Category

Missouri

Missouri

October 9, 2017

Superlatives

What are the superlatives of Route 66 as Paul and I saw it? Well, let us list them.

What are the superlatives of Route 66 as Paul and I saw it? Well, let us list them.

Superlatives

What are the superlatives of Route 66 as Paul and I saw it?

Well, let us list them.

Best & Worst

Friendliest

The friendliest state was New Mexico.  I’ve never been to New Mexico before, but every single person we met was friendly.  We’re not talking about the tourists, but the people who live and work in New Mexico.  They score a 10 out of 10 for being friendly.

And Not So Friendly

California.  Yup, California.  I had one guy walk up and call me a “scum bag”.  Okay… that’s a first.  While we met friendly people, many of the businesses there could use a course in customer service.

Biggest Surprise

The biggest surprise along the way is the Los Angeles Temple for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is right on Route 66.

copyright 2017 db walton - Superlatives
A Family of L.A. Dodgers Fans Visiting the Temple Grounds

Best Food Superlatives

This is a very tough one.  I found it not too surprising that the beast meals were comped meals.  I guess when you are providing a complimentary meal to two journalists, you want it to be the best.

That isn’t to say the non-complementary meals weren’t good (well, some weren’t), we noticed a trend.

Burgers

I love a good burger.  The best burger is a tie – Santa Fe Grill in Santa Rosa, New Mexico and Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner in Kingman, Arizona.  Their onion rings… the same – a tie.

copyright 2017 db walton - Superlatives
Mr. D’z Diner Staff
copyright 2017 db walton - Superlatives
Santa Fe Grill Burger

Mexican Food

Best Mexican food was at Jerry’s Cafe in downtown Gallup, New Mexico.  The food was good, authentic and they are the friendliest people you’ll meet.  If you like sopaipillas with honey… mmmm, mmmm, mmmm.  This is the place.

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Sopaipilla
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The Staff at Jerry’s Cafe, Gallup, NM

Funniest Place

The funniest place on Route 66 is in Seligman, Arizona – the Snow Cap Drive-in.  Just ask for half a cone and see what I mean.  You don’t go here for the food, you come here for the entertainment.

copyright 2017 db walton
Inside the Snow Cap

Saddest Place

I remember the Oklahoma City bombing vividly.  Any news like that is sad, however, I was not prepared for the emotions I felt when I visited the site. Consequently I cried a lot while visiting this memorial.

I wasn’t sad for the slain, I was sad because of the evil that exists in the world today.

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Sad Reminders
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Jesus Wept

Happiest Place

Oh, there are lots of happy places along Route 66.  It depends on what you’re in the mood for.  For me, it would be the nicely restored Corvairs this couple have.  Or, maybe it was the fun people we met along the way.  Well, it could have been the tongue-n-cheek humor in Uranus, Missouri.  Therefore, there are MANY happy places on Route 66.

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The Axe Hole at Uranus
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Young Couple Enjoying Frozen Custard
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Fully Restored Corvair Monza Wagon

Road Conditions

To say there are superlatives with road conditions on Route 66 is an understatement.  Hence, I’ll just share a few of photos that tell the story.

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Cobblestone Brick
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A Dead End Section
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A Big Drop Off (this was actually closed to cars)
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Washboard and Potholes
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Unexpected Road Closures
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Winding Mountain Roads

Hotels and Motels

We stayed at many great places.  All of the hotels who provided complementary lodging were clean and nice.  I can’t say that about all the paid rooms.

It’s best in this category that I thank those who comped us roomes:

  • Comfort Suites in Rella, Missouri – Clean and friendly staff and right on Old Route 66
  • Enlight Inn in Joplin, Missouri – Charming Cottages, I want to go back.
  • Fairfield Inn in Tulsa, Oklahoma – Clean
  • Broadway Inn in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Off the beaten track, but close to everything
  • EconoLodge, Elk City, Oklahoma – Elk City is the middle of nowhere, but here’s the place to stay.
  • Quality Inn, Tucumcari, New Mexico – Treated us like family (in the good way).  The pool was ultra clean!
  • Holiday Inn Express, Gallup, New Mexico – Another clean hotel on Route 66
  • Ramblin Rose, Kingman, Arizona – Best Value for your money near the Grand Canyon!  Clean too!
  • Hilton, Pasadena, California – Best place to stay in Pasadena.  Service is top-notch
  • Special Mention
    • Fairmont, Santa Monica, California – Amazing view.  It’s a couple blocks off Route 66, but you can see it from the rooms that face south.

Not So Good

On the not-so-good side, I would not recommend Motel 6 in Normal, Illinois.  And, I would not recommend Budget Host Inn, Williams, Arizona.  The Motel 6 in Normal, Illinois, is filthy, and the Budget Host Inn in Williams is very over priced for what you get (or don’t get).  Don’t be fooled by Budget Host’s “free breakfast”.  It was a gallon of milk sitting on the counter, two sugary cereals and a couple of boxes of mini doughnuts (boxed, store bought kind).

More to Come

There is more to come.  Check back often for updates as we review our trip.

Thanks to Sponsors

Also, a very heartfelt thanks to all those who sponsored our trip…

  • Bay Photo Labs
  • Republic Wireless
  • Warner 5 Color
  • Walworth Animal Hospital
  • Alien Skin Software
  • Anthropics Software
  • ACDSee Software
  • Topaz Labs
  • On1 Software
  • Nataliacha Doodley Do
  • Fine Art by DB (Yeah, I personally put a lot of my business money in to this trip)

October 6, 2017

Lessons Learned

After a trip of this magnitude, we have lessons to share. The lessons learned are categorized below. We hope this serves as a guide to others.

After a trip of this magnitude, we have lessons to share. The lessons learned are categorized below. We hope this serves as a guide to others.

Lessons Learned

After a trip of this magnitude, we have lessons to share.  The lessons learned are categorized below.  We hope this serves as a guide to others.  (Note, some of these are specific to photographers.)

copyright 2017 db walton
Route 66

Lesson 1 – Bring Less

We over packed.  The next time I will bring less.  For example, I brought things from home that I’ve never touched.  If I would have needed them, I could have stopped at a store to purchase them.

I planned for 14 days of clothing.  However, most hotels had a self-serve washer and dryer.  Next time I’ll bring 10 days of clothes (just in case).

Lesson 2 – Give More Time

30 days to do 2500 miles isn’t enough time.  Give more time to your trip.  Perhaps one way is to break it in to several small trip.  Of course, that would be more costly, but we honestly missed quite a bit.  We planned for about 100 miles per day.  I think 40 miles per day would have been much better.

Lesson 3 – Have a Back-home Support Person

We had one.  It was my wife, Elizabethe.  She handled all of our lodging and would text us where we would be staying and the confirmation number.

Lesson 4 – Rent a Car

Don’t take your own car.  We put 7500 miles on the rental car.  Rent one with unlimited miles.  If you have the time, drive to and from on Route 66.  If you have the money, drive one way, and fly home.

Lesson 5 – Visit Museums Early

If you plan to visit museums along the way, plan to visit early in the day.  Most of them are closed by 5pm (or earlier).

Lesson 6 – USPS Offices Have Shorter Hours

If you need to mail postcards or letters, visit the Post Office between 10 and 11am, or 1 and 2pm.  We found most Post Offices closed when we arrived.  11am to 1pm, they were out to lunch.  After 2 pm they might be closed for the day.  Before 10am, they might not be open yet.  As a result, you only have a couple of small windows of time.

We actually found one that wasn’t a Post Office in spite of the building bearing the words, “United States Post Office”.  (Location:  Beverly Hills, California)

Lesson 7 – Don’t Trust Models

We had arranged for a few models to meet us along the way.  In spite of much advanced planning, they flaked.  While my professional experience is that most models aren’t professional these days.

So, if you make arrangements to meet a model, don’t be surprised if they flake on you.

Lesson 8 – You Won’t Need Certain Lenses

That’s right, you won’t need certain lenses.  You want the widest angle lens you can get without going to a fish eye.  My 15-36mm was the lens I used the most.  I wish I had my 24-70mm (it was in the shop), however my 50mm came in handy.  I brought my long zoom lens (70-300mm) but it proved to be useless for this type of trip.

Leave the long telephotos at home.  Bring the wide angle lenses.  The wider, the better.

Lesson 9 – Lots of Cards

Bring lots of memory cards.  I had enough, but it was close.  I shoot 32GB cards and filled about 3-4 cards per day.

Lesson 10 – Lots of Batteries

Bring lots of camera batteries.  My battery pack allows for 3 batteries.  There were days when I had to swap them all out for recharged ones.

You should also have a 12v charger just in case.  This way you can charge them in the car.

Also, don’t forget your charger AND don’t forget to charge your batteries at night.  You might want to bring an extra charger or two too.

The most important lesson learned is this – when you venture far from the car, make sure you have spare cards and batteries on you.  As a result, if you do not, you’ll kick yourself because you left them in the car.  This only happened to me once and I learned my lesson.

Lesson 11 – Don’t Trust Google Maps

That’s right – don’t trust google maps.  This lesson learned is a result of relying on Google Maps which ran us in circles because a freeway off ramp was closed.  Other times it lead us to empty fields with no hotel for miles. (They guy at the hotel, when we finally got there, said it happens to a lot of people.)

A good way to verify it is to turn the satellite image on so you can see what buildings are in the area.  However, the best way is to carry a paper map along with a good Route 66 guide book.

Lesson 12 – Buy It Don’t Bring It

If you can buy it, don’t bring it.

This doesn’t apply to everything – mostly consumables.  Don’t bring a lot of snacks from home.  You’ll be stopping for gasoline and potty breaks, buy the snacks then.

Bringing too much fills the car and makes the trip less comfortable.  As a result you should plan to pickup a snack when you stop for gas.  AND, don’t buy too much.  Just one item at a time.

September 12, 2017

Corvair Heaven

Corvair Heaven

I died and went to Corvair Heaven today.  My first car was a Corvair Greenbriar, and I traded it for a Corvair Monza Station Wagon.  I found both today on Route 66.

This couple, John and Teresa, gave us a personal tour of their collection of Corvairs.  I died and went to Corvair Heaven.  Monzas, Corsas, 500s, Greenbriars, and more.  95 hp, 110 hp, 140 hp, were all their.

It was the highlight of my day.

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Monza Station Wagon (just like my 2nd car)
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The Spider Engine
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Isn’t this hardtop coup gorgeous!
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Inside a Greenbriar (just like my 1st car)
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Two scheduled to be restored.

Bridges and Long Roads

We drove some long lonely stretches on Route 66.  Beautiful rolling hills. They are fun sections to drive on, but in places you don’t see much except trees and farms.

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A Long Rolling Stretch
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Another Old Truss Bridge
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A Long Stretch Across a Bridge
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One of Three Bridges in a Row Just North of Joplin.

We found several old bridges.  One was out and we had to take a good 30 minute detour to get around the washed out bridge.

Other Fun Stops and Sights

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Frozen Custard in the Making
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A Smile and Some Custard
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Sharing a Bite
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Mmmmm Good
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Andy’s Custard
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Route 66
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Our Server
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College Students from Florida Escaping Irma
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Enjoying Frozen Custard with Friends

 

Wings and Rings

We ate dinner at Hackett Wings.  Great wings and onion rings.  All of the food was great.

 

Our Lodging Tonight

A very special thank you to Enlight Inn in Joplin, Missouri.  They’ve provided us with a VERY CLEAN little cottage for the night.  This place is really cool.  Several old cottages with a wellness spa included. You can come spend the night, get a massage, a healthy smoothie or snack.

We will be posting pictures, but right now, we need to get some sleep.

September 11, 2017

Across America

Across America

Here we are driving across America and we run in to a guy going the other way walking across America.  I had heard about him somewhere.  I can’t remember where, but he was the second guy I heard about.  The one is in his 70s, and this guy, a younger guy.

So, we’re driving down Route 66 and he pass this guy pushing a car, draped in the flag.  I spun the car around and we drove up to him.

“Hey, are you the guy who is walking all of Route 66?” I yelled.

He responded that he was.  I asked if we could interview and photograph him.  He was more than happy to oblige us.

 

 

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G. and His Flags

G.

We’ll call him G. (he said we could) because it was hard to catch is name.  We talked for a while and he told us about the 3 flags he is carrying – The US Flag, the flag of England, and a Native American flag.  He’s asking people to sign his flag, which we did.

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Paul, G. and Me

Before we parted company, G. asked if we could pray together.  He asked me to say the prayer.

Uranus

We stopped at a place called Uranus.  The owner has one weird sense of humor.  There’s the “Axe hole”, they thank you for “picking Uranus”, and more.  This is for real.  The is the place that has the motto, “The best fudge comes from Uranus.”

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Axe Hole
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Uranus Police Car
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Welcome Sign

We were met at Uranus by a photographer named Jax.  She showed us around, took pictures of us, and then treated us to lunch at Nona’s in Waynesville, Mo.  The owner Julie and her daughter Kaylynn showed us great hospitality.

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Julie and Kaylynn at Nona’s

There at Nona’s we met several locals — mostly women with husbands serving in the military at a nearby Army Base.

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Brittany and Her Labordoodle
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Mother and Child

Special Thanks

A special thanks today to Bay Photo for samples to hand out, Walworth Veterinary Hospital for dinner tonight, Topaz Labs for the software I used to process a picture of a bridge on Route 66, ACDsee because that’s what I use every night to prepare these images, On1 Software, Alien Skin Software and Jax for treating us to lunch and giving us the grand tour of the area.

We also want to say that Comfort Suites in Rolla gave us the best room we’ve seen yet.  Plus, breakfast was included. The place was clean, no odors or smells, and had great amenities.  If you’re ever in Rolla, I recommend you stay at Comfort Suites.

May 27, 2017

Casting Call

This is sort of a casting call. Paul and I are looking for people to photograph as we travel Route 66. You don't have to be a professional model. In fact, you don't have to be a model at all.

This is sort of a casting call. Paul and I are looking for people to photograph as we travel Route 66. You don't have to be a professional model. In fact, you don't have to be a model at all.

Casting Call

This is sort of a casting call.  Paul and I are looking for people to photograph as we travel Route 66.  You don’t have to be a professional model.  In fact, you don’t have to be a model at all.  (Although, models are always welcome!)  Also, you could be a guy with a very cool car and want pictures of your car.  That’s cool too.

For models, we encourage you to dress for where you plan to meet us.  If you plan to meet us at a 50s diner, dress in 50s attire.  But, you don’t have to play dress up for the shoot.

If you’re a car or motorcycle owner, you can have your picture taken with your car (or motorcycle) or just the car/motorcycle by itself.  This is a chance to make your car/motorcycle famous… and possible you too.

How This Works

Here is how this works…

  • Look at our travel plans at http://route66photographers.com/dates/
  • If there is a day and location that works for you to meet up with us, contact me at brent@route66photographers.com and let me know the day and location.
  • In your e-mail, include the following:
    • Your name
    • The best phone number to reach you at (and let us know if you accept text messages)
    • A picture of yourself so we’ll recognize you
    • A short paragraph of why you are meeting us at the Route 66 location.
  • When the day gets close (1-2 days before) we will contact you and let you know if we are running ahead or behind schedule.
  • You must be flexible on the time of day.  We are driving from Chicago to L.A. over a 30+ day period.
  • When we meet, you’ll have to sign a release.
  • We’ll take a few pictures (it won’t take very long).  We’ll shoot until we get some good usable photos
  • That night, you’ll see your picture on our blog, social media pages and/or in our vlog.
  • We’ll e-mail you copies of the pictures we publish.
copyright 2017 db walton - casting call
Standing on a Corner in Winslow, Arizona

We Cannot

  • We cannot photograph minor children without a parent signing a release.  And, we cannot photograph minor children without the parents being present the entire time.
  • We cannot offer financial compensation for your modeling.  This isn’t that type of venture.
  • We cannot guarantee we will agree to meet up with everyone.  Schedules are very nebulous for our tour.  We will not leave you in the lurch if we say we will meet you, but if we have to cancel, we’ll do so at least 24 hours in advance.  (We’d expect the same from you.)
  • We cannot provide “copyrights” to the images.  That would involve legal fees and involving lawyers.  But, we will give you license to share whatever files we send to you on social media, your personal website, and e-mail them to friends and family.  If you want prints, we are partnering with Bay Photo Labs.  You’ll be able to order professional prints at www.dbwalton.com.

Summary

In summary, this casting call is simply… we want to meet you and photograph you as we take this epic journey.

February 17, 2017

Before Decommissioning

This video shows portions of Route 66 before decommissioning. The video is an hour and 45 minutes long, but it presents a good overview of Route 66. It's worth watching...

This video shows portions of Route 66 before decommissioning. The video is an hour and 45 minutes long, but it presents a good overview of Route 66. It's worth watching...

Before Decommissioning

This video shows portions of Route 66 before decommissioning.  The video is an hour and 45 minutes long, but it presents a good overview of Route 66.  It’s worth watching…

I like how this video presents the people and communities.  While it is from the 1980s, it presents the importance of Route 66 and it’s place in history.  Imagine riding a bus for a week while traveling from Chicago to L.A.  Today, people fly.  Back then people couldn’t afford to fly, so they took the bus.

Bloody 66, Mother Road, and other nicknames have been given this highway.  Because you cannot drive it end-to-end any more, few people get off the Interstate to drive it.  That’s why we’re driving it.

Our Tour

Our tour will be spread out over a month.  We know many of you will never get a chance to drive Route 66.  For this reason we want to provide you with a virtual road trip along Route 66.

Paul and Brent plan to stop at every significant attraction – man made or natural.  Come night time, if we have access to the Internet, our pictures and videos will go online.  Our blog will post here along with links to our videos and social media posts.  We will also Tweet updates as they happen — signal strength permitting.

 

November 2, 2016

Surface Streets

Surface Streets

What I wrote about decommissioning Route 66 leads us to a discussion about surface streets.  Like most U.S. Highways, Route 66 (the former U.S. Highway 66) was never a freeway.  Today, sections of Route 66 are simply surface streets.

In cities like Chicago, St. Louis and Oklahoma City are examples where Route 66 is now just one of the streets in town.  Driving Route 66 through Pasadena, California, meant keeping my eyes open for street names.  Portions of it were marked with “Historic Route 66” signs in white and brown, but for the most part, sections looked like any other street in a Southern California city.

copyright 2016 db walton
Route 66 – Pasadena, California

Turns and Disconnects

When attempting to navigate Route 66 today one must watch for turns and disconnects.  Historic Route 66 can end, and then pickup later on the other side of town.  This is because when it was decommissioned, portions of Route 66 were completely removed and built over.

Some, I discovered, aren’t worth the drive to find.  Others, however, have you saying, “I’m glad I took time to find this!”

As Paul and Brent drive Route 66 they will let you know about those disconnects and you’ll be able to see for yourself whether it was worth the detour or not.

For Your Entertainment

Enjoy these four guys as they swing out on Route 66…

October 4, 2016

Get Your Kicks

When someone mentions Route 66, do you immediately think, "Get your kicks on Route 66"? If you do, you're not alone. A lot of people think that. What's on Route 66 that justifies the lyrics, "Get your kicks on Route 66"?

When someone mentions Route 66, do you immediately think, "Get your kicks on Route 66"? If you do, you're not alone. A lot of people think that. What's on Route 66 that justifies the lyrics, "Get your kicks on Route 66"?

Get Your Kicks

When someone mentions Route 66, do you immediately think, “Get your kicks on Route 66”?

If you do, you’re not alone.  A lot of people think that.

What’s on Route 66 that justifies the lyrics, “Get your kicks on Route 66”?

Today it is mostly iconic diners and businesses, many of which have been restored.  Then, in big cities, like Pasadena, California, there are modern businesses that didn’t exist when Route 66 was in its prime.

Back in the pre-Interstate highway days, Route 66 hosted many gas stations, motels and restaurants.   It wasn’t unusual for your car to overheat on Route 66 in California, Arizona or other southwestern states.  For that reason, there were service stations and garages along the way.

copyright 2016 db walton
Abandoned Gas Station

More Than Just Ghost Towns

Route 66 is more than just ghost towns.  There are small communities that have survived the I-40 devastation. (When Interstate 40 was opened, many businesses and communities died.)  These communities benefit from the tourist traffic.  They host gift shops, restaurants, and other delights for the Route 66 travelers today.

copyright 2016 db walton
Diner in San Bernadino

Once you hit the L.A. basin, those portions of Route 66 are thriving as they are surface streets in cities like Pasadena and Santa Monica, for example.  It is when you get out of town that Route 66 becomes a piece of Americana from the past.

copyright 2016 db walton
Oatman, Arizona

Here’s Bobby Troup…

For your entertainment, here’s Bobby Troup’s version of the Route 66 theme song.  Bobby Troup WROTE the song, and then Nat King Cole brought it to the top of the Billboard hits that same year. (click here for the Wikipedia story)  Since then at least 50 artists have covered the Route 66 Song.

THANK YOU BOBBY TROUP!

September 3, 2016

Welcome

Welcome to Route 66!

Welcome to our Route 66 Photographer’s website.  We are live!

Here is a map to our web site:

  • Home – just as it implies.  That’s our landing page.  You will find the latest blog entries at the bottom of this page.
  • About –  Paul’s and Brent’s biographies.
    • Tour dates – these are estimated dates of where we plan to be.
    • Route links – these are other Route 66 websites.
  • Sponsorships – This tells about sponsorship opportunities.  This is a “must visit” for business owners and managers.
  • Sponsors –  This lists our sponsors.
  • Models – Are you a model?  Do you want to meet us along the way?  Check out this page.
  • Terms of Use – Think twice before spamming us.  You need to read this page before you spam us.

Check Back Often

copyright 2016 db walton
Road to Oatman

Check back often.  We are updating this site constantly.  It will be updated regularly before the tour, during the tour, and for a period after the tour.  Who knows, we may do this again in which case we’ll update it then too.

copyright 2016 db walton
Route 66 Highway

Stay Tuned

Stay tuned because we are offering branded  items.  Shirts, hats and bags are all on the list of Route 66 Photographer tours items will will sell.  Watch our blog for the announcement.