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A Route 66 guidebook with broad shoulders June 28, 2006

Posted by Ron Warnick in Books.

The newly published “Exploring Route 66 in Chicagoland” by David G. Clark, aka the Windy City Road Warrior, is not just a guidebook of the Mother Road in Chicago, but a history primer of that great city.

The book is about 150 pages, filled with dozens of black-and-white photos, maps, driving directions, a walking-tour guide, and listings of attractions and restarants along Route 66 in Chicago.

But I wasn’t anticipating all the history and detail. The book not only provides historical capsules of the buildings and places along Route 66, but also of the streets themselves — Odgen Avenue, Jackson Boulevard, Adams Street and Joliet Road.

And Clark isn’t content to concentrate on after Route 66 was commissioned in 1926. No, his research plunges even into the 1800s, when the City of Broad Shoulders was a mere pup of a town.

Here’s an excerpt on the Adams Street chapter that should give you a taste of Clark’s book:

Intersection: Wabash Avenue. Two storefronts to the north on Wabash (right) we see the current home of Miller’s Pub. From 1952, when it was purchased by the Gallios brothers, through the 1980s, we would have found Miller’s Pub at 23 E. Adams, on the left where a parking garage now stands. In its prime, it was a celebrity hangout for the like of Jimmy Durante, Tony Bennett, Jackie Mason and Bill Veeck. Once, when I was new to Chicago, I saw Bob Keeshin [sic] eating there; if you do not recognize the name — he was better known as Captain Kangaroo.

Although the new Miller’s Pub is not technically “on” 66, it is still so close as to make the distinction nearly meaningless. And to this day, the restaurant follows a marvelous tradition of serving fine food at modest prices. It’s a great place to revel in the Chicago of yesteryear and enjoy gazing at the autographed photos of celebrities that line the walls. Since Miller’s was on Adams Street before, during AND after Adams was officially U.S. 66, I feel strongly that it should be recognized as a Route 66 icon as well as a Chicago Landmark.

The $19.95 price of the book (plus shipping) is worth it along for the restaurant and lodging listings alone, which are much more complete than any Route 66 guidebook I’ve seen regarding Chicago.

I haven’t been in Chicago in several years, and “Exploring Route 66 in Chicagoland” made me re-appreciate the magnificence of the Windy City. Here are page samples of the book. Here’s the Web page to order it.

Highly recommended.

Ace Jackalope visits historic Tulsa restaurant June 28, 2006

Posted by Ron Warnick in Restaurants, Signs.
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Ace Jackalope has had impeccable timing lately. First, the blogger encounters the Coleman Theatre Beautiful sign in Miami, Okla., shortly after it was refurbished and relighted.

Now, he’s cruising Tulsa and finds an electrician doing maintenance on the historic neon sign of El Rancho Grande restaurant on 1629 E. 11th St., on Route 66. Ace reports the restaurant’s owner will do painting touch-ups and nothing more on the sign — he doesn’t want to alter its character.

I also recall from an article in the Tulsa World a couple years ago that El Rancho Grande is the oldest surviving business on the 11th Street alignment of Route 66, dating to 1953.

A gas-sipping cruise down Route 66 June 28, 2006

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motorcycles, Road trips.
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The Amarillo Globe-News ran into a group Tuesday that’s crossing the United States — much of it on Route 66 — on motor scooters.

Top speeds of the contraptions are about 45 mph, so for obvious reasons the Wandering Wheels group is sticking to secondary roads like old 66 so to not tie up traffic.

The scooters may not go fast, but they have one distinct advantage:

“We get about 100 miles per gallon,” said Cyrus Johnson from Auburn, Ind. “That’s about a half day’s fuel.”

The neon lights of Albuquerque June 27, 2006

Posted by Ron Warnick in Photographs, Signs.
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Red Fork Hippie Chick shot dozens of night photos of Albuquerque’s neon lights along Central Avenue, aka Route 66. Check out the gallery.

Pain Walker update June 27, 2006

Posted by Ron Warnick in People.
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Well, it looks like he’s going to make it.

Dennis Kinch, the man who’s walking Route 66 for the National Pain Foundation, has made it through the intense heat of the Mojave Desert and now is in Barstow, Calif. He’s walked about 2,100 miles so far and has fewer than 150 to go. He’s scheduled to reach the end of the road July 14 in Santa Monica.

You can read his Notes from the Road to get a feel about his arduous trek. Alas, he didn’t walk Route 66 through the desert because it’s too remote for him to feel safe if he gets into trouble.

Updated “Route 66 Adventure Handbook” is out June 27, 2006

Posted by Ron Warnick in Books.
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I found this Associated Press article about Drew Knowles’ newly expanded, third-edition version of the “Route 66 Adventure Handbook.”

I haven’t perused the new version, but I’ve read earlier editions of Knowles’ book. I recommend it highly, because it not only concentrates on main attractions along the Mother Road, but also worthwhile side trips.

This excerpt from the preface summarizes the book nicely:

I wrote this book because it’s exactly what I need to take with me whenever I travel Route 66, and it is my sincere hope that it can be of similar service to you in your own explorations of the Mother Road.

The problem I had, which this volume seeks to solve, is this: each time I get out on the Mother Road, there are many things I’d like to see and experience myself which I might only have heard or read about up to that time. Invariably, while out exploring the Route, there are things which I remember to investigate, but there are others which I simply forget about until after I’ve returned home. This book solves that problem by putting all of that Route 66 information in one volume which I can easily take along and refer to, so that each Mother Road excursion can be as jam-packed as possible.

Rooms filling up fast for Grants motorcycle rally June 27, 2006

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Motorcycles.
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The Cibola County Beacon is reporting that eight of 10 motels in Grants, N.M., are full for the Fire & Ice Route 66 Bike Rally weekend on July 14-16. The local campgrounds have spaces. Better act fast if you want to attend, though.

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