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Lovell , Wyoming
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September 18, 2014     Lovell Chronicle
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September 18, 2014
 

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CHRONICLE September 18, 2014 I The Lovell Chronicle I 15 BY TERESSA ENNIS The Mother Road, Main Street of America, a 2,400-mile road from Chicago to Los Ange- les that forms the heart of histo- ry of America - Route 66 was the route of an 11-day journey recent- ly completed by Ron and Marsha Ferguson of Lovell. "There was no destination to our journey. We went for the jour- ney," explained Ron. Marsha, while visiting Illinois with a friend a few years ago, no- ticed the Route 66 sign. She de- cided then that traveling the en- tire route was a trip she wanted to make. She began to make plans to go. The time would be when she turned 66. Joy Howe, a friend from Lovell, gave her a Route 66 guide- book for her birthday, saying, "Only Marsha could turn a num- ber into an event." "We enjoy history," Marsha remarked. "And traveling," Ron added. And so it was settled. In the mid 20s the automobile industry, took off and everyone could own a car, but there were no roads that connected the coun- try. Cyrus Avery, of Tulsa, was the original promoter of Route 66. The Fergusons visited Avery Park, which is home to a sculp- ture titled "East Meets West." Marsha described it as "a little bigger than life, bronze sculpture of a family in a Model A car en- countering a horse and wagon. The horse is rearing up at the ap- proach of the automobile." The Great Depression, the crash of Wall Street and the Dust Bowl stopped the heart of Ameri- ca in the 1930s. Unable to make a living, many people of the agricul- tural Midwest headed to Califor- nia in crippled cars wired togeth- er to work the orange groves by way of The Mother Road as it was called in "The Grapes of Wrath." The great heyday, after World War II ended in 1945, resulted in many buying cars again and trav- eling. It was gas stations, motels and diners with neon lights and advertisements painted on barns all the way. The Fergusons en- joyed their stays in the older clas- sic motels. The guidebooks gave information on the motels that had been well maintained or nice- ly restored from the 50s. Mar- sha described the elaborate blue y mal SANTA MONIGA COURTESY PHOTO Ron and Marsha Ferguson pose with the sign in Santa Monica, Calif., commemorating the west end of Route 66 following their journey that included rich history and friendly people. neon signs of The Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, N.M. She said there were neon signs and murals everywhere. Ron mused, "When we got up in the mornings, we would have no idea where we would spend the night, only the direction we would go." The demise of Route 66 came when four-lane interstates were developed. Business after busi- ness failed; town after town be- came deserted as they were by- passed by the great freeways. It took five interstates to take the place of Route 66. The Fergusons tried to stay on the original route. Sometimes they would come to ei- ther a barricade or a bridge out and would have to return maybe five miles to find a way around to keep going on. Even though they closed the highway, they couldn't stop own- ers from turning on their neon signs and the highway didn't die. The people of each of the eight states that boasted Route 66 formed a Route 66 Association to rebuild and revive Route 66 and promote the people and lifestyle that had made it the experience it was and is today. "I was amazed at how much the associations have worked to build this back up and how many buildings have been restored," Marsha said. The route originated on Jack- son Street near the Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park on the lakeshore in Chicago. Before they began their l 1-day journey, Ron and Marsha ate breakfast at Lou Mitchell's Restaurant. "Lou Mitchell's is an icon- ic eatery on Jackson Street in downtown Chicago. It has been in its current location since 1923 - three years before U.S. 66 was es- tablished in 1926," Ron described. "They meet you at the door with a box of donut holes." Mitchell's serves 1,200 meals daily. Approximately 85 percent of the old highway is still there. A two-mile section of the roadbed in Illinois that Ron and Marsha drove on was hand-lain bricks. One of the highlights of their trip was the Pontiac Museum in Pontiac, Ill. It houses memorabil- ia from each state on Route 66. Abraham Lincoln had a law prac- tice in the courthouse in the cen- ter of the town square. "I just loved the whole town," Ron said. He described the minia- ture cars from the 30 and 40s that were sitting all over town. Missouri is the next state along the westward trek. Ron told about the Munger Moss Mo- tel where they stayed in Leba- non. The owner was "a sweet little lady who has run the motel for 47 years. She kept patting Marsha's hand and telling her she looked tired," Ron related. All the walls were filled with photos of Route 66. South of Hooker, Mo., they stopped at one of the original gas stations. The owner asked if they were thirsty. "Grab you a drink out of the refrigerator over there," he said. When Marsha inquired as to how much she owed him he replied, "No, no, it doesn't cost anything." Route 66 crosses the corner of Kansas covering only 13.2 miles. Oklahoma is considered the heart of Route 66. There, the Fer- gusons found a unique section of road south of Miami, Okla. They said the folks didn't think cars would take hold so they didn't want to spend money on paving, so they only paved a 9-foot wide swath down the middle of the road, leaving dirt ,and gravel on either side. It was called the "side- walk" road. Marsha enjoyed Robert's Grill in E1 Reno, Okla. Robert, an older gentleman, has been working the grill as waiter, cook and cashier. "He does it all," she said. "He's been doing the job since he was in high school. There are 20 stools around the counter. No one gets impatient. They just wait and vis- it until Robert brings their meal." Ron found it interesting that the tire shop that is in the mov- ie "Cars" was modeled after the U-Drop-In in Shamrock, Texas. He also found the model for the VW bus in the movie in the muse- um back in Pontiac, Ill. Adrian, Texas, is the halfway point of Route 66. Laughing, Mar- sha told of the Midpoint Cafe that claims to be "the home of the ugly pie crust." New Mexico carries the most miles of Route 66. Its scenic coun- tryside was full of color. Arizona's U.S. 66 crosses the Painted Desert and the area of the Grand Canyon. In Oatman, the road narrows to one lane, just wide enough for one car, down Main Street. Ron explained, "This was an old prospectors town. When they left, they just let their burrows loose. They expect- ed them to die, but instead they multiplied." There are more than 2,000 wild burrows roaming the streets of Oatman. "I loved the town of Winslow, Ariz. It was the last town to be bypassed by the interstate. All the buildings have 66 emphasis," Marsha shared. And then on to California. Said Marsha, "We take for grant- ed our freedom going from state to state. Back then (the Dust Bowl days) they had to show that they had at least $100 before they were allowed to enter California." Sunset Boulevard was orig- inally part of Route 66. Nearing the end of the way a neon arch on Santa Monica Boulevard leads the path to a plaque that marks the end of Route 66, also called here the Will Rogers Highway. There were surprises along the way. Ron said, "One of the more surprising things we found was the number of international travelers on the road. In Illinois, at one place we stopped, we were told that there was a group of 18 Italians right in front of us who had flown over and rented Har- ley-Davidson motorcycles in Chi- cago and were doing the same thing, following old Route 66. "We stopped at a spot in Mis- souri, and a Swiss camera crew over here filming Route 66 was interviewing a couple from Swe- den. We met a family from Italy in Stroud, Okla., in a museum. We saw them several times down the road, the last time in Oatman, Ariz. "At one of our stops in Illinois, they had put up a world map with a bowl of pins to indicate where travelers were from. Europe was covered with pins. Much of Aus- tralia, New Zealand, Japan and China were also covered." Of the trip Marsha said, "Ev- ery region has its own beauty. It was well worth the trip. There was a U.S. friendliness all the way. Everyone was super friend- ly. It was an epic journey for me." "The history of our country was great," Ron added. "The scen- ery was good. But the best thing was the people we met. what a wonderful bunch of people we live here with. Altogether it was a very memorable trip." Cowley news As the younl BY DRUE TEBBS-MEEK 307-548-6901 Now that the sun is shining we all can smile a bit more and not tell each other that we've heard we're going to have the worst winter ever! when the gray skies were pouring rain it turned pretty bleak, but after a few days, we heard about Chey- enne, Casper, Laramie and Cody and felt thankful that we only had rain and not inches of snow. It's pretty amazing what sunshine does for a person. I drove to Powell with my daughter Thurs- day afternoon and the sun was beating down, it was above 45 degrees, the fields were being harvested and the hay was being baled. Heart Mountain was cov- ered with some snow, the clouds were luminous and rosy -- sprinkled with gray -- and it was just gorgeous, a bit chilly, but not ugly. Every year I worry about the beets because my dad and granddad were beet farmers and hay farm- ers and, of course, had the sheep, and every day during September and Oc- tober until November even, they worked long hours harvesting and praying for decent weather. When I was young I recall mother feeding us supper about 6 p.m., then putting the tablecloth over Dad's place and waiting for him to walk in about dark; then she would eat with him and it was be- fore microwaves so she had to warm everything up on the stove. I didn't think anything about it until I I got a break grew up and realized that my mother worked as a home economics teacher and later as a librarian all day, then had to fix a big meal at night and sit and wait for Dad to come home during the fall months. I had the luck to be the youngest girl in my fam- ily with three older sis- ters who had to help with dishes and cleaning up the dining room, so I was put to bed early and read and slept during these ac- tivities. Later, when I was married and had kids, I learned a great deal more understanding about my mother's work day and eve- ning days. The respect and admiration came, but as a young child I took every- thing for granted. Some- one had to be the youngest and I was picked for that spot and enjoyed my life of leisure a great deal, but I didn't know much about cooking and cleaning until I married. My son-in-law, Ray Pe- terson, wrote this article about an event in town Fri- day, Sept. 12: "A group from the Main Street Program at- tended an annual confer- ence in Powell and visit- ed Cowley to take a tour of the community. The tour began with breakfast at the Log Gym. Cowley May- or Joel Peterson welcomed the group and introduced some of our citizens to them. Roland Simmons of- fered a brief history of the community and then pre- sented what the Historical Society was doing for the community. Monica Miller from chores then followed with a report of the beautification com- mittee and the project they have been involved with over the years. Next, Mac Crosby shared with the group what the town cele- bration meant to the town and a quick report of the Planning and Zoning board and a few of the items they have been working up. Rob Johnson then gave a re- port of the Recreation Dis- trict and the many differ- ent programs they support and sponsor. The visitors had a few questions for the panel. "The visitors were then given a tour of the Log Gym, school administra- tion office, town hall and the museum, the Main Street project andthe new baseball field and the site of the new splash park and picnic area. At 11:30 they boarded the bus to re- turn to Powell and the re- mainder of their confer- ence. Thanks to the people that participated on the panel and the Cowtown Restaurant for catering a wonderful breakfast. "The visitors were im- pressed with the renova- tion of the Log Gym and the Main Street project, the new homes and how the community looked. They seemed to understand that the people of the commu- nity make the difference of how a community looks and feels." Thanks, Ray, for your interesting write-up. This only makes the members of our small town more proud as we watch the growth and renovations to the new homes and the beauty of our town. Byron news BY PAMELA COZZENS HOPKINSON 307-548-24 71 pamhopkinson@gmail.com The expression "Free for All" usually connotes an unorganized and some- what unruly event. But on Saturday began a Free for All food fest hosted by Gary Petrich and friend George Johnson. The free food began cooking Saturday around noon, offering 'dogs and burgers with Gary's spe- cial cole slaw and fries. The burgers were not just any burgers; these were 1/3 pound, cooked over a flame -- juicy hamburgers with all the trimmings. By evening there were bar- becues pork ribs, chicken and beans. If by the next day you had any room at all to fit another bite, there was thick cut bacon, grilled and served with fresh garden tomatoes on toasted bread for BLTs deluxe. About 10 years ago Gary and Michelle and George and Beth were sitting around enjoy- ing some adult beverages when the idea of throw- ing an end-of-summer par- ty just started sounding more and more like ex- actly what they needed to do. Just a few friends would be invited and lots of cooking and merriment would take place. So the first year there were about 200 friends (and Gary and George), and over the years they have served as many as 600. Now it is a tradition that no one is about to let them forget. When asked, "Why do you do this?" the answer is a simple, be- cause "I'm a good guy." They hold this food extrav- aganza in front of the By- ron Bar and Grill on Main Street and advertise with a sign on the median de- claring"FREE BBQ." Saturday, a big Doug- las school bus pulled up for a quick restroom stop at the bar. Gary stepped onto the bus to invite the team to have some food and found that it was actu- ally the soccer team from Trinidad College, who had been stranded in Douglas on the way to Powell for a game and were borrowing the bus from Douglas to get to their game and back home. They got the coach's permission and all enjoyed the hospitality. Keep this in mind for next year: it is two days of no cooking for you and it is fun hanging around a couple of "good guys." They have some pretty good stories from over the years, but those are better told over the grill at the yearly "Free Food for All." Thanks, Gary, Michelle, George and Beth, for host- ing a fun party. The town council is holding their regular meeting Thursday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m. There will be a work meeting at 6, and the public has been invit- ed to come and give input on the utility rates and tap charges or any oth- er concerns. This will be an information gathering opportunity for the coun- cil and an input opportu- nity for the community members. The Byron Memori- al Park committee met last week and is planning a thank you party for all who have been involved in the project over the past many years. There are still many plans unfolding for the park, and we ap- preciate all of the enthu- siasm and time that has been spent bringing this park to this point. I doubt it will ever re- ally be finished as there are many tributes that still need to be made to the pioneers who have gone before and the veter- ans both past and present including those who still wear the uniform of the good old USA.