The Internet is amazing resource and one of the biggest time sinks known to man. It is an endless warren and maze of rabbit trails as well as a mind numbing adventure.
I started looking for information about ghost towns along Route 66 and found myself mesmerized by the photos of ghost towns in Africa, Japan, Russia and other places on this website. This led to searching for more information about these empty places and before I knew it several hours had passed.
Along the way I also found Fordlandia, an amazing adventure in the jungle of Brazil launched by Henry Ford. This utopic rubber processing center was a recreation of Dearborn deep in the forest. Today it is merely another mind boggling ghost town.
Hitting a little closer to home was a pictorial study of the ruins of Detroit. I have some pretty fond memories of Detroit as my dad took me to a number of places there and our school had an annual field trip to the zoo. It was nothing short of stunning to now view the city as the ruins of a lost civilization and to realize that civilizations was mine.
This brings us to Route 66 related issues. During the annual Route 66 Fun Run the old highway becomes an unbroken thread linking the past, the present, and the future. Forgotten, dusty wide spots in the road such as Hackberry become teeming mini metropolises.

Surprisingly, there are a few who lament such gatherings as well as the resurgent interest in the old highway in general. Oddly enough they are often the same ones who greave over the empty stores and the razed landmarks.
Stranger still is the ability these folks have for overlooking the fact that it is the Fun Run and the Europeans on rented Harley’s that keep what remains alive. They also seem to forget that Route 66 was always in a state of flux and that continues to this day as evidenced by the Route 66 Alliance plans to utilize the highways popularity to promote alternative energy vehicles.

I was privileged to experience Oatman when it was a ghost town and to be honest it was more enjoyable, for me, then. If, however, there had not been a resurgence of interest in Route 66 that led to there being profitability in restoring and recreating what would be left today?
Yes, there needs to be balance, especially in regards to the remnants, the historic artifacts that remain. Still, I have learned more than a few lessons from writing Ghost Towns of the Southwest.
Towns will die without purpose. When they do it is but a short period of time before they become little more than GPS coordinates or dots on old maps with little to mark their passing or role in history. Okay, enough of the soap box.
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