My 2011 Route 66 Adventure

Of course, promoting my new book, Annie Mouse’s Route 66 Adventure: A Photo Journal, was the main focus of this trip, but I did take a lot of time to enjoy the folks along the road and had another great trip! (If you ignore the tornadoes, floods, wild fires, etc…)

Illinois: A nice chat with Cathy at Gardner Chronicle Antiques. They have an old printing press on display- it’s around the corner from the jail. The streetcar, which was behind The Riviera when it burned last year, was saved and moved beside the jail. Pontiac, IL has murals all over the city. The Route 66 Museum is not to be missed. Inside the same building is the Home Again Antiques, owned by Joyce Cole who was painting a mural type design on a car when I stopped in- a great artist & lovely lady. Chatted with Debby & got Maple Cream spread at Funks Grove Pure Maple Sirup- it’s sort of like a spreadable syrup. A visit with Rich Henry & Big Red at Henry’s Rabbit Ranch is always a fun stop.

Missouri: Was sorry to have missed Dan at Fanning Outpost in Cuba- the world’s largest rocking chair is on display in this parking lot- you can’t miss it! Cuba is also a City of Murals & they are incredible. The Route 66 Antique Mall in Phillipsburg is always a favorite stop of mine. The Munger Moss Motel in Lebanon is a well-preserved, privately owned Route 66 Motel and visiting with Ramona and Bob makes it an even better experience- it’s not just a place to stay, it’s an experience. Their neon sign has recently been restored and is so cool lit up at night. Mr. C’s Route Post in Lebanon is a new trading post & carries lots of Route 66 memorabilia as well as the Route 66 line of beverages. The Mule Trading Post in Rolla has some really cool signage & I always pick up some snacks here & enjoying browsing. I did not use the The Totem
Pole Antiques in my book because I had trouble contacting them in the winter when I was seeking permission to use photos & someone had posted online that they had closed- I wish I had used them- they had closed for a few slow months in the winter, but they are opened for the tourist season & I was glad to see they are still in business as it is a cool stop & has been one of my favorites. A visit with Gary Turner at Gay Parita’s Sinclair Station is not to be missed- a great guy & so much memorabilia to see in his garage. He sings his autographs with “Friends for Life” & he means it! I love the town square in Carthage, shopping at Goad’s Antiques & lunch at The Deli is a special treat. They now have a Route 66 memorabilia section on display in the courthouse- which still has an old-fashioned caged elevator-this building is an architectural beauty. Bradbury Bishop Deli in Webb City was another treat (ok- I DID gain a few pounds…) I stopped to visit Brenda & Charley in Neosho & that ended up keeping me out of the Joplin tornado! I interrupted the trip, headed south to Fayetteville, AR to visit with family while staying safe from the volatile weather before heading to Kansas and proceeding four days later. I had to skirt around the Joplin area on the front end of my trip- for obvious reasons, but on the way home I did stop at Woody’s
& couldn’t get in the door- apparently all the folks in town to help with
clean up & rebuilding have discovered what a treat this place is. I was
sorry to hear that the owner lost his home in the tornado, but glad to hear he is ok.

Kansas: Only 13 miles of Route 66 in this state, but all 13 of them are a
treat. Drove over The Marsh Rainbow Bridge. Eisler’s is now called Nelson’s Old Riverton Store. Scott is a great guy & the deli was hopping when I was there. The exterior of the building is so inviting with the floral display & the inside is a mix of a deli, convenience store & Route 66 shop-very cool! Had a very nice visit with Amy at Cafe on the Route- & had some great cobbler- you don’t have to stay at the B & B to eat there.

Oklahoma: I was sorry to have missed Laurel at Afton Station & Packard Museum, but had a very informative chat with Phil & got to see the latest vehicles on display- this is truly a “must stop”. I had lunch at The Ku Ku Burger which is a DQ-type place but with more personality. The Round Barn in Arcadia is an awesome sight to see. John Hargrove’s tribute to Route 66 is an incredible display & museum- you’d really have to spend the entire day there to see everything & a visit with him is a treat in itself. POPS has such a cool display of just about everry kind of soda pop imaginable & isjust fun to see. Last year I bought my High Spirits Flute at the Cherokee Trading Post & I always find something special here. The Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton is one of my favorite stops every year & they have some of the friendliest staff along the route- I always enjoy talking to these ladies. The Country Dove in Elk City is a tea room & gift shop- their tiny little heart shape muffins are delicious AND cute!

Texas: The Devil’s Rope Museum in McLean is a special treat. Devil’s Rope is barbed wire-in case you didn’t know (I didn’t my first time through!) Delbert Trew’s books can be purchased here and I was thrilled to have been able to meet him & Ruth at the Route 66 festival on my way home. The 6th Street Antique Mall in Amarillo is one of my favorite stops every year- I feel bad that I didn’t include them in my book- but I didn’t have one good picture of their building. I stayed at The Big Texan in Amarillo both headed west & coming home- a super cool experience. Becky at The Big Texan is a fellow CARS fan & a wonderful, warm, caring person. Of course, I have to stop at Cadillac Ranch every year just to see how the cars are painted- this time they were all painted with a blue base. The Alanreed Travel Center has a tiny jail on display
& a surprise inside. There’s also a fun sign about the population. My
favorite little grocery store along the entire route is the S & H Grocery
in Groom & I love visiting with Sharlene. Visiting with Fran at The Midpoint Cafe in Adrian was another great time- (Flo in CARS is based on her).

New Mexico: I LOVE Tucumcari! There are so many cool signs left along the strip. The Historic Route 66 Motel is owned by Cathy & Michael Fulton and they have done a great job restoring it – the rooms are clean & comfy & so incredibly reasonably priced! They have a new cafe and the smoothie I had was fantastic- but the great conversation was the highlight. The connections with people along the route is what makes the trip such an event for me & they folks are high up on the list of wonderful people on the route. Mike at Tee Pee Curios is quite the character and I always enjoy his stories- and he DOES tell some great stories- always a fun stop AND I found the perfect Harley mug for Drew there! Gary at Timeless Treasures also always has a great story or
two- I LOVE this shop- it doesn’t look like much on the outside, but inside is such a pleasant surprise- truly treasures are found here- and I love his dog -I don’t think he knows he is a dog! Santa Rosa has the Blue Hole and it really is a sight to see. I had a great dinner at The Silver Moon Restaurant and enjoyed my stop at the Route 66 auto museum. I LOVE Old Town Albuquerque and my stay at Sandia Peak Inn Motel was a true Route 66 experience- the folks who own this fine establishment (Kay & Pat)  have quite the story to tell- the sculptures in the parking
lot are wonderful pieces of art and I truly enjoyed my stay and my visit with the owners- this is on my list of “highly recommend” for Albuquerque! I LOVE the EL Rancho Motel in Gallup and my stay there was not disappointing- it is so cool to stay in the rooms where the old movie stars used to stay- the lobby is so gorgeous. Also had a lovely visit with Aiman at Ray’s Trading Company.  I really enjoy this jewelry store because the owners are so “into” the artistry of the Native American pieces- I enjoy hearing Aiman’s updates about his children, too.

Arizona: Two Guns and Twin Arrows are always favorite stops. I like seeing the subtle changes from year to year. A few years back the Twin Arrows looked like they were going to fall down- not much left of them, but they were lovingly restored & look new again. Leta at The Painted Desert Indian Center in Holbrook has become a true friend and I really enjoy my visits with her- a great visit with her on my trip west but I was sorry to have missed her on the return trip. An interesting visit with The Stewarts who own Stewarts Rock Shop, which is responsible for the dinosaur displays that can be seen from the interstate & they have live ostriches too. Lunch at Joe & Aggie’s and a visit with Kimberly did not disappoint– I’m hoping that Alice is out of the hospital by now and back at the restaurant.  The “Here It IS” signs are for the Jack Rabbit Trading Post and Cindy is a wonderful young woman who, along with her husband, is keeping this icon alive. They are wonderful people and I bought Michael some of his favorite beef jerky here. Their sign beside the shop has been restored and looks great! I love Flagstaff and stopped in Sacred Rites and heard Kelly McCabe play one of his instruments- I wish I could remember what they are all called- but he has an assortment of unique
instruments- I wish he’d put out a new CD already!! Golden Aspen Toy &
Candy Shop was a new find for me and I thoroughly enjoyed this stop as well as the Route 66 Mini Market. I always enjoy stopping in at the Visitor’s Center as each staff member has a unique perspective and I always learn something new about the area. I stayed at The Best Western Pony Soldier and was quite pleased. Seligman offered all sorts of fun- The Roadkill Cafe is really cool inside and I had a lovely chat with Heather, who is a wonderful young woman. John Delgadillo is keeping his family’s spirit alive at The Snow Cap Drive-In – he offered me his card and it proudly proclaims “MY CARD” – but first he pretended to be a security guard and said I needed to leave the property – I briefly wondered what I’d done that was so offensive to be ordered to leave
& then I remembered that Juan had been famous for such pranks. Angel’s Barber Shop turned Visitors Center and Gift Shop was another treat. When I stopped at The Hackberry General Store, they were just closing for the evening so I couldn’t shop around, but really enjoyed taking new pictures of the outside area. The Arizona Rooute 66 Association is housed in the Powerhouse Visitor Center in Kingman- a VERY cool builidng, a great museum and wonderful new friends were made there. There were some disappointments along Beale Street- several of the shops that I’ve gone to before were out of business and
an entire block was empty, but I found a great set of old Fiesta Ware in a
discontinued color that I have wanted forever at Bubbee’s Goodz Antiques & had a wonderful chat with Gary- if you’re in that area stop in and visit with him. I also found another book store and picked up a new audio book at Don’s Books 4 Less. The Stone Cottage is a new antique & gift shop and is very inviting- and the homemade chocolate chip cookies not only made the shop smell wonderful, they were as good as they smelled! I had another great visit at Cool Springs Station on the Oatman Highway- I wish I’d used them in the book, but it was another issue of not being able to make contact over the winter- I had some REALLY cool pics I had wanted to use from there and it is a favorite stop of
mine. The drive west on the old road is a little more harrowing than the drive east when you are hugging the mountain side- hugging the no guardrail drop off side is no fun at all & I had a death grip on the steering wheel for the 8-9 miles- Thank GOD the high winds had died down when I drove that stretch! I LOVE seeing the burrows roaming around the street and through the shops in Oatman. I was disappointed to see that the upstairs of the hotel is still closed for renovations, so I still haven’t seen it- I wonder if it will ever reopen?? I drove through Golden Shores and into Needles, CA The stretch of road from Seligman through CA has some incredible, breathtaking views! Since I wanted to be at Michael’s for the weekend, I swung back into AZ (The four day delay I had due to the Joplin tornado put me off schedule & changed my plan to do the entire route to LA). I stopped and enjoyed a boat ride on Lake Havisu
and saw the original London Bridge- yes- the real London Bridge is in Arizona! It was a wonderful, relaxing boat tour on a really beautiful lake. For the first time ever, I continued south towards Phoenix and stayed in a casino resort hotel and it was a great experience! The view from the balcony of my room was incredible and I had no idea how reasonably priced these hotels could be during the week- but I will definitely check more of these out in the future! After visiting with Michael, Lisa and Zack I headed back north through Arizona stopped in Sedona- an incredible area with breathtaking views. The Sugar Loaf Lodge has that old Route 66, “homey” motel feel to it and is a treasure amid the high-priced chains and resorts. I then picked up the route in Flagstaff to start the route going east again. Maybe next year I’ll get all the way through to LA.

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