One of the rewards of being a published author with moderate notoriety who resides on Route 66 is the opportunity to meet with fascinating people. In the past week visitors included George Higgins, rally master for the annual Mother Road Rally, and Claudia Heller, columnist for a Pasadena based newspaper and blogger, and her delightful husband. On the home front the rough layout is complete and 2,000 words are on virtual paper. The new book project, a Route 66 encyclopedia and atlas is well underway. In rough numbers that means I have only about 148,000 more to go. Then I can work on the illustrations and the writing of a thousand or so captions!This book is unique in more than just its size and scope. With each of the six books written the pattern has been the same – research for months, initial writing, and then an all consuming urge to write. For this project much of the time consuming research is complete. I have copious notes, reference books, and a head full of facts as a result of the most recent endeavors, contributions for the anthology Greetings from Route 66, http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=076033885X&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrand a new book, Ghost Towns of Route 66 scheduled for release this fall.So, I am already at the stage where the compulsion to write, to create is almost unbearable. From that perspective this will be a most challenging day even though it will be a busy one filled with some of my favorite activities. First, it will be a few hours at the office. Next, will be a short road trip to the historic mining camp of Chloride. Then its an interview with KNAU radio of Flagstaff and a book signing to coincide with the Chloride Old Miners Day celebration. This will be followed with answering correspondence, filling orders for books and prints, and phone calls. It would seem I have turned writing into a second, enjoyable, full time job. Now, if I can just figure out how to make it one that pays more than that of a job as a fry cook at McDonalds. Another aspect of this project that is unique is all illustrations will be my responsibility. This means an overwhelming percentage of the fresh photography will be manifestations of our skills and an opportunity to utilize lessons learned from masters such as Kerrick James.
I have in mind a fall trip, perhaps October, for the eastern portion. I would really like to photograph Route 66 landmarks such as the Marsh Bridge in Kansas, Spencer, Missouri, or the Canadian River Bridge in Oklahoma against a backdrop of fall colors. I close this mornings post with an unrelated but exciting note. The organizers of Chillin’ on Beale in Kingman, Arizona have an ambitious goal of lining Beale Street from end to end with vehicles on the evening of July 17th. The theme and central focus will be on orphaned automobiles and they are hoping of attracting 200 representatives. This might not be as hard as it sounds when one considers that Saturn, Pontiac, and Oldsmobile, have now joined the ranks of Packard, Studebaker, and Nash.