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The Wigwam Motel has become an icon of the historic Route 66, also referred to as the “Mother Road” because of its unique concept. The Rialto Wigwam was the seventh and last motel to have been built by Frank Redford in 1947. It was also the largest village, with 19 sleeping rooms. It originally featured 12 impressive teepee-shaped buildings, including the office. Eight more teepees, a barbeque, and a kidney-shaped swimming pool were later added, due to the motel’s success and popularity among Route 66 travelers. The California Wigwam Motel was the only one to provide a swimming pool to enhance the customers’ stay.

The Motel has recently gone through a total makeover, including improvements to both the buildings’ interior and exterior as well as the motel’s landscape.

Only three of the seven Wigwam Motels built still exist today – the others have been demolished.

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A day in Oatman

Here’s a nice video, shot just a few days ago, in the Route 66 town of Oatman, Ariz.

There’s no fancy editing or a pop-music soundtrack. Just the town, its people and animals, and the natural sounds.

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Man will bicycle Route 66 for childhood-hunger charity

Sixty-five-year-old Bill Catlett plans to bicycle 1,900 miles on Route 66 from Victorville, Calif., to St. Louis in his native Missouri, according to the San Bernardino County Sun.

Catlett, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., wants to raise $25,000 for the Inland Empire United Way and Inland Valley Hope Partners to help combat child hunger.

As a young boy, Catlett traveled on the famed highway with his family and collected fond memories.

“It was so much different then in the ’50s,” Catlett said. “It was like a Norman Rockwell kind of thing. You’re always meeting people, talking to people of different towns.” [...]

“When you travel on the interstate, you bypass all the towns,” Catlett said. “Route 66 is specifically designed to go from town to town. You go back in time. People become a little more human. You see a different America.”

Catlett estimates he’ll average 31 miles a day over the two-month period. He’ll start April 29 or 30.

Catlett said on his website:

My goal is to use this ride to raise critical funds for local programs addressing the issue of childhood hunger – something that I understand all too well. [...] I hope you will help me make sure that other kids don’t have to experience the feeling of hunger in a way that I did back in Missouri as a child. If you are so willing, please take a look at my website and consider making a donation toward the cause. It will mean a lot to me … and even more to local hungry kids. Whether you can contribute $10 or $10,000, every dollar counts!

His website, Bicycling 4 Hunger on 66, is here if you wish to make a donation.

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“Route 66: The Neon Highway” revisited

Andrew Wood, a communications professor at San Jose State University and an avowed roadie, shot and produced a short video about the neon signs of Route 66 in 2008. You can view it here.

Wood just completed another journey on Route 66, and created a new video with the same theme:

Music is “Route 66,” by Nelson Riddle.

As bonus, Wood also visited Harley and Annabelle Russell, aka the Mediocre Music Makers, at their home in Erick, Okla. Annabelle is still on the mend from extensive cancer treatments, but was in good enough spirits to perform with Harley in this video:

It must’ve been hot that day, because Harley’s wearing overalls with no shirt.

UPDATE: Wood said he forgot a segment in the video. So the link’s been swapped out for an improved version.

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Paul Bunyan’s journey on Route 66

This is the story behind the Paul Bunyan fiberglass giant, aka Muffler Man, that sits on old Route 66 in downtown Atlanta, Ill.

It formerly stood at a restaurant, also on Route 66, in Cicero, Ill.

The video was produced by WCIA-TV, based in Champaign, Ill.

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Admiral Twin Drive-In may reopen by Memorial Day

The Admiral Twin Drive-In in Tulsa, which saw its iconic double screen destroyed by a fire in September 2010, may reopen by Memorial Day weekend, reported KOTV in Tulsa.

Here’s the video report:

The new double screen, which will be made of steel instead of wood, also will house the restrooms and concession stands at the ground level. After the fire, the theater’s fate looked very uncertain. However, Tulsa residents raised more than $30,000 in donations, and that persuaded the owners to rebuild.

The drive-in first opened in 1951, and its second screen was built a year later. The Admiral Twin sits just off the older Admiral Place alignment of Route 66.

Even as the number of drive-ins dropped over the decades, the Admiral Twin continued to show first-run movies.

In addition to its association with Route 66, the Admiral Twin served as an inspiration during a scene in Tulsa native S.E. Hinton’s famous novel, “The Outsiders.”

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Blue Whale gets security cameras

The bad news is someone recently broke open the donations box at the Blue Whale of Catoosa, Okla., and took about $15.

The good news is an anonymous benefactor has donated camera equipment so the Route 66 landmark can be monitored against vandals and thieves. Also, a local wrecker service repaired and bolstered the donations box.

KOKI-TV in Tulsa has the story:

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Angel runs deep

I confess: I gasped when I saw this ad and who was featured:

In case you’re unfamiliar, he’s Angel Delgadillo, the “Guardian Angel of Route 66″ in Seligman, Ariz.

The ad was shot by Proving Ground Productions of Mesa, Ariz., over a two-day period in November as a part of the Route 66 video contest by Chevrolet. The ad didn’t make it to the quarterfinals.

According to Proving Ground co-owner Ryan Atwood, Chevrolet hasn’t committed to eventually airing the ad. But it hasn’t exactly said no, either.

“We’ll put it out there and see what happens,” he said.

And, yes, that’s country-music star Trace Adkins doing to voice-over near the end. Atwood said he was a last-minute addition to the production.

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A visit to the Cozy Dog

The video and editing are a little shaky, but this new video about the Cozy Dog Drive-In in Springfield, Ill., has its charms:

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No, he’s not that Dick Dale

Here’s a performance of Bobby Troup’s “Route 66″ by Dick Dale with Kenny Trimble and Charlie Perlato, along with Bobby Burgess, Arthur Duncan, and Jack Imel in their tap shoes in a 1973 episode of “The Lawrence Welk Show.”

It’s so square it’s almost cool. Almost.

I admit to being disappointed the performance didn’t feature the other Dick Dale, the “King of the Surf Guitar.” The thought of having the other Dick Dale blasting away would have been a bizarre — yet wunnerful — moment on Welk’s show.

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