By Michael Allen
In 1928 J.P. Walters opened the original Dixie Truckers Home along Route 66 in McLean, Illinois, offering food and coffee as well as diesel and gas in an atmosphere of southern – style hospitality. During 84 years of serving truckers and travelers the Dixie has closed its doors only one day due to a fire in 1965- until recently. In Sept. 2011 the Dixie Truck Stop closed for three weeks as it went through a much needed renovation. Purchased by the Road Ranger Truck and Travel Centers the entire facility was gutted and brought up to modern day standards.
One of the highlights of the renovation are the photographs of Eagle Point resident Michael Campanelli, larger than size displays of his Route 66 photography occupy numerous sections inside and out of the Dixie. One of the photos includes the “Pontiac to Tucumcare-1000 miles of Murals” logo which you may have seen on his Subaru in Eagle Point. Michael is well on his way to being recognized as a major contributor to the experience of travelling Route 66 when this adventure began six years ago with his first showing of “Route 66 – A Photo Journal” display here in Eagle Point at the Thomas Ussary Memorial Car Show at EPHS. Only due to the reaction of the people from southern Oregon did Michael feel he had a worthwhile endeavor on his hands. Now after 60 Route 66 road trips and over 300,000 miles travelling across America, with new opportunities presenting themselves with every turn in the road, this may only be the beginning of his adventures. Follow the advice he signs in his book, “Enjoy life and your travels”.