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The Real Route 66

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PBS TV Host Teams with Route 66 Expert to Shoot New Series on America's “Mother Road”

PBS host and Route 66 expert team to shoot unique in-depth series and lead once in a lifetime road trip tour down Route 66, fall, 2014.

Joshua Tree, CA, May 05, 2014 --( The world's most famous highway is the subject of a new documentary series to be shot this fall by a team led by Steve Brown, Jim Conkle, and Spelman Evans Downer. The Real Route 66 is a series of 13 hour-long episodes shot in 14 days on Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles. The series will travel, with a tour in tow, down America's 2,448 mile historic highway, September 28 – October 11, with each day on the road filmed for a complete episode traveling Route 66. Additionally, the shoot will produce six episodes of The Real Desert, with Steve Brown, for KVCR PBS TV, Brown's current PBS series in southern California.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Brown said about the trip. “It's a TV shoot and a tour combined. We want the folks on the tour to play an integral role in the show. Jim Conkle has traveled Route 66 more times than I can count, and has led international tours up and down the road for years. He's one of the most knowledgeable people in the world when it comes to Route 66. We're going to meet people and have experiences along the road that you'd never have when you travel it yourself or with a regular tour guide.”

“No road has been more immortalized or reached such high status as the road with many names,” Conkle noted. “Route 66 is also called the Mother Road, The Will Rogers Highway, Main Street America, The People's Road, The Road of Flight, The All Weather Road, The Electric Highway and for many roadies it is called 'My Road.' The hardest part when traveling the road is being able to leave the places and people you stop to visit. They are each unique and special.”

Brown and Conkle have known each other for years, both working on cultural heritage tourism promotion for the desert. They took a road trip across the Mojave Desert on Route 66 in early 2013 that led to a travel feature in Brown's magazine, The Sun Runner, The Journal of the Real Desert. Since that trip, they've been planning the next road trip – one covering all of Route 66.

“Traveling Route 66 is a great way to touch base with a lot of American history and culture,” Brown noted. “The culture of the road remains very much alive, and we want to support the people who keep it vibrant, fun, and interesting. You can see a lot of what's still great about America by taking this trip.”

This tour is history in the making in true Mother Road style, bringing the two most important elements together – the people of the road, and folks visiting the road,” Conkle said. “This is a real Hollywood-type working tour. You will get to meet, eat and drink with these roadies as you travel with the crew and fellow passengers on the tour.”

The Real Route 66 will follow (as much as possible) the 2,448 miles of Route 66, through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.

More information on The Real Route 66 and The Real Route 66 Tour is available at

High resolution photos are available upon request. Please contact Steve Brown at or (760)820-1222 for more information or interview requests.

The Real Route 66 Team

Steve Brown: Co-host, writer, executive producer
Steve Brown is an award-winning, internationally published journalist and the longtime publisher of The Sun Runner, The Journal of the Real Desert. The magazine originated in Twentynine Palms, is presently based in Joshua Tree, and now in its 20th year in print. Brown is the creator, host, writer, and co-producer of The Real Desert, with Steve Brown, which has been airing on KVCR PBS television since September, 2013. New episodes are in production currently. KVCR reaches 5.7 million households across southern California.

Jim Conkle: Co-host, producer, tour leader
Jim Conkle is the founder and past chairman of the Board of Preservation of Historic Roads & Corridors, as well as the Route 66 Preservation Foundation, and the Route 66 and Highway 99 alliances. He served as the national spokesperson for Hampton Inn/Hilton Hotels from 2002 to 2006, and was integrally involved with their efforts to place 66 attractions signs along Route 66 in 66 days. The efforts received the Smithsonian Magazine's top award for preservation, as well as the Presidential Preserve America Award. Conkle has led dozens of Route 66 tours ranging from French photographers to Chinese Cadillac dealers down Route 66, and is one of the leading experts on America's Mother Road.

Spelman Evans Downer: Director of photography, editor, producer
Spelman Evans Downer, director of photography and editor for The Real Route 66 series, and The Real Desert, with Steve Brown, is a professor in the Copper Mountain College Art Department in Joshua Tree, and a nationally award-winning artist and photographer. Spelman heads the video crew that will be documenting the journey for the series, composed of local talent operating through Downer's company, Turquoise MultiMedia.

For more information:

High resolution photos are available upon request. Please contact Steve Brown at or (760)820-1222 for more information or interview requests.

The Real Route 66 Tour & Shoot Itinerary

Day 1 (Arrival Day): September 28, 2014, Sunday
Arrive in Chicago. Group photo at Navy Pier (Pier to Pier), Orientation, Hit the Road Party.

Day 2: Chicago to Springfield, IL, September 29, Monday

Day 3: Springfield to St. Louis, MO, September 30, Tuesday

Day 4: St. Louis to Springfield, MO, October 1, Wednesday

Day 5: Springfield to Tulsa, OK, October 2, Thursday

Day 6: Tulsa to Oklahoma City, OK, October 3, Friday

Day 7: Oklahoma City to Amarillo, TX, October 4, Saturday
The Middle of the Road Party, The Big Texan.

Day 8: Amarillo to Albuquerque, NM, October 5, Sunday
Cadillac Ranch, the Midpoint Cafe, Tucumcari, Santa Rosa, Santa Fe, Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

Day 9: Albuquerque to Gallup, NM, October 6, Monday
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Sky City, El Rancho Hotel.

Day 10: Gallup to Williams, AZ, October 7, Tuesday
Petrified Forest, Turquoise Room at La Posada, Standin' on the Corner Park, Winslow, Flagstaff.

Day 11: Grand Canyon, October 8, Wednesday
Luxury ride on Grand Canyon Railway for day at the Grand Canyon.

Day 12: Williams to Needles, CA, October 9, Thursday
Seligman, Grand Canyon Caverns, Kingman, Desert Diamond Distillery, Oatman.

Day 13: Needles to Barstow, CA, October 10, Friday
Goffs, 10-stamp mill demonstration, Amboy, Barstow, Casa del Desierto, Mother Road Museum, Western American Railway Museum.

Day 14: Barstow to Santa Monica, CA, October 11, Saturday
Elmer Long's Bottle Tree Ranch, California Route 66 Museum, Santa Monica Pier group photo, End of the Road Party.

This itinerary is subject to change.

Media Contact: Steve Brown, (760)820-1222,
Contact Information
The Real Route 66
Steve Brown

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