December and January were busy months in Winslow, between Christmas parties and City Manager Steve Pauken’s retirement and great progress on our preservation project and grant writing and feeding feral kittens… but first, let’s talk about our part in Winslow’s Cinema Festival.

The Vision

Shortly after buying the Kinsley Ave building, Brian and I began brainstorming the vision: a combination of elegance and raw bones, chandeliers and open rafters, velvet and exposed brick. And of course, lots of motorcycles.

Brian dubbed the project THE MOTOR PALACE.

Nine years later, the Motor Palace vision is, at last, coming to life.

Winslow's Cinema Festival Gala location at the motor Palace

Around Thanksgiving, Birdie Cano–City of Winslow’s Community Service Coordinator–asked if we’d be amenable to hosting the opening night gala for the 1st Annual Winslow Cinema Festival in January.

Winslow's Cinema Festival Poster

Sure, w3 said, although we explained the building was still very much a project, we had no power in the front portion, no heat, and a boarded up hole in the wall. Still, we decided to put the plan into action. In order to host the event, though, we had to get a few things signed off first.

The deadline worked to our advantage.

Progress at the 66 Motor Palace

After a few calls, the work began. The entire time we’ve owned the building, there’s been a boarded-up section that looked as if someone had taken a sledgehammer to make an opening. Somehow Curtis Hardy and his crew, Monty and Ace, took this jagged hole and transformed it into a lovely window.

Thanks to our friend David Hartman, we connected with Gene Hancock, freshly returned to Winslow from a mission, and he got going on our electric, including putting in the first five chandeliers.

Chandelier at the 66 Motor Palace

They look spectacular.

The day before the event, we got the one-time use permit.

Of course, the event coincided with the coldest weather Winslow has seen in ages.

The night before the event, it was 1 below, and we don’t have heat in the main body of the building. We tried pre-warming the event area with a diesel construction heater and then using a couple of space heaters, but they made little impact on the cold.Snow at the motor Palace

Winslow’s Cinema Festival

Still, the event was a success. Great turnout, fun films, lots of good energy. Larrilyn Oso and Roberta Cano did a wonderful job putting this together and we were happy the Motor Palace got to be a part of it.

Winter Bliss

Despite being cold, the snow was absolutely beautiful. I loved looking out the window to the downtown blanketed in a sea of white.

There was something magical about the early morning hours before any tracks were made in the snow.

The Feral Cat Family

One morning, while looking out the front window at the snow, I spied a little cat family trekking across the street, a mom and two kittens.

Feral Cat

The smallest one, a little black kitten, was up to his neck in the snow, but that didn’t stop him from trudging on and somehow climbing to the top of the building, looking for a sunny spot to get warm.

I instantly fell in love with this little guy, likely because he reminded me of my favorite cat, Alvarado. I’ve named him Babbitt, after the building where he lived before it was torn down.

I gave the family some chicken scraps and broth, and–funny enough–they started warming up to me. On the day before I had to leave Winslow for a job in La Jolla, they’d moved into the Motor Palace backyard and instead of hissing at me, mom started to look at me with love as she lapped up the broth. Leaving them was hard. On the night I walked by the yard on my way to the La Posada to catch the train, I spotted the family cuddled up on the back porch waiting for me. Heart-breaking! I miss my little cat family, and especially Babbitt. Hopefully, they will all be around when I get back into town.

And finally…

Steve Pauken’s retirement. Many thanks for your years of service and for all you did for the city of Winslow. Brian and I are grateful to know you and hope for many more years of friendship to come. We have no doubt you will make the most of your retirement!

See you soon!

With work wrapping up in SoCal, we’ll be home soon–hopefully in the Dajibagn Brian talked about in his last post! Yes, Winslow is the place that most feels like home now.

Thanks to everyone who made this our best Christmas ever!

Brian and Lori at the 66 Motor Palace

Until next time…

Later Gators!