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Activist Cindy Sheehan taking Route 66 for Tour de Peace ride February 28, 2013

Posted by Ron Warnick in Bicycling, Events, Road trips.
1 comment so far

Antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan, perhaps best-known for her long protest in front of President George W. Bush’s ranch during the Iraq War, will embark on a Tour de Peace bicycle ride from California to Washington, D.C., including Route 66.

Sheehan protested Bush and the war not long after her soldier son Casey was killed in action in Iraq in 2004. The bicycle ride will begin April 4 from her son’s grave in Vacaville, Calif. — the ninth anniversary of his death.

It will continue on much of Route 66 and beyond, finishing July 3 at the White House in Washington.

According to the news release, local groups will organize several events along the way, and cyclists are invited on all or part of the journey.

As for why the Tour de Peace is being organized, the organizers explain:

This August will mark 8 years since Cindy Sheehan began a widely reported protest at then-President George W. Bush’s “ranch” in Crawford, Texas, demanding to know what the “noble cause” was for which Bush claimed Americans were dying in Iraq. Neither Bush nor President Obama has yet offered a justification for a global war now in its 12th year. The Tour de Peace will carry with it these demands:

To end wars,
To end immunity for U.S. war crimes,
To end suppression of our civil rights,
To end the use of fossil fuels,
To end persecution of whistleblowers,
To end partisan apathy and inaction.

History books will probably cite Sheehan’s protest as a turning point in the public’s opinion of the war. However, Sheehan’s causes have become more strident and quixotic in recent years, as you’ll probably surmise from a lengthy Wikipedia entry about her. Those things have cost her a lot of credibility, and it almost certainly cost her a 28-year marriage.

Regardless, I suspect people along Route 66 will treat her hospitably during her journey. It’s no picnic to pedal more than 3,000 miles across America, and I doubt anyone would say she’s insincere in her causes.

A look at a future boarding house on Route 66 February 28, 2013

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motels, Preservation, Towns.

About a year ago, a Springfield newspaper reported that the Route 66 town of Atlanta, Ill., was reviving an old boarding house that housed overnight Route 66 travelers until the 1940s.

Here’s the excerpt:

The community also has purchased an 1891 residence that served as a rooming house for Route 66 travelers in the 1940s, before motels were readily available. The city plans to offer the same service to modern travelers, although the Atlanta Route 66 Rooming House isn’t expected to open until 2013.

Recently, Bill Thomas of the Atlanta Betterment Fund emailed photos of the old boarding house and more details about the town’s plans for it  … and other things:

Our intent is to expand upon the idea of giving visitors recreated experiences as they travel Rt. 66; an idea that is the main underpinning of most of what we are trying to do in Atlanta. Currently, folks visiting town get to experience what it would have been like to eat at a small town, Rt. 66 cafe circa 1935 by stopping at the Palms Grill Cafe. We now want to let them experience what it would have been like to spend the night along Rt. 66 before there were lots of motels established along the Mother Road. We are about 1/3rd of the way through this project. We are currently projecting that we’ll open “Neva’s Rooming House” in time for the 2014 tourist season. [Neva is the name of the woman who ran the rooming house back in the 1940s.] …

FYI, next on the list after the rooming house project is completed is the renovation of the “Palace”, Atlanta’s movie theater that opened in October 1947, just half a block off Rt. 66. The building still stands and is currently houses apartments, but the owner likes the idea of converting it back to a movie theater.

Thomas said renovations on the boarding house would resume in the spring.

(Photos courtesy of Bill Thomas)

Crystal City Shopping Center sells for much less than anticipated February 27, 2013

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses.
1 comment so far

The main building that largely comprises the Crystal City Shopping Center in southwest Tulsa sold today for $435,000, which was less than half what was anticipated, according to several Tulsa media outlets.

KTVI-TV reported that City Councilor Jeannie Cue said the new owner had a good reputation for maintaining its buildings — a major issue for years with Crystal City.

The former owner shouldn’t have been surprised with the lower-than-expected final bid at the auction, because his persistent indifference drove down the price of the property. At one point just a few years ago, I heard the City of Tulsa was poised to seize the shopping center as a public nuisance.

The same bidder also bought smaller nearby parcel  for $40,000.

None of the reports revealed the identity of the buyer. According to one report, the main parcel was bought online, with the only identification as “JT.”

KJRH-TV said Sam’s Offroad purchased a second building nearby for $89,000. I’ve heard Sam’s wanted the building for storage purposes, but the asking price from the previous owner was too high.

It’s been rumored a section of the building that once housed a bowling alley could become a local Route 66 museum. The City of Tulsa also soon will construct one of the Route 66 gateways in that area.

Atlanta, Ill., organizes a cruise for all-electric vehicles February 27, 2013

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Towns, Vehicles.
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Credit the town of Atlanta, Ill., to find a new twist to the typical Route 66 car cruise — it has organized an event for all-electric vehicles on June 8.

The Electric Vehicle Cruise-In will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day in downtown Atlanta, where an older alignment of Route 66 runs. From the news release:

When Route 66 was commissioned in 1926, it helped develop the gas and service stations that today we take for granted. Back then, however, these fixtures of the highway didn’t exist. If you wanted gas for your new automobile, you had to go to the local hardware or grocery store, where you’d find a single gas pump the owner had put in to earn a little extra cash.

With the huge increase in automobile traffic created by Route 66, the need for businesses dedicated solely to serving the traveling public arose – and service stations were born.

Route 66 is now poised to help create the next big transportation infrastructure needing to be developed: charging stations for electric vehicles. Atlanta is interested in helping other Route 66 communities discover how to better serve the traveling public that will be searching not for a pump, but a plug-in. Attend Illinois’ first Electric Vehicle Cruise-in on June 8, check out some cool EV cars, and learn more about how the Mother Road is working to give birth to a new travel infrastructure.

The release goes on to plug the town’s downtown businesses and landmarks, including the Palms Grill Cafe, J.H. Hawes Grain Elevator Museum, Bunyon Giant, Gunnar Mast Trading Post, Chubby’s restaurant, Atlanta Museum, Arch Street Artisans, and The Korner tavern.

Atlanta was among the first Route 66 towns to establish an EV charging station. Best of all, to top off the batteries, Atlanta will do it free of charge.

(Photo of Dodge concept electric vehicle by saebaryo, via Flickr)

Willem Bor’s latest Route 66 miniatures February 27, 2013

Posted by Ron Warnick in Art, Gas stations, Museums, Restaurants.

Netherlands resident Willem Bor, who’s built detailed replicas of Route 66 landmarks in miniature, delivered four more models in recent months.

The miniatures were:

The now-closed Diamonds Restaurant in Villa Ridge, Mo.

Riviera Roadhouse in Gardner, Ill., which was destroyed by a fire in 2010.

Gay Parita station in Paris Springs, Mo.

Bor and his wife managed to personally deliver the models from Europe to America in one piece, thanks to a lot of bubble wrap. Those three models are in the Route 66 Museum in Lebanon, Mo.

Just recently, Bor also mailed by UPS a model of the Odell Station in Odell, Ill., to the Pontiac Oakland Automobile Museum in Pontiac, Ill. The model isn’t on display yet in the museum, but should be by April.

(Photos courtesy Willem Bor)

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