Wagon Wheel Motel

Staying at the Wagon Wheel Motel
Canon PowerShot S95
2013

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66 Drive-In

66 Drive-In
Kodak Brownie Hawkeye
Kodak Gold 200 (expired)
2013

Just dreaming a little lately of my 2013 Route 66 trip. Dug out this shot and Photoshopped it to greater clarity.

Photography, Road Trips
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Rest Haven Court

Rest Haven Court
Canon PowerShot S95
2013

From a Route 66 tour I took with my sons over spring break in 2013.

Photography, Road Trips
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1932 Standard Station

1932 Standard station
iPhone 5
2013

I’m planning our Spring Break vacation, so I’ve been thinking about past trips, like the one we took in 2013 along Route 66.

 

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Road Trips

Following the signs on Route 66; dreaming of signs on the Michigan Road

Cuba, MOFollowing Route 66 can be tricky. Various Interstates were built along and across its path, interrupting it. And the road itself was moved and improved many times during its life.

That’s why I kept Jerry McClanahan’s EZ 66 Guide for Travelers in my lap as we drove the Mother Road. It gave turn-by-turn directions and pointed out all of the old alignments.

Signs like this one made following the Mother Road a lot easier, too. They reassured me that I was still on the road and told me when to turn. I was especially impressed with the signage across Illinois – they never missed. But as we headed west, the signs became less frequent and the EZ 66 Guide became more important.

Thanks to the signs and the EZ 66 Guide, we got lost only once, and just briefly. That’s a pretty good record for a 900-mile trip along a highway that doesn’t officially exist anymore.

The biggest 2013 goal of the Historic Michigan Road Association, which I lead, is to place signs all along the Michigan Road Historic Byway in Indiana. It’s the linchpin of our overall strategy to bring heritage tourism to the communities along the road. The tourists can’t come if they can’t follow the road!

My belief in the importance of signs was cemented as we followed the signs on Route 66.

MRSignOur signage committee chair, Bonnie Maxwell, is doing a remarkable job of making signs a reality. She found a graphic designer willing to design our sign pro bono. She found a company that would manufacture the signs to Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) standards at a good price. She negotiated sign placement with INDOT for the portions of the road it controls, and worked with our reps in each county to figure out sign placement where the Michigan Road is under local control.

Signs are being purchased now to be placed in all but two counties: Marion (Indianapolis) and neighboring Shelby. I’m responsible for Marion County and oh my stars, am I ever behind in my signage efforts. As I write this, my local contacts have helped me get in touch with people in the Department of Public Works about our project. I’m stopped dead in my tracks by the amount of paperwork the DPW wants and daunted by some pretty stiff fees they want for encroaching on the city’s right-of-way. No other Michigan Road community has asked for so much. But Indianapolis is by far the biggest city on the road. Wish me luck as I try to crack this nut.

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Pops!!

Pops
Canon PowerShot S95
2013

Trip fatigue hit in Oklahoma. My sons felt it first. When we stopped for the night east of Tulsa on Wednesday, my youngest announced that he wouldn’t mind if we turned around for home in the morning. I felt for him, but we had one more day on the itinerary and (more importantly) nonrefundable hotel reservations near the Texas line. We pressed on. Thursday morning we stopped in Chandler to meet Jerry McClanahan at his home. He wrote the trip guide we were using – and on the Chandler page he listed his phone number and invtes travelers to call when they come to town! It was great to meet Jerry and see his Route 66 art; I even bought a print. But when we got back on the road I realized I felt it, too: the desire to be done.

As the miles passed I thought we’d never reach Oklahoma City. Then it swung into view as we rounded a curve: a 66-foot-tall soda-bottle sculpture. It was as welcome as an oasis in the desert, and we stopped. Pops is a gas station, convenience store, and diner that offers over 600 kinds of bottled sodas. It has to be the largest, most complete selection of carbonated, sweetened beverages in the world! Under the cantilevered canopy, the front windows are lined with pop bottles filled with every color of the rainbow. Inside, we paused for lunch, and my youngest boy excitedly assembled a custom six-pack of colorful sodas. I think he was glad we kept going one more day.

Photography, Road Trips

Captured: Pops!!

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