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Vanishing Postcards

Author: Evan Stern

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Vanishing Postcards is a documentary travelogue that invites listeners on a road trip exploring the hidden dives, traditions, and frequently threatened histories discovered by exiting the interstates. Named one of the Best Podcasts of 2022 by Digital Trends.
43 Episodes
As a special bonus, we are honored to share our space and introduce you to Travel Tales by Afar.  On Travel Tales by AFAR, fascinating people share their stories of life-changing travel, from novelist Maggie Shipstead’s chilly Arctic saga to comedian Michelle Buteau’s tale of getting stood up in Paris (really!). In the Travel Tales episode we're sharing today, writer Chris Colin hits the rails with his teen daughter, Cora. As the dream of high-speed rail in California inches ever closer, Chris wanted to celebrate one of the slowest trains around: The Coast Starlight, which has chugged up and down the West coast for the past half century.  The train itself offers a mix of charming nostalgia and sublime Deco beauty, while the destinations along the way offer opportunities to share the past and present of the West Coast. Chris wanted to share this magic with Cora, who is hovering on the brink of “parent-spurning adolescence,” he says. For the two, the trip doubled as one last hurrah—one sentimental kind of trip nestled in another. You can follow Travel Tales by AFAR on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app. Everyone has a travel tale. What’s yours? Travel Tales by Afar --- Send in a voice message:
If you're driving East to West, the spiritual end point for Route 66, regardless of the technicalities of history, is The Santa Monica Pier. Considering this, it is no coincidence we're ending this season there where more than snapping a picture, we'll learn of the artist Bob Waldmire from vendor Mannie Mendelsohn, hear the trumpet stylings of Buddy Balou, and take some time to reflect on the journey we've taken through revisiting the voices of Michael Wallis, Jim Hinckley, Scott Piotrowski and Rhys Martin.  Mannie Mendelsohn's Last Stop Shop Bob Waldmire Santa Monica Pier Jim Hinckley Michael Wallis Rhys Martin --- Send in a voice message:
Between the years of 1930 and 1940, some 3.5 million Americans fled the Great Plains, with the Dust Bowl blowing roughly 440,000 out of Oklahoma alone. For many, the end destination was the promised land of California and Route 66 provided a path of exodus. Some, with cars loaded, followed the road all the way to Los Angeles, but at Barstow many more detoured north to the San Joaquin Valley. In the process, these migrants not only transformed California, but in Bakersfield created a sound that forever altered American music. Join us as we explore the roots of this most American genre as we trace the footsteps of such artists as Buck Owens and Merle Haggard with author Bob Price, and attempt to get a finger on the pulse of this city's scene today.   Bob Price - The Bakersfield Sound: How a Generation of Displaced Okies Revolutionized American Music World Records Las Calliope --- Send in a voice message:
Diners are fundamental to the Route 66 experience- not just for burgers and milkshakes, but because of the connections they help facilitate. In this episode we'll step inside three in Oklahoma, Texas and Arizona to hear stories from their remarkable owners who not only labor hard to serve mouth watering pies, but compassion to those who enter.  The Rock Cafe The MidPoint Cafe Westdie Lilo's --- Send in a voice message:
In 1903, President Teddy Roosevelt addressed a crowd at The Grand Canyon. When speaking of this natural wonder, he said- “Man cannot improve on it; not a bit. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it. What you can do is keep it for your children and your children’s children and for all who come after you, as one of the great sights which every American, if he can travel at all, should see.” More than a century later, hundreds of millions have heeded those words, and the Canyon is an essential detour for travelers who find themselves motoring along Route 66. But Route 66 is as much about the journey as it is any destination. And that journey is what we’ll focus on in this episode, as we invite you to join us and some other sojourners as we ride The Grand Canyon Railway from the town of Williams, Arizona to the edge of the South Rim.  The Grand Canyon Railway Jim Hinckley --- Send in a voice message:
A cigar chomping nun. A suicidal gambler. A naked property manager. And a wounded bank robber. These are just a few of the spirits whose stories are shared in today's episode which features a sampling of tales collected in old hotels out west, about people who checked in for a night of rest, but never left... The Original Santa Fe Ghost Tour La Fonda Hotel Saint Francis Inn and Spa at Loretto El Rancho Hotel  La Posada Hotel Monte Vista --- Send in a voice message:
Will Dailey is an acclaimed independent recording and performing artist. His sound has been described as having a rich vintage vibe while having a firm appreciation of AM rock, pop and big hooks leading famed Rock journalist Dan Aquilante to call him “the real deal." Most recently, he has added podcasting to his list of accomplishments through his new, acclaimed show Sound of Our Town  which is a travel program about the music in the next town you visit: Where to go to hear and experience the best music and why; what sounds shaped that city or town’s culture and what new sounds continue to define it. As one whose mission is in philosophical alignment with Vanishing Postcards, we are honored to introduce you to him and provide a taste of his work through this special, bonus interview.  Will Dailey Sound of Our Town Songs shared in this episode include "300 Dollar Man" and "Higher Education." --- Send in a voice message:
Santa Fe has consistently lured free thinkers and intellectuals of different stripes. People like Georgia O’Keefe. DH Lawrence. And Robert Henri who in 1917 said, “Here painters are treated with that welcome and appreciation that is supposed to exist only in certain places in Europe.” It was around then, on a hill about a mile past the main plaza, a colony of artists began to spring up on Canyon Road. Their imprint remains in the fact that six of its blocks today house over 100 galleries. These spaces are supported by visitors from Aspen and Scottsdale who gladly drop thousands on landscapes before sampling the tasting menus at Geronimo. But on the district’s eastern fringe sits a low slung building of stucco and cedar beams whose walls house an establishment that bridges this district’s well heeled present to its Bohemian past. Its name, as announced by its wooden sign is El Farol. Officially recognized as New Mexico's oldest continuously operating restaurant, we'll learn of its history, but most crucially, through stories, music and an evening of flamenco, get a taste of the place's bewitching atmosphere, or as singer Vicente Griego calls it, "embrujo." El Farol Primo Cigar Shop Subtitle --- Send in a voice message:
Michael Wallis has famously said that Route 66 is for travelers, not tourists. As he tells it, "tourists like the familiar, tend to gawk at culture from afar, and generally like to cram as much into their agendas as possible provided it’s cheap, safe and by all means comfortable. Travelers, on the other hand, hanker for the hidden places and in making new discoveries often discover a thing or two about themselves." At the same time, it merits acknowledgement that this ethos is perhaps easy to embrace today because, "the friendly skies" notwithstanding, travel is generally as comfortable and easy as it's ever been. There are many forces and people responsible for bringing us to this point, but in America, and most specifically the American West, perhaps the first to lay the groundwork was restaurant and hotel magnate, Fred Harvey. His is a name that Hollywood and Judy Garland immortalized in a 1946 musical, and one that still today has a way of popping up along Route 66’s western stretch. In this episode, through visits to two of Fred Harvey's surviving properties, and conversations with author Stephen Fried and surviving Harvey Girl Beverly Ireland, we'll learn a little about the man behind the name, and how the brand and empire he created not only elevated outlaw country, but helped give us Americans an appreciation for our own culture in the process.  Stephen Fried - "Appetite for America"  Hotel Castaneda La Posada Route 66 Podcast Appodlachia Subtitle --- Send in a voice message:
When speaking of Tucumcari, New Mexico author Jim Hinckley describes it as "a great example of what Route 66 was. What its bypass did to communities. And the future it holds." All of this is perhaps best discovered through the town's motel culture, which in recent years has enjoyed something of a renaissance thanks to pioneering owners who are working hard to reinvigorate these properties while honoring their pasts. Yet beyond the neon glare, people are drawn to these places for their offers of connection. This episode shares a few stories from owners, past and present, about just that.  Motel Safari Roadrunner Lodge The Blue Swallow Motel Fender's River Resort Jim Hinckley's America Trail Weight --- Send in a voice message:
Unlike many places visited in this series, The Big Texan Steak Ranch isn’t hidden off some hard to find back road, and isn’t exactly starved for attention. But while it migrated to I-40's shoulder over 50 years ago, its story was absolutely born on Route 66, and flies in the face of anyone who might make the mistake of dismissing Amarillo as “dull.” What’s more, when you enjoy a meal there you’re not just getting prime rib and potatoes, but the kind of fun house “eatertainment” experience the good old American road trip was once known for. Join us as we step inside this delightfully over the top steakhouse to learn of its origins from 2nd generation owner Bobby Lee, hear stories from its first greeter Dale “Tex” Burrows, enjoy a tableside serenade from singing cowboy troubadours and even cheer on a contestant bold enough to tackle their infamous 72 oz Steak Challenge! --- Send in a voice message:
Anyone who's ever traveled Route 66 will tell you that its greatest resource can be found in the people who live and work along it. Whether diner waitresses or museum volunteers, car mechanics or preservationists, its keepers embody many forms, and all are vital. At the same time, some manage to linger in the memories of those they meet for the fact they have a way of inviting visitors to step inside their worlds. In today's episodes we'll get to know three such sentinels- Erick, Oklahoma's self proclaimed "mediocre music maker," Harley Russell. Arizona rancher, Brantley Baird. And LA based book designer, Amy Inouye. On the surface, they are as different from one another as the locations they inhabit, but are united by the fact their welcome mats are not for mere decoration.  Harley Russell's Sandhills Curiosity Shop is located at 201 S Sheb Wooley St, in Erick, Oklahoma. He does not keep regular hours, but is always worth a knock on the door. Rock Art Ranch is located outside Winslow, Arizona. Tours must be booked in advance by calling (928) 386-5047. Hours vary in accordance with the seasons.  Chicken Boy/Future Studio --- Send in a voice message:
Driving Route 66 from Tulsa to Oklahoma City, about three miles before the town of Luther you'll notice an old sandstone building with peeling white gables. At first glance, it's the kind of structure a realtor might dismiss as a "tear down." But behind its dusty windows rest a pair of faded signs that simply read in orange print, "This place matters." The place is The Threatt Filling Station, which in its heyday was a black owned rest stop that serviced African American motorists throughout the entirety of the segregation era. More than a destination for gas and provisions, it provided a much needed refuge for weary travelers of color. We'll spend some time there with cousins Edward and Allen Threatt, who share stories, family history, memories of its past, and their plans for its future, while cultural documentarian Candacy Taylor is on hand to describe what the experience of traveling 66 would have been like for black drivers. We're also joined by Dr. Lorn Foster of Pomona College to touch on the Great Migration's impact. The resulting segment is a tribute to those who found joy in the midst of darkness, and to borrow a quote from MLK, made "a way out of no way."   The Threatt Filling Station   Candacy Taylor - Taylor Made Culture   Dr. Lorn Foster --- Send in a voice message:
In 1921, the city of Tulsa bore witness to the greatest incident of racial violence in American history when the prosperous African-American neighborhood of Greenwood was invaded and destroyed in an act of mob terrorism. But while this disgrace which resulted in as many as 300 deaths was ignored for decades, a century later, it seems to be getting its share of attention. Last year, 107 year old survivor Viola Fletcher, riveted Congress with her eyewitness testimony in a public plea for justice, while the president visited Tulsa to commemorate its Centennial in a display of apology. Memorial banners were unfurled downtown and walking this city's streets you'll happen upon murals, statues, parks, and even a 30 million dollar museum built in remembrance. But what happened to Greenwood after 1921 and what can be found visiting the neighborhood today? Join us as we walk its streets, and hear from locals and historians who are striving to tell this district’s full story.  Terry Baccus’s Tours of Black Wall Street  Greenwood Rising  Wanda J’s Next Generation Dr. Scott Ellsworth - "Death In a Promised Land" --- Send in a voice message:
Introducing: "2 Lives"

Introducing: "2 Lives"


As a special treat, we're pleased to introduce you to one of our favorite podcasts, 2 Lives. This title comes from the quote, “We all have two lives. The second begins the moment we realize we have only one.” These are stories of people who have faced darkness and how those moments transformed them. It’s created and hosted by veteran journalist Laurel Morales who among many accomplishments claims an Edward R Murrow Award, and over 20 years behind the microphone on NPR. As it happens, she also lives in the beautiful Route 66 town of Flagstaff, Arizona. If you like what you hear, you can find 2 Lives on your favorite podcast platform. 2 Lives --- Send in a voice message:
"The Carnegie Hall of Western Swing" is just one of many titles that have been bestowed on Tulsa's famed Cain's Ballroom since its opening in the 1920s. It was from this stage that Bob Wills helped introduce Western Swing to the masses, and decades later crowds continue to flock here to take a spin on its legendary dance floor. In this episode, we'll experience this venue's magic on the occasion of Asleep at the Wheel's 50th Anniversary Tour, and hang out backstage with their legendary front man Ray Benson. Former owner Larry Schaeffer also shares stories of some of the more temperamental artists who've passed through including Hank Williams and The Sex Pistols. Author John Wooley is also on hand to provide a little history, while current stewards Chad Rodgers and Brad Harris talk about how they've guided Cain's into the 21st century.  Cain's Ballroom  Asleep at the Wheel  Twentieth Century Honky-Tonk  John Wooley --- Send in a voice message:
From "The World's Second Largest Rocking Chair" in Cuba, Missouri, to "The Leaning Water Tower of Groom, Texas," Route 66 boasts no shortage of roadside oddities that are all great for a stop, snap and chuckle. At the same time, it's easy to forget that these sites were all built by people with hopes and dreams, and most always offer a bit more than what meets the eyes. In this episode, we'll visit Ed Galloway's Totem Pole Park, The Blue Whale of Catoosa, and the Slug Bug and Cadillac Ranches to not only learn of their origins, but hear a few stories of how they've shaped and impacted lives.  Ed Galloway's Totem Pole Park  The Blue Whale of Catoosa Slug Bug Ranch Cadillac Ranch Lile Art Gallery  John Wooley Books by Linda Ross-Hobbs Strong Sense of Place --- Send in a voice message:
Entering the town of Miami, Oklahoma on Route 66, you'll pass the GAR Cemetery. A resting place for over 20,000, its director Nancy Bro is quick to say that each one of their graves holds a life that meant something for many people. This is, of course, true of all burial plots. Yet GAR is unique as walking its grounds, you will notice a Union Jack flag flying above fifteen WWII Era graves bearing the badges of Britain's Royal Air Force. In this episode, we'll pay our respects at a memorial service, hear the story of how these young men came to rest so far from home, and learn of how this rural community has honored these fallen soldiers for over eighty years.   British Flyers History    British Flyers Cadets Gallery  GAR General Information  Nancy Bro on Our American Stories  Nancy Bro on The Route 66 Podcast --- Send in a voice message:
Among the titles it's earned, Route 66 is often hailed as "The Main Street of America." But America is a lot of things and absent from many of its popular myths and legends are the stories of those who preceded the pilgrims or Jamestown. Yet it is indisputable that our country wouldn't exist as we know it without them and the same is true of the Route itself. Even today, more than half of 66 passes through Indian country and driving the road will carry you through more than twenty-five tribal nations. While this presence was propagated for many years as a means of luring tourist dollars, in this episode we'll begin our travels by getting to know a few makers of different tribes and backgrounds along the Route whose work not only dispels stereotypes, but reveals stories that are in their own way quintessentially American. Featuring visits to Quapaw, Oklahoma, Gallup, New Mexico, and Lupton, Arizona, contributors include elder leader Grace Goodeagle, potter Betty Gaedtke, artist and educator Teri Frazier, and knife maker David Yellowhorse. David Yellowhorse Knives Betty Gaedtke's Quapaw Pottery The Gallup Cultural Center --- Send in a voice message:
The name Route 66 has a certain kind of magic. For some, it calls to mind images of muscle cars and neon. For others, the words of Kerouac and songs of Guthrie. But how did this legend come to be, and what is Route 66 to begin with? Featuring a sampling of stories collected over a journey spanning 6,845 miles, we’ll kick off this season long road trip by attempting to answer these questions through the voices of some who’ve witnessed its many transformations firsthand. Contributors include renowned authors Michael Wallis and Jim Hinckley, “The Guardian of Route 66” Angel Delgadillo, Cynnie Troup, Rhys Martin, and more.  Michael Wallis  Jim Hinckley, Jim Hinckley’s America on facebook, Wake Up with Jim  Delgadillo’s Original Route 66 Gift Shop  Chief Yellowhorse Trading Post   David Yellowhorse Rhys Martin  Route 66 Podcast  Asleep at the Wheel  Instagram, facebook --- Send in a voice message:
Comments (2)

Beth Anway

I just started listening to this podcast. I really enjoy it and really enjoyed this first episode. I like the work that you're doing - keep up the good work. I will listen to bygones and barbecues tomorrow, that's how far I've gotten so far. Looking forward to new episodes!

Jul 8th


I loved this episode! I am subscribing and shared before it was over :)

Apr 14th
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