Road Runner’s Retreat begins restoration work on its long-dark neon sign

The owner of the closed Road Runner’s Retreat restaurant near Chambless, California, began work last week on restoring its long-dark neon sign.

The work was detailed in an Instagram post:

High winds forced an early end to the day’s work, but “we’ll be back at it again in the coming weeks.”

“Please consider liking and following our page for updates and donation opportunities as the process will take some time and funds to complete,” the post also stated.

The Road Runner in August received a $5,386 cost-share grant from the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program to help cover costs related to planning for the sign’s restoration.

The owner considered restoring the neon sign after a test in late 2019 revealed much of its wiring and tubing still worked.

Owner Ryan Anderson has organized volunteer cleanups at the site during the late fall, when the desert heat is not as oppressive. Anderson is the grandson of the restaurant’s last owner.

Roy and Helen Tull built Road Runner’s Retreat along Route 66 in the early 1960s. The business closed in the mid-1970s after Interstate 40 bypassed the area, choking off traffic. 

Bill Ross Murphy purchased the property after it had been closed for some time, with the intent of never reopening but maintaining it as much as possible due to its Route 66 significance.

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