In riding to work this morning there was the faintest hint of fall in the air. Here in Arizona that means the temperatures at noon seldom break ninety and during the evening they are a quite pleasant seventy, give or take a degree or two.
For us that means the season for desert exploration is fast approaching. On this years list is another visit to the old town site of Swansea near Parker, another to Vulture City, and, perhaps, seeking original alignments of the National Old Trails Highway/Route 66 in the Mohave Desert.
I find it rather ironic that here in what appears to the initial stages of the Great Depression Part II, Route 66 still plays a pivotal role. International tourists seek its nostalgic charms which in turn fuels growth of mom and pop businesses along the route. It also encourages communities scattered from Chicago to Santa Monica to attempt to profit from their association with colorful murals depicting the historic role these towns played in the development of that iconic highway and the refurbishment of historic locations.

Afton Station in Afton, Oklahoma exemplifies this new era on the old highway.
Next week, I will play host to Cort Stevens from Chicago and his merry band of wanderers as they role through Kingman. If your in the neighborhood consider joining us for breakfast at the Silver Spoon, the original Denny’s, at 6:30 AM on Tuesday, September 15.
Then there are representatives from the Czech Route 66 Association that will roll through on motorcycles towards the end of the month, another indication that the romanticism associated with this highway and motorcycles built by Harley Davidson are a marriage made in heaven. Both groups exemplify the never ending fascination with the legendary double six.
Today’s photo looks as though it is the winner. It has been selected as the next photo in our limited edition series of ghost town prints. For ordering information please send an email to Jim Hinckley at
I am eagerly anticipating Saturday. The book signing at Barnes & Noble in Flagstaff is only the tip of the ice berg as it is the opportunity to meet fans of Route 66 in their native environment that really has us looking forward to this, the latest in a long string of Router 66 adventures.
The next installment in The Independent Thinker column I pen for Cars & Parts magazine is finished. For this column I profiled C.H. Wills, the man behind the Ford script, the Chrysler Airflow grill, and the Model T transmission.
However, his most stunning legacy is the highly advanced Wills Sainte Claire automobile he produced between 1921 and 1927. Imagine a contemporary of the Model T with an overhead valve, twin cam V8 engine!
I will post excerpts of the column in a few days. In the meantime check out the museums website.
My wife and I are about to celebrate another milestone. As Route 66 figures so prominently in our courtship that has spanned more than a quarter century I suppose you could say it is another Route 66 milestone.
The last note of the morning pertains to the next book, Ghost Towns of the the Southwest. I looked through the galley proofs this weekend and am really chomping at the bit to begin sharing this one.
I can guarantee if you are a fan of the ghost town this book will be a must have. And if your ideal of the ghost town is some place where the tumble weeds and dust clouds roll down empty streets in front of tumble down buildings be prepared for a surprise! How is that for a teaser?
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