I have no explanation and offer no excuse for my fascination for the road less traveled that often leads to very empty places. A stretch of broken asphalt or rutted, rocky trail that ties the distant past with the present has an allure that quickens the spirit and unleashes the imagination.
|The truncated Stone Hotel dating to the 1870s,
and the Daggett Garage that met the needs
of travelers on the National Old Trails Highway
as well as Route 66, still cast their shadow
on America’s most famous highway in
Those who seek the charms, the secret places, and the forlorn ruins scattered from Chicago to Santa Monica along Route 66 understand this sense of being suspended between the “here” and the “then”. They will also understand the addictive, simple pleasures found in a slice of fresh apple pie at a cafe unchanged in a half century or buying a cold drink on a hot summers day in a store that has served the needs of a faded community for more than one hundred years that enhance that sense of timelessness.
A life spent along the road less traveled, or even an occasional visit, is not for everyone or the faint of heart. For those unable to sever the moorings of the modern era, that are not comfortable in spending time alone with their thoughts, or that are unnerved by not having a schedule or reservation that dictates where the day will end these places are unsettling, desolate, and sterile.
Long ago, I learned to find solace in the silence of once busy streets where dust now swirls and reassurance in the faint whispers from the past carried on desert winds along former highways of commerce. It is in places so quiet I can hear the beating of my heart or the flutter of a sparrows wing that there is balm for a soul bruised and battered by the daily battles of life.
My most recent excursion was, as is most always the case, a rather enjoyable one. Even amongst the clamor, din, brown skies, and frantic pace of the L.A. basin I found beauty as well as things to pique the interest. I also found renewed elation for those quiet places when we turned the Jeep onto the quiet streets of Daggett.
My quest for the empty places often leaves me wondering if I would have liked Route 66 very much during its glory days of the 1950s. Would I would have been one of the eccentrics that avoided the glitzy neon of the modern auto court and sought the dimly lit, tarnished gems that were old hotels during this period?
Would I have been trying to cross the Mojave Desert on the rutted traces of the National Old Trails Highway to avoid the traffic that snaked across the desert while complaining that the towering new “Roy’s” sign in Amboy destroyed the character of the place?
I live in the modern with its endless gadgetry and am thankful for air conditioning when crossing the deserts but my heart is in another time, an era suspended between the harsh world of the Great Depression and that time when we became fearful of travel without guidance of GPS or those empty places where there is no service available for the cell phone. I live in a unique time when the non generic world of the past is a highly sought after commodity provided there is Wifi available. These are truly interesting times.
Now, before I descend to deeply into meditative thoughts inspired by the recent adventure across the Mojave Desert it might be best to remind you that this will be a very busy, very historic time in Kingman. We have the county fair and Chillin on Beale Street with the debut of the new book, 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, two events that will ensure a weekend of fun for the entire family.