After months without measurable precipitation and a growing concern that we would be hunting jerky rather than deer we had a grand slam winter storm yesterday. Rain, sleet, and howling winds with swirling mist that on occasion lifted to reveal mountains being transformed into frosted minarets and towers.
Work has a tendency to really interfere with life. This morning dawned clear and cold with a brisk nip in the air that quickens the spirit. The sharp blue skies accentuated the snow covered peaks and the urge to explore, to photograph was nearly overwhelming.
However, as we are somewhat used to eating on regular basis I valiantly resisted these urges and instead drove to the office the long way via Route 66. It only slightly alleviated the calling of the desert wilderness.
Yesterday morning I opened the office and then had coffee with Bob Stevens and Earl Duty of Cars & Parts magazine. Bob had purchased a beautiful Studebaker Gran Tourismo Hawk in Los Angeles and they were driving it back to Ohio.
Their game plan was to make Albuquerque but I suspicion they are currently holed up somewhere around Ashfork or Williams. I spoke Craig, the Penske agent in Flagstaff, this morning and he said the snow began to fall yesterday before sunrise and I40 and I17 were both closed by early afternoon. He also noted the snow was about waist deep!
As the storm raged I deviated a slight bit from working on the ghost town project to write a series of state by state summaries to serve as chapter introductions for a forthcoming Route 66 anthology. I am quite eager to see the finished project and am again surprised by how this old highway weaves its way into my life.
Judging by email received and postings on various Route 66 forums I am not the only one chomping at the bit to take to the road, specifically Route66. It would seem those who link the lure of this iconic highway with the wind in your face exhilaration of another American classic, Harley Davidson, are also suffering from cabin fever.
In spite of the current economic climate the impression at this time is that next year Route 66, and other classic roads such as the Lincoln Highway, will really come to life. I am receiving requests for information about the highway and touring by motorcycle from groups in Australia, England, Romania, Germany, and Holland.
In a somewhat unrelated note this morning I was reflecting on how Harley Davidson and Route 66 seem to have been intertwined as the quintessential symbol of the American road trip experience. Thoughts such as these always lead to my step father.
He loved motorcycles and the the thrill of travel. I should have ghost written his stories as they are truly fascinating peaks into a world in a state of rapid transition.
In the late 1930s, on the day after Thanksgiving, he left the family farm in Sioux Falls, Iowa, and set out for California with a side trip to visit family in Rapid City, South Dakota. The trip was made on a 1929 Harley!
I really don’t see motorcycles of even kind in the future. I have long been of the opinion they are God’s way of selectively eliminating stupid people. Then there is the noise, a factor that many owners like to enhance and that causes more than a little anger amongst many of those forced to listen as the owner rides by.
Still, I understand the sense of freedom that many find in motorcycle touring. I would also like to add some of the friendliest people met on the road have been those traveling by motorcycle or in a vintage automobile.
The latter leads to my final thought of the morning. At some juncture I do see myself traveling by vintage automobile.
Often as I envision this we are driving a 1931 Ford Model and seeking out lost alignments of Route 66. However, as the idea is to create a time capsule feel of sorts on occasion in this dream the vehicle becomes a first generation Hudson Super Six from 1916 or 1917.
Anyone out there have a car or truck suitable for such an adventure?