Our time capsule for the night, wigwam number eight at the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona, with its zany amenities such as the shaving mirror mounted on the angled wall that provided a better view of the top of your head than the face, provided us with a restful nights sleep. The winds that had subsided only marginally from the gale that had closed I-40 the previous afternoon were hardly noticeable and throughout the night the sound of trains that rolled by close enough to gently shake the bed was muffled to little more than the sound of surf on a sandy beach.
Waking up to the sound of a screeching mocking bird in an odd shaped time capsule surrounded by vintage furniture illuminated by rays of early morning light left little doubt that we were no longer in Kingman. As it turned out this was most definitely an ideal way to begin the first full day of our long anticipated Route 66 odyssey. With Safeway, a western grocery chain, just across the street we saw no reason to tap into our travel supplies for breakfast. So, we set out through the early morning chill for muffins, juice, and coffee. Loading the Jeep was interrupted time and again by questions from fellow travelers on the most storied road in America and requests from others who wanted their picture in front of a “wigwam” for a souvenir. We had driven less than three hundred miles, much of it on I-40, but in that short distance Route 66, a highway we interact with on a daily basis, had magically transformed us into tourists sharing a grand adventure with an international cast. By the time we had driven through well worn, historic Holbrook the winds were again nearing a steady twenty five miles per hour with gusts easily exceeding thirty. This dampened the enthusiasm for extensive exploration but not our sense of anticipation about the adventures awaiting us as we drove toward the rising sun.
At exit 320 we turned north on Pinta Road, traded places so my wife could take the wheel, and headed north across the vast high desert plain accentuated by red sands and colorful knobs of stone that punctured the bright blue sky. Our goal on this detour was a forgotten alignment of Route 66 and the crumbling ruins of the Painted Desert Trading Post perched on a knoll high above a vintage bridge that spanned the Dead River. In recent years the old trading post has become a not so secret destination for travelers seeking the very essence of Route 66. Surprisingly, respect has been shown for the fragile ruins and there is little graffiti or vandalism.
Still, it is obvious that time is running out for this haunting landmark and the bridge below. Both are showing the affect of time and the harsh high desert climate. The winds limited our explorations and shortened our plans to drive the old road to the fence line at the Painted Desert/Petrified Forest park boundaries. So, we returned to the modern world made manifest by the never ending flow of traffic on I-40. Our next stop was another time capsule of sorts, the Cheif Yellowhorse Trading Post nestled against a towering wall of stone at Lupton just west of the Arizona/New Mexico state line. As a kid we seldom stopped at these places as money was often tight or we were on a schedule but now I find them a refreshing and tangible link to the lost world of road trips on the two lane that are remembered with fondness. As hokey as these places are it is nice to see that a few have survived or been recreated. After all they are as much a part of roadside Americana as Whiting Brothers stations, station wagons, and the road trip itself. I don’t remember the first time we drove through the stunning landscapes that press in upon Route 66 as it crosses from Arizona into New Mexico but my guess would be it was around 1959. However, the first time I drove into the long shadows cast by the towering rock walls is a distinct memory. It was in December of 1976 and I had agreed to help my dad move the family back to Kingman from Michigan. Dad, as was his custom, had resurrected a vintage truck (this time it was an old 2 1/2 ton 1960 Ford with two speed axle that had served as a Goodwill truck) for the move. In tow was his tried and true 1953 Chevy p.u. loaded to the the top of the racks that loomed high above the cab. Even though my dad had done a pretty respectable job of bringing the old Ford back to life it was tired, overloaded, rusty, and slow. So we took the back roads, including old alignments of Route 66, as much as possible. We took turns at the wheel, drove straight through, and made pretty good time in spite of the trucks limitations and the winter weather that included wind, cold, snow, and ice. Then, somewhere between Grants and Gallup as the snow blew across the road in blinding wisps, the tow bar broke and the old Chevy began to violently whip back and forth. To this day I am not sure how dad kept that old beast on the road. Still, in spite of his best efforts, when he brought it to a stop on the shoulder the Chevy slammed into the rear of the Ford with a loud crash crushing the left front fender and shattering the headlight. We climbed down from the cab, surveyed the damage, pried the fender from the wheel with a tire iron, disconnected the remnants of the tow bar, and set out into the fast fading afternoon light as a two truck convoy. It was somewhere near the Chief Yellowhorse Trading Post that I drove the wounded Chevy into the shadows with one light illuminating the old cracked asphalt as the sun was fast sinking into the west, a memory that came rushing back as we crossed the New Mexico line with such clarity I could almost feel the deep chill that enveloped the unheated cab on that cold winters evening so long ago. In Holbrook, after consultation of Jerry McClanahan’s wonderful EZ 66 Guidehttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0970995164&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr, my wife and I had decided to pick up with Route 66 again in Gallup. So, we parted ways with the interstate at exit 16 and rolled into Gallup, drove past the cornucopia of artifacts spanning a century of history, and found a gas station ($2.62 per gallon) near the historic El Rancho Hotel. Nestled amongst a sea of roadside flotsam that runs the gamut from well worn vintage motels to the Chamber of Commerce with its colorful, Route 66 themed neon sign designed by Jerry McClanahan, the El Rancho is far more than an interesting roadside artifact. It is a tangible link to that almost magical time when cinematic epics forever enamored the world with stunning southwestern landscapes and larger than life characters pushing the frontier into the Pacific.
Opened in 1937 by film mogul D.W. Griffith’s brother, the luxurious showpiece soon became a haven for the stars of the silver screen filming on location in the Gallup area including John Wayne. This as well as its association with Route 66 and a stunning mix of memorabilia, Native American art, and vintage furnishings framed by delightful southwestern architecture make it a must see stop for travelers on the double six in western New Mexico.
From Gallup we picked up I-40 to exit 47, and then stepped back from the generic era with a return to Route 66. The section of the old road between Thoreau and Mesita at exit 117 is variously masked as state highway 117, 122, and 124 but at every turn there is evidence this was once much more than an asphalt ribbon tying forlorn, dusty, well worn roadside communities together. It is also apparent that in some of these towns the designation of Route 66 in 1926, or even statehood in 1912, is a recent chapter in a very long history. Settlement in San Fidel dates to establishment of a farm by Baltazar Jaramillo in 1868. The first post office was established in 1910. The Villa de Cubero Trading Post, once a favorite retreat for celebrities including Ernest Hemmingway and Lucille Ball, dates to 1937. The namesake village just to the north, on the pre 1937 alignment of Route 66, appears on maps as early as 1776. Some places along he old road west of Albuquerque are even older. The winds continued to howl as we rolled east toward the Rio Grande and the former Spanish outpost turned metropolis of Albuquerque. Plans for a picnic, as well as a few for exploration of older alignments were shelved and instead we stopped at the Route 66 Casino for a pit stop (bathroom break) and to visit with Sandra Ashcraft of the New Mexico Route 66 Association at Enchanted Mesa RV park near the beautiful steel truss bridge on the Rio Puerco River built in 1933. In what would become a pattern on this trip we missed Sandra. So, we left a few copies of our new print and note card series as a small thank you gift for her assistance with the book, Ghost Towns of Route 66, jumped on I-40 again and prepared for battle with the traffic in Albuquerque. At exit 170 we again joined Route 66 and began the long climb from the valley of the Rio Grande. With our picnic plans abandoned we succumbed to the hunger that had been held at bay with our snacking from the supply box, returned to the genric age, and stopped at Subway in Tijeras for a sandwich. As it was still relatively early we continued our eastward journey rolling through Edgewood, Barton, and into Moriarity where we again stopped for fuel ( $2.69 per gallon). Even though the Jeep was performing without a hitch there was a sense of apprehension as we drove past the city limits sign in Moriarty. The last two trips along Route 66 had been punctuated with unintended stops here. The first breakdown was actually just to the east of Clines Corners late one evening in January as I was returning with a battered Nissan Pathfinder that had been stolen in Kingman and recovered in Oklahoma City. The alternator seized tighter than a drum about five miles out and broke the fan belt. Using only the parking lights and driving the shoulder, again in a snow storm, I made Clines Corners where a towing company in Moriarty was called. The second unintended stop came shortly after being contracted for my first book. We were on a father and son adventure to Michigan via Route 66 in our 1988 Ford station wagon when the rear transmission seal blew out. We limped into town and spent the next day strolling the streets and dining at the Rip Griffin, now a TA, truck stop.
On this trip all was uneventful and we continued our trip having decided to end the day in Santa Rosa, another historic community that hovers between ghost town and modern, generic haven for weary travelers. As this was a reservation free adventure, upon our arrival we began that timeless road trip game of checking availability, rates, and condition of motels. On our second stop we struck gold even though the rate was a bit more than I am comfortable with ($69.00 plus tax). Still the room was spacious and clean. We had Internet access in the lobby. There was a nice continental breakfast to offset the cost, and the staff was polite as well as helpful. So, if you find yourself in Santa Rosa and are in need of lodging for the night my suggestion is the Santa Rosa Inn at 2491 Historic Route 66 next door to Denny’s where we succumbed to temptation and hunger after a long day on the road and finding the supermarket had closed. A pleasant dinner was followed with a leisurely stroll back to the motel and an evening of planning the next days grand adventure – exploring lost highways, the ghost towns of Cuervo, Newkirk, Montoya, Endee, Glenrio, and introducing my dearest friend to the wonderful people and the delightful pies only found at the Midpoint Cafe.
The tumultuous week that threatened to derail the thrice planned Route 66 adventure closed with a relatively uneventful morning at the office. I was able to close on time at noon and as my dearest friend had lunch waiting all that remained to do before hitting the road was filling the tank and loading gear. As the focus of the adventure was Route 66 and the folks who keep it alive we rolled east across the wide Hualapai Valley toward Hackberry. The gusty winds had given way to a steady blow of near gale force strength that pelted the Jeep with sand and on occasion obscured the road ahead with thick dust. Undaunted we pushed on with music from an interesting CD provided by a friend serving as theme music for the new adventure. The quintessential western landscapes that squeeze the old double six between Hackberry and Truxton, even with the scarring of mining and the ghostly monument to somber times that is the old Indian school at the Truxton Canyon agency, always stir me deep with deep emotion. As a kid, after days on the road, I knew we were drawing near home when we rolled through this canyon. Often we would stop at a little store for ice cream that was located where the wildlife park is today. The first years after the bypass of this section of Route 66 in the 1970s were marked with a dramatic decline in Truxton. The garage started by Clyde McCune that served as the cornerstone for the founding of the town in the 1950s was struck by lightning and burned to the ground, the Catlleman Cafe closed and was razed, the Orlando Motel closed, and the store closed after the owner was convicted of murder. Stability has returned to Truxton and little has changed there in the past twenty years or so. Still, I can’t remember the last time we stopped for lunch at the Frontier and on this trip we continued that tradition by rolling through with the focus being on Flagstaff for stop number one. For me the old road between Kingman and Ashfork is a ribbon of asphalt that links more than a half century of memories. Our first trip west was along this road in 1959. I still remember the excitement that came with the realization a stop at an Ashfork motel was the last one before reaching our new home in Kingman during the summer of 1966. As a ranch hand I often road into Valentine to fetch my mail. This was also where I picked up feed and supplies dropped by trucks unable to negotiate the rugged road tot he ranch. A 1946 GMC pick up truck was never designed to meet the rigors of modern high speed driving and so old 66 from the Crookton Road exit to Kingman was my preferred route when driving in from the ranch near Chino Valley to court my dearest friend. Even though our vehicles have been updated since then I still abhor the current obsession with speed that is fueled by the interstate highway system and as a result often choose Route 66 when we drive east. The winds of spring, often near gale force, is just something we accept as situation normal during the months of spring here in the desert southwest. Still, by the time we arrived in Ashfork it was apparent this was more than just another windy day. Tractor/trailer rigs were parked along the highway and in parking lots at cafes. Powerful gusts that rocked the Jeep transformed this from a drive into a wrestling match. Between Williams and Flagstaff an electronic highway sign informed us that I-40 between Winona and Winslow was closed due to the winds and resultant near zero visibility caused by blowing sands. Undaunted and armed with the knowledge that comes with the experience of driving through similar storms, we turned to plan “B” – a stop for food and fuel while we contemplated options that including bypassing I-40 with an alternate route. In Flagstaff one our favorite eateries is Salsa Brava on east Route 66. The food is one notch above average but the salsa bar is without equal. As our destination for evening was the storied Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, one of two reservations made for this trip, we had three alternate routes to consider. One would add at least sixty miles to the trip, the second would be risky in the best of weather, and third was a little used highway that connected Winnona with Leupp Corner near Winslow. After a delightful dinner we chose Route 66 to Winnona to evaluate the situation before turning to highway 99 and running the gauntlet of sand and wind. Waiting trucks lined the shoulder of I-40 for miles, an indicator that the opening of the highway would be followed with a flood of traffic that would make LA rush hour congestion look like a church picnic. To say we were blessed would be akin to saying Lake Havasu City is warm in July. We arrived in Winnona mere minutes after the highway was opened and a highway patrolman directing traffic flagged us onto I-40! From Winnona to Holbrook the winds howled, clouds of sand slammed against the Jeep and we jousted with a veritable sea of impatient truckers and drivers Hell bent on making their destination. I never thought the recent refresher courses in battling traffic taken on the LA freeways would come in handy in eastern Arizona!
We were a bit frazzled by the time we arrived at the Wigwam but in an instant the tension, stress, and frustration melted away as we stepped from the modern era into the world of the 1950s. This is more than a time capsule, it is truly a portal into an earlier time. My earliest memory of the Wigwam dates to our trip during the summer of 1966 and the disappointment that came with finding there were no vacancies. As the centerpiece of this adventure was a journey down memory lane I had made reservations to ensure a child hood dream was realized. It was all that I had imagined and then some. Enhancing the long awaited anticipation of turning the key for Wigwam number eight was the laughter of my dearest friend as we opened the door and stepped into the 1950s. Mere words can not describe the flood of long lost memories unleashed by the lobby, the rooms, and even the parking lot at the Wigwam. This is travel as it was with the only concession to the modern era being the television. This is a living monument to the creative genius and entrepreneurial spirit that manifested along the highways of America in the form of gas stations shaped like tea pots, restaurants that appeared as igloos in the desert, and trading posts where you could see “Live Indians” and have your picture taken on the back of a giant rabbit. This is a tangible link to a pregeneric time when travel on the highways of America truly was an adventure. Even with the resurgent interest in Route 66 that has led to the refurbishment or recreation of roadside monuments to creative thinking the Wigwam is unique in the fact it has survived rather than been recreated. For those eager to experience travel as it was, or to introduce a new generation to the wonders of Route 66 unveiled in a mythical place called Radiator Springs, the Wigwam must be experienced. We ended the first day of our Route 66 adventure immersed in memories of what once was and with visions of what we might find on the road in the days to come. It was here that our long awaited trip really began.
Six days, 2,796 miles, gale force winds, rain, ghost towns, traffic congestion, miles of old memories, lost highways, good food, new friends, lots of memories, and lots of laughter. So ends another adventure on Route 66. At its core the trip was business – additional photos for the forthcoming Ghost Towns of Route 66 to supplement the stunning collection already submitted by Kerrick James and to gather information for the next book. There was also a multifaceted personal aspect to this particular road trip. In recent conversations with my elderly dad it has become apparent that his trip to Arizona this past spring was most likely his last grand adventure. As some of my favorite memories of dad revolve around life on the road, and Route 66 in particular, it seemed important to visit old haunts. My wife has traveled extensively in the 26 years since she agreed to be wife. Still, we have never shared a road trip east of Albuquerque. So, this seemed an ideal time for rectifying that oversight. http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0970995164&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrIt was a grand adventure, an epic road trip reminiscent of those taken as a kid. Where practical or feasible we shunned the modern generic era. With the exception of day one and the destination, no motel reservations were made. We even traveled with the old wicker picnic basket and kept it and the cooler stocked with produce from roadside stands or mom and pop grocers. There were a few distinct differences between our Route 66 adventure across the colorful deserts of northern Arizona and New Mexico, the plains, and into the foothills of the Ozarks, and the ones taken as a kid. The highway is now littered with ghosts, we had air conditioning, we didn’t break down tires to repair tubes under the shade of a roadside tree, and we didn’t have to wait for the motor to cool after pulling a long grade behind a lumbering farm truck.
Another difference was that with the Jeep, a vintage atlas, and Jerry McClanan’s EZ 66 Guide, the hands down best guide book available, we were able to truly seek the road less traveled, even on days when the wind was howling at more than forty miles per hour. So, we visited places such as the hauntingly beautiful ruins of the Painted Desert Trading Post perched precariously on the ridge above the Dead River and the ruins of Jericho that appear as a desolate island in a sea of grass on the vast plains of the Texas Panhandle.
Our adventure also included stops to wonderful places that represent the new face of Route 66 such as Afton Station in Afton, Oklahoma, with its wonderful collection of vintage Packard built automobiles and Pops in Arcadia. These breaks from the road gave us the opportunity to meet the people, such as Laurel Kane, that ensure the mystique and excitement of legendary Route 66 will survive for future generations. If there were one lesson learned from our adventure it is this. Route 66 may be broken and segmented. It may be resigned and its roadside littered with ghostly remnants from better times. Still, it is the most amazing highway in America. This morning we left Albuquerque at 6:00, stopped to explore Two Guns and again for dinner at the Pine Country Restaurant in Williams, and arrived in Kingman late in the afternoon. To say the very least, we are tired. So, details about our grand adventure, including hotel and restaurant information (good and bad) will have to wait for the Sunday afternoon post.
The title for this post is derived from a time in my life that I now refer to as my “John Wayne” period, a scant couple of years where the romanticism of the American southwest, fueled by countless cinematic epics and long hours spent with vintage fiction as well as biographies, compelled me to cast aside good sense and earn my pay polishing saddles with my back side under a blazing sun. Suffice to say these were truly the best and worst of times – long hours, $8.00 per day plus board and use of a truck, grueling, injury plagued work with some of the most colorful characters on earth amidst some of the most stunning scenery on the planet. Those days, in particular those crazy times when I actually thought rodeo was a good idea, and the exhilaration that came from what I hoped would be an eight second ride come rushing back on days like the ones of the past few week. Everything around you seems a blur, the focus narrows to a very fine point, the breath catches in your chest, a short prayer is whispered, the chute opens, and the ride begins! Within the past seven days I have finalized plans for the long awaited Route 66 odyssey (postings may be spotty for the next week), negotiated a thrilling new book contract, had family issues that included my mother going to the hospital, prepared the Jeep for the journey, and had a non stop week of trial and tribulation at the office. The latter included a day where circumstances resulted in running the office as well as handling the prerequisite truck preparations before rental. As an added bonus, the pastor in Peach Springs has requested I take the church on the first Sunday in June, project Destination Kingman (see this group page on Facebook) is nearing the point of official debut, the Kingman Route 66 Association has charted the first victory in the ongoing battle to restore the glow of vintage neon to Route 66 in Kingman, and the initial preparation for promotion of Ghost Towns of Route 66 is gearing up. With the second printing of Ghost Towns of the Southwesthttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0760332215&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrthe positive reviews are pouring in. The resultant excitement and anticipation is almost unbearable. ACTIVITY #1: Review Escapees, May/June 2010 (circulation 38,000) http://www.escapees.com/ “This latest book is another fabulous work of Jim Hinckley, who recently gave us those wonderful Route 66 books…The photos by Kerrick James are simply fabulous and give a tangible flavor to the dramatic landscapes. Even if you never travel to these places, the photos are worth the price of the book.” ACTIVITY #2: Excerpt RV Life, May 2010 (circulation 55,000) http://www.rvlife.com/index.php/Digital-Edition/rv-life-digital-edition.html RV Life ran a full page excerpt from the chapter on Hackberry, Arizona including tag line on the cover and 2 Kerrick James photos from the book
ACTIVITY #3: AAA Arizona Highroads, May/June (circulation 450,000) http://www.aaaaz.com/highroads/index.htm?zip=85013 In the “Looking Back” section, there is a profile of Jerome , Arizona with excerpted material from the book including the author’s photo of Jerome from a 1922 postcard with the book’s cover, credits and ordering information. http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0970995164&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrThere is always a sigh of relief when a book is finished. This is soon followed by a gnawing sense of worry about how well it will be recieved, the possibility that a mileage or highway number was transposed and not caught during the editorial process, or that the books release will be heralded by a plethora of very, very bad press reviews. It would seem concerns about this book, as with previous ones written, were unfounded. Now, I can take a deep breath and bask in the satisfaction that my gift for telling folks where to go in such a manner they look forward to the trip has manifested in another appreciated book that encourages people to explore. This leads us to the next order of business, the new book. Details are being finalized and as a result I can only offer a few teasers. It will be Route 66 related. It will be the largest work yet undertaken (100,000 plus words and more than 500 illustrations), it will be far more than mere shelf filler or rehased material, and, I hope, it will add fuel to the fires of passion that are igniting a new era on this iconic http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1578603226&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrhighway. The great Route 66 odyssey is mere hours away (23 hours, 46 minutes). For us it means the thrice postponed adventure is finally at hand. For my son it is also a vacation of sorts as he has free reign of HInckley Manor with all its amenities. Giving the neighbors the impression we are about to embark on a very long safari is the wide array of gear being loaded into the Jeep including a shovel (we are going to look for early alignments of the highway in Arizona and New Mexico), jack, tools, an oversized ice chest, first aid kit, compass (no GPS for the Hinckley hillbillies), a new book, Crosley, to unwind with in the evenings, the 1946 guide book by Jack Rittenhouse, and Jerry McCalanahans “can’t travel without” EZ 66 Guide. The overkill on gear is more than a Boy Scout themed “be prepared” way of thinking about all contingencies that may arise. It is based on previous adventures that we seem to get into now that we own a Jeep. Consider the first voyage of the Jeep, the subject of a post from last year about lost highways. Suffice to say it was a cross between Mr. Toad’s wild ride, a mid life crisis gone awry, and general good old fashioned fun. That adventure left me wondering why we waited so long to purchase a Jeep. It also left me very grateful for being blessed with such a good friend to share a midlife crisis with.
As this is to be a vacation, the first that wasn’t a drive worthy of a long haul trucker, and a whirlwind weekend getaway/business trip in more than a year my marching orders (from a very dear friend whom I seem to have given cause for worry in recent weeks) is to relax. With that front and center of the game plan, and Route 66 the overall theme, this is largely a let the chips fall where they may, no clocks, limited schedule, reservation free, adventure on America’s most fanmous highway. There are two exceptions. Room reservations were made for one night at an iconic Holbrook institution and another in Springfield. As noted, postings may be a bit scarce or even nonexistent for the next week. Say tuned as we will have a great deal to share with you on our return including motel and restaurant information, updates on must see attractions, and some great photos that I hope will inspire you to take to the road. Before you go, don’t forget your journal!
Black humor, on occasion refereed to as gallows humor. Its an odd defense mechanism for dealing with unpleasant things in life that appears to be universal in nature. The current economic condition of the nation, and the world, is officially listed as a deep recession. Do you know what the difference between a recession and depression is? A recession is when the neighbor looses his job and house, a depression is when you loose yours. The subject of “depression” has dominated a great deal of my thinking in recent weeks. To clarify a bit, I am talking about economic, historical as well as current, depression, personal depression, and the mental state of friends, as well as the role the Great Depression played in transforming Route 66 into an icon. As they are all interrelated it seemed an appropriate theme for today’s post. The Great Depression is the one that all modern economic downturns are measured by. However, there were two previous ones that were equally disastrous – one in 1893 and another in 1907. The first was sparked by poorly thought out governmental policies manifested in the Sherman Act that resulted in an overnight collapse of silver prices, an event that devastated the economies of mining communities such as Tombstone. A simplified explanation for the cause of the latter was a capitalistic society caught up in a gold rush of industrial investment opportunity that unraveled with the collapse of General Electric stock values. Among the long term ramifications of the second modern depression was the abandonment of constitutional mandated currency controls and the creation of the Federal Reserve, in essence this act was akin to putting the wolves in charge of the hen house. The policies of the Federal Reserve coupled with a variety of external factors, including the collapse of world wide agricultural prices and the post World War I recession, resulted in the transformation of a major economic correction into a Great Depression during the 1930s. An excellent case http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0786444177&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrstudy of the origins of the Great Depression, and subsequently an excellent tool for developing an understanding of the current economic morass, including the concept of “to big to fail”, is this fascinating book, Breaking the Banks in Motor City. One of the haunting details gleaned from this book was the chronicling of the deaths by starvation in Detroit during the early 1930s. It was this dire situation which directly gave rise to President Roosevelt and his New Deal policies. I was aware of the precipitous drop in automotive production and resultant unemployment in the Motor City but this adds a very human element to the story. From its inception U.S. 66 was blessed with gifted supporters that would have made P.T. Barnum proud. However, in spite of their best efforts it was the Great Depression and the westward exodus of displaced farmers, their families, and factory workers from the Midwest that served as the catalyst for transforming a ribbon of asphalt into an icon. Grapes of Wrathhttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0143039431&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr, the book as well as the movie, placed Route 66 in the spot light. In an instant the American tragedy of the depression, the Dust Bowl, and all that these entailed had a stage. From that point in time to the modern era Route 66 has magically morphed into something special for each generation. The movie Cars has ensured this legacy will continue for at least another generation. These thoughts as well as the previously mentioned depression that I have been experiencing that stems from a birthday inspired bout of reflection, and a new book received for my birthday, Crosleyhttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1578603226&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr, that chronicles the myriad of failures endured by Powell Crosley as well as his father spawned ideas that might manifest as book. Then yesterday, a friend, Chris Durkin, touched on this very topic. Like a ray of sunshine it dawned on me that, to paraphrase Chris, the road to success is paved with failure!