Years of drought and a few brush fires have transformed the rugged hills above the historic district of Kingman, Arizona along Route 66 into an almost lunar landscape.

The Cerbat Mountains along the old Beale Wagon Road present a stunning skyline of buttes and mesas.

Barney the wonder truck on the road into the rugged Cerbat Mountains. One of many adventures for the Adventurer as the Ghost Towns of the Southwest project gets under way.

The road from the now forgotten town of Stockon Hill to the rail head in Kingman passed through these canyons more than a century ago.

Here is the intrepid author at the wheel of the stalwart Adventurer, aka Barney the wonder truck.

These pictures are but a small part of the past week. As with a large percentage of the population I worked away the week with visions of adventure away from the office dancing in my head.
I started last week battling a hard winter storm on the way to Peach Springs on old Route 66. As always the family truckster (my 1988 Ford Crown Victoria LX Country Squire station wagon) got us to point A and back again. This time through driving rain, blowing snow and hard winds.
My son, his wife, and their daughter moved into their first home this week. I must confess it is nice that my wife and I, and a couple of moth eaten old cats, have the house to ourselves again but there is a certain emptiness to the place.
I finished a feature article for Old cars Weekly on the early history of front wheel drive cars. The center piece were the cars built by J. Walter Christie.
I also wrote my monthly column, The Independent Thinker, for Cars & Parts. The personality profiled in this piece was J. Walter Christie.
There has been no response from the editors at Hemmings in regards to a submitted proposal. In light of having supplied features for almost twenty years it is difficult not to feel the failure to respond is a snub.
The evenings have been spent sending letters, studying for the CDL license test, reading, and making myself familiar with the new camera. As I have been assigned the task of covering this years Route 66 Fun Run for Cars & Parts it is imperative I have intimate knowledge of its workings and quirks by May.
I have established an account with Flickr to further promote this blog as well as my writing. I must admit all of the new technology fascinates me but it is also rather confusing. It seems to change so quickly it is numbing.
The game plan for the next week is to adjust the breaks on Barney, finish the book reviews for Cars & Parts, and dig in to the ghost town project. If the weather holds I hope to get to photos of the old towns of Cerbat, Mineral Park and Chloride.


Here are a few more shots of the old “hometown” with the new Olympus. All pictures are of scenes along the Beale Wagon Road. In a few months, in spite of the slowing economy, much of this area will have changed for the first time in centuries. So savor the moment for these scenes will be gone before you can blink.
A gravel operation has leveled a peak that, with its unique triangular white top, was a marker on the old road. Large scale development is erasing the canyon floors and climbing the towering walls and as you can see the city of Kingman is sweeping across the Hualapai Valley.
I couldn’t resist another opportunity to document the travels of Barney. In this photo Barney has just survived a bout with a mud hole and traffic that has turned this old, scenic road into a highway.
With the exception of the final edit Route 66 Backroads is finished. I will keep you posted as to date of release. Perhaps Barney, the wife, and I can visit your town for a book signing. That is unless Barney is replaced with something a little more appropriate such as a Model A or Studebaker pick up truck.
Next will be ghost towns of the southwest. Photos will be posted often and if possible a few vintage ones as well.


J. Walter Christie was a true pioneer in the development of front wheel drive. This photo is of one of his earliest endeavors, a racer built about 1904.
The second photos is of a 1931 Cord. The Cord is, perhaps, the most famous of the early front wheel drive American automobiles. In addition to its unique drive train configuration these cars were styling sensations that have endured the test of time.
The Miller racing specials inspired a small number of one off front wheel drive street cars. This example is even more unusual as it is four wheel drive.



I have been waiting for a break in the weather and the confusion to try out the new Olympus SP-560UZ. Well here are the first results.

You can click on the pictures to enlarge. My first impression is this is a good camera with potential limited only by my ability.
These photos were taken in the area of Fort Beale on the Beale Wagon Road. Large portions of this road were used as the original alignment of Route 66 in western Arizona.
Large areas here have been set aside as park and wilderness areas. The scope of growth in the surrounding area has been astounding.
The photo of Barney is a rare one as traffic was quite heavy yesterday morning. As stunning as the scenery is here it amazes me it survived without devlopment long enough for the city to preserve the site.
Praise the Lord for global warming! We have had weeks of daytime high temperatures in the mid to low forties. Hence my reference to weather.