Route 66 - the Mother Road as it was coined in Grapes of Wrath - piqued my imagination a number of years ago, and I have visited numerous locations along the California and Arizona stretches. There's so much myth and lore here; Route 66 has captivated tens of thousands of people around the world with an iconic vision of an America long gone.
Roy's is one of the truly iconic stops along the way, and was one of the main stops for travelers through the Mojave back in the day. Roy Crowl opened the gas and service station in 1938, and in the 40s it expanded to include cabins, a cafe, and an auto repair garage. But business slowed to virtually nil after I-40 opened in 1972; it was later used as a filming location, then the entire town was purchased in 2005 for $425,000 by Albert Okura, owner of the Juan Pollo chicken chain.
Seligman is also one of the iconic stops along Route 66. I was there many years ago, taking night shots, and was out front of Angel's Barber Shop. The town was utterly quiet, except for the noise emanating from the Black Cat Bar down the street. I noticed a man walking towards me, and thought "uh oh, this guy is drunk and will go on and on about what I'm photographing", but he walked up to me and asked if I wanted him to keep the neon lights on. I said "sure … are you Angel?" He said yes, and we chatted … turns out Angel was the primary force behind getting 66 designated as an historic landmark in Arizona, and had been interviewed by John Lasseter and crew when they were researching the area for the movie "Cars".
One time when I was in Ludlow, CA, taking night shots of the old trucks there, I sensed a presence behind me. I turned around, and there was a gnarly, partially toothless guy, asking me what I was doing there. I struck up a conversation with him, told him I was just taking photographs, and he softened. His name was Red, and he was the town watchman; he told me the entire town is owned by one Sonny Knoll … yet another town on the route owned by a single person. Odd.
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