Just took an amazing photograph of our beautiful Route 66 sign. Thanks for sharing Steve. Take a look at his other work:
Just took an amazing photograph of our beautiful Route 66 sign. Thanks for sharing Steve. Take a look at his other work:
Adam Richman takes Man v. Food Nation on a road trip across Route 66. Along the way he stops at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard in St. Louis, MO, to taste their famous frozen treats, and, Idle Spurs Steakhouse in Barstow, CA, for some delicious steak.
This left us wanting to know more about the Mother Road, so we turned to an expert. Ron Warnick createdRoute66News.com in 2005 and has become an expert on the historic route. Read what he had to say about his history with the famous Route 66, and some of his picks for the top restaurants and attractions.
Route 66 Q&A Trip Advice from an Expert
by Stephanie Cohen
Travel Channel: What made you start the Route 66 News site?
Ron Warnick: I began Route 66 News in October 2005 because I saw a need for an online source of timely news about the Mother Road. The only publications that dealt with Route 66 news were published only quarterly. A Route 66 forum existed on Yahoo!, but it's accessible only to its members. At the time, no publication or website gave you timely information. With my extensive background in journalism and lots of contacts on the road, I thought my talents would be well-suited for such an online venture. I had not planned using a blog platform, but realized its archive system and multimedia capabilities made it the best fit for Route 66 News. And I give due credit to other media sources that break stories.
Travel Channel: What’s your best Route 66 memory?
Ron Warnick: This may sound odd, but one indelible memory was when I drove a little-traveled section of four-lane Route 66 west of Erick, OK. Going into the setting sun, I saw something in the roadway a half-mile or so ahead. I thought perhaps it was a large dog or a cow. But as I approached, I realized it was a flock of wild turkeys -- probably two dozen -- leisurely strolling across the road. The turkeys didn't seem overly concerned about us, and they looked quite fat and happy after dining on grasshoppers in the fields. It was then I realized you could see just about anything while traveling the Mother Road.
Travel Channel: What would your picks be for the top five restaurants?
Ron Warnick: Tough to narrow down, but I would say Clanton's Cafe in Vinita, OK, Ted Drewes Frozen Custard in St. Louis, MO, Cafe on the Route in Baxter Springs, KS, Snow-Cap Drive-In in Seligman, AZ, and Bobcat Bite in Santa Fe, NM for unforgettable atmosphere and overall good food. My picks may change daily.
Travel Channel: What about top five attractions? Most bizarre attractions?
Ron Warnick: Best attractions are Santa Monica Pier, Petrified Forest National Park, Grand Canyon, Route 66 Museum in Clinton, OK, and the magnificent skies and terrain of New Mexico. I realize I didn't include many man-made attractions, but the natural stuff leaves me in awe. Most bizarre would probably have to be the World's Largest Rocking Chair at Fanning Outpost in Fanning, MO; the wild burros of Oatman, AZ.; and the Cadillac Ranch of Amarillo, TX which acquires visitors on a scale almost as if it's a religious pilgrimage.
Travel Channel: Any best kept secrets of Route 66 you can share?
Ron Warnick: There aren't many secrets on 66. But the 17-mile gravel stretch of Route 66 from Glenrio, TX, to San Jon, NM, remains an obscure treasure. La Bajada Hill halfway between Santa Fe and Albuquerque was a 1920s alignment of 66 that can only be hiked today. The last time we were there, a white dog named Blanco followed us up to the top of the mesa. And there's a semi-obscure brick section of 66 near Auburn, IL, that's off a 1926-32 alignment of 66. And I certainly recommend a hike into Amboy Crater, a dormant volcano in the Mojave Desert, if temperatures and physical endurance allow.
Travel Channel: Anything else people should know about the Mother Road?
Ron Warnick: Route 66 is an alternative way of seeing America -- the good, bad and ugly of it, and the obscure land and people that have been abandoned or forgotten by interstate travelers. It changed my life when I traveled it for the first time more than 10 years ago; it probably will change yours.
The new Route 66 Mural depicts the eight states where Route 66 runs through.
A small black and white graphic map of Route 66 was inspiration for the much larger, more colorful depiction connecting the eight individual states of the route with icons from each. The text on the mural reads “Get your Kicks on Route 66” and “Mainstreet of America!”
Local freelance artist Kim Capp said she’s been working on the mural for more than a month. Capp has also painted local murals at the Mexican Restaurant Platas and a hill off Highway 58. She said she is not affiliated with the nonprofit Main Street Murals, which is responsible for the gallery of historical murals around town.
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Route 66 is not only America’s most iconic road trip, it’s also a fascinating look through our country's history, culture and sites of yesteryear. The historic route runs between Chicago and Los Angeles, tracking America’s most famous highway, stopping along the way in several small, beautiful towns that still thrive today.
Stop in and visit us. We love this historic piece of American History.
Thanks for such a wonderful review. We love Route 66 and our lovely customers. This great review is from Los Angeles.
We love Route 66 and keep working to improve your stay with us. Thank you for your support and for continuing to help us make Route 66 memorable for many generations to come.
Thank you from Route 66
Following either Route 66 or I-40, you reach the apex of the western Mojave Desert,Barstow (pop. 22,639,). Long a key crossing for major roads and railroads, Barstow essentially began in 1886 after a local post office named for Waterman Junction changed its name to Barstow. However, the area had been a settlement for decades prior to that, due to its location in the "Mormon Corridor", which stretches from southern California up through Utah and into Wyoming. Bottom line is, Barstow is along a lot of busy corridors — and has been for a long, long time.
Today, Barstow is supported by transportation and travel services, some mining that still exists, and the nearby Fort Irwin Military Reservation, which is the national training center for the U.S. Army, as well as the Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow… so one could easily say this is a military town.
Route 66 serves as Main Street, heading through downtown Barstow. It's well-marked and businesses a'plenty line the street, although few are historical in nature. Barstow is a major stop on I-15, since this is about the halfway point between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. An interesting fast-food stop popular with travelers is Barstow Station (1611 E. Main Street, 760-256-0366), with is basically a McDonald's, a Panda Express, a Popeye's and a subs and ice cream shop but with a twist: part of the seating includes booths in rail cars. And yes, there's also a gift shop. Could they resist?
Trivia: The fast-food restaurant Del Taco was founded in Nearby Yermo and the oldest franchise is on 401 N. First Street.
Being a major railroad town, Barstow became home to the Harvey House Railroad Depot (685 N. 1stStreet), known as the Casa del Desierto - its original name, is a former Fred HarveyHarvey House and still stands as a majestic structure alongside railroad tracks that are among the busiest in the nation. The building still functions as an unstaffed Amtrak passenger station and houses Barstow city offices and two museums: the Western American Railroad Museum and the Barstow Route 66 "Mother Road" Museum. To get to the Depot, follow First Street north from Route 66, past the Del Taco and over a bridge that spans the railroad tracks; the Depot is on the "other side of the tracks."
If a drive-in movie sounds about right by the time you get here, check out the Skyline Drive-In (31175 Hwy 58, 760-256-3333) along Highway 58 on Barstow's west side. It has two screens which both show two movies a night.
We are big fans of Route 66. It's been some 30 years since we have brought this wonderful property back to life on the wonderful Route 66 Mother Road. With a property like this, it requires a lot of hard work and time. But if you love what you do, you pour your heart into it. And that is what we have done.
Be sure to stop by and visit with us. We would love to have you!
It's a full moon tonight on Route 66. Of course for us, it's always a full moon. Our beautiful coyote sits atop our office howling at the moon every night by the green cactus.
She just got fixed and rehung. Glad we have experts that still do wonders with neon. Thanks for bringing the ol' dog back to life.
We love route 66!!
Route 66, the legendary American highway that originally ran from Chicago to Los Angeles, has been celebrated in movies, television shows and a 1946 song about getting "your kicks" that was covered by New Hampshire's own Aerosmith. The interstate system dried up traffic on Route 66 and roads like it. Many of the towns along it withered. But Route 66 has been rediscovered in the form of a "retro tour" designed to take travelers off the mind-numbing interstates and back on blue highways. The goal: to slow things down, celebrate history, stimulate the economies of towns bypassed a half-century ago and, with luck, save some of the iconic structures of the early years of the motel era.
To our knowledge, there has not been a song written about Route 3, the road that runs from Cambridge, Mass., up Concord's Main Street and north to Pittsburg and the Canadian border. But this less-celebrated route, especially from the point in the Lakes Region where traffic and time slow a bit, is definitely worth traveling.
With the help of Plymouth State University professor Mark Okrant, New Hampshire's Office of Travel and Tourism has created a Retro Tour for the northern leg of Route 3. It starts at the Tilt'n Diner in Tilton and ends at the Cabins at Lopstick overlooking First Connecticut Lake in Pittsburg. Sojourners who make it that far (and, these days, who have their passports with them) should cross the border and experience Magnetic Hill in Chartierville, Quebec.
The Route 3 Retro Tour website, which is listed under "cultural itineraries" on the travel and tourism website, takes a bit of work to find, so here's a shortcut: http://tinyurl.com/bulenao.
Perhaps in keeping with the whole retro nature of the enterprise, the site does not allow viewers to click on the internet addresses of the destinations listed. Viewers must instead note them and type them in themselves, but the effort is worth it. It will lead people in search of gorgeous scenery and a trip back into the past on an adventure.
Most of the motels and many of the attractions listed on the tour date back to the early ages of automobile travel. Rumney's Polar Caves, for example, opened in 1922; Clark's Trading Post in 1928; Funspot in Laconia in 1942; Storyland in Glen in 1954, and Six Gun City in Jefferson in 1957. The many stops listed on the tour complement the real attraction along Route 3, the gorgeous landscape and the opportunities for outdoor recreation that it offers.
Lodging on the tour harkens back to the golden age of the automobile, a time when gas was cheap and families packed into the car to explore America. They stayed in a different owner-occupied motel, cottage or cabin every night and ate breakfast in a different diner or roadside restaurant every morning. The tour offers travelers the chance to do that again and experience a down-home hospitality that's hard to find in chain hotels.
If promoted well, the Route 3 retro tour will help boost the economy in the struggling North Country and preserve not just the motels and attractions of yesteryear, but a leisurely and less expensive way of experiencing New Hampshire.
Leaf peepers have pretty-much booked up all available rooms along the Route 3 corridor and other parts of the state famous for the fall foliage display. But once they're gone, pack up some classics from the golden age of television to show the grandkids, some I Love Lucy and The Honeymooners perhaps, or Gunsmoke and The Fugitive to watch in the evening, gas up the car and drop back in time. We think you'll enjoy the trip.
World-Famous Route 66 Classic Motel in the heart of Barstow, California.