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Paul McCartney Gets Kicks On Route 66

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7:20 p.m. Aug. 6

The everlasting memory of my 1991 trip down Route 66 was the way I reconnected with the basic goodness of people. I was 36 and maybe something of a hot shot. The summertime trip from Chicago to Santa Monica, Ca. was a refresher course on how to listen to strangers, trust your heart and slow down.
How great is it that Paul McCartney and his girl friend Nancy Shevell are checking out Route 66?
Maybe I'm amazed.
Cultural disconnect has always been a problem with famous artists and songwriters. Rod Stewart was one of my favorites--until he settled in Los Angeles. Jack Kerouac? Maybe he only had one good novel in him anyway. Route 66 is a good way to reclaim your roots. Macca could be working on a song about Henry's Route 66 Rabbit Ranch (Hare it is!) in downstate Staunton............

Until the news of McCartney's American journey broke on Wednesday, the couple could pretty much check out things in anonymity. Now everyone will be on the lookout for McCartney's green '89 Ford Bronco. with New York plates. [I wonder what road songs they brought along, check out "Road Music" on my Favorite Links.]
What a beautiful way for Paul to celebrate his 66th birthday.

But modern American skepticism met all of those who encountered McCartney in the early Illinois leg of his trip.
I asked C.J. Lowder what has surprised him the most after his chance meeting with McCartney at a Springfield, Ill. gas station.
"I'm surprised how many skeptics there are," Lowder answered Wednesday. "That he would be traveling without a limo. Without security guards. Or, 'Why didn't he stop at a better place to go to a bathroom than a Circle K.? Shoot, we're motorcycle guys. We're not computer guys. I wouldn't know how to photo shop a photo."
Shevell volunteered to take the now priceless cellphone photo of Lowder and his pals with McCartney.
"She was definitely high class," said Lowder, a Springfield resident. "He was in a tee shirt and slacks, as casual as a guy on a Saturday drive. She was in nice white Capri pants, blue blouse and big sunglasses. People go, 'Why didn't you ask him for proof?' Hey, we were just surprised to see him. We didn't want to overwhelm him. We knew he was just trying to pass through. We asked him if he was going to the Cardinals game. He said no, but when he hit the road he said, 'Go Cardinals!'."

While fact checking my stories, I time-framed McCartney's visits.
A security tape at the Joliet Area Historical Museum on Route 66 placed him there at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Lowder said the cellphone photo was taken at 4:36 p.m. By Saturday night he was eating at an Italian restaurant in St. Louis. And on Sunday night he stopped at C&D's Quick Stop on Old Route 66 in Lebanon, Mo.---ironically across the street from the Bell Restaurant where Sen. Barack Obama stopped last week.
Those are all smooth connections on Route 66.
"He came in and asked for directions to Bennett Springs (state park)," said secretary Mary Jane Cushing at C & D's Quick Stop. "He was driving an older green car. He gave our employee an autograph on a piece of notebook paper. It says, 'Cheers to Kay, Paul McCartney '08.' She compared it on the Internet and it is his signature. The woman with him did not come in." During our conversation Cushing was listening to a Christian radio promoting the 40th annual Brumley Sing gospel festival. She would not be making any of this up.

By blog time Paul and Nancy should have made it through Oklahoma, but they still have Texas, New Mexico and California in front of them. Any roadside tips will be accepted.
Happy trails Paul, a good man on the run.

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McCartney and his lady stayed in Oklahoma City on Tuesday night Aug. 5, 2008. They spent the evening at the Sheraton Skirvin Hotel and dined in Bricktown (part of OKC near lots of clubs/entertainment). This is verified info with employees from those two venues.

S. Laird; Thank you. Look for some followups---Bricktown, isn't that where the new baseball stadium is at?---Dave

I travelled the entirety of Route 66 in my '65 Corvette in April of '08, along with about a dozen other 1963 - 1967 Corvettes. There is one stop along the road that provides outstanding entertainment value.

As a native Oklahoman, I am proud of everything in that state, but in little Erick, just east of the Texas line one must stop to meet Harley & Annabelle Russell, The Mediocre Music Makers.

They own the Sand Hills Curiosity Shop and can provide hours of musical and comedic entertainment!

Also, in Seligman, AZ a short meeting with Angel Delgadillo would be time well spent.

Yes, Bricktown is where the new ballpark is located in Oklahoma City.

It makes sense that McCartney and his gal pal would stay at the Skirvin; it's just a short distance from the restaurant where they dined, and is historic to boot.

And the thought that McCartney could possibly pay a visit to Harley and Annabelle Russell in Erick just boggles the mind.

I do hope the couple is having a great time, and are staying in historic places like the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, La Posada in Winslow and the El Rancho Hotel in Gallup.

There are lots of things to see and do along 66 in Texas, N. Mex., Ariz., and Calif. The possibilities are endless, but, here are a few to consider:

1) The Devil's Rope Museum is a great place to stop and visit in McClean, Tx.
2) Eat at the Big Texan in Amarillo.
3) Make your mark at the Cadillac Ranch--heading west outside of Amarillo
4) Stop at the Bent Door Cafe in Adrian, Tx.
5) In New Mexico:
-check out the Blue Swallow in Tucumcari
-eat at Joseph's in Santa Rosa and see the Blue Hole
-visit the KiMo Theatre in Albuquerque
-visit the Covered Wagon in Old Town
-stay at the El Rancho in Gallup
6) -Stop at the Petrified Forest in Arizona
-Stay at the La Posada Hotel in Winslow and dine in the Turquoise Room inside the La Posada.
-"Stand on the Corner" in Winslow, Ariz. And, visit Roadworks.
-Visit Meteor Crater.
-In Flagstaff, eat at Ms. Zips and go to the Museum Club.
-Stop at the Deer Farm outside Flagstaff.
-Take the loop from Seligman to Kingman (stop at Angel's and eat at the Sno Cap in Seligman, visit Grand Canyon Caverns, stop at the Hackberry, Store, stop a the Powerhouse Visitor's Center).
-Take the loop from Kingman to the Calif. border. Be sure to stop at Cool Springs, and don't miss feeding a burro in Oatman!

I've run out of room. But, for more Route 66 and scenic/historic highway ideas stop by where other travelers share their experiences on the road.

Thanks Becky, Is the Oatman Hotel still open? Had too much tequila in the bar there on my '91 trip......Anyone know the house record at the Big Texan?
Take care.

Paul McCartney is arguably the most talented rock star and he's inarguably the most humane. He's a master vocalist, lyricist and bass player in addition to being renowned as the most melodic rocker in history. Bob Dylan and Brian Wilson revere him. For over thirty years MACCA'S been supporting social justice, human rights, famine relief, animal rights, vegetarianism and environmentalism. He's donated monies to combat deadly breast cancer and land mines. His last CD "Memory Almost Full" was a masterpiece. I'm happy for the people who met him on his Route 66 voyage.

The current house record for the 72-ounce steak meal at the Big Texan is 9 1/2 minutes, recently set by professional speed-eater Joey "Jaws" Chesnut.

Here's the video in all its stomach-churning glory:


Driven the Route about 5 times. Until one actually feels the road and makes lazy stops along the way, it is difficult to describe. I have always loved the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest. Love Amirillo and for some crazy reason, Shamrock, Texas. Awesome blog!!

Hey thanks Chico, when I made it to Shamrock in '91 it was pretty dried up. That Shamrock Cafe or whatever was out of business. Are things better today? Dave

Sir PAul and his beau spent the night in AMARILLO last night, they arrived in a 1991 green ford bronco. They stayed at the Ambassador hotel and ate dinner at T.G.I.F. (fridays) and paid a visit to the local mall and the Cadillac Ranch.......... They checked out of the hotel at around 11 am today......

Jerod---A TGIF's? Nutty. Cadillac Ranch is great........Thank you!

Sir Paul and company stayed at the fabulous Ambassador Hotel in Amarillo, Texas on Wednesday Aug. 6th and dined at the TGI Fridays restaurant. Personnel at both establishments were overjoyed.

paul filled up gas at my convent store in amarillo,tx at I-40 and georga street. at 6:02 pm on wendsday 8-06 at my counter. guy at the shift after me named mike shook his hand. and stayed at the ambassador hotel. booked in as a name not giving out. to his privacy as well.
i love paul and only wish him good luck. thanks from the people of amarillo. come back and see us.

Joel Lancaster

also photos on inside cams photos i have if your intrested

THANKS JOEL, I love Amarillo---great antiquing. Are the Dillas still playing? Photos would be great if you could get them to this blog. How was his girl friend? Still think it was her idea for a 66th birthday trip---Take care, Dave

Hi Dave and all out there i think its great that thay are doing this thay need to stop more but oh well if last night wens in amarillo most lickly santa fe or albq is tonights (thursday)stop and maybe standing on the cdorner on friday at the laposda.well thats it for now jeff meyer

Thanks. You are one of the endless souls of 66! Keep on going, your pal, dave

I'm a reporter at the CBS affiliate in Oklahoma City. On our website,, we have a couple of video clips discussing Paul's visit through the OKC/Bricktown area. The two clips are labeled "What's on tap for Bricktown?" and "McCartney celebrates birthday in metro". Happy viewing.


HEY DOUG! THANKS, Let's Link 'em up.....DAVE

Heard Sir Paul stayed in Gallup on Saturday at the historic El Rancho Hotel. The couple then visited the The 87th Annual Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial. There was a lot happy natives that had a chance to meet Sir Paul in person. How cool is that?!

LoboFAN!!! Hey there, I stayed at the El Rancho. Most every room was themed to a movie star when I stayed there. Wonder what room they had. Thanks for the report, DAVE

Great blog Dave.
Endless places to visit and sites to see on the Mother Road. Have logged many a mile on 66, documented with photos on my website at
Hope they have a safe and fun trip.

Heard they flew back to London today, but I am on Highway 51 in Wisconsin---cannot confirm on the road. So many questions, so little time. Did they ship that Bronco back east? Did they sell it? Did they drive it into the ocean? Look for some updates maybe next week....DAVE

Paul McCartney was in Branson, Missouri on August 3 window shopping at Branson Landing with his friend at approximately 11:30pm.

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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 6, 2008 7:18 PM.

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