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“Half a World Away” September 27, 2008

Posted by Ron Warnick in Music.
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By R.E.M., circa 1991.

That tears it September 26, 2008

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses.
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We’ve heard for many months about Route 66 travelers being treated rudely by the proprietors of Indian Harvest Trading Post, near Sullivan, Mo.

We did a story about this. Theft had been a problem, so it was understandable why the owners felt the need to vigilant. Nevertheless, we implored the owners to be more hospitable.

Today, Andie Smith of the F2 Chicks blog reported getting the same old bad treatment from Indian Harvest.

Complaints about Indian Harvest have been too numerous to ignore. Its actions are doing nothing to help Route 66’s image.

Until the owners make amends for their churlish behavior, I’m recommending that Route 66 travelers bypass the business entirely.

Art exhibit pays tribute to the road trip September 26, 2008

Posted by Ron Warnick in Art, Events, Road trips.
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The San Jose Museum of Art in San Jose, Calif., is hosting a major exhibit this fall called “Road Trip,” a sometimes-whimsical exploration of that uniquely American experience. The museum’s associate curator, Kristen Evangelista, put it together.

According to this report from the San Jose Mercury News:

The artists Evangelista chose for “Roadtrip” not only use a wide range of medium — from video to quilt to diorama — but come at the subject from an array of perspectives. One constant: The exhibit is much more Route 66 than Interstate 80; the artists tend to go for the scenes and imagery of backroads.

Much of the work falls into the “fun” category.

Artist Steve Deo revisits his days of traveling by bus with “Trailways Baggage” — a delightful three-dimensional piece built around odds and ends found in a bus depot. (Be sure to note the crushed coffee cups, cigarette butts and other small details.) It would be hard not to smile at Eleanor Antin’s “100 Boots” — in which the artist marched an army of boots across America in a series of gelatin silver prints that suggest postcards.

Danville artist Roger Minick mixes wit with a touch of the surreal in a series of photos taken in 1981 at Sunset Point, an outlook in Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park. They are classic “grin-for-the-camera,” “wish-you-were-here” shots that manage to capture the essense of the American road vacation.

The museum’s Web site contains several photos from the exhibit, as does this video:

The exhibit will be on display through Jan. 25.

“How Fast Them Trucks Can Go” September 26, 2008

Posted by Ron Warnick in Music.
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This was a hit for Claude Gray in 1967, peaking at No. 12 on the country charts.

This truck-driving song contains a specific reference to Route 66.

Longtime roadie has a petroliana collection September 25, 2008

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, People, Preservation.
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Johnnie Meier, a longtime champion of Route 66 and other historic roads, has created a roadside tribute to old-time gas stations in Embudo, N.M., on Highway 68 north of Santa Fe.

From the Albuquerque Journal (via the Las Cruces Sun-News):

… [T]hree 1940s-era gas pumps stand as sentinels at a filling station.On the porch is a red 1960s Coca-Cola chest cooler, a 1950s metal sign proclaiming “We Give S&H Green Stamps” and a life-size cigar store Indian that stares back at the pumps.

You won’t see cars pulling up here to refuel, but there are vehicles: a 1954 Packard Patrician, a 1957 Studebaker station wagon, a 1948 Studebaker pickup truck, a 1934 Chrysler sedan and a 1929 Chevy sedan.

Those relics would be more at home in a museum than in a gas station, and that’s exactly where they are. Classical Gas is a museum dedicated to the great American filling station, a place where kitsch and “petroliana” collide.

The story goes on to say that Meier’s Classical Gas Museum doesn’t have an admission charge. But it makes money providing props to movie sets.

Another sign gone September 25, 2008

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motels, Signs.
The Gateway Motor Inn sign, down and out.

The Gateway Motor Hotel sign, down and out.

I heard Wednesday morning that the old neon sign for the Gateway Motor Inn, aka the Gateway Motor Hotel, along Oklahoma 66 halfway between Tulsa and Sapulpa, Okla., was down.

I checked it out. There is was — flat on the parking lot, surrounded by road cones and shards of broken neon tubing. It was obvious it soon would be taken away to a junkyard.

The design for the Gateways new sign.

The design for the Gateway's new sign.

The owner confirmed that the sign it was going to be replaced with a backlit model. He showed me the design, by Sure Change International.

I asked him why the old sign was being replaced. He said: “It’s not working right, and it’s too expensive to fix.” He added it would have cost $40,000 in repairs.

Although the loss isn’t as significant as the Western Capri‘s two years ago, trying to keep vintage signs preserved in that area is an uphill battle.

That part of Interstate 44 is dotted with cut-rate motels often occupied with transients, sex offenders and shady characters. Sapulpa annexed that area a couple of years ago, and I suspect it now regrets doing so.

It’s telling that not a single motel in that area made it to the current Route 66 Dining and Lodging Guide, not has any to my knowledge in previous editions.

It’s also telling that the Gateway’s owner kept the old “$29 Couple” sign still standing. It’s hard to keep any semblance of maintenance with those kind of room rates.

Ironically, the owner asked me about information about placing his motel in Route 66 tourism directories.

It took a lot of restraint to not tell him: “It’s too late for that.”

Kudos to Edmond September 25, 2008

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Towns.
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The Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond has been criticized fairly regularly here for embracing its Route 66 heritage far too late, after nearly all of its historic treasures are gone.

However, give Edmond credit where credit’s due. According to the Daily Oklahoman, the Route 66 Classics in the Park Car Show and Craft Fair this past weekend was a smashing success:

A record number of 220 cars and about 30 crafters entered the 14th annual show, event organizers said. The crowd easily numbered in the thousands for the one-day event.

The benefit show raised an estimated $25,000 for organizer Edmond Family Counseling. The nonprofit agency offers family counseling and education to families, groups and individuals in the metro area.

And it benefited a good cause, to boot.

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