The caretakers for the long-closed Road Runner’s Retreat restaurant near Chambless, California, have organized another work session Oct. 18-20 and are offering commemorative T-shirts to fund it.
The T-shirts designed by Minnesota-based graphic artist Gina Hoelscher, who has lent her skills to other Route 66 events and preservation projects, can be yours by donating $30 or more to Beth Murray’s fundraiser on GoFundMe.com before Sept. 29.
As of this week, Murray had more than met her $2,000 fundraising goal, but I’m certain more donations would be appreciated.
Murray had more details about the Phase 2 work sessions:
Your donations this year will enable the volunteers to do the following. Repair down sections of the fence (200.00)
Build an electric panel shade structure (150.00)
Install a light near the electric panel (75.00)
Sand down and prime paint gate from graffiti (85.00)
A dumpster (415.00) to clean out the garage of old debris.
(875.00) to get water flowing to the property again, work on the old well.
We had a great deal of fun last year, yes we pitched in, but it was great being with fellow Route 66 enthusiasts and picking up trash, it was like a relics tour; you just never knew what you were going to find. All kinds of old things out there. This year we are cleaning out the garage of the old service station, move tires to pile in back of the property, pick up trash, and remove some of the brush that is getting out of hand plus help with the above-mentioned tasks. People are needed! Everyone can work at their own pace and pick what they would like to do.
Murray stated in an email this week the work hours will be from noon to sunset Oct. 18, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 19 and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 20. Lunch and water will be provided to the volunteers.
“Work at your own pace and do the tasks you prefer to do, no obligation to work,” Murray stated in the email. “We had a lot of fun last year, and took a lot of breaks and hung out too. You will have an opportunity to meet (owner) Ryan Anderson. You will get a tour of the property, and will be able to see inside both buildings.”
Murray recommends volunteers bring these tools to the site: shovels, rakes, limb shears, brooms, trash bags, wheelbarrows, gloves, power drills, pliers, wire cutters, hand tools and screwdrivers. You also can bring safety glasses and dust masks, but she considers those optional.
Anderson, the grandson of the late last owner of Road Runner’s Retreat, goes to the site annually to clean, paint and repair what he can so future travelers of Route 66 can enjoy it.
Roy and Helen Tull built Road Runner’s Retreat in the early 1960s. It closed in the mid-1970s after Interstate 40 bypassed it. Bill Ross Murphy eventually purchased the property — not with designs to reopen it, but to keep it around for the enjoyment of Route 66 travelers.
Average weather conditions that time of year in that part of the Mojave Desert are highs in the low 80s and nighttime lows in the mid-50s. Temperatures that time of year should be fairly tolerable, but one should be careful in case Indian Summer descends on the region.
Murray and Anderson also organized a volunteer weekend in November 2018.
(Image of Roadrunner Retreat near Chambless, California, by Steve Walser via Flickr)