Our monsoon season this year has been a bust and to say it is dry would be akin to saying Duluth is chilly in the winter. It is so dry we are hunting jerky instead of deer, we picked dried apples right from the tree, and the cactus need to be watered.

Thunderheads build over the Hualapai Mountains
before a summer storm.

Then, yesterday afternoon, it was like old times. Towering thunderheads began dominating the eastern horizon over the Hualapai Mountains with flashes of lightning illuminating the dark towers. There was a tantalizing hint of rain in the dry, dusty air. Then the winds began to blow, in an instant the temperatures dropped twenty degrees, the skies opened, and the rain began to pour from the sky in buckets.
After fording a couple of small rivers that were streets on the way to work, I arrived home to find that Fed Ex had delivered my advance copy of Greetings from Route 66http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=076033885X&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr. It was propped inside the screen door.
Initially my heart sank when I picked up the soaked cardboard box and water poured from the bottom. Fortunately the book was carefully wrapped in bubble wrap!
After a delightful dinner and even more delightful walk through the neighborhood with my dearest friend, I eagerly opened the cover and set out on a literary adventure. With the contributions of Russell Olsen, Kathy Weiser of Legends of America, Michael Karl Witzel, I expected the book to be wonderful.
In an instant all expectations were exceeded. This is a stunning, colorful, 240 page post card and time capsule sandwiched between two hard bound covers.
Recipes, displays of vintage post cards, profiles of the people that made Route 66 the Main Street of America such as Al Bell, and the amazing photography of Russell Olsen that provide then and now glimpses of our favorite Route 66 stops was just the frosting on the cake.
For hours I poured over the pages drinking in the color, the stories, and the haunting images of attractions and businesses now vanished. Here was the Painted Desert Trading Post during its glory days in the 1940s, Eds Camp from the 1930s, and Two Guns as a thriving tourist destination.
In my minds eye I saw them as they were on our visit last May, empty ruins embraced by a vast landscape of rock and sand under skies of stunning blue with a ribbon of broken asphalt that vanished in the brush. Then a thought entered my head – the bar has been set very high.
It will be very difficult indeed for the Route 66 encyclopedia to top this. However, you can rest assured that every effort will be made to create a work worthy of this amazing foundation.

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