RETRO 66 seeks to create ‘picker’s paradise’

RETRO Bob Place License Plate wall-6x

The RETRO (Relive the Route) 66 group is working on development of what it hopes will become “a picker’s paradise,” a coalition of flea markets, consignment shops, antiques, art and swap markets.

“[Route 66 is] a nationally and internationally renowned highway of historic significance,” explained the group’s president, Roger Holden, one of the driving forces behind RETRO’s efforts. “Visitors from around the world are on this highway every day.”

The idea is to create a tourist destination here. Holden said New Mexico has the longest stretch of Route 66 in the country, at 535.2 miles; the state also includes a northern loop of the historic roadway from its pre-1937 route.

RETRO 66 also has a tentative location for a license plate wall and map between Edgewood and Tijeras, Holden said. He did not give specifics because the location is still being negotiated.

The group wants to build a 45-foot by 12-foot wall of license plates, with a map overlaid on it. RETRO is looking for a car club or another sponsor to help defray the cost of purchasing the panels, at about $100 apiece, Holden said.

License plates will not be a problem for the group. Holden said that even after creation of the license plate wall, and covering an RV in license plates, he will still have more than 1,000 left over. The needs are for labor, heavy equipment and monetary donations for materials. The result, Holden said, would be “an iconic Route 66 tourist attraction, sort of like Cadillac Ranch.”

A meeting was held recently and another is planned for Oct. 13 to establish such an alliance and a shopping destination along Route 66 in the Tricounty, connecting East Mountain and Estancia Valley businesses. The Oct. 13 meeting will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Edgewood Community Center.

The idea is to pool resources for advertising and creation of a brochure and map; to create a commerce networking resource; and “create a unique fanciful identity” that will appeal to “the adventurous.” That’s according to a flyer for the group’s next meeting.

“People are always asking, ‘What is there to do?’” Holden said. “’Where do I go to eat? Where can I get a beer? What is there to see?’” The map would help travelers find resources in this area, boosting its economy by increasing tourism, he said.

Another meeting will follow Oct. 14, at the Moriarty Civic Center from 1 to 2:30 p.m.; that’s the RETRO 66 “working group.”

Planning efforts are underway for the 2019 birthday celebration for Moriarty, when it will celebrate 66 years as a city on Route 66.

The group is also holding a logo contest. The winner gets a flight from the Moriarty Airport over the Estancia Basin, courtesy of David Tixier, owner of Magnum Steel Buildings and Mags Indoor Shooting Range.

By Oct. 23, participants will submit up to three sample logo drawings to rholdenlight@gmail.com. On Nov. 13 a selection will be made by RETRO 66’s board of directors. The board will make up to five changes to that design by Nov. 20. By Dec. 4 the final product will be submitted to RETRO for approval.

The logo competition would create a design to be used in marketing materials of various sorts, and give the winning artist the chance to “be part of the Route 66 revitalization project,” Holden said, adding, “We’re all volunteers, so any efforts made by anyone else are certainly appreciated.”

RETRO’s mission is the enhance the quality of life of East Mountain residents through economic development of the Route 66 corridor in the area.