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Final auction of Roy Rogers Museum items is next week March 31, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Movies, Museums, People.
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The final items of memorabilia of the now-closed Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum will be auctioned April 9 in New Braunfels, Texas, according to a press release today.

Roy Rogers, the long-acknowledged king of the Hollywood cowboys, and his co-starring wife Dale once operated their museum off Route 66 in Victorville, Calif.

Amid declining attendance, the museum was moved to Branson, Mo., in 2004. But it closed just a few years later.

About the auction:

Items featured in the sale include a life-sized carved marble statue of the legendary couple, his black Bohlin Resistol hat, pair of custom-made Double Eagle cowboy boots, pair of overlaid silver-engraved spurs, and Bianchi double gun rig adorned with gold and silver.

Those interested in the auction should go to the Burley Auction Group website, where many items are pictured. It will include phone and online bidding.

Among the items that won’t be auctioned are Rogers’ beloved horse, Trigger, and his dog, Bullet. The stuffed animals were purchased by cable channel RFD-TV in July 2010 and are being shown all over the country during a Trigger and Bullet Happy Trails Tour.

Lest anyone blame Roy Rogers Jr. about the museum’s demise, Roy Jr. said during a live RFD-TV interview that his father for years insisted the museum be closed and its contents sold if the museum became financially untenable.

From the trail of “End of the Trail” March 31, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Books, People, Radio.
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Dan Rice of 66 to Cali on the Santa Monica Pier is traveling down Route 66 to the Midwest to promote his new book, “End of the Trail.”

Here’s his interview yesterday with host Pat Campbell on KFAQ-AM in Tulsa. Rice mostly talks about his recovery from traumatic brain injury, but he also talks about Route 66 near the end. It’s a good chat.

UPDATE 4/2/2011: Here’s Rice being interviewed on NBC Chicago.

UPDATE 4/11/2011: Here’s Rice in an article about his visit to a church in Lubbock, Texas.

California 66 museum volunteers nominated as “most inspiring” March 31, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Museums, People.
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Two volunteers at the California Route 66 Museum in Victorville, Calif., have been nominated as the 2011 Most Inspiring Women by the city’s Daily Press newspaper.

Charlotte “Chick” Kirk and Betty Halbe were nominated together, and apparently are such a strong combination, they have a nickname.

Some may have never heard of a Chickanbetty, but many in the Victor Valley have not only seen the only one in existence but say they are lucky to count Chickanbetty as their friend and inspiration.

“It’s not Chick and Betty,” said Jim Conkle, longtime Victor Valley resident and member of the California Route 66 Museum board of directors. “It’s one word: Chickanbetty.” […]

“Chick and Betty. What more is there to say?” chuckled Eldon Kingston about the women. “When you think of one you think of the other, then you think of the Route 66 Museum.”

The report goes on to say that the two women not only helped get the museum started, but they’ve also logged thousands of volunteer hours there to greet tourists and provide tourist of the facility.

When the two heard they were nominated, they said it should go to someone else. “… There are so many women out there working and volunteering with cancer patients, battered women and the homeless,” Halbe said.

Route 66 documentary to debut next month March 30, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, Movies, Road trips.
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Photojournalist Joe Frederick of Frederick Media spent much of last summer checking out businesses and its people along Route 66. That trip will culminate in the documentary film, “Life Along the Forgotten Highway,” next month.

Frederick recently appeared on a news show on NBC Philadelphia to talk about the film. A free screening is scheduled at 7:30 p.m. April 19 at Deke’s BBQ at Philadelphia.

Here’s a teaser trailer:

Frederick Media’s YouTube channel contains several good Route 66 clips, including this one from the Sky-View Drive-In in Litchfield, Ill.:

Frederick Media has a blog here. It also has a Facebook page here, if you want to surf over and say hi.

It’s producing a DVD of this documentary. I’ll have more about it as soon as I get it.

UPDATE: Frederick said by email he’ll have a DVD out by June, along with a companion photo book. “And I’m looking to have the documentary aired on a tv network too, and will enter it to some film festivals in the coming months.”

Uncle Sam helps continue cleanup of abandoned gas stations March 30, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Gas stations.
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An Arizona program that cleaned up underground gasoline storage tanks at abandoned gas stations along Route 66 might have ended because of state budget cuts.

But the program is continuing because of federal stimulus funds, reported the AzJournal.com based in Winslow. The report came during a meeting by the Navajo County Board of Supervisors.

Arizona Department of Environmental (ADEQ) Quality Community Liaison Byron James made a presentation to the board, noting that the clean-up project along Route 66 has been successful, with more than 20 sites cleaned up in the Winslow area alone.

Supervisors learned, however, that the program nearly came to a halt due to state budget cuts, but was reinvigorated with funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The stimulus funds were used to keep 23 projects in Arizona, six of which were located in Northern Arizona.

Here’s a video about the program, focusing on a cleanup project at the old Minnetonka Trading Post:

It’s difficult to see a downside to continuing the program. It gets rid of underground storage tanks that contaminate ground water and leak dangerous fumes into basements and storm sewers. The cleanups revitalize long-moribund property for future business use and raises the value of adjacent land.

Like the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, this ought to be considered an example of a good government program.

“Route 66″ compilation March 30, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Music.

Here’s a nicely edited video of the various versions of Bobby Troup’s famous song, “Route 66,” over the years by prominent artists.

Bob Waldmire’s old car acquired by Henry’s Rabbit Ranch March 29, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in History, People, Preservation, Vehicles.
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Rich Henry, owner of Henry’s Rabbit Ranch on Route 66 in Staunton, Ill., recently acquired a 1967 Volkswagen station wagon once used by Route 66 artist Bob Waldmire, who died of cancer in December 2009.

Henry says the car will be displayed on his property, where other large Route 66 memorabilia have found a home.

A Bob Waldmire-made explanation of the two VWs he drove on Route 66. (Click image to enlarge)

Most people remember Waldmire in a 1972 Volkswagen Type 2 van, in which he roamed Route 66 and peddled his intricate artwork. But before the van, Waldmire drove the ’67 VW for 13 years, until he “retired” it in 1985.

The car was taken off the road a few years before the publication of Michael Wallis’ bestselling book, “Route 66: The Mother Road,” and before the revival of Route 66. Few roadies hold memories of that car.

However, that car now will be the subject of new memories, now that Henry will display it at his Rabbit Ranch.

Henry said in an email that the ailing Waldmire instructed family members to give the car and its paperwork to Henry if he was interested.

Some months ago, the VW wagon was loaded onto a trailer and taken to Henry’s place.

Henry said of the vehicle:

The ’67 is too far gone for restoration, but it can be preserved in its present condition.  I am going to see if I can get it running this spring.  It is here out front where the travelers can see it.

Henry installed new tires and rims because the old rims were rusted out. He said he wants to sell each old tire with the rim attached as a way to raise funds to help preserve the VW:

The tires are unique in themselves.  They are Uniroyal tires.  The lettering of the uniroyal on the tires are blue.  Whoever would be donating for a piece of 66 history would have to pickup the tires / rims here or be responsible to having shipment arranged.

Probably the best way to handle it would be have the people contact me first either at Route66(at)midwest(dot)net or 1-618-635-5655 from 9am-4pm Central time.  The first four with a reasonable / fair donation would then have to send the donation within 5 days of our mutual confirmation.

The old VW contains several strong clues it was Waldmire’s — namely, bumper stickers that hailed his favorite causes. One says “You can’t hug a child with nuclear arms.” Another says: “Extinct species are not born again.” Another admonishes drivers to yield to animals in the road.

I’m glad Henry is saving this car. And I sure hope he can get the old VW running so he can take it for a spin. Bob would like that.

(Photos courtesy of Rich Henry)

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