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Vanishing Historical Route 66

cover back-cover


Vanishing Historical Route 66! The pictorial book with 904 color photos from the ‘Mother Road’ has been released. Starting in Chicago and ending at the Santa Monica Pier with 3,000 miles of adventure and nostalgia along the various routes of Highway 66.

I’m so excited to have completed this trip and had the opportunity to capture the Historical Route 66 in film to share. From 1926 to 2016 Route 66 has faithfully served the imagination of Americans and inspired TV Shows and movies. This piece of Americana is not to be missed. But be quick! Route 66 is vanishing before our very eyes. Both paperback and Kindle version in full color!

Route 66 celebrates 90 years of providing America with travel from Chicago to Los Angeles in 2016. Much of nostalgic sights along the route have disappeared and many more are in danger of deterioration. There are many communities across the 8 states that have embraced the spirit of the Historical Route 66. Within these communities there is an American pride that cannot be hidden. The photos I’ve taken along the way are provided to help maintain for future travelers what is here in 2016. I only wish I had taken this trip a decade ago to catch the fever and spirit of what is becoming a Forgotten Historical Route 66. Enjoy the photo journal as I pass through the ‘Mother Road’.

Walk in Confidence – The Paula Coffer Story


   Click image to order paperback book

Available on Amazon in kindle format: Walk in Confidence

Never a victim, always a winner.

BE HERE NOW! Live in just this moment, this day. When you walk out the door don’t look for acceptance, take for granted that you are accepted. Don’t live in a world where you are looking at a timeline that appears impossible. Live in the moment and relish, with gratitude, what you do have and recognize how far you have come. Make plans today for tomorrow but live in the today. Make your life now.

 Life is a series of journeys that take each of down separate paths. Sometimes the path intersects and sometimes it doesn’t. Regardless we must each own our own journey and make a positive difference in this world.

 This is Paula’s journey and the many paths she has traveled to succeed in making this life a positive experience.

 Be strong, be confident, be genuine

I served in Vietnam with the US Navy and retired from the US Army as a Finance Officer. I am traveling the US in a Motorhome towing a Jeep/Kayak and bicycle. I am an author maintaining a travel blog (paulacoffer.com) and have just published a trilogy of books called ‘Afghan Journals’ that are my daily journals while working with the DOD and DOS in Kabul, Afghanistan from 2011 – 2014. I am a parent of 4 adult children that I travel to see often. I transitioned in 1996 and have worked in multiple professions that include being a College Professor, Federal Examiner for NCUA, Anti-Money Laundering Revenue Agent with the IRS, Finance Director at Job Corps and as a Mentor/Advisor to the Ministry of Interior, Afghanistan. As a Soldier I was in the Finance Corps and served in Texas, Germany, Indiana, Korea, Baltimore/Wash DC and DFAS-IN. My hobbies are bicycling, Kayaking, Hiking, traveling, grilling and having fun with friends and family. My life story is published in a book ‘Walk in Confidence”.


Forgotten Historical Route 66 12 May 2016

May 12, 2016

Montezuma Castle is a five-story, 20-room dwelling built by the Southern Sinagua farmers sometime between 1100 and 1300. This is 100 feet above the valley and was assumed by early American settlers to be of Aztec origin hence the name Montezuma Castle.






An owl is sitting in this small cave above the ruins. According to the Ranger other owls bring food while this one sits and protects.

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For Cindy and Norma, my bee keeper friends, this is a swarm of bee’s high up on the cliff.


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A short distance from Montezuma Castle is a different structure.




Next up on this visit in the Verde Valley is Montezuma Well. It is a limestone sink formed long ago, still fed by continuously flowing springs. For those that hear there is nothing here but a lake and not worth the time of a visit I caution you to always visit a site for yourself. I found ruins that date back to about 1050 and there are traces of Indian homes and irrigation everywhere.













Notice that just below the viewing point for Montezuma Well are a couple of ruins.



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Another roadside oddity found in Verde Valley

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Forgotten Historical Route 66 08 May 2016

May 8, 2016

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers in the world!

Just another day in Paradise! I’ve been spending a few days with my son Jeff in Albuquerque. I’ve been able to help a little with transplanting some of his seedlings as well as cleaning up a chicken coop and stringing chicken wire around the outside pen to hold the baby chicks Berenika is raising. Within a week these chicks will have to move into their new home!

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Saturday the 7th of May I followed Route 66 to Old Town Albuquerque. Getting to Old Town I found a couple of wall murals.

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This one on the Fire House was a 3D relief showing community involvement by the fire department.

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I passed by Robinson Park where a Farmer’s Market was in full swing. If I wasn’t getting lots of fresh vegetables from my son’s farm I would have stopped.

I couldn’t resist a photo of a local restaurant.


At first I just wanted to wander in and out of the many shops surrounding a town square. But once I began walking and peeking into each shop I realized how hungry I was for some good ole New Mexico food.

Here are photos of Old Town Albuquerque.

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Typical Architecture.




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Looks like a nice way to travel around Old Town!

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Lunch at this wonderful Café on Church street.


A traditional Chili Reno, Beef Enchilada, Spinach, Beans and a Tamale. Yum, good New Mexican cuisine. Oh, and the sopapilla’s for desert.


I must admit that I did NOT visit the museum! Walking in the gift shop was creepy enough.

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Jeff and Berenika have a couple of really nice plants that close to blooming. The Agave tequilana, commonly called blue agave (agave azul) or tequila agave can grow a stalk 30’ high. This stalk seem to be growing by leaps and bounds each day.




Today is being with Jeff and Berenika as I’m leaving tomorrow morning to continue my Forgotten Historical Route 66 adventure. Gallup, NM tomorrow to explore. I remember as a young adult driving through Gallup at night and being pulled over by a local policeman that cautioned me to slow down.



Forgotten Historical Route 66 03 May 2016

May 1-3, 2016

So on May 1st it snows!  Brrr, but that gave me time to work on trying to repair the website and I spent a few hours with technical support to have the case referred to a senior technician. On the afternoon of May 3rd I received an email telling me that the problem had been resolved. Yay!

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The winds howled and the rain/snow mix fell over the weekend but Monday was nice enough for me to go to Kirkland Air Force Base and do a little shopping. On the way out of the Air Base I saw this museum.

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On Tuesday I was able to get out and about and explore part of the Turquois Trail. I made it up to Sandia Peak and enjoyed a hike and shopping. I know, the last thing I need is another t-shirt but check this out.

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The first stop on my trek today was the Tijeras Pueblo. In 1971 to 1976 this was an archaeological site for the University of New Mexico. Not much remains but the hike around the compound and the conversation with the Forest Rangers was interesting.

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Then onward on the Turquois Trail.  I took a detour from the main trail to drive to the Sandia Crest. A winding twisting road that has fantastic views. I’m not the best with heights anymore and some of the views were a little intimidating but I made it and enjoyed a hike also.

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And YES this is snow beside the road.






Much like the Aluminum Castle in Florida there is a ‘Tinker Town Museum’ here in Sandia.

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And finally I turned around to take this photo of a wall mural on wood, leaning against a stone wall.

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An interesting sign at an empty building in Tijeras.

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These are just some of the sights I’ve experienced on this Route 66 trip. I hope you are enjoying the photos and blog. Please comment.

Forgotten Historical Route 66 April 30, 2016

April 30, 2016

I chose to take the old Route 66 through Pecos to Santa Fe and then back to Albuquerque. I noticed this thing that looks like a building on a mountain top. I still don’t know what it is.

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Route 66 follows the Santa Fe trail for much of this trip to Santa Fe.

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 The Pecos National Park was a wonderful surprise and an educational experience for me.



I watched a video and then took a hike around the Pueblo ruins.




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As I turned off the interstate I found these items.

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Typical neighborhood of New Mexico style homes.

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I found this as I entered Albuquerque on old Route 66.

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Small statues in front of a school.

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Next stop the Leisure Mountain RV Park for a few days while I wait out the terrific wind and snow storms expected. Time to read a book and just chill out after driving so much.

Forgotten Historical Route 66 April 29, 2016

April 29, 2016

Being in Texas everything is bigger than life, to include the weather report that stated strong winds and tornados were in the area last night – NOT! But none the less, I hit Route 66 at the next exit.

I saw this full sized statue of a horse on the roadside and caught it quickly through the window. Sorry for it being fuzzy.

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As I get off of I-40 at Groom, TX I am able to get a photo of ‘leaning tower of Groom’. This tower was built this way to attract attention.

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A GIANT alert was issued for the ‘Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ’. This cross is billed as the ‘Largest Cross in the Western Hemisphere’ at 190 foot tall (19 stories). Remember the other one from Edmond, OK? It was only 100 foot tall.

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This is a photo of the landscape of Texas! Along the route to Conway nothing much except the old concrete road and the cows.


Past Conway and then I came upon this odd peace display beside the road. Go figure.

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Views of Texas from Route 66

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Past Amarillo is the ‘Cadillac Ranch’.

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Bushland hosts the Cadillac RV resort

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Vega hosts a restored 1920’s Magnolia Gas Station near the courthouse.

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Another museum that was closed!

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 Another side attraction!

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Then I get to the midway of Route 66.


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 At the Midway Café David was very busy entertaining an Italian group that spoke broken English but were very friendly and nice.

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A cheese burger wrapped in waxed paper with applesauce.


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There is a defunct railroad that ran along side Route 66. The rails appear to be gone but the railroad ties are stacked in beside the road for miles.

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Glenerio is basically a ghost town today.

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Adios Texas and hello New Mexico!

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I finally stopped to take a few photos of the flowers beside the road.





This is what I kept seeing as I approached Tucumcari, NM.

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Tucumcari historical marker.

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Tucumcari provided more oddities. Notice the ?dinosaur?

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Modern wall murals.

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Nice wall mural on this curio shop.

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I first ran into a van with an advertisement for the Blue Swallow Motel when I stopped in Lebanon, MO. Now here it is in person.

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Big signs and big hats!

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Murals in Tucumcari.

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Leaving town I caught this station.

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The museum was of course closed. This is the pattern of my travels.

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But this guy was just beside the entry to the hotel and conference center next to the museum. What the heck is he?

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The Tucumcari trading post was an interesting photo opportunity.

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Past Newkirk and Cuervo comes Santa Rosa.

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I stayed the night here to be refreshed for my trip to Albuquerque via Pecos and Santa Fe.



Forgotten Historical Route 66 April 28, 2016

April 28, 2016

As always I admire the wall murals and El Reno didn’t let me down as I caught a few as I was leaving town.


As I turned toward Route 66 I noticed that the Chisholm Trail is an integral part of my trip now.

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On the same corner I found this chicken coming out of the wall.DSC_0136

Another historical marker along Route 66 concerning Fort Reno.DSC_0137

I did stop by the old Fort Reno for a photo opportunity.

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Traveling Route 66 brought me to this ¾ mile long pony bridge with 38 pony (small trusses) to span the South Canadian River. Getting here has been fun as the road is a 1933 curbed-concrete road. Going over it reminds me of being in a train with the ‘clippity clop’ of the tires clicking on the expansion joints. Much like the train rolling over the connecting points.


Yet another fun roadside historical marker sitting by Lucille’s.

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Weatherford must have a problem as the sign states local traffic only as you enter their downtown area. Maybe the sign is misplaced!

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The Cherokee Trading Post is the first I’ve seen in Oklahoma. I stopped to buy another pair of moccasins but they didn’t have anything different than what I already have. So I’ll wait until I get further west for a new pair.

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I wanted to eat at the White Dog Hill Restaurant but I didn’t trust that I could get out once I got up there. So I didn’t have lunch until later.

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Clinton, OK has an Oklahoma Route 66 Museum that boasts it is national in scope. The museum covers quite a bit of real-estate with a collection of windmills, village and the museum itself is glass brick with a neon sign.


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This is an actual piece of the curbed concrete road I’ve been driving on.


 Other buildings on the museum grounds.

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DSC_0168 (2)I wonder how long it will be before this ’66 Sweet Spot’ is a roadside relic?

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For much of my trip I’ve been following parallel to a major road, US Route 55, US Route 44 or US Route 40. I do get to pass over the old bridges and see other oddities that those traveling the main roads don’t. Sometimes there are no 66 markers and I have to double back because I’ve missed a turn. If it weren’t for the book ‘EZ66 Route 66 Guide for Travelers’ by Jerry McClanahan I would never have been able to stay on Route 66.

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DSC_0175 (2)If you’ve ever wondered what the old Route 66 actually looks like I am showing you now. Route 66 was a 4-lane road and only 2 are being used now. I’ve been running beside it all along and some communities in Missouri and Illinois made walking/biking trails out of the unused 2 lanes. But here in Oklahoma in the ‘wide open spaces’ the road has been completely abandoned. It reminds me of a movie set after some apocalyptic event.


DSC_0179The last watering hole before you leave Oklahoma and enter Texas. I actually had illusions of staying in Texola but there is nothing there!DSC_0180 (2)

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It is indeed a small world. I pulled into a RV Park only to find it closed down and empty. As I was leaving a pickup stopped and I mentioned that the Park appeared closed. The man said he was a broker and was supposed to be meeting the owner to view the property. As we talked he asked me where I was from. I mentioned Indianapolis but that I had grown up in Lovington, NM. He said that Shamrock was home to the Purcell family that had ties to Lovington. As he talked it became apparent that Becky was in my graduating class and he had dated her younger sister Sarah. What a small world.

Shamrock, TX boasts a 1936 Conoco station that has been restored, U-Drop Inn/Tower Conoco!

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I began to see the posted quips and the resulting Burma Shave signs.


Another oddity spotted is these welded art items


More murals to appreciate.




This was the first Phillips 66 station in Texas. Located in McLean

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At this point I had to jump on I-40 and stayed the night at an accommodating Texas rest stop because it had a storm shelter.

Forgotten Historical Route 66 April 27, 2016

April 27, 2016

Saying goodbye to Tulsa I traveled further across Oklahoma.

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Sapulpa had a Route 66 option that I couldn’t take as it had a bridge with a 7’2” height. So I stayed on the main Route 66 and caught a glimpse of the Trolley and Train museum and a few wall murals.

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I have been seeing these flowers that look like orange balls for hundreds of miles now. I stopped to see what they were to satisfy my curiosity. I still don’t know what they are but they are nice beside the road.


Chandler, OK has an interpretive center located in an old National Guard armory that has been refurbished. The guide provided me with a grand tour of the facility and explained much of its history.

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At the Arcadia Barn I met with 2 news reporters, sans storm chasers that were evaluating the storm damage from the tornados that made landfall last night. They were interesting to talk to. Only minor damage to the barn occurred from the high winds.




I stopped by the Overholser Lake for lunch. I met a wonderful Vietnamese woman that graciously offered a spot on her property for me to stay and visit the area. I declined as I wanted to continue on the mother road. The Bridge was too short for me to go over so I had to choose the highway instead.



I made it to El Reno where I was able to stay at the VFW where they had multiple RV hookups available. With a need for revenue I can’t imagine why they are not using these as a money generator. Unless the other RV Parks in town don’t want the competition.


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Forgotten Historical Route 66 April 26, 2016

April 26, 2016

I met up with Andrea as my tour guide and missed spending the day with Irene as she was feeling bad. We started our journey in Tulsa to experience the spots she found interesting. First up was the ‘Center of the Universe’ This item is located at the Jazz Museum in downtown Tulsa. There is a huge monolithic spire reaching up with airplanes on one side and people on the other. Once you get to the ‘center’ you can talk and there is an echo. Once you move from this location the echo no longer exists. Strange!




Andrea standing at the Center of the Universe


The Cyrus Avery Bridge is said to be the final piece putting Route 66 together. Here the original road exists across the bridge that is no longer used.  While access to the area is difficult there are a couple of large statue pieces and the sign over the road.


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While downtown we also drove around the Catholic cathedral and a church with a large domed roof that rises to allow for ventilation.



On our way to visit the Totem Pole Park we stopped by an Amish bakery where I picked up some honey, pulled chicken and a HUGE cinnamon roll.


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This is the largest totem in the park.


This next totem makes a nice chimney for this oven.


Of course you can’t visit Tulsa and not go to the Will Rogers Museum and Memorial. From the life size statue of Will Rogers to the movie theater showing clips from his many movies this is an interesting and educational adventure. Not only did Will Rogers ‘Never meet a man he didn’t like’ he was also a most accomplished man of many talents.

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A replica of his study in California.




On the way to the Will Rogers childhood home I saw these oddities by the road.DSC_0066 (2)

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The view from the veranda towards the lake reminds me of the view from the veranda at Mount Vernon looking toward the Potomac River.



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Tulsa also boasts the ‘Blue Whale’. Refurbished and the center of a small park.

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