CUBA, Mo.--You, too, can be a part of American history by restoring one of the deteriorated jewels of the Mother Road. Today, the Geek's Guide to Route 66 looks at what it takes to join the glamorous life of motel ownership. Here's a hint: it's not all champagne and chrome.
1. Buy a Route 66 motel. An operational, but run-down, motel can be picked up for a song. Look for a motel with a distinct neon sign and an architectural style that whispers about the mysteries of yesteryear. For example, you could have picked up the 1930s-era Wagon Wheel Motel here in Cuba, Mo., at a bargain price a few years ago. Current owner Connie Echols did just that. "I gave them an offer I didn't think they'd take," she says. Much to her surprise, she became a motel owner.
2. Don't look too closely. You really don't want to know just how bad of a shape the motel is in. At this point in the process, enthusiasm is key.
3. Start the restoration. Pick a room or a building, such as the office. Redo the roof, walls, plumbing, electrical, sidewalks, paint, and floor. Get out a hot-air gun and start peeling the paint off of the original doors. Don't think. Just do.… Read more