|Chillin on Beale Street is truly a mixed bag of automotive treasures.|
Any time the vintage car crowd gathers in Kingman, I am left in amazement by the amazing diversity of vehicles found in such a small town and this past Saturdays evening of topless fun on Route 66 was no exception. With the setting sun casting deep shadows and glinting on the chrome of beautiful hand crafted street rods, meticulously restored antiques, rough around the edges daily drivers, rat rods, and chrome bedecked Harley Davidson motorcycles old Beale Street was transformed into an automotive treasure chest. The festivities proved an excellent way to end a day and a weekend. The frosting on the cake was the opportunity to again visit with Dale Butel from Australia and his latest tour group, and another car buff from down under that has been in Kingman for a week or so.
|This photo, courtesy of the Mohave Museumof History & Arts, is of Fig Springs station onRoute 66 between Kingman and Cool Springs.|
Sunday was a day of discovery as I spent much of the afternoon digging deep into the history of Route 66. My portals to that lost world for this journey were AAA directories from 1927, 1940, and 1953, motel guides from the 1940s and 1950s, and service station guide books from the 1930s and 1940s.I diligently tried to focus on the task at hand which was gathering material for the Route 66 encyclopedia. However, on more than one occasion I allowed myself to be led along an unrelated path with notes on drivers license requirements. Imagine a time when a drivers license was only required for those who drove commercial vehicles and those drivers had to be at least 15 years of age! One state required the use of a horn before passing and another set limits in residential areas at forty miles per hour, forty five on rural highways.These adventures into another time are but one aspect of writing that I find enjoyable. Consider this, in 1927 the AAA did not list one approved service facility and only two hotels in Albuquerque. One of these hotels was the one recommended by Emily Post after her 1916 automotive odyssey.
|The forlorn Beale Hotel still stands but for how longis anyones guess.|
The Beale and Brunswick Hotels in Kingman were the recommended lodging choices. The cost was $1.00 and $1.50 for singles. Recommended travel times were also interesting. For 1927, eight hours from Ludlow to Needles dependant on road conditions. Albuqurque to Winslow, “…can be driven in one day provided road conditions allow for faster speeds but our suggestion is to overnight in Gallup or camp for the evening.” Also in 1927, there was only one approved service facility bewteen Barstow and Needles, Beaman Garage in Amboy. As late as the early 1930s most of the southwest between Oklahoma City and Los Angeles was still very much a frontier. Garages were also blacksmith shops, at some hotels phone service was not available, and the last section of Route 66 to be paved was near Hackberry, Arizona in 1936. A large chunk of Monday morning was spent weaving the previous days notes into the text of the encyclopedia. Then it was lunch and off to the dentist, again. This visit was the last of the minor ones as in October we begin the adventure of dental surgery. My schedule for the next thirty days, rather than fear or the thought of initiating a monthly series of payments that will stretch far into the future, is the primary reason for the delay. I am giving the summer a real send off!Next Monday from 11:00 to noon I have an interview with KNTR radio in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Then we have Labor Day, followed by the celebration of 27 years shared with my dearest friend, a trip to Burbank, the next edition of Chillin on Beale Street which will also be the world debut of Greetings from Route 66http://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=ifr, and an interview with AM Arizona in Prescott coupled to the long awaited, numerous times postponed trip to Crown King. Whee!