel how he was.  He gave an answer I had never heard before.  Angel said, “Happy.  I’m happy!”  He was still smiling and as I was standing beside him, I could honestly feel it- he was happy!  Angel spoke with us for quite awhile.  He told us about his childhood and growing up in Seligman.  Angel said there used to be so much daily traffic passing through Seligman, it was difficult to cross the street.  He said, suddenly, all the traffic went away when the nearby interstate was built.  Angel told us other Route 66 towns in Arizona suffered similar losses due to the interstate being built, bypassing their once bustling towns.  In the late 1980’s, Angel traveled the Route and met with people from other Route 66 towns in Arizona.  They rallied together to bring people back to their Route 66 towns and to show people a slower, more enjoyable, pace of travel.  The Route 66 Association of Arizona was created; Angel was named as the first president.  Angel, and some of the other Seligman residents, worked hard to bring their beloved Route 66 town back to life.  A humble man, Angel never once bragged about his accomplishments, but there are many.  Later, we will be able to read and see more about Angel’s hard work to bring Route 66 back to life; he is giving his archives to Northern Arizona University.

What's not to love about this scene? A side view of Angel's store

Angel will be 90 this year and he rides his bicycle to work, yes, work!  Angel is a barber, although not full time.  If you’re lucky, you might be able to get a hair cut from him.  But for Richard and I, meeting the aptly named Angel will be a memory forever cherished!  (And we LOVE this photo!!)

Richard and I will treasure this photo forever. Thank you Mauricio for taking it.

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