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A 21st century perspective on an old friend

What a Summer Celebration!

Cover print by Missouri artist Ray Harvey. Story and details to purchase print inside.


November/December 2012

And the winners are ...! See page 6 for details.

Christmas over Route 66 Jane Reed / Ray Harvey


Author Profile by Judy Springs


Kruzin’ with Kramden by John Springs


66 Motel Sign Restoration by Ed Klein


About Town The Cave Restaurant Let the Adventure Begin by Jim Hinckley


Detours 5 Great Route 66 Detours by Jim Hinckley



November / December 2012


January / February March/ April May/ June


Materials Due

December 4 December 11

February 8 February 15

April 10 April 17

CONTACT US Judy Springs Publisher John Springs Advertising Manager 760.834.1495 Beverly Maxfield Contributing Editor/Copy Writer

Please note: When submitting materials to this magazine for publication, it is understood and agreed you have full legal rights to its content. In the event any litigation ensues, advertiser agrees to indemnify, defend and hold harmless the Magazine from all claims (whether valid or invalid), sits, judgements, proceedings, losses, damages, costs and expenses, of any nature whatsoever (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) for which the Magazine may become liable by reason of Magazine’s publication of Advertiser’s advertising.

How to Reach the ROUTE 66 ASSOCIATIONS California Historic Route 66 Association 16825 S. D St., Victorville, CA 92323 Arizona Route 66 Association PO Box 66, Kingman, AZ 86402 928.753.5001 New Mexico Route 66 Association 14305 Central Ave. NW Albuquerque, New Mexico 87121 505.831.6317 Old Route 66 Association of Texas PO Box 66 McLean, TX 79057 806.373.7576 or 806.779.2225 Oklahoma Route 66 Association, Inc. PO Box 446 Chandler, OK 74834 or Kansas Historic Route 66 Association PO Box 66 Baxter Springs, KS 66713 620.856.2385 Route 66 Association of Missouri PO Box 8117 St. Louis, MO 63156 Illinois Route 66 Association Route 66 Hall of Fame & Museum 110 W. Howard St. Pontiac, IL 61764 Canadian Route 66 Association PO Box 81123 Burnaby, BC V5HK2 604.434.1818, or National Historic Route 66 Federation PO Box 1848, Dept. WS Lake Arrowhead, CA 92352 909.336.6131

November / December 2012


Just 3 of 300+ Route 66 Tees

Images Š


November / December 2012

Every Route 66 Road Trip is Unique ... Every Route 66 trip produces its own unique images. Photographer Frank Gifford of is just back from the western half of the Mother Road with some spontaneous shots — and stories to go with them ...

JOHN DEERE I keep a point-and-shoot camera in the car for unexpected scenes like this. A giant tractor lumbers westward between farm fields, filling both lanes of original 1931 concrete near Bridgeport OK. It’s a simple shot--yet it’s so very American. Everything you see is iconic and built to endure: the John Deere equipment, American flag, farm house, and of course Route 66. Dust Bowl refugees of the 30s used the same pavement, heading in the same direction.

HORSE & SIGN They had a blown-out tire on their horse trailer near Continental Divide NM but didn’t need my help. So I took a couple of quick human-interest shots. I’ve only photographed a few horses along Route 66, and never one tied to a road sign. I especially like how the two men and horse stack up, near the left edge.

FLOODED Countless images of this replica wagon appear online for free. Why add to the glut? A tremendous California desert storm changed everything. I photographed at several Needles locations, then headed back to the wagon as Route 66 flooded and became a sluice. In the clearing storm, the sky turned dramatic and this car came by. Its headlights reflect off water up to curb-level, completing the image. Route 66 is never the same road twice. Your trip will produce unique images as well. While I generally rely on a DSLR, a nice point-and-shoot camera is indispensable for grabber shots like these. There’s a lot more about photography (including camera recommendations) on my Blog at

Images © November / December 2012


And the Winners Are ... Grand Prize Winner:

Frank Miller from Florida! Congratulations Frank!

- Grand Prize A Kindle Fire!

Kingman Gift Basket ... and the Winner is ... Kathleen Liddick, Pennsylvania! Kathleen says her heart is in AZ and the gift basket was a perfect prize! Prize Package: Christina Coverdell

Package included (among other items) the autographed copy of Route 66 Sightings by its authors Jerry McClanahan, Jim Ross and Shellee Graham. After receiving her package, Christina responded: “I just received my gifts and I love all of it. I will read the book and wear my shirt proudly.”

Prize Package: Thurman Allen, II

Awesome! Can’t wait to hear what I’ve won. Thanks for putting this together and for all your work supporting The Mother Road!

Prize Package: Roy Forgy, Dacono, CO “Nice, got it today. Thanks”

Prize Package: Rich Nemith, Pinckney, MI “Sweet! Thanks!”

Prize Package: Connie Echols “Thank you!

Prize Package: Kathy O’Brien Seligman, AZ

At “press time”, 66 The Mother Road has not yet heard back from our additional Prize Package winners. Announcements will be made on our Facebook page (66TheMotherRoad) when those winners have responded. 6

November / December 2012

66 The Mother Road extends a great big shout-out of gratitude to those that contributed their time, products and services to the Big Palooza Give-Away. Thank you to our Route 66 Mother Road family!

Participating Sponsors:

Mr. C’s Soda’s Mediocre Music Makers Globetrotter Lodge Croc Lile Wagon Wheel Mote Jim Hinckley Henry’s Rabbit Ranch Wigwam Motel Jerry McClanahan Joe Lesch & The Road Crew Meramec Caverns Jim Ross Roger Naylor Grand Canyon Caverns Shellee Graham Frank Gifford The Last Stop Shop on Route 66 Joe Sonderman Catamaran Echo, Key West, Florida Historic Seligman Sudries Dolphins, Snorkeling, Champaign sunset cruise House Portraits By Pete

Winners will be notified via email. No substitutions for prizes. No cash exchange in lieu of prizes. No cash refunds for portions of unusued certificates. Room prizes will be subject to the establishments availability. Gift packages will determined by establishments product availability. One email per person; duplicates will be eliminated. We will use all emails to notify participants when each issue of 66 The Mother Road is published. No other correspondence will be issued unless you initiate the exchange. If you choose to opt out, please send an email to and your email will be removed from the bi-monthy notifications - you will still be entered in the raffle. Transportation to any location is the sole responsibility of the entrant.

November / December 2012


Christmas Over Route 66: Cuba, Missouri

Ray Harvey 8

November / December 2012


Cubans now have a new piece of artwork by Missouri artist Ray Harvey that features nostalgic holiday history of Cuba. The town that has its own candy bar now has its own Christmas print. Cuba murals by Ray Harvey include the Bette Davis and the Phillips 66 Station murals for Viva Cuba. Harvey has also painted several local murals for private individuals or organizations such as Victorian Manor & Memory Care Center, My Place Tires, the Catholic Church, and Midwest Travel Plaza. However, this time Viva Cuba, a community betterment organization, went to Harvey with a different request—a nostalgic Christmas print, which included Santa over Route 66 in historic uptown Cuba. Viva Cuba wanted art with a holiday theme, but they didn’t think a year-round mural was the answer, thus the idea of a print. To prepare for creating the print, local pilot Don McGinnis flew the artist over Route 66 (in his plane, not in a sleigh) to survey the overall layout of the area. Harvey also snapped shots from street level. He met with Viva Cuba members about what they might want in the print. Of course, they wanted much more than could ever be included in the print. The focus of the print had to be narrowed to some of the original area of Cuba featuring the restored Phillips 66 station and the train, which brought about the founding of the town in 1857. The streetscape is not to scale, and some elements are of the present day (murals) while other elements will be of the past (cars, Christmas decorations, etc.). Artistic license allows for elements that might not be present in “real time.” When word of the print was published on Facebook, someone asked that the “crown lights” that were once on the west end of Cuba water tower “please, please, please” be included in the print. A little research at the Cuba Free Press revealed a December 3, 1963, article that stated that 480 colored lights were arranged around the base of the Cuba water tower in the form of a crown that could be seen for miles. Harvey has used light to illuminate buildings and the street and used Santa and his reindeer as a feature of the print. Elements of the past, combined with current street scenes, make the print traditional and reminiscent of an earlier Cuba. Because of the holiday nature of the print, purchasers may just hang the print during the holiday season, or they can include it in their décor year round. Viva Cuba hopes the print will be a keepsake of Cuba’s Route 66 and will one day be a part of the memories of a new generation of Cuba kids. Harvey was at Route 66 Cuba Fest 2012 on October 20-21 signing purchased prints. It is hoped that many individuals, families, and businesses in Cuba will share in this art offering of Cuba’s history. Harvey maintains the copyright of the painting, but Viva Cuba has digital rights to produce the image. After Cuba Fest, the print (unframed) can be purchased from Viva Cuba on their website with a shipping charge. Or it can be purchased locally at the Spirals Gallery & Studio across from the Cuba Free Press building on Route 66/E. Washington or at the Highway 19 Peoples Bank. The 18 X 24 print, including the border area, can be installed in a standard frame. You can also contact Ray Harvey at

November / December 2012


Author Profile Author and friend, Jim Hinckley — a person who could easily fill a 27 hour day — adds to his endless “to do” list as a regular feature writer for 66 The Mother Road. His columns are always insightful as well as informative and entertaining. I wanted to know more about Jim, how his fascination with Route 66 began, and how he has become so entwined with the fabric of the road. Jim agreed to an “interview,” so we sat down with my list of questions, as much of a semblance of seriousness as we could muster, and a promise not to digress too often - or failing that, for too long!

Mr. Jim Hinckley, II

Judy: Before we begin may I ask that you tell readers a little something about Jim Hinckley. Jim: Well, I originally hail from the coast of North Carolina but have been enamored with the desert southwest since the late 1960s and have lived in Kingman off and on since the summer of 1966. My fascination is not limited to the vast and awe inspiring landscapes as the people and the history are what give this raw land an almost tangible vitality that invigorates the soul. My dearest friend, Judy, has an even longer association with the desert southwest. Her family has roots in Arizona that stretch back more than six generations. As Kingman is sort of my adopted home town, and as we have a son, and three grandchildren who also live there, chances are that we will be 10

November / December 2012

calling this city home for the next half century or so. I am an optimistic person. Since writing and my association with Route 66 are the topic of this interview, I should note two things: my childhood dream was to become a writer, a quest I am still pursuing. Second, writing is a relatively recent endeavor as I followed a rather twisted path before commencing the quest to fulfill the childhood dream. Judy: As you have written numerous books and hundreds of feature articles for various publications, it would seem you have made the childhood dream a reality. Jim: Well, sort of. See, I still have a day job that supports the writing habit. A real writer derives all of their income from the written word, and still can afford to eat every second day.

Judy: Can you tell us about your initial endeavors as a writer? Jim: Over the years my passion for history has manifested in a multifaceted manner. One of these is a deep interest in automotive history and seeing vintage vehicles as a personal time capsule. As my fascination with old vehicles and the history behind them grew, friends would often quip that I could talk about old cars for hours and enjoy myself even if I was the only one in the room. But my fascination was not limited to just reading and talking the history as my daily transportation was often provided by vehicles manufactured before I was born, most of which were decorated with junk yard camouflage. Judy: Junkyard camouflage? Jim: Yep, park them in any junkyard and they would blend right in. Judy: How did this lead to a career as an author? Jim: It was my dearest friend. She patiently nudged me to share my passion for this history as well as my passion to share that history through writing. So, that is what I did. The short version of a long story, I called the editor of one of my favorite automotive publications, Special Interest Autos, and sold him on the idea of a story profiling a fascinating junkyard I had found down near the Mexican border. Fast forward a couple of months. The article is published; I had a check for $250.00, and visions of quitting the day job. That was just over twenty years ago. Judy: How did you move from articles and books on automotive history to ones on Route 66? Jim: It was a natural transition. In fact many of my articles overlapped, they tied the history of the automobile, the subsequent societal evolution, and the development of roads such as Route 66 together. Judy: I understand that you have a long association with Route 66. I am quite sure that this played a role in that transition. Jim: Yes, but my work still has an automotive

thread. You can’t separate one from the other. In addition, my vision for the automotive writing was to add depth and context, to move beyond the narrow focus of the tail fin or ’57 Chevy by providing the story behind these icons and painting word pictures of the society that served as the stage for their introduction. My travel writings, including those on the subject of Route 66, are based on a similar vision. The neon and ’57 Chevy is an integral part of the Route 66 story but there is more, much, much more. That was what prompted me to write Ghost Towns of Route 66. I wanted to present the old road as an asphalt thread that linked our distant past to the modern era; I wanted to give towns where the resurgent interest arrived too late a moment in the sun. I wanted to add an element of flesh and blood by preserving the history of the people who lived, breathed, dreamed, and died along Route 66 and the roads that preceded it. Judy: Can you tell us a bit about your association with Route 66? Jim: Oddly enough, Route 66 is the component that links most every important event in my life. My folks always teased that I was potty trained along this highway, and a few other old two lane roads. We moved to Arizona from Michigan following Route 66. I learned to ride a bicycle on the empty pre-1952 alignment between Kingman and Oatman, in fact we would get someone to give us a ride to the top of Sitgreaves Pass so we could coast to the valley below, with a stop at Ed’s Camp or the ruins of Cool Springs. This was also where I learned to drive. During my John Wayne period when I thought the cowboy life was for me, I worked on ranches near Hackberry and Truxton. I picked up my mail in Valentine, whiled away Saturday nights at the Cattleman’s Café in Truxton, or in Seligman. When my dearest friend and I were dating, to visit on Saturday, I would drive to Kingman from Chino Valley via Route 66. My first steady job after we married was at 66 Auto Sales, a company whose office was in the old Glen Plains Union 76 station on Route 66. The office for my current job is the last vestiges of the Hobb’s Truck Stop. This is another Route 66 November / December 2012


landmark, a place where I would stop for fuel and breakfast on trips to Kingman from the ranch. And, of course, there are the books. My latest, The Route 66 Encyclopedia, is the third title written on this subject. My current project is another Route 66 book, a travel guide with my unique twist. Judy: I am quite sure it will be a challenge to create a better guide than the one penned by Jerry McClanahan. Jim: It is not my intention to create a better guide. In fact in the introduction for the current book I have noted that to get the most from an adventure on Route 66 it is imperative to travel with the EZ 66 Guide. No, the guide I envision is one that will encourage a first time adventure as well as provide the veteran Route 66 enthusiast with a few new destinations. Judy: I understand it was your idea to initiate the promotion of The Route 66 Encyclopedia in Cuba, Missouri. May I ask why you selected that location? Jim: The publicist at the publisher had suggested a large scale, multimedia kick off in Chicago followed by appearances at other locations throughout the year. I approached the books promotion from a different perspective. See, in my mind’s eye, all of our published work, all of our photography has a purpose beyond profit even though that is obviously important to the publisher. And, of course, making money on the books or through photography is a necessity if I am going to be a writer when I grow up. However, in my mind’s eye the work is also a promotional venue for the places and people that make Route 66 unique. As Cuba exemplifies the modern era on Route 66, and as the efforts being made there to capitalize on the resurgent interest in the highway should be inspiration for other communities on the highway, I felt that I could lend a promotional hand by debuting the book there. Judy: Many Route 66 enthusiasts know of your published work but the photographic endeavors 12

November / December 2012

are not quite as well known. Can you tell us a bit about it? Jim: Our photographic work is some of the most rewarding as it is where my dearest friend and I are true partners. Judy is a gifted photographer as she has an eye for detail even in vast landscapes. In addition to providing photographs for illustrations for various books and articles, including The Route 66 Encyclopedia that was the first book in which we supplied almost all of the current images, we were selected as the photographers for an Arizona state centennial project, and have launched a website for the international sale of prints ( ). Judy: Can you tell us a bit more about the centennial project? Jim: It will be a permanent exhibit on the mezzanine of the Powerhouse Visitor Center in Kingman that portrays the wonders of Route 66 in Mohave County. Judy: In our initial conversation you noted other Route 66 related projects. Can you tell us a bit more about them? Jim: Where do I begin? Sam Frisher, owner of the 1939 El Trovatore Motel in Kingman is launching a tour company specializing in day trips along Route 66 and I have signed on as an occasional guide. I am working closely with Josh Noble, the Kingman area tourism director, and other organizations in the area to develop a mural project as well as creation of something rather innovative, the world’s longest Route 66 museum. In short, the museum project will recreate the entire Route 66 corridor through Kingman in the preinterstate highway era using reproduced post cards and photos placed at the location from which they were taken. We are working closely with the contractor given the task of renovating the Brunswick Hotel. The new owner has requested we create a Route 66 exhibit for the lobby. In addition, plans are underway for us to have a small storefront in the refurbished hotel, a location that will enable us

to meet with tour groups of all sizes. This will also provide me with the location to create something envisioned for quite some time: a complete Route 66 information center. In addition to books, I can provide rack cards and promotional materials for places all along Route 66, and via snail mail or email, and assist with Route 66 travel planning.

Judy: What would be the best way for readers to obtain signed copies of your books, or to be kept abreast of your various Route 66 related endeavors? Jim: I maintain a blog (http://route66chronicles. with regular postings, a list of places where my books are sold, a page with a listing of scheduled appearances, and a section for the ordering of signed copies of my books. Judy: Thank you for taking time to talk with me this morning (and staying on point!). Jim: It was my pleasure. Judy: We did good. Let’s grab a beer!


November / December 2012


AL C es O lac nd L p f to s, a UR RS! log s, a lis rance b O s g i stin pea isit h T Y ELLE k, v ular po led ap A o o S W ’s b reg edu f Jim /) with of sch ks. o NO OOK y m oo o op ing B d c spot.c h a list f my b e h it p so og w a pie ogr ge aut ronicle , a pa ed co n n a h d g l i c in o of s bta te66 re s To o ://rou ooks a rdering (http e his b r the o r o whe ction f e s a


November / December 2012

GHOST TOWNS of ROUTE 66 By Jim Hinckley Photography by Kerrick James

ISBN-13: 978-0-7603-3843-8 Hardcover • 160 pages 151 color & 21 b/w photos, 1 map $25.00 US • $28.00 CAN

Explore the beauty and nostalgia of these abandoned communities along America’s favorite highway! Ghost towns lie all along the Mother Road. The quintessential boom-and-bust highway of the American West, Route 66 once hosted a thriving array of boom towns built around oil mines, railroad stops, cattle ranches, resorts, stagecoach stops, and gold mines. Join Route 66 expert Jim Hinckley as he tours more than 25 ghost towns, rich in stories and history, complemented by gorgeous sepia-tone and color photography by Kerrick James. Also includes directions and travel tips for your ghost-town explorations along Route 66!

For trade sales, please contact: Brenda Lunsman, Sales Representative • 612-344-8179

You can find Ghost Towns of Route 66 and our other Jim Hinckley books in fine bookstores, online booksellers, or

To order a signed copy of Ghost Towns of Route 66, please e-mail Jim Hinckley:

Voyageur Press is an imprint of Quayside Publishing Group • 400 First Ave. N., Suite 300 • Minneapolis, MN 55401

November / December 2012


by John Springs


another season has come and gone and we had a few great parties on Route 66. The AZ Fun Run started the summer and we were not disappointed. Cuba Fest in Cuba, MO, finished off our season and could not have been better! The party was centered at The Wagon Wheel Motel and it drew a crowd of Roadies that guaranteed a great time. Connie and her capable staff handled all the commotion with ease. The Road Crew put on a three hour show to a sellout crowd down the road at the Belmont Winery, where a good time was had by all. Hopefully the band returns next year for another rocking show. I was able to get another haircut from Angel in Seligman during one trip through Seligman, and we had the pleasure of seeing their quartet play during another trip through town. The more I eat at Westside Lilo’s the more I like it. The same goes for Missouri Hick’s BBQ next to the Wagon Wheel in Cuba. We had dinner there 3 out of 4 nights we were in town. I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to Sherry’s Diner on Route 66 in Cuba – for a great breakfast! Sherry’s is my personal favorite in this town!

Alas, all good things come to an end. With Judy having taken a new job that includes graphic design work we have decided that this will be the last regular issue of 66 The Mother Road magazine. Judy just does not have the time to spend on what is a time consuming project. We would like to thank all the folks that have been supportive of our efforts. The list of winners of The Big Palooza drawing are listed elsewhere in this issue. A HUGE thanks goes to Jim Hinckley for stepping up when our main writer actually got a paying job…..maybe the economy is getting better! See everyone on the road….be safe and happy trails.


November / December 2012

November / December 2012



November / December 2012

4 WOMEN ON THE ROUTE To the Four Women on the Route at the north end of Main Street in Galena, Kansas, being relegated to the background by a 1951 International Boom Truck is just fine by them. Taking center stage is “Tow Tater”, the inspiration for “Tow Mater” in the Pixar movie Cars, and soon to be released – June 24 – Cars 2. The old Kan-O-Tex service station was purchased in 2006 by four women (hence the name): Melba Rigg, Renee Charles, Judy Courtney, and Betty Courtney. They have worked tirelessly to restore the luster-ofold, and now sell sandwiches, snacks, antiques, Route 66 and Car’s items, including several made by local craftspeople and artists. They also cater to groups (with a day’s notice): hamburgers or hot dogs, chips and a drink for a set fee; and they offer free morning coffee and some doughnuts or fruit. Restoration projects in town are very much at the forefront. Meanwhile, Melba tells us her philosophy for a successful business: “… do your best to keep your word, and never say something you can’t back up…”.

119 North Main Street Galena, Kansas 66739 620.783.1366 Open Monday - Saturday 8am - 5pm Grill open 11am - 3pm http://www.kansastravelorg/4womenontheroute.htm Open 3 seasons.

November / December 2012


Steven M .Wagner Associate Broker



November / December 2012

Another Beautiful Day in Kingman, Arizona. The skies are blue, the sun is shining and there are Real Estate Bargains For Sale on or near Route 66 in the Kingman area. Our local (and internationally renown) Route 66 Author & Historian, Jim Hinckley, has shared many stories of people buying and revitalizing Route 66 properties and in so doing, enriching their own lives as well as the lives of all who travel our beloved Mother Road. Recently, I sold the Historic Brunswick Hotel in Downtown Kingman to a Swiss Investor who plans on restoring it to its 1910 splendor while also adding more food service, tour information and other destination oriented touches. He will have a full service restaurant and bakery with outdoor patio seating and is looking for a Brew Pub operator and Hotel operator to run those facilities. We also sold the Silver Spoon Restaurant (opened in 1964 as a Sambo’s Restaurant) to a local restaurant owner who will be restoring it and turning it into a 50’s style Diner with outdoor seating. Currently there are a number of Real Estate Business opportunities along Route 66 in Kingman: an old Bingo’s Truck Stop, a Route 66 Motel, numerous storefronts in Historic Downtown Kingman. Even though the evil Interstate 40 bypassed our section of Historic Route 66, our Route 66 Business owners benefit greatly from the large amount of Tourist and Visitor traffic generated for our stretch of highway by the intersection of Interstate 40 and Highway 93 which intersects with our portion of Route 66. We have the highest Hotel Occupancy Rates in the State and some of our chain businesses are the highest volume stores in Arizona. This month the Stetson Winery will be opening its Tasting Room and Events Center. The Stetson Winery is located just off Route 66 past the Valle Vista Country Club. This new Wine Country creates the need for more lodging establishments; Bed & Breakfasts come to mind. Also, there are opportunities to own your own Vineyard on a Wine Country Estate near this Winery. If you have ever thought of changing your life and owning a Route 66 Business; NOW is the TIME! Prices are at their all time low and Kingman is projected to become the 3rd largest City in Arizona. Route 66 is our heart & soul; this is your chance to own a part of it. If you have any Real Estate Questions don’t hesitate to contact me.

Email: November / December 2012


66 Motel Sign - the Restoration Project by Ed Klein, K & K Designs


November / December 2012

Compared to most folks who live and work on Route 66, I am fairly new. I have been at this for a little over 3 years, while doing preservation work for just over 2 years. I believe everyone who is connected to the route has their own ‘purpose’ for it. Some love to travel it, some shoot it with camera in tow, some write books about it, some even own the very businesses we love to eat at, visit, and stay the night. Then there is the small section of individuals who are on a mission to save and preserve it. I fall into this category! With a background in architecture, design, planning, project and construction management, and even owning my own business, this was a perfect fit for me. I have worked on many a home, rebuilt many an engine, and restored / repaired many a car. Seeing I have little patience for writing a book or cannot shoot a great picture to save my life, this was ‘home’ to me. In the 2 year span, I was able to do several preservation projects in Illinois, stopped out in Tucumcari to help turn around a gas station which seen better days, restore the 66 Motel sign in Needles CA, and while I was there, help out with two more gas stations. I wanted to focus on the 66 Motel sign and the story behind getting the sign relit for the first time in over 15 years. It was literally a ‘route 66 community’ effort. I was able to do most of the scraping, painting, wiring, putting the new neon in, and relighting it but it would not have been possible without the donations (and gifts for donors) from so many folks literally around the world. I was asked to come out to Needles in January of 2011 to look at the Carty’s Camp Shell gas station as the town wanted to get ideas on how to restore it. After looking at the station and walking around the property taking pictures, getting measurements and taking notes, we headed next door to the 66 Motel. I was told the sign hasn’t been lit in years and I wanted to know what the plans were to restore it. As I walked up to the motel, the owner Marjut (I call her Mary) was out front sweeping her driveway. I introduced myself and simply asked her ‘what were her plans with the sign’. She mentioned they wanted it to be restored one day but the funds were low and there were a few other priorities on the ‘laundry list’ of things to do around the motel first. Now mind you, Mary came to Needles to take care of her uncle who owned the motel and after his passing, she took over ownership and had to start renting the rooms as monthly rentals. I asked her if she would allow me to restore the sign for her. I told her I would get it repainted and lit up with all new bulbs and neon. She laughed a bit not believing me and said ‘sure’… We shook hands and went on our separate ways. Fast forward a year later (January 2012), my wife Juliana and I rolled into town to start working on the sign. I knocked on her door and told her ‘we were here to start work’ and she was just beside herself thinking we forgot about her. The first weekend was the hardest. We planned on arriving in Needles Friday night, waking up early Saturday to work on the sign all day, and then use Sunday morning / early afternoon to squeeze in whatever we could before the ride back to Scottsdale. We started off with a 25’ extension ladder which literally blew in the wind as I was up it scrapping the sign. I checked the weather for temperature and possible rain, but forgot to check the wind speeds! Well, the wind was hitting 40+ MPH and when you are 25 feet in the air, you feel it! After working almost a full day Saturday of scrapping and pulling off old neon and bulbs, Sunday was spent painting as much of the sign as I could, with the wind beating on me with a goal of trying to knock me off the ladder. I had to call it quits at around 11am and started packing up for the ride home, shot nerves and all.

November / December 2012


About 2 months later, we decided to come back and finish painting the sign. This time we had a few special treats. The first being a bucket truck on loan from the City of Needles, the second having a ‘surprise’ visitor from Tucumcari NM. Mr. Rich Talley of the Motel Safari drove 10 hours to Needles to lend a hand (literally, his other one was in a sling!) We spent a good two days painting the sign and putting all the yellow bulbs back in and then retracing the MOTEL letters with trace paper so the neon company had a template to recreate the neon which was originally there in the 50’s. This time, we had the heat to fight, and not the winds! It was averaging about 108 degrees, in March, and nothing but direct sunshine! The next trip to Needles would have to wait. I have spent my own money for gas, hotel stays, meals, paint, bulbs, and any other tools and 24

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materials to get the sign to this point. I needed help with the neon and transformers. So I reached out to the Route 66 community to ask for funds and donations, and with the help of several businesses along the route donating ‘gifts’ to those who donated to getting the sign relit, we were on our way! The goal was to raise $3600 for new transformers and all the new neon. The fundraiser lasted around 20 days and we fell short of our goal! About $500 short… This was not going to be a deterrent to getting this sign relit. Fortunately, a day or two later after the fundraiser ended, I received a few Emails from folks who lived in Needles at one time and heard of the effort to try to relight the sign. After a few more donations, one gentleman called and simply asked ‘how much do you need to relight this thing?’ I told him and he wrote a check! I went back to the neon company in Mesa AZ

in Tucumcari came back out to ‘surprise’ us again and offer a helping hand (and yes, he still only had one!). We spent Friday touching up the paint and putting the neon in and spent most of the day Saturday rewiring it and adding the transformers. This was the hardest day of them all because of the electronics and wiring and also the temperature was peaking at 113 degrees, in the direct sunlight. As I was trying to evade heatstroke, I was also trying to marry a 1940’s sign with 2012 technology. This proved to be challenging on several levels. On top of that, there was a schedule relighting ceremony planned that night with many of the town folk as well as the local paper to write a story on it. We had planned on an 8:45 ‘relighting’ – and I was on the hook to make that! We were set to go, and at 8:20pm, we tested the sign to make sure it lit up as it was supposed it, We arrived on a Thursday evening this time, allowing us an extra day to get the sign completed. and it did! While the crowd was gathering, and Unexpectedly, Mr. Rich Talley of the Motel Safari the four old cars were pulling up to park under the and paid them the full amount up front for all the neon we would need to relight the sign. After 2 weeks, I had all the neon, transformers and wiring in my possession and started making plans to head back to Needles. We had to time this right as the weather was heating up, and storms were coming and going at their leisure. We picked a 3-day weekend in June to make the trek back out to the sign and complete the restoration project. I carefully packed all the neon in my SUV and drove that car like we were driving a newborn baby home from the hospital! Being mindful of every bump, every hole, and every turn. The last thing we needed was a single piece of neon breaking on the 5 hour drive.

November / December 2012


sign, and while the 50’s music was playing, and while everyone was mingling around the sign and talking to one another, we had to make sure this was going to go without a hitch. This would be the final challenge of the project. Well, Murphy’s Law has a funny way of playing a joke on you, and he was there front and center! With the countdown, a ‘flick of the switch’ and the sign lit up – well, most of it. The MOTEL part of the sign lit up, but the ‘66’ neon didn’t seem to want to cooperate. After looking around we realized the transformer which lit up the 6’s was acting temperamental. I jumped into the bucket and was lifted up to the sign and started resetting the transformer and viola! The sign was now lit for the first time in over 15 years. It looked like it did in the 50’s and 60’s and even the 70’s. It was an event I was proud out be part of, and it was a small part of saving the route. While the sign lights up every night, it is still suffering from a bug or two. The MOTEL lights up on both sides as well as the yellow bulbs inside the 6’s, but the neon around the 6’s are still causing a problem. We believe it is a grounding issue and the City of Needles has taken the mission to get it reground so the sign lights up for all the travelers who are heading west on Route 66. This was truly the first project I took on myself, as I have been a ‘hired gun’ with all the other ones. It was training which I do not think I could have received anywhere else. It was a lot of work, a lot of sweat, and even some blood as I kept cutting my hands on the metal of the sign! But again, it was all worth it. To see the owners face as it lit up – something she really didn’t think she would see again for some time, and seeing the town folk coming together to see a piece of their past come to life. That was the reward all in itself. I have said it before and I will say it again: It was the people of the route who pulled this off. I asked simply to help with funds and the world responded. They know the importance of keeping things like this alive. There is one person who was as instrumental to this project as anyone was. Her name is 26

November / December 2012

Linda Fitzpatrick and she spent many a year living in Needles. Now she is on a mission to grow and save Route 66 which runs through Needles. It is her who I talked to about coming into town and seeing what we can do with an old gas station which lead to restoring the sign, it is her and a few other folks who have taken it upon themselves to help Needles by working on two gas station in town by repainting them and bringing them back to how they looked ‘back in the day’. It is her who sees the importance of the route and the business and tourist dollars it can bring. She has been my biggest cheerleader and she also has been the route’s biggest cheerleader – and with that, I say ‘Thank you to her. I am looking for a few other projects to work on. I enjoy doing this and find a lot of people really want to help as they are looking to ‘give back’ to the road which brings us all together. Ed Klein is the owner of Route 66 World ( It is a website dedicated to the education, preservation and information for Route 66. He lived in Chicago for most of his life and moved to Scottsdale AZ a few years ago. Keeping an eye on the NM, AZ, and CA corridor Continued on page 27

Don’t forget to stop at the Historic Seligman Sundries on your travels through Seligman!

Thunder Roadhouse Cafe Welcome to, the most comprehensive website for bikers and other adventurers traveling Route 66.


Stene’s Southern Kitchen 883 E Foothill Blvd l Rialto, CA 92376 l (909) 879-8101 Business Hours: Sun 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Tues 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Weds 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Thurs 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Fri 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM, Sat 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM

66 Motel - Continued from page 26 of route 66 for preservation projects, he also speaks in front of crowd as large as 600 and 900 attendees, talking to them about Route 66 and getting people out to travel and experience it. He has appeared in several newspapers, magazines, and television news programs. He does this work for free, never taking a dime for the efforts as he sees this as ‘giving back’ to the route. November / December 2012


The Cave Restaurant Let the Adventure Begin ... How many times have you heard of a cafĂŠ referred to as a hole in the wall? Well, on our recent Route 66 adventure I found the restaurant that may have served as the source for that particular reference. To say the Cave Restaurant near Richland, Missouri is unique would be as much of a gross understatement as saying that Chicago is chilly in January. Everything about this restaurant, including the drive to it, is so unique it borders on the truly bizarre. Still, the reward for those who seek and find this little gem is great food and an unforgettable dining experience. The adventure begins near Laquey, Missouri with a detour onto state highway 7 at exit 150 on I-44. The drive north on this delightful two lane highway is a series of twists and turns through thick forests


November / December 2012

The Jim Hinckley Studio features the finest images from award winning author and photographer Jim Hinckley and his wife, Judy, who specialize in the American southwest as well as Route 66. Be sure to visit Jim’s Prints collection at punctuated by pastures and historic farms. Less than a dozen miles from the modern world of the interstate, a sign at the junction with Rochester Road points down this graded gravel road that leads deeper into the woods. It is here that I suggest the now classic sounds of dueling banjos be played as your sound track. After a few bumpy miles doubts begin creeping into your mind. Did I miss a turn? Is this a trick? What in the hell am I doing? Then, after crossing a beautiful bridge, a sign points to a turn off and the parking lot for the restaurant that is dominated by what appears to be an open front stable. This is where you wait for the “bus” that will transport you to the restaurant. The bus is in actuality the remains of an ancient mini van complete with broken windshield, mismatched tires, and weather stripping that droops below the doors. For our adventure the driver was a polite young man that seemed oddly our of place in his role as chauffeur. The “bus” will transport five guests at a time and the driver assists with entry as well as exit and provides a step stool for easier

November / December 2012


I promise that you won’t find anything else like it on Route 66 or along any other highway in America.

access. With everyone on board he begins a well rehearsed narrative about the century old history of this once famous resort that included cabins (still available for rent) and clay courts for tennis while piloting the van up a steep gravel road that gives the tires occasion to spin. On occasion there is a break in the trees and the river dotted with colorful canoes (something else that is rented here) can be seen below. Then a corner is turned and the road becomes a narrow lane squeezed between miniature log cabins that serve as various gift shops and a sheer rock wall. This is it; you have arrived at the Cave Restaurant. Looming over the road like an ancient fortress topped off with a vintage airport control tower is the entrance to the restaurant entrance, an elevator or covered staircase that provides delightful views of the river below. During our visit we chose the stairs as it was a brisk fall afternoon with a light misty rain that gave the bright fall colors an entrancing shimmer. Much to our delight we soon discovered that the view from the porch and bar were even more breathtaking. With the exception of the fact that the dining area was squeezed into a pocket in the rock wall it appeared to be a regular diner. With the exception of a few odd and exotic items such as alligator tale in apricot sauce, the menu selections were relatively common and the prices ranged from moderate ($9.00 for a grilled chicken salad) to a bit spendy (steak dinners starting at $15.00). Judging by our dinner, the comments of customers, and the fact that the place is often packed on weekends, the quality of the meals ranges from good to superb. However, the ambiance is without equal. So, the next time you find yourself motoring along Route 66 in the Show Me state, and decide that you want something a bit different for lunch or dinner; my suggestion would be the Cave Restaurant. I promise that you won’t find anything else like it on Route 66 or along any other highway in America. 30

November / December 2012

Museums, Murals, Merchants & More!

Opening July, 2011! The Pontiac ~ Oakland Automobile Museum & Resource Center ~ Free Admission!

FREE Visitors Guide!

For information on attractions, tours, or retail space available in Downtown Pontiac, contact:

800-835-2055 • 815-844-5847 • Email:

November / December 2012


By Jim Hinckley



ROUTE 66 DETOURS In the Southwest

Amboy Crater – Located to the southwest of Amboy in the Mojave Desert, Amboy Crater ( needles/amboy.html) is a grand adventure for anyone who finds beauty in truly raw, stark desert landscapes. The three mile round trip hike through the west wall breech into the crater begins in a delightful, shaded picnic area and proceeds across a plain of blank volcanic rock and ever shifting sands. For the more adventuresome the trail continues to the top of the crater where spectacular views are the reward. With the exception of the last few hundred yards into the crater, the hike is surprisingly easy along a well marked trail. Two words of advice; carry lots of water and make this a winter adventure. On our New Years Day hike the temperature hovered near ninety degrees!

Amboy Crater Trail

Hualapai Mountain Park – Located

just twelve miles south of Kingman, Arizona, and Route 66, on a paved but steep mountain road, Hualapai Mountain Park (http://www. ) is a pine forested island in a sea of desert. Miles of shade dappled hiking or bicycle trails where stunning views and vistas are found with every turn, rustic campsites, charming stone cabins for rent, and a lodge that offers fine dining among the pines are but a few of the treasures awaiting discovery in this often overlooked desert paradise.

Amboy Crater Trail


November / December 2012

Walnut Canyon National Monument – Located south of Winona,

In the Hualapai Mountain Park

Arizona, Walnut Canyon National Monument ( is a stunning blend of quintessential southwestern landscapes squeezed into a narrow canyon that is dotted with ancient cliff dwellings. The paved hiking trails (with countless steps!) that begin at the fascinating museum and information center twists and turn through the canyon and amongst the hidden ruins provide a fairly good workout as well as an opportunity to visit a lost world. My favorite time for a visit is during the months of winter after a fresh snow.

El Moro National Monument –

Johnson Canyon Railroad Tunnel – If you are the type of traveler that

sees a four mile hike as a relaxing stroll then the historic Johnson Canyon Railroad Tunnel (http:// ) is an ideal Route 66 tour for you. This adventure begins by turning north at the Welch Road exit west of Williams, Arizona, crossing two early alignments of Route 66 on the three mile drive to the site of Welch Junction Station marked by a large concrete slab, and then donning the hiking shoes for the 2.25 mile walk along the old railroad bed that rises a mere 340 feet into the ever narrowing canyon. The reward for the effort is stunning views, and an opportunity to experience a tangible link to the frontier era that is also an artistic and engineering masterpiece.

located southwest of Grants, New Mexico, on state highway 53, El Moro National Monument ( ) offers a delightful blend of stunning southwestern landscapes and a truly unique, tangible link to centuries of recorded history. Rising high about the forested hills a sandstone monolith cast a long shadow across a veritable oasis with a spring fed pond as its centerpiece. The monolith has served as an important milestone for travelers for centuries. Attesting to this are the remarkably well preserved names, dates, and notes carved into the face of the stone and over even older petroglyphs. Spanish conquistadors, legendary American explorers such as Lt. Beale made famous with his camel caravan all camped here and added their names to the historic register. This, however, is but a small part of the treasure found here. Nestled upon the top where breathtaking views stretch to the distant horizon, are ancient ruins of a village that predates the arrival of the European explorer by centuries.

El Moro National Park

November / December 2012


Crawford County Historical Society & Museum Cuba, Missouri 

An extensive collection housed on 3 floors

Enjoy talks on the Underground Railroad, Civil War, American Indians and much more!

Geneology information from 1829-1960

Make Arrangements for a customized tour

Admission Free - Donations Gladly Accepted

308 N. Smith Cuba, MO 65453

Check the website for current hours

Call for Tours 573.885.6099


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November / December 2012

35 36

November / December 2012

This album (first in a series) includes 21 new heartfelt country songs written about Route 66. Sung by Jess McEntire, along with Special Guest, Loretta Lynn, and a duet with Danny Shirley of “Confederate Railroad.� Purchase this CD and help fund more billboards to raise awareness and promote tourism on Route 66. November / December 2012


From our home to yours ... may you have a very joyous holiday season!

66 The Mother Road November/December 2012  

November / December issue of 66 The Mother Road online magazine

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