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A Beatle in The Dust Bowl

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12:45 p.m. Aug. 7---
So I woke up around 6:30 a.m. wondering, what if by some minute chance, that really isn't Paul McCartney traveling Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica, Ca. Paul was dead once, too. On deadline I checked all my facts, assembled time sequences and asked hard questions. I e-mailed McCartney's management in New York and the United Kingdom---no response as of yet.
Everything added up and I stand behind my story.
Still, it is a silly concept that in this day and age, Sir Paul would take to America's backroads without any apparent security.
But then he wrote "Silly Love Songs."
I figured a museum staff would work hard to confirm a McCartney sighting...........

Tony Contos, interim executive director of the Joliet Area Historical Museum, viewed a security tape of the visit from McCartney and his girl friend Nancy Shevell. "They watched the Route 66 movie," he said on Wednesday. "Then he goes into an exhibit we call 'Woven and Spun,' an exhibit on looming. He starts asking questions to the lady who is demonstrating looming. Suddenly his female colleague comes in." Contos said major news organizations have offered big bucks for the tape. The museum has declined all offers.
McCartney and Shevell stopped in the gift shop to pick up some Route 66 maps. McCartney signed the museum's vintage Route 66 shield, "Paul McCartney, London U.K." Contos said Shevell declined to sign the map. The tape said they stopped in around 1:30 p.m. Saturday, which gave them ample time to amble down to Springfield, their next stop and the home of the great Illinois State Fair.

By Tuesday night bloggers and roadies reported that McCartney had made it to Oklahoma City, Ok.
Maybe he is working on a duet album with Toby Keith.
McCartney and Shevell allegedly stayed at the historic Skirvin Hilton, 1 Park Ave., which was neither confirmed or denied by hotel general manager John Williams. "Someone approached me at a theater event last night about this and the reality is that we are a very very high end hotel," Williams said Thursday morning. "I cannot talk about anybody who is staying here at any time."
Just as important I wanted to know what Skirvin means. Sounds like a bad rash.
When I did Route 66 in '91 I stayed at Elmo and Barbara Thornbrue's Travel Master Inn, a half-mile off the old road. The rate was $21.
Williams explained, "The hotel was built in 1911 by William B. Skirvin. It has been an icon in Oklahoma City. Have you ever heard the expression, 'The hostess with the mostess?'."
Yes, I have.
"That tag line was given to a lady named Pearl Mesta," Williams continued. "Pearl Mesta was the ambassador to Luxembourg under (President) Harry Truman. Pearl Mesta was Bill Skirvin's daughter and she was born and raised in this hotel." The regal hotel is now a Hilton franchise managed by Marcus Hotel and Resorts. It is the most historic hotel in town. When it was built, The Skirvin had running water in all 224 rooms and dressed up cowboys adjourned to the 500-seat ballroom.
Ironically Williams had been general manager at the historic Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee, another Marcus property. He did tell me that major entertainers appearing in Oklahoma City stay at his property and the hotel is actively pursuing business for the NBA teams who will be coming to Oklahoma City this season as the team relocates from Seattle.
Maybe Macca is entering competiton to name the new franchise:
His Oklahoma City "Wings" could be considered along with: Spiders, Durantulas (conjured up by Dan Patrick's radio listeners as a tribute to star Kevin Durant) Oklahoma City Trailer Parks, Wranglers, Slingers and my favorite, The Oklahoma City Claimjumpers.
Can't wait until Paul and Nancy get to Tucumcari, New Mexico.

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It's him. I saw him leaving a hotel in Amarillo, Texas this morning. He smiled and waved and honked his horn as he drove by. He at at the hotel restaurant last night. People said he was really nice and even played his harmonica for a baby at a table near him. It is weird that it's just him and his girlfriend in an old Ford Bronco. But it was totally him!

Hey Torre, Let's do some community journalism---what hotel was it? A harmonica? I heard he packed a guitar as well. Can anyone help? Thanks. Dave

He stayed at the Ambassador Hotel in amarillo.
Local TV station has video of him leaving in the Bronco and interviews with the Hotel GM and employees. They also have an interview with a owner of a small museum in Vega, TX that he apparently stopped at.

If anybody sees him eating meat, pork, poultry, fish or any flesh-foods, than it's definitely not Sir Paul MACCA !

Yes, it was Sir Paul. I saw him at the Ambassador Hotel in Amarillo on Thursday. He was very friendly and waved to all of us as he left the hotel in a 1989 Ford Bronco, of all things. If you go to the hotel's website,, you can see a photo of the suite they stayed in. I heard from a reliable source it was the presidential suite.


According to the description, the Presidential Suite includes:

"Rich leather furnishings...."

At least he ain't eating them.

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Dave Hoekstra

Dave Hoekstra has been a Chicago Sun-Times staff writer since 1985. His collection of Sun-Times travel columns, "Ticket To Everywhere," was published in 2000 by Lake Claremont Press. He was lead writer for "Farm Aid: Song for America" (Rodale Press, 2005) which commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Willie Nelson inspired effort.
He won a 1987 Chicago Newspaper Guild Stick O-Type Award for Column Writing. Hoekstra wrote and co-proudced the WTTW-Channel 11 PBS special: "The Staple Singers and the Civil Rights Movement," nominated for a 2001-02 Chicago Emmy for a documentary program/cultural significance.
He lives in Chicago.


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This page contains a single entry by David Hoekstra published on August 7, 2008 12:43 PM.

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