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We’re back November 16, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Web sites.

Route 66 News is back after a nearly five-day outage.

In short, I encountered grave and unexpected troubles last week with the site’s hosting service and decided to move to a new host. The website went back up partially — mostly on mobile — on Saturday, and returned to its full power about noon Sunday.

Route 66 News moved to Dreamhost, which offered better servers and more technical support for WordPress, the digital platform this site uses. With a database of more than 7,000 stories and many more thousands of comments in nine years, the website was getting too big and complicated for me to handle alone.

There may be some tinkering of the site in the next few days to make it perform better. But, at the least, we’re back and probably better than ever.

Evidence of criminal activity in Cuervo? November 1, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Photographs, Towns, Web sites.
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A man whose hobby is exploring abandoned buildings found evidence in the Route 66 ghost town of Cuervo, New Mexico, that someone might be engaging in sex crimes.

As it turns out, that evidence turned up at another site off Route 66 several miles west at another abandoned structure.

According to a special report by KRQE-TV in Albuquerque, City of Dust blogger John Mulhouse in the summer of 2013 stumbled across graffiti and used underwear on the walls of the long-closed Getty Memorial Baptist Church that suggested rape and incest.

Later, when someone else explored ruins at a structure seven miles west and found the same macabre display, that got the attention of state police and the TV station.

Granted, this might be an elaborate hoax. But the fact the entire display was moved — and reports the graffiti was quite specific — suggest the work of a serial rapist. It was proper that the state police was called.

KRQE also posted a gallery of photos from the scene, but the link to it is dead. That could be because of a technical error. Or it could be police asked that it be taken down.

A fair number of Route 66 fans explore ruins along the old highway. If you encounter something like this elsewhere along the I-40 corridor, you’d better call authorities, and pronto.

Cuervo, which declined rapidly after it was cut in half by I-40, is a semi-frequent stop for Route 66ers because of its abandoned but picturesque buildings and it being the start of the fascinating Cuervo cutoff alignment of Route 66 that ends near Santa Rosa.

(Image of the closed Cuervo School in Cuervo, New Mexico, by Gallopingphotog via Flickr)

We’re back October 29, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Web sites.
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Route 66 News suffered about a nine-hour outage because of problems with its host, HostGator.

We get hosting services from longtime roadie Guy Randall, who is a reseller for HostGator. He did nothing wrong, but apparently something went awry during the wee hours Wednesday, according to HostGator:

At this time the issues have been identified to be a operating system update that has caused issues across our reseller servers. We are working as dilligently as possible to resolve these issues across the board, and will continue to update this forum post as more information becomes available.

The site came back about 11 a.m. Central. Normal programming will resume shortly.

A chat with Rich Dinkela June 4, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Bridges, People, Road trips, Web sites.
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KC Keefer, the guy behind the ongoing Genuine Route 66 Life video series, produced a new clip about “Roamin’ Rich” Dinkela. The interview occurred at the closed MacArthur Bridge in St. Louis.

For a seven-minute clip, it nicely encompasses Dinkela’s approach and his many activities on the Mother Road.

You can follow Dinkela at his YouTube channel here, on Facebook here, on Twitter here, and on his Hooked on Route 66 website.

Blue Swallow Motel named a top 25 U.S. hotel by TripAdvisor May 15, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motels, Web sites.
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The Blue Swallow Motel of Tucumcari, New Mexico, recently was named one of the top 25 in the “Hotels with Exceptional Service — United States” category in 2014 by TripAdvisor.com.

The Blue Swallow was ranked No. 18 on the list and was the only Route 66 motel listed in that category. Of 822 ratings by travelers as of Thursday morning, 704 gave it an “excellent,” the highest mark.

Owners Kevin and Nancy Mueller said in an email they were thrilled with the award:

It continues to be a source of amazement, the chord that the Blue Swallow seems to strike with travelers. We are absolutely thrilled with the support we continue to receive from our guests, visitors, and the Route 66 community for this amazing adventure we are on. Every day brings something new!

Construction began on the Blue Swallow Motel in 1939. Lillian Redman, a former Harvey Girl, owned the Route 66 motel for almost 50 years. It’s been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1993.

Incidentally, one hotel of note — the Hotel California of Palm Springs — made both the U.S. and world rankings on TripAdvisor. And, yes, it bears a fair resemblance to the album cover of the Eagles’ landmark “Hotel California” LP, but I’m certain it’s not the real McCoy.

(Image of the Blue Swallow Motel by Jim Messersmith via Flickr)

Prominent National Geographic writer will travel Route 66 April 7, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in People, Road trips, Web sites.
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Andrew Evans, a prominent writer for National Geographic with his Digital Nomad blog, in a matter of days will travel the full length of Route 66 for Brand USA, a public and private partnership that promotes international travel to the United States.

The announcement of the trip, made in Chicago this morning, contained these details:

For the last 126 years, National Geographic has helped Americans discover the rest of the world. This year, we’ll be helping the rest of the world discover America. This week, I embark on my first in a series of Great American Road Trips. I am especially thrilled to be driving the entire length of America’s Historic Route 66, from Chicago all the way to Los Angeles. The Mother Road represents the evolution of America as a nation, and I can’t think of a better way to see and experience my country then exploring this epic 2,488-mile highway.

I invite all of you to follow along (on this blog, and on Twitter) as I drive the entire length of Route 66, and then embark on a series of other Great American Road Trips in my own wonderful and exotic country, the big, bold and beautiful USA.

It’s going to be really fun.

In addition to his blog, you can follow Evans here on Twitter.

Last fall, Evans spent a few weeks traveling the state of his birthplace, Texas, for National Geographic. Stops in the Lone Star State included a vintage fashion store on Route 66 in Amarillo.

I’ve read a few of Evans’ blog posts in the past, and he’s ideal for this new assignment. He travels with open ears and eyes, with few apparent preconceptions.

As Evans’ blog noted, Brand USA will also publicize nine other road trips this year, including the Blues Highway, Great River Road, Oregon Trail and the Pacific Coast Highway.

A recent report said Brand USA’s efforts generated $7.4 billion (with a “b”) in economic impact and created more than 50,000 jobs in 2013. And in recent weeks, Brand USA has cranked up its promotional engine for Route 66 by releasing a series of videos in various languages.

(Image of Andrew Evans in the field by Brian Gratwicke via Flickr)

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