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Mountain Fan Mountain Fan is a male
Ubique Epoque


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Registration Date: 10-09-2003
Posts: 14,112
Location: Lil' Rock Candy Mountains, Western NC BOBD

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Route 66 motels a dying breed
POSTED: 12:04 p.m. EDT, May 23, 2007
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MIAMI, Oklahoma (AP) -- The Riviera Courts motel is crumbling away and nobody seems to care.

Once a stop along Route 66, the 2,400-mile (3,862-kilometer) neon carnival that connected hundreds of communities from Chicago to Los Angeles, this late-1930s Mission Revival is just a weather-worn building on the side of a country road in far northeast Oklahoma.

Next door, soybean farmers Richard and Rosemary Woolard watch the place deteriorate from their front porch.

"Been a lot of changes in this old county," 77-year-old Richard Woolard says plainly.

The Riviera Courts is among hundreds of mom-and-pop motels that met their demise along the ribbon of Route 66 as America's interstate system siphoned traffic off the Mother Road onto a four-lane, divided highway called progress.

In Oklahoma, with more Route 66 miles than any of the eight states it flows through, many motels are derelict or abandoned, used as junk yards, makeshift car lots and flophouses.

Owners who inherited these historical footnotes have no use for them, and would rather sell the properties to a developer if the price was right.

Today, many structures that made the road what it was -- the diners, family-owned service stations, barbecue joints -- have fallen apart. With efforts to fix up these architectural landmarks scarce, time has become the road's worst enemy.

The nonprofit National Historic Route 66 Federation in Lake Arrowhead, California, estimates at least 3,000 motels along the route are in various states of repair or disrepair.

Route 66, immortalized in John Steinbeck's 1939 novel "The Grapes of Wrath" and crooner Nat King Cole's catchy tune, debuted in 1926, instantly becoming a slice of Americana.

The road meant steady work for scores of unemployed men who built it in the 1930s; an avenue for thousands of Okies who migrated west to escape the Depression-era Dust Bowl and a post-World War II playground for millions of Americans looking to roam in the 1950s and '60s.

With the interstate came the Holiday Inns, chain gas stations and drive-thrus, popping up overnight. Neon and quirky were on the outs. Pre-fab and fast were in.

The business model for the motels became outdated, too. How was a place built in the 1920s to accommodate 11 to 20 patrons to compete with a big-box motel that could cram 10 times more customers in?

By 1984, the interstate had bypassed the last bit of 66 in Arizona, ending America's romance with the iconic highway.

The handful of motels that survived fight a stigma they are no-tell motels, offering no-frills accommodations.

"Motels are such a part of our recent history that it's often hard for people to view them as historically significant," says Kaisa Barthuli, with the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

To drum up support for these forgotten properties, preservationists in Oklahoma recently added Route 66 motels to a list of most endangered historic places.

"People say, 'it's a nice sign, but I would never stay there,"' says Jim Gabbert, an architectural historian with the Oklahoma Historical Society. "There are dozens of old motels ... fighting the perception that these are rat traps."

Traveling west from the Riviera Courts, the Chelsea Motel about 45 miles (72 kilometers) down the road seems in worse shape.

A couple beat-up cars are parked on the grass in front of the wood-frame structure. Dandelions and shards of glass carpet the courtyard. In Room No. 6, there is noise from a TV or radio and a couple bottles of shampoo on the window sill, but nobody answers the door.

Suddenly, John Hall pops out from behind the building. He is tall, gray-haired and shirtless, and could pass for a tattooed department store Santa Claus.

The 62-year-old owns the motel with his wife, a pack rat who uses most of its rooms as storage and wants to sell the place to build an Indian tobacco shop.

The motel was built around 1935 to cater to the traffic moving west. By the 1970s, it was headed downhill.

Holding on to a piece of history isn't in the Halls' blood, even though it's in their backyard. Restoring it would cost tens of thousands of dollars.

"I hope we sell the whole place and move into the country," he says.

There is some magic left in this town.

A couple blocks from the Halls' place, Frank and Trudy Jugler opened the Chelsea Motor Inn, a six-room, Route 66 tribute motel. They have plans to put up teepees where guests can camp out, and they are restoring an adjoining 1890s house as a bed and breakfast.

In keeping with the traveling circus atmosphere so vital to luring tourists along Route 66 in the old days, the Juglers own a pet bison that roams in the backyard. It's named, aptly, Chelsea.

"We thought, man, it would be cool to be sitting on a chair in front of a motel on Route 66," says Frank Jugler, a fast-talking, 48-year-old Maryland native.

Like the Juglers, some folks are slowly reclaiming the few miles of Route 66 history that run through their city limits.

In Flagstaff, Arizona, residents are taking advantage of a facade improvement program that helps Route 66 building owners restore their neon signs. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, the city bought the historic De Anza Motor Lodge several years ago and recently selected a developer to restore the landmark as an upscale Route 66 destination.

A few places are getting by on America's Main Street.

Elm's Motel in Claremore, 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Chelsea, is a series of modest yellow and brown cottages, with ivy creeping along the sides. Garages used to be attached to each cottage, but proprietors figured they could squeeze another room in and they were yanked.

"There's not that many old places left in Claremore," laments owner Tommy Copp, 68, who bought the place about 30 years ago. "They're pretty much gone by the wayside. That's called progress."

The story becomes sadder with each mile marker.

Canute, a dusty town of 500 or so about 105 miles (169 kilometers) west of Oklahoma City, hides a Route 66 landmark in the Cotton Boll Motel. With its classic red, white and green neon sign shaped like a tuft of cotton, the Boll is one of the most photographed along the route.

Its owner, Pat Webb, checked into the 16-room building in the mid-1990s and never left.

The 55-year-old oil field pipe inspector turned part of it into his private home and playground for his grandchildren. But he has no plans to reopen the place to the public. Liability insurance alone would eat up profits, he figures.

"I just leave the sign up so people can take pictures," he says with a shrug.

Forty more miles (64 kilometers) west, and another unhappy ending.

When 62-year-old retiree Klaus Battenfeld bought the Westwinds Motel 12 years ago, he didn't think fixing it up would turn into such a hassle. But the adobe-style structure in Erick, a town of 1,000 located near the Texas border, proved too much work.

It needs a new roof, electric, air conditioning.

He is selling the overgrown property, where tumbleweeds blow across the courtyard like in some Wild West movie. Then, back to Germany.

"It's written in the big book, maybe it's not designed for me to stay here for the rest of my life," Battenfeld says in a thick German accent.

Retirement is on hold. There was a detour on Route 66.

__________________

Got a few miles left ...

Make sure you have heard a Kind Word! Happy
05-23-2007 11:57 Mountain Fan is offline Send an Email to Mountain Fan Search for Posts by Mountain Fan Add Mountain Fan to your Buddy List
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Ubique Epoque


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Registration Date: 10-09-2003
Posts: 14,112
Location: Lil' Rock Candy Mountains, Western NC BOBD

Thread Starter Thread Started by Mountain Fan
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The Glory Road
from the album "Songs of the Heart"
Words by Terry Taylor
Music by Daniel Amos
©1995 Twitchen Vibes Music (ASCAP)
Glad we're together on the Glory Road
We've seen some sights and we've had some laughs
Seen the ghosts of all them Okies,
Drinking Grape Nehi and wine made from the
Grapes of wrath

The ice cream stands and the salty truck stops
Hum Dingers and the auto graves
Coca Cola and the no-tell motels
Barber shops and Burma shaves

We'll beat the dust storms
Comin' over the farmlands
Got a grease monkey tunin' up the Pontiac
We imagine pickin' up soldiers
Comin' home for Christmas
With Steinbeck, and Guthrie, and Kerouac

We've explored the patchwork of Americana
The curios and the burger plates
We got a blessing from the Queen of the Highway,
Paid attention to a sign that said "Jesus Saves"

Sand traps, soft shoulders, wash out, deep ruts
Hustlers, cops and wrecker drivers
Sometimes the world's just got it out for us

Moonlight falls on The painted desert
Gershwin flows out of Our radio
I swear there will be Peace In the valley for Us, baby
Someday, peace for us
Peace in the valley for us, Baby, I swear, peace for us

Glad we're together on
The Glory Road
Hey, let's go crazy and thicken the plot
Can't back out now that we've paid our admission
There's just one exit from the Mystery Spot

We hit the Metro out in Tulsa
bought a steer horn at Pecan Joe's
Saw the blue whale in Catoosa
The reptile farm in Cuba, MO.

If at the end of the line there ain't no pot-of-gold,
Just the Santa Monica pier,
Well, we loved our biscuits and gravy
And learned to twirl a rope
And enjoyed what
We had while we were here

__________________

Got a few miles left ...

Make sure you have heard a Kind Word! Happy
05-23-2007 11:58 Mountain Fan is offline Send an Email to Mountain Fan Search for Posts by Mountain Fan Add Mountain Fan to your Buddy List
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Ubique Epoque


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Registration Date: 10-09-2003
Posts: 14,112
Location: Lil' Rock Candy Mountains, Western NC BOBD

Thread Starter Thread Started by Mountain Fan
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a song of a "no-tell motel"

Lyrics by Woody Guthrie, music by Billy Bragg, recorded by Bragg & Wilco

==============

Hot Rod Hotel Wilco lyrics
Artist: Wilco
Album: Mermaid Avenue Vol. II
Year: 2000
Title: Hot Rod Hotel

I'm a porter and a night clerk at the old Hot Rod Hotel
I clean and scrub the lobby down and thirty-one rooms as well
I wax and shine their boots and shoes
I brush down their crinkly clothes
And I meet the buses and trains and I show you to your door

Bell-bottom pants brought two boys in at six-fourteen last night
Two girls checked in at ten-oh-two and I flipped on the light
The lamrod's wife looks in their doors and finds one terrible sight
Those boys and girls got bawled up in their doors and rooms that night

A bloody flood could never mess these rooms up any worse
It looked like Moe had used this room to grease and breed a horse
Old gum and hairs and sticky rags, old bottles on the floors
Gobs of spit and condom rubbers on the windows, walls, and doors

The lammy tried to make me clean out that crappy mess
Or else he'd fire me off my job and let me starve to death
I laid aside my polish rag and I downed my dusting pan
And I've not seen the old Hot Rod nor that old town since then

__________________

Got a few miles left ...

Make sure you have heard a Kind Word! Happy
05-23-2007 12:01 Mountain Fan is offline Send an Email to Mountain Fan Search for Posts by Mountain Fan Add Mountain Fan to your Buddy List
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