To say the very least Bob Waldmire was a unique individual. He exemplified the man who marched to the tune of a different drummer as described by Henry David Thoreau.
This photo of the Hackberry General Store in Hackberry, Arizona, the one used on the bottom of the cover for my book, Backroads of Route 66, will always remind me of Bob. It was taken after his departure and the property morphed from his vision of a biodiversity center into a Route 66 time capsule under the guiding hand of John Pritchard.
It was here that I first met Bob. My first impression was that he was another lost soul, a child of the 1960s that never seemed to understand the world did not end with the music at Woodstock.
My first impression was a short one. Bob was a well read man, a thinker, one of those rare individuals that commanded respect simply because he lived, and enjoyed, the lifesyle espoused.
Most of my visits to his Hackberry retreat were relatively short but each was memorable. There were always lively discussions on everything  from the merits of old trucks, he had recently moved his vintage Chevy to the property from Illinois and I drove a 1950 model at the time, to the death penalty. There were always offers of food or tea, and there was always the sense that I had known Bob all my life even though I barely knew him at all.
Perhaps the most memorable aspect of my relationship with Bob was the honest manifestations of his concern and interest in people. On each visit, even after he left Hackberry and stopped by the office on one of his cross country treks, he would inquire about my son and wife. On more than one occasion he would leave a gift; a magnet, a new post card, a poster, for my son or a trinket for my office that serves as a small museum.
This morning I was reflecting on all of this as I stared into the shadow box counter top and looked at the vintage pop up card board Cozy Dog souvenir he dropped off a couple of years ago. Then I remembered, with a twinge of sadness, how busy I was when he stopped by for the last time.
On a personal note my favorite memory of Bob is from the Route 66 Fun Run several years ago. I was covering the event for Cars & Parts maazine and was on the way back to Kingman from Oatman when I spied his van at Cool Springs.
For the next hour or so we shared lunch and conversation with the owner of the property and I observed the way Bob talked to all who stopped to say hello. The lesson learned, but not fully applied, from Bob that day was never rush life, take time to savor it and the people that give it flavor.
Bob, like the highway he so enjoyed, rose above the normal and mundane to become an icon. He will sorely be missed.
In the next day or so I will post photos of Bob’s legacy in Kingman, his murals.

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