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New road would partly restore old section of Route 66 October 13, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Highways, History, Maps.
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Rolla, Missouri

The Phelps County commissioners may apply for a grant to build a north outer road near Interstate 44 that would partially restore an old section of Route 66 near Rolla, Missouri, according to The Leader Journal newspaper in St. James, Missouri.

The new section of road would run between U.S. 63 and Missouri Highway V. The board would apply for $452,000 through the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s Community Development Block Grant program. Phelps County would give $131,000 and the City of Rolla another $37,500. If the county gets the grant, it would take about 21 months to build the road.

A key excerpt from the story:

Commissioners have stated that a new north outer road would improve driver safety, alleviate traffic through residential neighborhoods in the Northwye area, reduce heavy truck traffic on county roads, open the area for development, improve the appearance of the area and restore the original historic Route 66 path.

Currently, a north outer road starts at Highway V and turns into County Road 2020. From there, travelers can access Highway 63 via County Road 2000.

A preliminary drawing created by Hargis shows that the new outer road would run parallel to I-44 from where the state maintenance ends west of Route V to the east end of County Road 2000.

It turns out that the new road does not restore the original Route 66 in that part of the county. I asked Jerry McClanahan, a Route 66 researcher and author of the “Route 66: EZ66 Guide for Travelers” guidebook to check into it. In short, he found the county’s proposed new road would restore a late 1940s or 1950s section of Route 66, not the original alignment.

The original section of Route 66 between U.S. 63 and Highway V follows what now is County Road 2020 (see Google Maps screen capture above). That section remains accessible today, and is marked as Historic U.S. 66 locally.

The proposed north outer road, McClanahan says, would reconnect a dead end of County Road 2000, which is the updated alignment of Route 66, circa 1950 (see screen shot of Google Maps above). That’s about 2,000 feet of new road. But the real part of that remains buried under I-44.

McClanahan sent me documentation from original maps from those eras to back his assertions.

So the county board thought it was doing a good deed for Route 66 travelers. It turns out it was still good — just not as good as they apparently thought it was.

(Image of a section of Route 66 in Rolla, Missouri, by Dustin Holmes via Flickr)

Google Maps Street View comes to the Grand Canyon January 31, 2013

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Maps, Photographs.
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Route 66 fans often use Street View on Google Maps to vicariously travel the Mother Road, as this demonstration video from 2010 shows:

Now, Street View has arrived at one of the most popular side trips for Route 66 travelers — Grand Canyon National Park.

According to Google’s official blog today, Google Maps now offers more than 75 miles of the Grand Canyon’s trails and roads in a 360-degree panoramic images.

Google didn’t use camera-equipped cars this time, but hikers with camera-equipped backpacks. It posted this demonstration video of its Grand Canyon efforts:

Google wrote:

This breathtaking imagery collection was made possible with the Trekker. Our team strapped on the Android-operated 40-pound backpacks carrying the 15-lens camera system and wound along the rocky terrain on foot, enduring temperature swings and a few muscle cramps along the way. Together, more than 9,500 panoramas of this masterpiece of nature are now available on Google Maps.

So no matter where you are, you don’t have to travel far or wait for warmer weather to explore Grand Canyon National Park. Check out some of our favorite views on our World Wonders site where you can find more information, facts and figures about the Grand Canyon, or in the updated Street View gallery, and happy (virtual) hiking!

It wouldn’t surprise me to see a few of Google’s hikers take on La Bajada Hill in New Mexico or some of the more-obscure alignments of Route 66 in future projects.

A man’s trip on Route 66 in 1967 December 12, 2012

Posted by Ron Warnick in Books, Maps, Road trips.
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Magnum Redux, a self-proclaimed “writer, artist, published author, car lover, gun nut, professional musician, and nostalgia expert” on YouTube, describes a trip he took on Route 66 in 1967 from Joplin, Mo., to Santa Monica, Calif.

He also gives a shout-out to the “Route 66 Adventure Handbook” and the “Here It Is!” map series of Route 66, so it’s obvious he’s also been doing some research about the Mother Road in the present day.

Meteor City Trading Post’s final business day is Dec. 23 November 6, 2012

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, Maps.

Meteor City Trading Post, located off old Route 66 west of Winslow, Ariz., announced today on its Facebook page its final day of business will be Dec. 23.

The message read:

AS much as it saddens me I have to say our last day open will be December 23,2012 its been a wonderful ride….. met many people from all over the world right now everything except textiles is on sale 40% off t-shirt are 50% off come and get some great gifts! I thank everyone for their bussiness and also thank you to the ones thats has stopped by and chatted for a while :)

The business was recently listed on our “For Sale” page for $150,000.

According to Roadside America, the main stucco building was constructed in 1938, and the dome built in 1979. It’s also well-known for a mural that is proclaimed as the World’s Largest Map of Route 66 (100 feet), originally painted by late Route 66 artist Bob Waldmire.

(Hat tip: Mike Ward)

Even parts of Route 66 need better cell-phone coverage October 3, 2012

Posted by Ron Warnick in Highways, Maps.

A lot of folks use smartphones today. But more than 1 million residents in the United States still can’t use them to a great degree because of the lack of 3G or better wireless coverage in their region.

That includes part of Route 66, especially in the West.

David Talbot of Technology Review wrote about the lack of 3G in some areas:

It includes 1,738,828 residents—and 653,392 miles of highways and secondary roads (including a few stretches of the fabled Route 66 through northern New Mexico and Nevada). If you live in one of these areas, or are driving through, you’ll find no 4G or even 3G service for your new iPhone5, Droid Razr M, Nokia Lumia 900, or other smartphone.

Talbot mistakenly identifies Nevada as a Route 66 state when it never was. But when you look at this interactive map showing the lack of 3G coverage through September, you’ll find, if anything, that he understates the problem on Route 66.

The map shows many more counties on Route 66 lack complete 3G coverage than have it. In addition to New Mexico, pieces of Arizona, the Texas Panhandle, the Mojave Desert in California, and the Ozarks in Missouri lack wireless service.

Even the relatively well-populated Macoupin County, Ill. — where an older alignment of 66 traverses — sees some spotty areas.

However, there is some good news. Thanks to a $300 million in grants announced Wednesday by the FCC, the number of residents without 3G service soon will drop by nearly a quarter-million. (Map here.) That new coverage includes swaths of Quay, Guadalupe, Torrance, and San Miguel counties in New Mexico, all which host the Mother Road.

Route 66 Interpretive Plaza in Tulsa is finished September 22, 2012

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Gas stations, Highways, History, Maps, Motels.
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Travelers on Route 66 in Tulsa now have a new, short side trip to check out — the Route 66 Interpretive Plaza near 11th Street and Mingo Road.

The sign in a median at that intersection that directs you to the plaza and the two Route 66 alignments in Tulsa was finished months ago.

However, the plaques that explained key elements of Route 66’s history in Tulsa were installed just a few days ago. The plaza sits a short distance south of 11th Street in the J.D. Metcalfe Flood Control and Recreation Area, created about two decades ago after a catastrophic flood in 1984.

As the area’s name implies, it’s a spot for walkers, picnickers, and fishermen in addition to flood retention.

But don’t worry too much if you decide to visit the Route 66 Interpretive Plaza after a rainstorm. It lies near the highest point of the flood-control area.

Each of the plaques is mounted on this concrete monolith emblazoned with the Route 66 shield.

The biggest plaque shows a map of Route 66 in Tulsa County, with the two alignments and points of interest. (You can click each photo of the plaques to enlarge them.)


One of the plaques delves into the Avery Tourist Camp, owned by Tulsa resident Cyrus “The Father of Route 66″ Avery.


Another plaque describes the two alignments of Route 66 — Admiral Place in 1926-32, and 11th Street in 1932-1973.


Another tells the history of Route 66 motor courts in Tulsa, citing the Campbell Hotel, Oasis Motel, Desert Hills Motel, and Brookshire Motel as surviving examples.


Finally, the last plaque describes the Whittier Square District, best known for the historic Circle Cinema.


The Interpretive Plaza seems somewhat low-key in its presentation and design. But it provides valuable context for novice Route 66 travelers, at a convenient location.

UPDATE: A few folks were having problems seeing the plaque photos, so I reduced them to thumbnail size. You can still click on the photos to enlarge them.

New Mexicans route bicycle path for Mother Road September 9, 2012

Posted by Ron Warnick in Bicycling, Maps.
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In November 2010, the Adventure Cycling Association announced it was mapping out a bicycle-friendly path of Route 66. The group hopes to have those maps available by 2014.

However, the New Mexico Touring Society has already created maps for cyclists wanting to tour Route 66, according to the Albuquerque Journal. The path goes from Glenrio on the east edge of the state to Gallup on the other end. And it includes the pre-1937 alignment of Route 66 to Santa Fe.

The maps and other information about Route 66 can be found at USBR66NM.bicyclemaps.org. The online maps include elevations and mile-by-mile directions. Here’s a sample, from Glenrio to the U.S. 84 junction west of Santa Rosa:

Find more Bike Ride in TX, United States

The Journal reported:

Volunteers cycled or drove the route, looking for remnants of the original road that were still safe for cycling. In areas where the road was eroded, inaccessible or too exposed to heavy traffic, the club chose an alternative that offered a safer cycling experience, said Barbara Snow, the chair of the NMTS Route 66 committee.

“In designing the New Mexico portion of the route, we felt that it was important to avoid biking on the interstate highways as much as possible,” Snow said.

In other areas, the bike route varies from historic Route 66 to offer a more scenic riding experience.
For example, the stretch of Route 66 between Grants and Gallup didn’t have cycling-safe roadways, so the bike map follows N.M. 53 through the Malpais area, past the Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano and El Morro National Monument, where visitors can see inscriptions carved by Spanish colonial leaders Juan de Oñate and Don Diego de Vargas.

As I’ve said before, this is a big deal. In recent years, I’ve noticed more and more people requesting information about cycling the Mother Road. Soon, businesses along the Mother Road will likely see a new, vibrant source of pedal-powered tourist revenue.

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