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Road bandits July 31, 2008

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, Food, Ghosts and Mysteries, Music.
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The Bloomington (Ill.) Pantagraph published a story about the Cattle Bandits, a country-rock band that’s opening a show for country star John Anderson at the McLean County Fair tomorrow night.

The Cattle Bandits’ soon-to-be-released CD, “Homegrown,” contains a few Route 66 references.

That’s the case as the style runs from the country of “Beaches of Rural Route One,” to Chuck Berry-styled rock and roll on “Ol’ 66,” which is, of course, about Route 66. Gordon said he wrote the song as he traveled the road back and forth to Ross’ home in Atlanta.

Despite the different styles, a listen to the lyrics reveals a common thread that many will recognize as the people and places of central Illinois. That is especially evident on the Creedence Clearwater Revival-style swamp rocker “Haunted Grove,” where “Back off the highway hidden in a grove of trees, there’s tombstone shadows and voices callin’ in the breeze.”

“It’s all about Funks Grove and the stories we all heard about it growing up,” explained Gordon.

Funks Grove is home to a Route 66 icon, Funks Grove Pure Maple Sirup, and has been the site of a few Bigfoot sightings.

You can hear a few of the band’s songs, including “Ol’ 66,” at its MySpace site here.

When the going gets weird … July 31, 2008

Posted by Ron Warnick in Movies, People, Road trips.
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A few weeks ago, an Italian film crew dressed in superhero costumes was traveling down Route 66 for a twisted documentary called “Roast to Coast.”

The San Bernardino County Sun reported:

The four, with cameras in hand, are asking anyone they encounter to either kiss or lick a 10-pound roast they are hauling on their trip, while making stops at notable cities along the “Mother Road.

Here was another report, with a photo, by the Rock Cafe blog.

Well, a couple of promotional clips of the film have been posted on YouTube:

I’m not sure when this film is going to be released. But I think the prank theme already has been done with the “Jackass” films and “Borat.”

Obama stops at Route 66 restaurant July 30, 2008

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, People, Restaurants.
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Two weeks ago, it was Republican presidential candidate John McCain stopping at a Route 66 icon, Ted Drewes Frozen Custard in St. Louis.

Today, it was Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama stopping at a historic Route 66 restaurant in Lebanon, Mo., according to KY3-TV in Springfield.

On his way to Rolla, Obama’s campaign bus took a quick detour. It made an unannounced stop at the Bell Restaurant on Historic Route 66 in Lebanon, and left the lunch crowd in awe. Some diners had heard he was coming but others had no idea.

“I thought, ‘My God, it’s him!’” said one diner.

The pit stop was no coincidence. It was designed to reinforce his commitment to fight for rural voters in a traditionally conservative area. […]

In Lebanon, most of the crowd at the Bell forgot about their economic woes for a few seconds, as they were starstruck by the visit to their town by Obama.

Video here.

Obama also made campaign stops in the Route 66 towns of Springfield and Rolla.

I predict the candidates will squeeze in several other stops on the Mother Road in the next few months before Election Day.

Good advice July 30, 2008

Posted by Ron Warnick in Road trips, Towns.
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Irv Gordon owns a 1966 Volvo P1800, and he doesn’t just let it sit in the garage. The car rolled over 2 million miles in 2002, and is just 300,000 miles away from the 3-million mark. He commutes 125 miles to work, takes a lot of road trips, and is in the Guinness Book of World Records for “highest certified mileage driven by the original owner in non-commercial service.”

Volvo asked him to give advice to those preparing to take a family road trip for vacation. His response: ditch the fancy resorts and theme parks and take a drive to a small town.

Gordon gets his kicks driving his Volvo on Route 66 and just about every other picturesque highway in the United States. He estimates he has stopped at more than 5,000 small towns in this car over the past 42 years for coffee and conversations with the locals.

“Folks are anxious to have a relaxing, inexpensive summer vacation under the warm sun,” Gordon said. “Make it easy on yourself this year and get off the gridlocked interstates. Take a state highway toward one of our thousands of peaceful small towns. Each small town is a gem, packed with bizarre attractions, important history and plenty of fun.”

Gordon suggested nine towns, none on Route 66. But his descriptions of each are enticing enough to make any roadie want to go. And the point is made: Some of the best obscure gems can be found in small-town America.

Mural erected at Pig-Hip site July 29, 2008

Posted by Ron Warnick in Art, Attractions, Restaurants.
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A new mural depicting the Pig-Hip restaurant and museum, which burned down last year, was erected at the site in Broadwell, Ill.

According to the Lincoln (Ill.) Courier:

The painting, by Arlene Waldmire of Rochester, shows both the restaurant and the nearby motel that sat on Route 66 at Broadwell during the heyday of the famous route. [Ernie] Edwards, who has constructed a small park on the site, will celebrate his 91st birthday next month.

Photos of the mural can be seen with the story.

The Courier says Bobbie Olson, a friend of the Edwardses, will care for the park when Ernie no longer can.

A new lodging option in Barstow? July 29, 2008

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motels.
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Apparently the owners of a motel on Route 66 in Barstow, Calif., saw all the vacationers driving by and decided to do something about it.

From the Desert Dispatch:

Their current property, the Topper Motel on West Main Street, is popular with people, mostly locals, owner Ken Patel said, needing a room for more than a couple of nights. But tourists running down Route 66 passed right by and rarely stopped to rent rooms for just a night or two.

The Patels’ solution: Renovate the west side of their property, paint it the appealing color of an orange Creamsicle and slap a new name, The Sunset Inn, over the office.

Manager Bijal Patel said the Sunset Inn opened in mid-July and has attracted the tourist element he and his father, Ken, targeted. […]

The Sunset looks like a completely different motel from the Topper sitting next to it. The rooms are crisp and clean and the parking lot features a small courtyard and desert landscaping. Day Manager Bill Snyder said the remodel has been so successful with the Sunset that there are plans to give the Topper the same treatment soon.

Vol. 2 of “Route 66″ series set for October July 28, 2008

Posted by Ron Warnick in Television.
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TVShowsonDVD.com reports that the tentative release date for “Route 66: The Complete 2nd Season” is Oct. 21.

Suggested retail price will be $49.98. That’s all the information available.

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