THE GRAND ADVENTURE CONTINUES

Well, last evening I cleaned out an accumulation of odds and ends a decade in the making from the old wagon and taped a for sale sign in the year window. As I have a different (warped according to a few acquaintances) way of viewing the world the sign reads, “Transportation or future classic – your choice! $750.00.”
As with the passing of the scepter, the front plate with Civil War era design of an eagle clutching arrows and a flag with one word, “America”, emblazoned across the top was removed and placed on the front of the Jeep. And so a new era begins.
The rest of the evening was a quiet one spent with my dearest friend. After a simple dinner and glass of wine we selected a handful of photos for conversion to posters. These will be displayed at our first ever gallery showing on May 1, the kick off evening of the Route 66 Fun.
In conjunction with our work the gallery at Beale Street Brews will also be displaying the artistry of Jack Bauman and Wells Musgrave. Rounding out the exhibition will be a carefully selected assortment of historic photos courtesy of the Mohave Museum of History and Arts.
This was followed with gathering the reference material I will need for writing a profile of Charles Nash, the next installment of The Independent Thinker, my monthly column for Cars & Parts magazine. The game plan calls for writing the first draft this evening.
We closed out the night with a light hearted (?) episode of the Soprano’s. This series really fascinates me even though it is a bit more violent and crude than we generally care for. It is so well written and the characters are so well developed it is difficult not to be drawn into this fascinating story.
The website (www.route66infocenter.com) continues to an endless source of education. Now, in addition to ensuring there is fresh content, there is the issue of slow load time to resolve.
I have been chomping at the bit to do some gardening but here in the deserts of Arizona there is always the issue of water. So, inspired by a commercial for some bag where tomatoes grow upside down, we are turning the attention towards indoor gardening and hydroponics.
So, the grand adventure we call life continues. With each sunrise we begin anew with a fresh opportunity to learn from mistakes of the past and the promised hope of a brighter future.

THE KING IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE KING

THE KING IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE KING

Well, it is the end of era. At least that is the case at our hacienda.
After almost a decade of loyal service and countless adventures the tried and true 1988 Ford Crown Victoria LX Country Squire station wagon is being out to pasture. In other words it is time to pass it to someone who needs dependable local transportation or that wants to get a head start on restoring a future classic.
The old wagon has served us well. There were trips through the Colorado Rockies and to Mexico, the deserts of New Mexico and the coast of California.
On one of my sons first “all men” camp outs the wagon proved to be e better shelter from cold mountain rains than our friends high dollar tent. It also proved a valuable asset for transporting musical equipment for a church service in Peach Springs and getting us home from Supai after an early fall snow.
The memories are many. This is the car my son used for his driving test. It is also the one my son and I used for the last father/son camp out before he stepped out into the world, started a family, and began building a life of his own.
It may be hard to believe from these pictures but when we purchased this wagon it looked as shiny as its replacement, a 1988 Jeep Cherokee. I will dig up some old photos for a comparison study.
I suppose the changing of the guard can be seen as rather fitting as my wife and I are starting a new chapter in life. So, its out with the old, in with the new.
Our newest version of the Hinckley “family truckster” is a 1998 Jeep Cherokee Sport with automatic transmission and the 4.0 inline six with a refined version of the Nash manifold. I can explain the bit about the manifold reference a bit more on the Memory Lane Garage page of the Route 66 Info Center (www.route66infocenter.com). A link is provided at the bottom of this post.
As is always the case in our home the purchase of the Cherokee was preceded by a bit of research. We are not really much for impulse buying.
This generation of Jeep has received high marks for durability, reliability, and overall owner satisfaction. Time will tell but we are eager to see what adventures await us with the new set of wheels, a worthy stable mate for Barney the wonder truck.
I will keep you updated on those adventures as well as what repairs are needed and details of how they are resolved on the Memory Lane Garage page as well with brief summaries here.
ANOTHER DETOUR, ANOTHER GEM

ANOTHER DETOUR, ANOTHER GEM


The loop drive through Wupatki National Monument and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument exemplify the essence of what I hoped to capture with Route 66 Backroads. See, driving Route 66 is an adventure everyone should experience at least once.
However, to myopically focus on the gems and treasures that line the shoulder of this legendary highway is to miss its most amazing attribute as a portal to an endless array of adventures only found with short detours to the north or the south.
This delightful loop drive of 35 miles begins less than 25 miles north of Route 66 and the community of Flagstaff, Arizona. Stunning scenery, haunting ruins, horizons broken by snow covered peaks and the haunting beauty of the Painted Desert are but a hint at what this amazing detour of less than one hundred miles has to offer.
The drive north on US 89 begins with the hustle and bustle of Flagstaff but soon gives way to pastoral scenes of vintage stone constructed ranch buildings nestled among towering pines against the backdrop of the snow covered San Francisco Peaks. Tragically an almost endless stream of traffic makes it very difficult for the driver to notice but that all changes the monument you enter the boundaries of the national monument.
The first stop is Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, a stunning wasteland of red cinder and black lava flow sprinkled with towering pines and dotted with the looming cone of Sunset Crater to the east and the snow covered San Francisco Peaksto the west. A number of hiking trails, short and paved as well as rocky and semi strenuous, provide enough access to the inner sanctum of this wonderland for a lifetime of memories and to spark a hunger for return visits.
From Sunset Crater the landscape begins a dramatic change from forested to one of stark high deserts broken by formations of terraced red rock. Enhancing the haunting feelings inspired by these vast empty lands are the broken towers and ramparts of Wukoki Pueblo and Wupatki, Lomaki Pueblo and Naiakihu Pueblo, remnants of a vanished civilization that once dominated this forbidding land.
For those who enjoy scenery best when it is seen through the windshield this drive is a must. For those who enjoy mixing the pleasure of awe inspiring scenery flowing past the windows and walks among the ruins then this little Route 66 detour should not be missed the next time you motor west, or east, on the old double six.

ROAD TRIP SEASON JUST AHEAD

I can feel it in my bones. The planning committees for local car shows and cruise nights are buzzing with activity. The roar of motorcycles has ticked up a notch or two (I wonder if anyone has given thought to inventing a muffler for motorcycles), vintage cars in ever growing numbers are appearing at local car washes, and the number of international visitors stopping into my office, an unofficial Route 66 Visitor Center, increase with each passing day. The kick off for road trip season is just weeks away!
Here in Kingman the first biggie of the season, for auto enthusiasts and fans of Route 66, is the annual Route 66 Fun Run scheduled for the first weekend in May. Early indications are that regardless of, or in spite of, the current economic conditions this may be the best one yet.
In essence this event is a three day, 180 mile block party celebrating Route 66 and the American love affair with the automobile and the road trip. This year a number of local organizations will add more activity to the already jam packed weekend ensuring the celebration is a memorable one.
On Friday evening, May 1st, the Kingman Route 66 Cruizers, with assistance from the Route 66 Association of Kingman and the Kingman Downtown Merchants Association, will host their annual “50’s & 60’s Sock Hop.” In a departure from previous years festivities this years sock hop will be held on Beale Street one block north of Route 66 in the historic district.
This is the same evening that the Fun Run officially kicks off in Seligman so some will see this as conflicting. However, as many participants and visitors choose to stay in Kingman Friday evening this will enable them to get in the mood for the big events on Saturday. Moreover, as the Sock Hop will run until at least 10:00 PM some will choose to overindulge themselves with fun by taking in the festivities in Seligman as well as Kingman.
Also scheduled for Friday evening is the opening of a Route 66 exhibit at the Beale Street Brews & Gallery, 418 E. Beale St., one half block west of the sock hop. The exhibit will include the photography of yours truly, my dearest friend, several local artists, and historic photos on loan for the Mohave Museum of History & Arts. This is part of a month long celebration that commenced with Mayor John Salem proclaiming May to be Route 66 month.
As the season progresses I will keep you updated on the news from Kingman. I will also fill in for that crazy uncle with the never ending slide show of his vacations by sharing our adventures here and on the website – www.route66infocenter.com
In other news the Route 66 Association of Kingman is initiating a membership drive. If you want to share in the excitement of being part of the resurrection of a Route 66 time capsule consider joining together with this visionary and ambitious nonprofit organization.
This association is is also seeking donations to refurbish a towering vintage Packard sales and service sign, the first step in the creation of a neon park along Route 66 in Kingman. The association has already proven themselves a potent force in turning back the tide on Route 66 with the acquisition of numerous historic signs, including the one from the recently demolished City Cafe, and assistance to organizations and groups working to promote or preserve remnants from this legendary highway.
For more information contact the president, Tim McDonnell, at 928- 377-9684