Today was a whirlwind of activity with trucks coming in and trucks going out interspersed with lost keys, broken trucks, cancellations, rescheduling, and reservations. The highlight of the day was a visit from Buz Waldmire, his son, and extended family.
We shared memories of Bob, talked of changing times along Route 66, discussed the recent exhibit of Bob’s work at Beale Street Brews & Gallery, and worked out a few details pertaining to a new book project. We agreed that a Route 66 encyclopedia without a bio on Bob Waldmire could not be considered complete or accurate.
As is often the case with vacations the return to work after our grand adventure on Route 66 was an almost instant immersion in the stress and chaos that leads people to count the days until vacation, retirement or worse. Brad, a somewhat morose old cowboy with an odd sense of humor and even stranger outlook on life that I once worked with along the Mimbres River in southern New Mexico put it is this way. “Workin’ like this is a sure death but a much slower one than starvation.”
I am quite grateful for the job that keeps beans on the table and gas in the Jeep. In spite of my occasional whining its a good job that is never boring, is even exciting as well as enjoyable on most days, and that pays adequately.
Still, it is a love for sharing adventures and sparking a passion for history through writing and photography that consumes most every spare moment away from the office. To that end I am awaiting the galley proofs of Ghost Towns of Route 66 so we can take the final steps towards getting this book on shelves.
Even with the frustration of deciding what to include and what not to while adhering to the parameters established by the publisher this book was an exciting adventure of discovery, something I am eager to share. As always the hope is it will encourage people to take to the road, to discover the magic of Route 66 for themselves, and that it will fill in a few holes in regards to the history of this amazing highway.
As soon as it hits shelves surely the question will be asked, if Afton was included why not …
Well, that is a legitimate question and not one that is easily answered. Still, for any Route 66 groupie that has wondered about the history of Lawndale, let their imagination run wild as the desert wind stirred the dust on the streets of Ludlow, followed the muddy ruts to Jericho, or been curious about empty, lonely Endee, this book will be a wonderful addition to any Route 66 library.
In an unrelated note, the latest issue of the Route 66 Pulse is now available. As always the publication is a delight (not just because I am a contributor). Copies are available free of charge at most visitor centers and at numerous locations along Route 66.
Now, a formal introduction to a new project, one that has been alluded to in several posts. It is now official, I have been contracted to write a Route 66 encyclopedia and atlas.
I have been given a pretty free hand with this endeavor in regards to size and content with the primary restriction being time for completion – 18 months. At this juncture the outline in my head goes something like this.
There will be a concise history of each communities association with Route 66, including all alignments. There will also be bios of the individuals who made Route 66 what it is today, people like Bob Waldmire, Cyrus Avery, and Angel Delgadillo. Additionally there will be entries for iconic locations or structures such as the Chain of Rocks Bridge and the wigwam motels.
Fleshing it out will be large, two page, heavily illustrated thematic sections on various topics including Whiting Brothers service stations and the Kingman Army Airfield. For illustrations I will utilize photographs from my collection taken on our numerous trips along Route 66, the artistry of Kerrick James, historic photos, and
To say the very least, this project is a bit intimidating in its scope. Still, I find it difficult to describe the enthusiasm and excitement that comes from being selected for such an undertaking with its potential benefits to current, and future, fans of the double six. As they say, stay tuned for details.
Beginning with the Thursday post I will share a few things learned about Route 66 on this last trip, how the highway has changed in the past couple of years, and what I see as the future for this amazing ribbon of asphalt.