World's Longest Map of Route 66 - Gone
Meteor City, Arizona
Route 66 inspires mural-makers, and two of the most specialized are within an hour of each other in northeastern Arizona.
The self-titled "World's Longest Map of Route 66" is at the Trading Post in Meteor City. The stucco-sided trading post was built in 1938, and a dome was added in 1979.
At some point, Bob Waldmire -- whose Route 66 postcard and poster art can be found at every Mother Road attraction in these parts -- painted the long mural along the exterior wall. Cartoon drawings of Route 66 attractions were added at their approximate spots along the cartoon road.
That mural "fell off the wall" over time, according to the guy we spoke with in the trading post. It was repainted in 2002 as part of a publicity stunt by a national hotel chain. It looks as if a troop of cub scouts did the work. The most carefully rendered parts of the mural now are the corporate branding -- the hotel chain and PR campaign logos.
We actually appreciated the other "World's Largest" at the Meteor City Trading Post -- the "World's Largest Dreamcatcher," out by the highway. Must be newer -- we didn't see a logo on it.
A second, unheralded Route 66 map mural lies 50 miles west, in the dinosaur-happy town of Holbrook. Unlike the ballyhooed Meteor City mural, this one is an original, and seemed to us to be just as long.
Update: By late 2013 the Dreamcatcher had disappeared and the map -- apparently having served its purpose -- lay in ruins.