Route 66 Caravan

Preserving Route 66 Today for Tomorrow!

Washington DC Trip: Day Two

February 17, 2004

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Capitol Hill

Washington DC Trip:

Previous Day
[Day One]

Next Day
[Day Three]

The Committee on Appropriations

Our second day in Washington started out with gusto. Our first meeting of the day was with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations. Deborah Weatherly, the Staff Director, met with our little group. I do believe this set the tone for the rest of our meetings. Deborah was more than helpful and gave us tips on accomplishing our goal of releasing the Route 66 Corridor Act money. She brought up issues that we hadn't even though of and suggested additional sources of grant money for Route 66 preservation projects. Through Deborah's insight we realized we could utilize several different grant programs for Route 66. It became obvious that the Route 66 Corridor Act money was not the only game in town.
Though the Corridor Act was our primary objective we now had potential sources of additional preservation support. Deborah went on to explain what we needed to do to tap into these sources. Route 66 travels through eight states and many, many congressional districts. We will be making a list of all the members of congress that are affected by the Mother Road and drafting a letter from them to send to Deborah. Our emphasis will not only be on the preservation of Route 66 but highlight the benefits of the cultural tourism that Route 66 can bring to the various districts. It's just plain good economics.

Deborah Weatherly Staff Director of Appropriations

Are we lost yet?
Apparently we got lost somehow. Not really. Patty and Glen are just checking the map to see where we'll go next.
We noticed a very interesting phenomena about Route 66 at this meeting also. Route 66 seems to bring people together. It is not a controversial issue, and is one that can be embraced by both parties alike, Republican and Democrat. In fact the mere mention of Route 66 conjures up positive emotions, memories from family vacations and images of a time when the world seemed less complicated. It has come to symbolize what is best about America, the freedom of the open road, the American Dream, and old fashioned American Values. Route 66 fascinates people from all walks of life. Deborah mentioned that her husband was a fan of the Mother Road even. With a twinkle in her eye and a chuckle in her voice she said he'll be envious when she tells him she got to meet Michael Wallis!


Congressman Jerry Lewis

Grady Bourn Legislative Assistant to Jerry Lewis
(left to right) Steve Henthorn, Jim Conkle, Grady Bourn, Michael Wallis, and Glen Duncan.

Next on our stop was the office of Congressman Jerry Lewis. He was a co-sponsor of the Route 66 Corridor Act Bill and is an avid fan of Route 66. He is also a very influential Congressman on Capitol Hill and will play a key role in the drafting of the congressional letter to Deborah Weatherly. The Congressman was back in California when we dropped in, but we got to speak with Grady Bourn his Legislative Assistant and Systems Manager. Grady and Jim Conkle are old friends it seems, but the rest of us were strangers. But that wasn't for long because Route 66 was about to work her magic again.
In fact when we were introducing ourselves to Grady he paused when Michael shook his hand and exclaimed, "THE Michael Wallis!?" Yes, Grady was another fan of the Mother Road. The star of this meeting was most definitely Michael Wallis. We all listened enthralled as Michael's deep booming voice swept us away to the open road, and the remaining miles of unbroken highway we call Route 66. As Route 66 goes through eight states Michael explained, it created a linear village linking people of many cultures together thereby earning her name "America's Main Street." All of us in the room agreed that it was crucial to preserve this heritage for our children. Route 66 is a piece of America that none of us want to lose in the current unsettling trend of American homogenization.

We would like to give Congressman Jerry Lewis special thanks for his continued support of old Route 66. You can visit his web site by clicking the link below:

[Congressman Jerry Lewis]


The Department of the Interior

Meeting with Deputy Assistant Secretary Kearney Our day was far from over when we left the Rayburn Building and the Halls of Congress and headed over to the Department of the Interior Building. Our next meeting was with the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Christopher Kearney. Our meeting went quite well, did you expect anything less when the subject of Route 66 comes up? Chris and his Special Assistant, Aimee Micolajek had some pretty interesting things to say about Route 66 and preservation. One of the policies the Department of Interior was pursuing for preservation was agency roundtables.
The National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management are but two of the Department of Interior's agencies. Cooperation among the agencies is paramount for a smooth running preservation machine. In many ways this meeting was very similar to the meeting with Deborah Weatherly. Aimee Micolajek, Chris' Special Assistant, had some wonderful input about forming a Congressional Route 66 Caucus. It was obvious to her that there were enough members of Congress with Route 66 in their district to do this. And you know what the beauty of this caucus would be? It would be totally bi-partisan!

Dept. of the Interior Meeting

  All of us around the table were quite impressed by this idea. This is definitely food for thought. It just might work!

Department of Interior (left to right) Aimee Micolajek, Steven Henthorn, Patty Kuhn, Chris Kearney, Jim Conkle, Diana Hutton, Michael Wallis, and Glen Duncan.


The National Park Service

Dawn Welch and the NPS
NPS Movers and Shakers (left to right) Chris Jarvi, Associate Director; Tom Ross, Associate Director; Dawn Welch, Route 66 business owner; Dwight Pitcaithley, NPS Chief Historian.

The National Park Service headquarters is located in the Interior Building. After we finished with the Department of the Interior meeting all we had to do was change floors - that is after we checked back with security and got new visitor passes. The National Park Service is the administrator of the Route 66 Corridor Act money. Our plans for them included a special surprise. Dawn Welch, the owner of the Rock Cafe on Route 66 in Stroud, Oklahoma had come to Washington with her daughter Alexis to speak to the NPS. The Rock Cafe is one of the few Route 66 properties that has received grant money from the Corridor Act. Dawn's Rock Cafe is a true Route 66 success story and one we wanted to share with the Park Service. I guess you could say that Dawn and Alexis were the true stars of this meeting. Dawn's story impacted all of us, but I think it really went a long way to establish the credibility and success of the Corridor Act with the Park Service. It was living proof that preservation works and is good for the economy of Route 66.

Dawn brought along some of her guest books from the Rock Cafe with wonderful comments from travelers from all over the world about Route 66 and the Rock Cafe. Upon reading some of the entries, I know the members of the Park Service at our meeting were moved. Here was the human side of preservation, proof positive of the magic of Route 66. This was a magic that we had felt and experienced all day long as we went from meeting to meeting. In every case, after our official meeting was over we would stand around and talk, swap stories about the Mother Road, laugh and hug.

National Park Service Meeting

We made many friends on Capitol Hill during our visit. Yes indeed, there truly is a magic surrounding the Mother Road. NPS Meeting (left to right) Dawn Godwin, Diana Hutton, Michael Wallis, Tom Ross, Dawn Welch, Alexis Welch, Jim Conkle, Glen Duncan, Dwight Pitcaithley, Chris Jarvi, Patty Kuhn, Steve Henthorn, and Beth Savage. And of course yours truly behind the camera.

The Rock Cafe was honored by Hampton Inn as a Route 66 Roadside Attraction. To find out more about the Rock Cafe and the 66 Caravan just click this link:

[Rock Cafe Road Log]

Or check out the Rock Cafe's great web site:

[Rock Cafe on Route 66]


Hampton Inn® and Preservation

Melissa OBrien and Michael Wallis
Melissa OBrien of Hampton and Michael Wallis (who is not sleeping by the way) discuss the importance of preservation along the Mother Road.
Without the support of Hampton Inn and their Save-A-Landmark® project all this would not have been possible. From the Route 66 Caravan last year, to our Washington DC trip Hampton has been a supporter all the way. They will continue to support the efforts of preservation along Route 66, in fact Phil Cordell, Senior Vice President of Hampton joined us in Washington DC. He was so impressed with everything we accomplished that Hampton will pay the expenses for Jim Conkle and Glen Duncan when they return to Washington DC in March for the Preservation Action lobbying. More about that on the next page.

Somebody Else Took the Picture!

We stayed at Hampton Inn Old Town Alexandria South when we were in Washington DC. Hilda Froelke, General Manager, and her staff couldn't have been nicer. They went all out for our group. After a long day on Capitol Hill we all paused for a picture.

(back row left to right) Patty Kuhn, Steve Henthorn, Frances Conkle, Quincey our Shuttle Driver, Diana Hutton, Glen Duncan, Jim Conkle, Michael Wallis, and Pat Duncan. (front row left to right) Melissa OBrien, Phil Cordell, and believe it or not Guy Randall.

Hampton Inn and the Route 66 Caravan

All of our thanks go out to Hampton Inn for everything they have done to support our preservation efforts. Michael Wallis couldn't have put it any better:

"Special thanks to Hampton Inn for their continued support. They are the best! Hampton represents everything that is good about corporate America and the role to be played in support of this nation's culture and heritage."

~Michael Wallis


To find out more about the Route 66 Caravan and Hampton Inn's Save-A-Landmark program just click the link below:

[Hampton Inn Save-A-Landmark]


Day One
February 16, 2004

Previous Day

Washington DC Trip

Showing support for the Preservation of the Mother Road Today and Tomorrow!

Day Three
February 18, 2004

Next Day


[DC Trip Home]   [DC Trip Day One]   [DC Trip Day Two]   [DC Trip Day Three]


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Shadows of Old Route 66 For more information about Route 66, its history, and a contemporary look at the Mother Road from Chicago to L.A. be sure to check out the Road Wanderer web site. Over one hundred pages and thousands of photos show all facets of our celebrated highway yesterday and today. Great resource!

66 Caravan Web Site and Washington DC Trip
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