It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. This may be one of the best lines ever written because it is timeless. Where ever you are in time or place it is the best of times and the worst of times.
As quirky as it may seem I eagerly anticipate the first one hundred degree day every year. By mid August after sixty or more of these the tune changes but today the bank thermometer read 101 at 1:00. So, there is a sense of joy as now I know summer is really here, albeit a couple weeks earlier than normal.
The excitement was kicked into high gear this past weekend. It began with an odd series of coincidences.
Johan Burgmeijer from Holland was bicycling west on Route 66 but took a detour to Las Vegas for an America concert. As he had read of our rental program and the small museum in the office he stopped by to rent a car.
Now, on Sunday morning we had made plans to meet with Dries Bessel for breakfast. He is from Amsterdam and is associated with the Dutch Route 66 Association.
Dries and Johan had never met even though there was correspondence between the two in regards to the planning of the great bicycle adventure. So, on Sunday, Johan abbreviated his weekend in Las Vegas to join my wife and I, Dries, his wife, and his traveling companions for breakfast.
How amazing! Two men from Holland, both with an interest in Route 66, who live less than one hour apart meet for the first time in Kingman, Arizona. Only on Route 66, I suppose.
If you are interested in following Mr. Bessel’s adventures on Route 66 follow this link.
As to Johan’s adventure we will just have to wait until he gets home. Everyone at breakfast was concerned about his desert crossing as the heat is about ten degrees warmer than normal and it is a long, hot, stretch between Needles and Barstow, California, but he is quite confident it won’t be an issue.
Needless to say this weekend lit a fire of anticipation and excitement about the adventures that may unfold this summer. However, there was a tinge of sadness that dampened some of the euphoria.
It may not be a literal loss as in death but just the same it would seem I have lost a very good friend and partner. We began following different trails a couple of years ago and now it appears the distance has become an insurmountable obstacle.
The proverbial straw that broke the camels back has been the postings on Harley Davidson related topics and my way of dealing with the subject of loud bikes in general. The irresponsibility of a few has pushed my friend to the point of rage in regards to this topic and appears to have destroyed any possibility of compromise on his part.
I know full well there is a growing anger about loud bikes and stereos as there should be. I hope folks will come to a realization that if they do not regulate themselves a government entity will have to.
What are your thoughts on this topic?
I only mention this as a note of explanation because the depth of this loss may manifest in an occasional post. I hope you can bear with me.
On the writing front I am at a maddening and exciting cross road. On one hand there is the day job, the one needed to keep beans on the table and gas in the Jeep. This is the one that consumes such a large part of our lives.
On the other, the child hood dream of becoming a writer is just beyond the reach of my outstretched hand. Route 66 Backroads is being well received as is Backroads of Arizona. I am in the last stretch of completing Ghost Towns of the Southwest. The contract for Ghost Towns of Route 66 is in the mail and work is under way on the project.
Today, an agent in New York with whom I have been speaking asked for an outline or two he could try pitching. The ideas for both are in my head but need to be organized and made tangible on paper before next Tuesday.
The first book will be on the ghost towns of the southwest that are links to that period between 1900 and 1940 when the southwest was suspended between the throttle and the stirrup. The second book has been in the works for ten years and at one point it looked as though Krause Publications would publish it.
This book, Bathtubs, Birdcages, & Chevrolet is quite a timely work in light of the current state of the American auto industry. In essence the book will be a time capsule profiling the development of the American auto industry, the surprising origins of companies (David Buick began with the manufacturer of plumbing supplies), and the links between the companies. As an example Henry Ford was linked to the formation of Cadillac, Walter Chrysler was associated with Buick, and Louis Chevrolet was a race driver that worked for Buick.
So, it would seem we are on the cusp on interesting times here on Route 66. Stay tuned for further developments.
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