ADIOS 2009

Route 66 trivia note of the day – the Desert Market in Dagget, California, opened in 1908 as Ryerson’s General Store. This store is but one of several historic structures that offer hints this dusty little town was once much more than a forlorn spot on a bypassed highway.
This mornings post is a bit short, a result of very tight time constraints. Still, as promised I wanted to post today’s trivia note and I also wanted to say that is my sincere hope that 2010 is a year of blessing, hope, health, and prosperity for each and every reader.
If you enjoy this blog it might be a good idea to tell a friend about it. We will be presenting a new and improved face for 2010.
On a final note, thank you for the support, the encouragement and the wealth of ideas. They are murch apprecciated.

ROUTE 66 TRIVIA FESTIVAL CONTINUES

First, your Route 66 trivia note of the day. Today, Route 66 fans instantly associate Hackberry with the general store that fronts the highway. The town itself, with its little post office, an old boarding house, a couple of tumble down houses, a scenic cemetery, the school, and the water towers that once served the needs of steam locomotives, and the original alignment of Route 66 as well as the National Old Trails Highway is south of the tracks.
When the school closed in Hackberry twenty-five years ago it marked the end of an era. This was the last two room school house in Arizona.
In recent years this old town has been front and center of a environmental storm as the hillsides are stripped of rocks for landscaping. Residential development also threatens to erase the ghostly remnants of this old town.
It taxes the imagination to see the town that once was so prosperous there was serious consideration for making it the county seat. Of course that was more a hundred and twenty years ago.
The springs shaded by a Hackberry tree near the town site were an important dependable year round source of water for the Hualapai people. They also quenched the thirst of the Father Garces expedition of 1776.
American trappers used the springs in the 1830s and American expeditions led by Sitgreaves stopped here before turning south to follow the small river that flows through present day Wikieup before turning west to the Colorado River. The famous Beale Camel Corps also stopped here on the mapping expedition that served as the foundation for the westward expansion of the railroad.
During the 1860s and 1870s the springs became an important stop for travelers on the Mohave Prescott Toll Road that linked Hardyville, near present day Bullhead City, with Fort Whipple at Prescott. The discovery of a rich silver deposit near the springs sparked a rush and the founding of Hackberry.
The ore deposits were exhausted rather quickly but the waters from the springs was more valuable than gold in the harsh desert climate. This and the arrival of the railroad in the 1880s gave the town a new lease on life as supply center for area ranches and mines.
By the turn of the century Kingman had eclipsed Hackberry and the old town began a precipitous slide that was briefly held in check with the establishment of the National Old Trails Highway and then Route 66. Realignment to the north of the tracks in the 1930s and then the bypass of Route 66 served as the death knell for the town of Hackberry.
If you are fascinated by ghost towns like Hackberry I suggest Ghost Towns of the Southwesthttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0760332215&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr as an addition for your travel planning library.

THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS

The countdown has begun. The year 2009 is about to be relegated to the history books. The end of the world spawned by Y2K is but a distant memory as we eagerly await the end of the world in 2012.
On a serious note I am suffering from the unshakeable sense that time is very short. This is manifesting in a number of ways including a realization of how many loose strings I need to tie up, a sharpened focus on my work, and an overwhelming sense of urgency in most all that I do.
Hence the frustration with tweaking the website in an effort to create the one stop travel site envisioned. Ditto with the push to ensure the current book project to chronicle the history of the ghost towns of Route 66 is my best work yet.
I am quite aware much of this is simply the result of a personal perception based on the fact that fifty is fast vanishing from view in the rear view mirror and sixty is looming at the top of the hill. I suppose the challenge at this juncture is learning how to harness this urgency and to worry less about the things that are out of my control.
This becomes a bit difficult sometimes, especially when I realize how many things are out of my control, such as receipt of notice that my health insurance will be increasing from $600 per quarter to $985 after the first of the year.
Before I digress to deeply into the challenges, the frustrations, and irritants in my life lets get to some Route 66 related items. First, day three of Route 66 trivia.
Motorists traveling Route 66 before 1937 faced two extremely difficult sections with extreme grades and curves that were almost a series of “Z’s”. The first of these was on La Bajada Hill, never paved, southwest of Santa Fe in New Mexico. The second was in the Black Mountains of western Arizona.
With the bypass of 1937 that eliminated the long loop from Santa Rosa to Las Vegas and Santa Fe before dropping to Albuquerque only the Black Mountain grades remained. Until the bypass of 1952 this section featured the sharpest paved curves and steepest grades.
One more item pertains to a couple of very interesting books on the subject of Route 66, Route 66 – Images of America’s Main Streethttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0786415533&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr. This book is well researched, heavily illustrated, and quite fascinating. Perhaps the only fault found was in the price.
The flip side is Legendary Route 66,http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0760329788&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr a real bargain, especially in light of the extensive research that went into chronicling the pre history of Route 66, the stunning array of rare photographs, and the depth of material covered.

66 DAYS OF ROUTE 66 – DAY TWO

66 DAYS OF ROUTE 66 – DAY TWO

I am a tad bit off schedule as day two for this project to chronicle sixty six days of Route 66 trivia should have been posted yesterday afternoon. So, an apology and a thank you for the patience. Today’s trivia note is a short one.
In Victorville, California, on a small side street that was an early alignment of Route 66, the Green Spot Motel remains a rare and tangible link to the prewar years on this legendary highway. In its glory days during the late 1930s and through the 1940s this motel was a welcome refuge for celebrities filming in the Victorville area.
Perhaps the most notable association the motel has with the glory days of Holloywood is its role in the creation of Citizen Kane. It was here that John Houseman and Herman J. Mankiewicz penned the first two drafts for this legenday movie.
Now, new business. As we are fast closing in on the end of the year the liberal use of sunset shots seemed appropriate for illustrations. Some of these were taken here in the kingman area and others were taken along the coast of California.
The first in this series were taken from one of my favorite “secret” locations on Route 66 in western Arizona, the hill top to the west of the Quality Inn overlooking the historic district in Kingman. Sunsets from this vantage point are most always awe inspiring.
Well, I am still woefully short of material for the next book Ghost Towns of Route 66, but work must begin this weekend. This makes for a rather frustrating position, one I am all to unfamiliar with.
I have been neglecting the website, http://www.route66infocenter.com/, as a result of time constraints but that is changing this week. So, you might wish to start the new year with a virtual tour. As always your thoughts and suggestions would be most welcome.
One aspect of the site that I am quite excited about is the photo gallery. In adidtion to the signed, limited editon prints and stock photos we will begin offering, on memory stick, a wide array of photos that are ideal for use in a digital picture frame.
I selected a wide array of our photography and built a delightful slide show in a digital frame for our living room. At the risk of sounding overly prideful I was quite impressed and honestly feel these would be a welcome addition to most any home or office.
At this time the photos offered will be in random sets of twenty five with a list of where each photo was taken. If the program merits enough interest we will become more specialized and break down the photo sets into themes; ghost towns, Route 66, the desert southwest, Arizona, etc. At this time every set will be a mixed bag featuring these subjects as well as others.
Book reviews were originally planned for the site but were not fully integrated. That issue will also be resolved this week.
On that note I have to plug one of the most amazing Route 66 travel guides yet encountered, EZ 66 Guide for Travelers http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0970995164&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrby Jerry McClanahan. This detailed yet simplistic work covers every aspect of the highway from original alignments to notes on communites, historic sites, unique bridges, and businesses.
This is not to say the work is encyclopedic. There is a great deal of information not contained in these pages but there is more than enough to lay the foundation for an unforgettable day trip or an epic adventure on Route 66.
The sites primary function is to assist in planning for and to encourage travel on Route 66 and the other great American two lane highway. Expanding on this will be a question and answer section.
Drop us a note with your travel question and we will either answer it for you or direct you to some one who can answer it. Both the questions and answers will be posted in an effort to assit others.
As a bit of shamless self promotion I also would recommend Backroads of Route 66http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=076032817X&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr. In this work I utilized that famous highway as a portal to a wide array of short detours such as Palo Duro Canyon just to the south of Amarillo and Supai north of the Grand Canyon Caverns.
Together these two guides ensure endless possibilities for expeditions along Route 66. Backroads of Route 66, with stunning photography, is also ideal for the armchair adventurer.

THE FORGOTTEN HISTORY OF KINGMAN ARIZONA

THE FORGOTTEN HISTORY OF KINGMAN ARIZONA

Kingman in western Arizona will forever be associated with the “Mother Road” thanks to Bobby Troup and his classic song, Get Your Kicks on Route 66 that transformed a US highway into an icon. However, this is not the only brush with fame the dusty desert town named for Lewis Kingman, a railroad engineer and surveyor, has had.

In 1857, Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, under direction from President James Buchanan authorized Lieutenant Edward Beale to survey a road that would connect Fort Defiance in the Territory of New Mexico with Fort Mohave on the Colorado River. This expedition was to have a second purpose, testing the viability of camel transport for military application in the desert southwest.
A dependable all year source of water to the west of present day Kingman was designated Beale Springs. Additional homage to Lt. Beale came in the name bestowed upon the fort established at the springs during the 1870s, and a primary street in Kingman that runs parallel to Route 66.
As an historic footnote the springs have played several distinct roles in the development of Kingman and western Arizona. The fort established here played a key role in the subjugation of the Hualapai people opening the door for development of the rich mineral deposits in the Cerbat Mountains and vast ranching empires in the Hualapai Valley, the Sacramento Valley, and in the valleys near present day Truxton.
This fort was also the center for the first Hualapai reservation. From here the Hualapai Trail of Tears began.
With abandonment of the fort the springs served as the cornerstone for a large ranching enterprise. Then the springs served as the first water supply for the city of Kingman, as a boy scout camp, and with the construction of a concrete swimming pool, a quasi resort for the city.
The railroad in its westward expansion during the 1880s closely followed the road he surveyed, known as the Beale Wagon Road, along the 35th parallel. In turn the railroad was followed closely by the National Old Trails Highway and then by the first alignment of Route 66 in 1926.
The National Old Trails Highway figured prominently in the last of the Desert Classic “Cactus Derby” races. The course for the 1914 race was from Los Angeles to Ashfork in Arizona, and then south through Prescott to Phoenix.
The racers climbed Cajon Pass, drove north through Victorville to Barstow, and then east across the desert to Needles. Rather than take the alternate route through Yucca, the path followed by Route 66 after 1952, and the current route for I40 from Kingman to Needles, they chose the road over Sitgreaves Pass.
This incredible test of machine and man featured some of the most prominent names associated with the sport of racing during this period including Louis Chevrolet and Barney Oldfield. The racers stopped long enough in Kingman for fuel and much needed repairs.
It is unknown if nine-year-old Andy Devine, the gravely voiced character actor, turned out to watch the racers roar into town but he would have had a front row seat if he did. His father, Tom Devine, was the proprietor of the Hotel Beale on Front Street.
Initially the hotel, where Andy Devine received the injury that permanently damaged his vocal chords, was one block north of Route 66 but after the realignment of 1937, the highway was at its front door. It was during a segment of This Is Your Life, Andy Devine learned that this street was being renamed Andy Devine Avenue. Signage today still carries this designation for Route 66 from east to west through Kingman.
Another Route 66 landmark associated with Andy Devine is the Crozier Canyon Ranch to the east of Kingman near Hackberry where he worked during the late teens. In addition to ranching, the Crozier also served as a small resort with bathhouses and a huge spring fed swimming pool. The railroad provided Sunday afternoon excursions from Kingman during the months of summer making this oasis a very popular get away.
The Crozier Ranch has another link to Hollywood hidden away in the downstairs bathroom; Fatty Arbuckle’s bathtub obtained when a Grounds family, owners of the ranch, associate who worked as an architect in Los Angeles remodeled the actors home.
During the early 1920s local miners, cowboys, and businessmen mingled with railroad passengers and daring motorists traveling the National Old Trails Highway at the Hotel Beale. One of the miners, employed at the Katherine Mines that frequented the Beale on his visits to Kingman was an adventuresome young man by the name of Louis L’Amour. The landscapes and people he encountered during his time in Kingman would season his epic stories of life on the western frontier.

In 1928 a new chapter in the history of the Hotel Beale, and Kingman, began to unfold with the arrival of Charles Lindbergh, the pioneering aviator. The establishment of refueling and supply stops for Transcontinental Air Transport, the nation’s first passenger airline service, was pivotal to the fledging businesses inaugural flights scheduled for 1929

The two Arizona communities selected as stops were Kingman and Winslow. On numerous visits to Kingman to oversee the construction of the airfield and supportive infrastructure, Lindbergh stayed at the Hotel Beale. Likewise, with his associate that assisted in the ribbon cutting in the summer of 1929, Amelia Earhart.

Clark Gable and Carole Lombard made a brief stop in Kingman during March of 1939 to marry at the Methodist church four blocks north of Route 66. The Oatman Hotel, in Oatman, Arizona, was where they spent their first night as husband and wife.

As an historic footnote, the Oatman Hotel is one of the few original buildings that remain in this historic mining camp. It is the largest existent historic structure built of adobe in Mohave County.

In November of 1944, W.S. Chamberlain, turned his Ford coupe from Route 66 onto Fourth Street, the original alignment of that highway in Kingman, and struck and killed Tap Duncan. It was an inglorious end for a pioneer rancher with familial ties to Black Jack Ketchum, the train robber, and alleged associations with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
During World War II, a large swath of the Neal ranch in the Hualapai Valley became one of the largest flexible gunnery schools in the nation with assistance from the Herculean efforts of construction crews pulled from the Davis Dam project on the Colorado River. Listed among the thousands of men trained at the Kingman Army Airfield is Clayton Moore, best known for his role as the Lone Ranger.

Today, Kingman is best known for Route 66, and its association with Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, but movie trivia buffs know the town for its role in numerous films. Among these is Foxfire, 1955, Edge of Eternity, 1959, Roadhouse 66, 1984, Universal Soldier, 1992, and season six of HBO’s Soprano’s when Tony Soprano, in a coma, dreams that his identity was switched with a Kingman resident.
Lt. Beale and the Camel Caravans Through Arizona
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1840239921&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr