Today is a day of odds and new beginnings rather than odds and ends. The odds include unseasonably warm weather, and an early morning note from a friend that was inspired by this blog and decided, without planning, to celebrate Valentine’s Day with his new bride by taking a road trip to Tuzigoot.
Its always refreshing to receive notes that indicate we might be making a difference. I suppose elation should be reserved until we see how well this surprise was received by his wife.
The Independent Thinker column was completed yesterday and will be sent to the editor of Cars & Parts today. In this installment I profiled some of the “assembled” automobile manufacturers during the infancy of the industry.
Few realize that the initial reputation for durability enjoyed by Olds and Ford were the result of gear boxes built by the Dodge brotehrs, John, and Horace. However, the primary focus was on the Auburn, Corbitt, Cord, Hupmobile, and Graham-Paige connections.
The Corbitt trucks of the late 1930s were quite stylish as a result of utilization of Auburn body dies. The Hupmobile Sklylark and supercharged Graham Hollywood that utilized Cord 810/812 dies were also quite stunnig even though these cars proved to be the swan song for both companies.
My dearest friend and I had a delightful and simple dinner last evening. This morning we will hike to one of my wife’s favorite places high in the Cerbat Mountains. That constitutes our version of Valentine’s Day celebrations.
There was a time many years ago when I took what we have for granted. In light of how blessed I am to have this wonderful women in my life, I find that reflection amazing as well as sad.

The road trip season is fast approaching as evidenced by the increase in requests for information about travel here in the southwest. Topping this list is the section of Route 66 between Kingman and Oatman over Sitgreaves Pass.
I fully understand the fascination with this section old highway. In my humble opinion it may be one of the most scenic portions of that iconic highway.
I still marvel when we drive it and reflect on the fact this was a main highway until 1952. The heavy traffic must have made this a truly wild adventure!
The research for the next book, Ghost Towns of Route 66, continues to fill the files with fascinating odds and ends. From an 1878 publication entitled, “The History of Livingston County Illinois”, I have this information on Cayuga, a little village on Route 66.
The townsite was platted in April of 1855 and the first store was opened in 1857 by David J. Evans. It was noted that in spite of promising beginnings and an ideal location, for reasons unknown, the town failed to flourish.
Jack Rittenhouse noted in 1946 that the town consisted of, “A grain elevator, a small school, one store, and a dozen homes. No gas station or other facilities here.”
The second half of today’s post title “beginnings” can be summarized rather easily. In the next eight weeks the list of “firsts” include speaking at a university, having to request specific dates for signings to avoid conflicting appearances, and the submission of my latest book to Jay Leno. To say the very least, interesting, very interesting.

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