Route 66 tour brings McCartney through city
By Sean Thomas
He's taking his Magical Mystery Tour across the land he helped invade in 1964.
Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney stopped in Amarillo on Wednesday night as part of a summer vacation traversing historic Route 66 with girlfriend Nancy Shevell.
During the overnight stay at the Ambassador Hotel, the singer-songwriter serenaded one particular fan, a 4-month-old boy named after his 1968 hit - "Hey Jude."
Lori and Don Dunavin, Jude's parents, tracked down McCartney at the hotel Wednesday night, but the 66-year-old took more interest in Jude than the lifelong Beatles fans.
McCartney pulled out a small harmonica from his pocket and played for Jude.
"Jude just kind of smiled at him while he was playing," Don said.
Lori said they were hesitant about naming their child Jude for fear of teasing, but the chance encounter is like a seal of approval.
"Now that this has happened, it doesn't matter if he gets teased," Lori said. "The man himself played the harmonica for him."
Amarillo's Don Dunavin, a big Beatles fan, was pleased to have met Paul McCartney and to have him speak to his 4-month-old son, Jude. McCartney and girlfriend Nancy Shevell spent Wednesday night in Amarillo. Behind Dunavin, who owns Amarillo's The Record Rack, is a poster of the cover of The Beatles' "Abbey Road" album.
The Amarillo stopover didn't exactly lead to Beatlemania, the start of which occurred 44 years ago when McCartney and his bandmates landed at JFK airport in New York. Only a few fans stood on the sidewalk for several hours Thursday morning, kept off Ambassador property by security.
Some sneaked into the parking lot to take pictures of the 1989 green Ford Bronco the pair are traveling in.
The Bronco was decorated by a fan with two messages on the driver-side windows "I (heart) U" and "Beatles Rock." One guard removed the message and took letters admirers left underneath windshield wipers.
The Bronco has some significance, according to one fan. Robert Workman, who showed up with a copy of the Beatles' first album in hopes of an autograph, said it was the first vehicle the couple kissed in. Workman had arrived at the hotel Wednesday night, riding the elevators in hopes of running into McCartney.
Paul being adorable
"He's just a guy, but he's a special guy," he said.
Ambassador staff were misleading when they said Thursday that McCartney was not a guest. But in acknowledging McCartney stayed at the hotel, General Manager Phyllis Payne said there was no guest listed under McCartney's name, but declined to give the name he used. Payne, who admits McCartney was her first celebrity crush, said the music icon was "gracious."
"Celebrities are not always so kind and generous with service providers," Payne said. "He was very gracious and kind and had the opportunity to interact with a few of our employees. We were honored to serve him."
McCartney did not pause for pictures or interviews when he departed the Ambassador late Thursday morning, but he waved to the small group of fans and media who swarmed his vehicle as he drove away.
According to witnesses, McCartney and Shevell ate dinner at TGIF's at the hotel and stopped at nearby Leal's Mexican Restaurant for margaritas, chips and salsa.
Leal's Manager Chris Shelburne said he didn't recognize the English knight.
"It didn't dawn on me that it was him for a while. I just thought it looked like Paul McCartney," Shelburne said. The couple came to Amarillo after stopping in Oklahoma City on Tuesday and are headed for the end point of Route 66 for westbound travelers, Santa Monica, Calif.
I was in St Louis over the weekend and having dinner at Lombardo's Italian Eatery. I looked over at the table next to me and who other than Sir Paul and his "other" enjoying a meal. McCartney said he's fullfilling a lifelong dream of traveling "low key' down Route 66. He was driving a 89 Green Bronco with NY plates. If you live along Route 66....be on the lookout. He is using the alias..."Martin". Very casual in appearance and mild mannered. Posed with him for a photo and got an autograph!
Someone found this adorable photo of him and posted it on http://rwarn17588.wordpress.com/
Awww, Paul <333s kids! (I like his shirt, too.)
TGI Friday's?! How cute. I'm sure that they had a picture of the Beatles on the wall, which might have been a little weird, though. I think it is so cool that he and Nancy are mainly eating at non-posh restaurants and roughing it by camping (or staying in crappy motor inns).
It looks like they're planning their trip according to the song:
Well it goes from St Louis, down to Missouri
Oklahoma city looks oh so pretty
You'll see Amarillo and Gallup, New Mexico
Flagstaff, Arizona don't forget Winona
Kingsman, Barstaw, San Bernadino
So, to you people who are in Flagstaff, Winona, Kingsman, Barstaw and San Bernadino, get ready!!!
TBQH, I'm surprised that neither this
or this has happened to him on the trip yet (according to articles that I've read).