At the conclusion of InspectionWorld ’03 in Orlando, 18.25 percent of the show’s attendees hinted that instead of taking a plane to travel to next year’s premier event for the home inspection profession, they wanted to drive. In fact, not only was the automobile their vehicle of choice, they wanted to take only one road the entire way!
Here at ASHI HQ we pondered this dilemma. How could we get these people – traveling from eight different states, coming from as far as 1500 miles away – to InspectionWorld ’04 via only ONE ROAD? Then, something happened…Carlos, the office musician, started singing a familiar tune. As soon as we heard the off-key strains of these words…
You go through St. Louie,
And Oklahoma City looks
You'll see Amarillo,
Gallup, New Mexico
don't forget Winona
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernadino.
…it hit us! We’ll have the show in Albuquerque, and these 191 attendees can get there via historic Route 66!
Once known as Main Street America or The Mother Road, Route 66 is a tribute to the 1950s. This 2448mi (3941km) roadway was commissioned in 1926, and joined Chicago to Santa Monica on the Pacific Coast. In 1985, Route 66 was officially decommissioned, replaced by more modern interstates. The stretch in Albuquerque (which becomes Central Ave. as it passes through town) is part of the surprisingly large amount of the old road that remains.
You can still experience the history of Route 66 along Central Avenue, 18 miles straight through the city. Driving on Central Avenue is much like steering a time machine. The seven decades of Route 66 are illuminated in neon. The days of the Spanish Trail are always just around the corner. And the old loop to Santa Fe can take you back centuries.
The first major area of town that you will see is Old Town and represents the long history of this part of the Southwest. The Spanish and Native American heritage of the area is present on the very streets of the plaza, as well as documented in museums. The Albuquerque Museum of Art, History and Science is located on the north border of Old Town, and it offers films and tours. Four hundred years of New Mexico history is presented in the museum.
Among the most spectacular buildings along the entire 2,000 plus miles of Route 66 is the KiMo Theater. Originally built to house vaudeville acts, the theatre is famous for its Pueblo Deco architecture, particularly in its murals and plaster ceilings.
Above the streets of downtown Albuquerque shines one of the best groupings of neon work. There are a number of significant sign examples all in close proximity. The lighting of the KiMo is impressive in itself, but others such as the shield-shaped Downtown Station help show a diverse character, and the smoking cowboy has sold western clothing on Central since the days when tobacco was fashionable.
Contemporary adaptations of neon from the past outline the Route 66 Diner. The daily blue-plate specials and antique Route 66 signs convince the hungry diner that the jukebox has hardly skipped a beat. Plus, it’s said to serve some of the best milkshakes in the country!
North out of Albuquerque on Fourth Street will take you on the oldest Route 66 loop through Bernalillo and on to Santa Fe.
Whichever direction you travel in Albuquerque, you’ll find a rich variety of opportunities to sample some of Route 66’s past, as well as enjoy the pleasures of New Mexico’s present.
So, has our little history lesson intrigued YOU to get your kicks on Route 66? If so, then you’d best register for InspectionWorld Albuquerque! All registered attendees are invited to join us for the Annual President’s Gala on Saturday, January 17, where we’ll toast this legendary thoroughfare through unique décor and delicacies celebrating 78 years of highway history.
See you in Albuquerque!
Albuquerque, NM is the site of InspectionWord, January 14-17, 2004.