Route 66 Caravan

Preserving Route 66 Today for Tomorrow!

Washington DC Trip: Day Three

February 18, 2004


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Molly Brady

Molly Brady and Jim Conkle Day three of our Washington DC trip found us back at the Department of the Interior Building. This time we were going to spend some time with the Bureau of Land Management. Unfortunately Michael Wallis and Patty Kuhn had to leave Washington DC early because of other commitments. We certainly missed them, but they were with us in spirit. Before the meeting we got together with Molly Brady of the BLM's Special Projects. You can say that Molly is really the God Mother of the California Route 66 Preservation Foundation (CART66PF) and all the things it has accomplished.
        
If it wasn't for her there might not be a CART66PF at all. Before her transfer to Washington DC she was the Field Manager of the Needles, California Field Office of the BLM. She was instrumental in helping establish the non-profit California Route 66 Preservation Foundation. The BLM in California wanted to see a non-government, non-profit organization to take the leadership role with the preservation of California's Route 66, an organization that could seek and administer grants for the Mother Road. None of the existing groups dedicated to the road at that time had the ability or desire to take on this monumental task. Under the umbrella of the California Route 66 Museum in Victorville a new entity, the California Route 66 Preservation Foundation, was started. Jim Conkle was named the active executive director. A board was formed and the application for a 501 c 3 non-profit status was granted. Molly Brady and a member of her staff, Elaine Downing, who was already involved with Route 66 worked closely with Jim and his new board in getting the foundation up and running. Today the CART66PF continues to support, educate the public, and preserve Route 66 in California and the nation. We roadies, no matter where we live owe a debt of gratitude to Molly Brady, her staff and the BLM for their foresight in the preservation of Route 66.

 

Bureau of Land Management

Our meeting with the BLM was a success. The biggest reason we met with the BLM was to thank them for all their support. The BLM has hundreds of miles of Route 66 running through their jurisdiction in California, Arizona and New Mexico. The interest they have taken in the Mother Road, especially in California, has worked wonders for the preservation of this celebrated highway. Jim Conkle and the CART66PF have established a working relationship of cooperation with the BLM through the Needles Field Office and the District Office in Southern California.

BLM Meeting
The BLM Meeting (left to right) Steve Henthorn, Jim Hughes, Molly Brady, Jim Conkle, Diana Hutton, Glen Duncan, and Tom Dyer.

       
Rolla Queen and Steve Razo
Rolla Queen and Steve Razo of the BLM's California Desert District Office at the Route 66 Caravan kick-off in Santa Monica April 2003.
Because of the support of Molly Brady in establishing the CART66PF and the continued support of Rolla Queen and Steve Razo of the BLM's California Desert District Office, the CART66PF is still supporting Route 66 locally, statewide and nationally.

We wanted to let the BLM know how grateful we were of their continued support. The magic of Route 66 brought us all together with a common goal. I found it very refreshing to see the genuine interest in our Mother Road that Deputy Director Jim Hughes, Tom Dyer and of course Molly Brady had for our efforts. I think Jim Hughes found our enthusiasm refreshing also. He made the comment that it was great to be meeting with people that actually were thanking the BLM rather than saying disparaging words about them!

Preservation takes the dedication of committed individuals and in the meeting room of the BLM we found that dedication. Though their role may not be a big one in the scheme of things in Washington DC, for all of us with the CART66PF and the Route 66 Caravan we can honestly say we couldn't have accomplished what we have without them.

 

Calling on Congress and the Senate

Halls of Congress
Knock-knock. Who's there? Why Jim Conkle with his Route 66 bag of goodies!
After our meeting with the BLM it was time to pay our respects to the various members of Congress and the Senate that had a vested interest in Route 66 - mainly that it passed through their districts. Though Congress and the Senate were out of session we were able to meet with their staff and pass on the word that were in Washington on a mission and that we would be returning. This was more or less just a courtesy call. The real work would begin when the legislators returned. All of us knew that this trip to Washington DC would be the first of many. It was still fun following Jim around with his official Route 66 theme suitcase full of media kits, brochures, reports and of course the petitions as he went around knocking on doors.
            
I just had to include this picture of the Senate building interior. This is the rotunda off the main entrance. I've always been a fan of spectacular architecture and I don't think you can get much more spectacular than this! These are hallowed halls. Jim and Glen Duncan will be returning to these halls in March to lobby for Route 66 preservation. Hampton Inn will be paying their expenses on this trip. They will be working with the Preservation Action Organization, a lobbying group with a lot of clout on Capitol Hill. For more information you can check out their web site:

[PreservationAction.org]

Senate Building Interior

      
Steve Henthorn Steve Henthorn goes a callin' on his representatives. Steve is the Executive Director and CEO of the San Bernardino Visitors and Convention Bureau, the organization that puts on the Route 66 Rendezvous every September. The annual Stater Brothers Route 66 Rendezvous is one of the biggest events on Route 66, drawing people from all over the world and giving them a chance to experience first hand the magic of Route 66. Because of people like Steve, and the others in our party, we accomplished so much for the promotion and preservation of Route 66 during our 16 hour days in Washington DC.
        

To find out more about San Bernardino and the Rendezvous click the link below:

[San Bernardino Web Site]

      

The White House
Can you believe it?
Road Construction in front of the White House!

 

Tips on Being a Lobbyist

Wednesday afternoon we met for lunch with Conrad Wong, a lobbyist for Specialty Equipment Market Association, or SEMA. SEMA looks out for the car culture, especially the vintage auto owners, many of whom play a key role on Route 66. It is this blending of historians, preservationists, auto enthusiasts, and nostalgia buffs that makes Route 66 such a wonderful highway for so many people. Route 66 is many things to many people. If we all work together as a team we can accomplish much. Conrad was more than happy to discuss various lobbying techniques and procedures with our little group. Yes, he's another fan of the Mother Road and has a collection of muscle cars that would look great on our beloved highway.

Jim Conkle and Conrad Wong

 

One final meeting 19 February, 2004

The National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation Meeting
National Trust for Historic Preservation meeting (back left to right) Jim Conkle, Dan Marriott, David Brown, and Glen Duncan, (front left to right) Pat Lally, Emily Wadhams.
Thursday was the day the rest of us would leave Washington DC. But before we left we would have one more meeting with the great folks at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. We met with David Brown, Executive Vice President, Emily Wadhams, Vice President of Public Policy, and Pat Lally, Director of Congressional Affairs. Dan Marriott also joined us, he is the resident expert on preserving historic roads and byways and is the Director of Historic Roads for the Trust. Members of the National Trust were more than happy to go over strategies for the preservation of Route 66. One of their recommendations was to build up grass roots support for the preservation of Route 66.
         
I believe we are already well on our way to doing that. The Route 66 Caravan, the Route 66 State Associations, and the interest of people like you (who are now reading this) prove that. We must pull together and work as a team now to let our voices be heard. We truly can be a force to be reckoned with. It's an awesome responsibility to know that what we do today will effect the future of Route 66 for generations to come. With the commitment of fellow roadies like you and the support of the wonderful people we met like those at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, I know we are up to the task.

Our meeting with the National Trust was a fine one indeed. It was a pleasure to share our passion for historic preservation with people who feel the same about our history. In fact, The National Trust for Historic Preservation will be one of the sponsors of the Fourth National Conference on Historic Roads April 22-25 in Portland, Oregon.

Be sure to drop by the National Trust for Historic Preservation's web site:

www.nationaltrust.org

For more information about the Conference on Historic Roads you can check out their web site at:

www.historicroads.org.

       

We Have Only Just Begun ...

Our time spent in Washington DC was time well spent. As Jim Conkle put it:

"What we accomplished in just a few short days is nothing short of unbelievable. Never before in modern day history of Route 66 or any other major road/corridor has such a group come together to push our cause to such a different group of folks in DC. Yes, Cyrus and others in their day did so and we were honored to continue that effort. Where they were working on getting the road started we were working to preserve what they accomplished.

What we learned, the people we met and the ideas/suggestion/support that was given to us is going to pay big dividends for all of us in the future. In fact, Glen Duncan and I will be going back to push our causes again in March as a part of the National Trust team, thanks to the generous offer and support of Hampton to cover our expenses.

So while I am at the thanking of folks it is my great pleasure to tell all of you that the Caravan (where we started the petition signing), this past DC trip and the next ones have come about because Hampton started, supported and helped our cause. They too deserve a hug and our thanks."

~Jim Conkle

     
As for me, all I can say is that it is not only a pleasure but an honor to work with the dedicated preservationists and committed individuals I was surrounded by in Washington DC. These people represent what's best about America in my opinion, and through their hard work I can see the hope for a bright future along the Mother Road. Thank you all for the time, energy and drive you brought to our 66 Caravan to Washington DC.

I would like to give special thanks to Diana Hutton of the Texas Old Route 66 Association for her generous donation to that association that covered my expenses and allowed me to be part of this historic event. She is a dedicated and gracious lady that has just begun her involvement with the preservation of Route 66. I foresee a key role for her in the future of Route 66 not only in Texas, but along the entire length of the Mother Road. Right now I think the future of Route 66 looks bright indeed because of you all (in Texas that would be y'all). Thanks again and Keep on Truckin'.

~Guy Randall 

 


Day Two
February 17, 2004


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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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