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Paul and Nancy getting their kicks on Route 66


Paul with fans at a gas station in Illinois. (Photo: Lynn Lowder.) Paul McCartney and Nancy Shevell kissing in a '89 Ford Bronco last November. They're reportedly travelling across the U.S. in the same vehicle.

Note: If you see Paul, we'd like to hear about it.


Well if you ever plan to motor west, Take my way take, that's the highway that's the best. Get your kicks on Route sixty-six.
Well it winds from Chicago to LA. More than two-thousand miles all the way. Get your kicks on Route sixty-six.
Well it goes through St. Louie, Joplin, Missouri, Oklahoma City looks so, so pretty. You'll see Amarillo, Gallup, New Mexico, Flagstaff, Arizona, don't forget Winona, Kingsman, Barstow, San Bernardino.
Won't you get hip to this timely tip. And take that California trip. Get your kicks on route sixty-six. -- Bobby Troup


Update (9/21/08)
  • A note from Tim on MySpace about an encounter with Paul and Nancy that's been in our inbox there until now:

    My little sister works in a store where Paul shops and he came in and she got to help him pick some shirts a sweater and some pants. Maggie said he was very nice and that they were quiet and polite:) No autographs allowed:( take care-tim

    Update (8/26/08)

  • Dave Hoekstra of the Chicago Sun-Times wraps up a few details of Paul and Nancy's visit to Branson in his latest blog. Branson Landing Senior Marketing Manager Tammy Scholten told Hoekstra the couple at the Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing "and had dinner at our Cantina Laredo." (Thanks to Karen Dyson for the link.)

    Update (8/18/08)

  • We now know why Paul cut the trip short -- he became a grandfather again after daughter Mary gave birth to her third child, reports the UK Mirror.

    Update (8/17/08)

  • An after-the-fact commentary on the trip by Bill Flick in Pantagraph.com.

    Update (8/14/08)

  • Paul and Nancy are back home, according to the Daily Mail, which ran a photograph of the pair at Heathrow Airport. It was reported the pair had planned to end the trip in California. Whether they did or not is unknown.
  • Hollywood Insider reports Paul and Nancy paid a visit to Branson, Mo., which, if you recall, is the site of a proposed Beatles museum. Word has it that Paul met with Louise Harrison, George's sister, who's lending her support to the project and also endorsing the Liverpool Legends, a Beatle tribute band who appears there regularly.

    Update (8/13/08)

  • The latest Dave Hoekstra blog focuses on the Inter-Tribal Cermonial in Gallup we mentioned yesterday, with interviews of Sammy and Dario Chioda, who had encounters with Paul.
  • In reference to our item about Paul and Nancy paying a visit to the Arizona ranch, sources close to Paul have denied the story.

    Update (8/12/08)

  • A note from a hotel guest with some exclusive details on Paul and Nancy's time in Arizona:

    We saw Sir Paul and Nancy at the Hotel Monte Vista in Flagstaff Sunday Night. They ate at Pa To a Thai Restaurant located in the hotel. It was closed down for them and they ate alone with the dining room lights out. Paul's back was to the window. They apparently stayed at the hotel as their Bronco was parked in the hotel parking lot all night.


  • This Associated Press dispatch on the the Las Crucas Sun-News site includes the fact that Paul and Nancy observed the dances at the 87th Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial in Gallup, N.M. on Saturday. Paul told officials he didn't want to be recognized and wanted to keep his appearance quiet. He turned down a picture request, saying he shies away from the camera, but shook hands with two event announcers.
  • Sean Thomas' blog has a couple of new details, including that fans in Amarillo put signs on the Bronco saying "Beatles rock" and "I (heart) U". The blog also says Paul is using the alias "Martin."
  • And here's an Illinois TV report from YouTube from the beginning of the trip with an interview with a guy who encountered Paul. And notice the gasoline price mentioned at the end.
  • Here's an after-the-fact item of old details from the Albuquerque Journal.
  • And from Mike Ray of KPFX-FM in Fargo, N.D.:

    In a humorous light regarding Sir Paul's latest race with the tabloids, perhaps he'll revise some lyrics and play "Rocky Raccoon" on his rumored upcoming tour:
    "Her name was Shevell and she called her self Lil, but everyone knew her as Nancy..."


    Update (8/11/08)
  • Going to take a sentimental journey? We've heard an interesting unconfirmed scoop/rumor that while they were in Arizona, Paul and Nancy had planned to pay a special visit to his Arizona ranch, the same one where he and Linda spent much time at while they were married. This may have happened on Sunday, since he was in New Mexico Saturday and little was heard about the couple's escapades on Sunday. We're told it'll be the first time he's been there since Linda's death, meaning, of course, that he never visited the ranch while married to Heather.
  • The Daily Mail got a pic of Paul taking a pic of Nancy in Santa Fe, N.M.
  • David Hoekstra's Chicago Sun-Times blog from Sunday is man-on-the-street profiles of some of those who have met Paul while he's been on the road.
  • Paul and Nancy have been spending so much time together on this trip that this gossip item that surfaced Sunday from the tabloid News of the World, when you think about it, isn't really much of a stretch. It claims Paul has asked Stella what she thought of the idea of he and Nancy getting married. The article claims Stella's OK with it. Of course, if NOTW says it, it must be true. (A little sarcasm there.)


    Update (8/10/08)
  • Paul and Nancy were spotted in Tucumcari, N.M., reports the Quay County Sun. They visited an antique shop and bought a take-out order from Del’s Restaurant. (There's a slide show on the site.) Earlier, he and Shevell spent some time at a Route 66 antiques and collectibles shop called Things. McCartney purchased two 50-cent Duckboys postcards, and reportedly said, “I know just who to send these to.” McCartney didn't allow pictures taken of himself, but Shevell was photographed with store personnel and a store mannequin. (Thanks to Patti Murawski for the link.)
  • Route 66 News has covered the trip in two separate posts. We've had all of the details in the first post, but the second has some new information. It has one new pic of Paul we hadn't seen. One of the comments by Kirk Liefer explains the caption for that picture is wrong and "that is my husband with McCartney in Lebanon, MO. We were just stopping there for potty break for our six year old daughter on our way to Branson. The reason McCartney is holding up his finger, is that he is trying to get our son’s Karson’s attention to look at the camera. We were quite awe struck and didn’t get out our digital camera. This is just a cell phone shot."
  • There's a video report from Amarillo on http://www.myplains.com here that interviews local fans and they have a second video here that shows the local TV station chasing Paul all over and telling how they weren't able to catch up with him. The videos, which mention he went to Amarillo and nearby Vega, shows him in the Bronco, but he's not very visible. However, Food Network viewers will recognize Rory Schepisi, owner of the Boot Hill Saloon & Grill, in the first video.
  • KOTV in Tulsa has another video report about the couple's activities in that area, including a visit to Myriad Botanical Gardens. No footage at all of Paul in this one, just interviews with people who encountered him.


    Update (8/9/08)
  • More from Amarillo, Texas: Amarillo.com reports Paul serenaded the four-year-old son of Lori and Don Dunavin, two longtime Beatle fans who live there. The son's name is Jude, and yes, he was named after the song. "Jude just kind of smiled at him while he was playing," the father said. Paul and Nancy stayed at the Ambassador Hotel under a pseudonym and was reportedly very gracious. He didn't pose for pictures, but waved to fans as he left. The couple ate dinner at TGIF's at the hotel and stopped at Leal's Mexican Restaurant for margaritas, chips and salsa. The manager reportedly didn't recognize McCartney. "It didn't dawn on me that it was him for a while. I just thought it looked like Paul McCartney," Shelburne said.
  • Here's a description and picture of the presidential suite at the Ambassador Hotel, where the couple reportedly stayed.
  • The Chicago Sun-Times' David Hoekstra has been all over this story, publishing several blogs, some of which we've already linked to. But here's the complete collection so far: Aug. 6. Aug. 7, Aug 8 #1, Aug. 8 #2, Aug. 8 #3.
  • Hoekstra reports the Ambassador Hotel Presidential Suite was described by the hotel general manager as "themed like a Texas cattle baron. "Everything is leather as if you were a rich rancher," she said. "I think they got a kick out of that." Yeah, a vegetarian like Paul in a leather-filled room ...
  • The UK Daily Mirror, in a report dated Friday, say Paul and Nancy camped out under the stars, but the report reads like it was from earlier in the trip.
  • More details on the couple's Oklahoma City stop in this latest from The Oklahoman. Apparently, Paul is a generous tipper. (Thanks to Barbara Vaughan.)
  • The scene as described by an observer in by the UK Mirror: "It was nearly 30 degrees (Celsius, that's 86 Farenheit) but the heat didn't slow them down at all. They were like two teenagers on a first date - it was really sweet." The couple packed a picnic basket and ate under the stars by their tent. ... They were seen tucking into sandwiches. Paul even had a cheeky bottle of stout which he'd packed away."
  • We've been told by Paul's press representative that despite Paul's link to the song "Route 66" (if you missed it, MPL owns the publishing rights), this trip is just a vacation and nothing more. But Opodo Travel News quotes the UK Telegraph as saying Paul brought along his guitar. Maybe the muse will hit him on the road ... again.
  • Media links: Chicago Tribune.


    Update (8/8/08)
  • Did Paul have another motive in mind for this trip on Route 66? After all, MPL Communications owns the copyright to the Bobby Troup song "Route 66," that's been recorded by the Rolling Stones, Nat King Cole, John Mayer and others. Could this trip have some musical promotion in mind?
  • The latest: Paul was sighted in Amarillo, Texas, Thursday, reports myhighplains.com. KAMR NBC 4/KCIT Fox14 news team was able to get a quick glimpse of the superstar leaving the Ambassador Hotel yesterday morning and planned to follow it up on their KAMR NBC 4 News at 5, 6, and 10 and the KCIT Fox14 News at 9.
  • Paul almost had his vehicle towed while stopping at the Joliet Area Historical Museum in Joliet, Ill., reports the UK Mirror. A museum spokesman told the paper, "They parked in the wrong bay and were nearly towed away. Paul was engrossed, Nancy seemed in a bit of a hurry."
  • This account from the Lebanon Daily Record says Paul stopped in at C and D’s Quick-Stop in Lebanon, Mo., on the way to Bennett Spring State Park. Here's an excerpt:

    Kay McKimm was manning the cash register when an afternoon visitor walked through the door and asked for a map so he could find his way to Bennett Spring State Park.

    “I saw him and I couldn’t believe the resemblance, so I asked him, ‘Are you who I think you are?’ He said, ‘Who do you think I am?’ so I said, ‘Paul McCartney?’ and he said, ‘No’ but I think that’s because there were other people in the store,” said McKimm. After his denial, McKimm said she pressed the former Beatle look-alike, and since the squeaky wheel gets the grease, Sir Paul decided it was time to confess.

    “I asked him for his autograph, and he gave it to me. He was very nice. He was here for about 15 minutes. He didn’t want to stay very long. He probably didn’t want you guys (the press) to know about him,” she said.


  • When the couple dined in Oklahoma City, they had a fairly healthy dinner with tomato soup, spinach quiche and salads with homegrown tomatoes. Paul had a slice of avocado on top of his with hazelnut vinaigrette dressing on top of that, according to the Associated Press. The Oklahoman reported Paul and Nancy stayed at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel, then later ate at Nonna’s Euro-American Ristorante and Bar in Bricktown. Restaurant owner John Burruss told the paper, “I was shocked about how fairly discreet the whole thing was. People did eventually ask, ‘Now, is that Paul McCartney?’ And we were like, ‘Oh, I’m not sure. Is it?’ I mean, we didn’t want to invade his privacy. But eventually I think people did start catching on to who he was.” And Paul apparently was pleased. “He said they’d come back on their way through again," Burress concluded.
  • This Gatehouse News Service story by Dave Bakke rounds up some of those who have run into Paul and Nancy.
  • And here's a WGN-TV video link.
  • Media links: The Oklahoman, Chicago Sun-Times blog by Dave Hoekstra and Naperville Sun (Herald News account we've linked to previously, with new picture.)


    (8/7/2008) A one-shot questionable sighting of Paul McCartney in remote Illinois has turned into an apparent off-the-Beatle-track vacation on Route 66 with McCartney and Nancy Shevell motoring across country in an '89 Ford Bronco. The first word came in this report from the State-Journal Register in Illinois when it was reported Paul McCartney and Nancy Shevell were possibly sighted in Illinois on their way to St. Louis.

    The next sighting was at the Route 66 Museum in Joliet, Ill., which is recounted in this Chicago Tribune column by Mary Schmich. An excerpt:

    Pamela Biesen, a museum worker, wasn't convinced it was Paul. Not at first. She did, however, notice a slight, older guy as she was giving a museum tour Saturday. She was talking on, about Indian tribes near Joliet, when she noticed the man's extremely thin girlfriend, his apparently dyed hair and his beaded "Indian" belt. It crossed her mind that he would look better if he didn't hitch his pants so high.

    Then a murmur rippled through the museum. There was a Beatle in the house. The woman giving the looming demonstration asked, "Is that George Harrison?"

    "I thought, 'Is there a gas leak in here?' " Biesen said when I phoned. What was wrong with everybody? A Beatle wouldn't be here, in Joliet, without fanfare or protection, in an old green Ford "pre-SUV," not to mention George Harrison is dead.

    But then Biesen walked into the gift shop. And that guy looked up and said in that unmistakable English voice, "Well, hello."

    "And it was Paul McCartney," she said. "I froze. It was like seeing Bigfoot."

    Biesen didn't know then that a guy who looked like this one was spotted at a Springfield Circle K last weekend too. All she knew was that she felt she'd found a lost member of the family.

    "The Beatles have been in our psyche forever," she said. "And when you're standing in front of someone who has been a part of your life forever, it's an overwhelming feeling. Warm. Like, 'Finally. Finally, I get to meet you.' "

    She wanted to make the moment perfect.

    "I really just wanted to be polite," she said.

    "No. I really just wanted to lick him and say, 'I love you.' "

    She sighed.

    "But I kept thinking, the poor guy can't have 10 minutes of being normal. I'm going to give him 10 minutes of being normal."

    So she walked away.

    The most recent sighting was Oklahoma City. According to KTOK, McCartney and an unidentified woman dined Tuesday at Nonna's restaurant in Bricktown. The restaurant owner told the station, "They were here and had a nice dinner. Just a typical evening out and spent a couple of hours, somewhere in that range. But the owner said she didn't know why he was in the area, "and it was requested prior to their arrival that they just be left alone to enjoy the evening and we did just that."

    hellomagazine reported they left the Hamptons on Thursday and travelled 1,000 miles before running into the first fans in Illinois. The UK Telegraph reports they're travelling in the same '89 Ford Bronco they were photographed kissing in.

    Radio alert: Thursday morning on The Spike O'Dell Show (5 AM to 9 AM Chicago time) on WGN 720 AM radio, the host, who is a big Beatle fan, is going to interview two brothers who met Paul McCartney at a gas station in Springfield, IL.

  • Additional reports: hellomagazine, New York Daily News, Herald News, People (with new picture), Daily Mail.

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