When hiking deep into the desert wilderness, I like to take a breather on a knoll or ridge and look back on the trail. To see the landscapes from the perspective of the return trip ensures the chances of getting lost are slim, enables me to see where I made wrong turns, and provides a realistic understanding of just how far I have traveled.
For the most part that is an analogy for the way I live life. I have a goal in mind but look ahead just far enough to find a high point for a bit of rest and reflection on the road traveled, mistakes made that I do not wish to repeat, and an honest evaluation of just how far I have traveled.
I am in sight of the ridge, my resting place, but there is one more small hill. The final edit for Ghost Towns of Route 66 was sent to the publisher this morning. Now, I have to polish the first segment of the Route 66 encyclopedia and atlas, gather a sampling of photos for review, and submit them to the publisher next week.
Tomorrow after work I will meet with a French film crew that is making a documentary about Route 66 and the international fascination with that highway. On Monday, as we are still short handed at the office, it will be a rushed trip to Prescott for an interview on AM Arizona and then home via my favorite shortcut, the Williamson Valley Road.  Then I can take that breather and a moment or two for relaxation and reflection.
Today, the final segment in the ghost town series ran on KNAU and last evening I participated in the call in program on this topic. If the subject of empty places and why we are drawn to them fascinates you, here is a link for all five segments as well as last evenings program.
I have to give a hats off to Diane Hope and the staff that made this series possible. They did an excellent job in providing a well balanced perspective with the series and in rounding it off in last nights program.
Over the years the fascination with the past, the ghost towns, and the people who wandered this earth before we arrived, has spawned a wide array of “movements”. During the late Victorian period there was a mania for the old Egyptian empire that resulted in a veritable gold rush in antiquities, which in turn fueled a lucrative counterfeiting of antiquities business, exploration, and obsession with all thing mummy related.
I suppose the American equivalent in the first years of this new century would be Route 66. There is an international fascination with all things related to this highway that shows no sign of waning.
As it has come to symbolize the glory days of the open road, is perceived as an icon that long ago transcended its initial role as a highway, and is a tangible link to the pre generic world, it is only natural that a symbiotic relationship between the highway and all things Harley Davidson would result.  In recent years this has been made manifest from April until October in a seemingly endless stream of motorcycles manufactured by that venerable old Milwaukee company.
Enhancing the illusion that every motorcycle made by this company that is still operational was on Route 66 this year would be the massive H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group)rally, Ride for the Relay, the annual Mother Road Rally, and numerous European tour groups including the one from Holland led by Dries Bessels. Enhancing the illusion is the motorcycle cannon ball run that stopped in Kingman today.
A coast to coast rally with the primary stipulation being that entrants drive a motorcycle manufactured before 1916 is nothing short of astounding. The novelty of the race and the fact that a large portion of the route follows old U.S. 66 has resulted in truly international participation including a team from Japan with a 1915 Indian.
Here on Route 66 it has been a summer of endless thunder, automotive oddities, and historic moments. Earlier this summer it was the micro car rally and a French stilt walker. Then there was the Australian contingent in their Mustang convertibles, and a small herd of bicyclists from throughout the world.
Whats in store for 2011 on Route 66? Well, there is the big international festival in Amarillo, a new season for Chillin’ on Beale Street, the Route 66 Fun Run, the Route 66 Rendezvous, and at least several dozen other events. And of course there is the forthcoming release of Ghost Towns of Route 66.
As an added bonus there are plans afoot for an alternative energy vehicle rally. This has really piqued my interest as the organizer is looking at attracting participants of home made vehicles, historic vehicles, and modern factory prototypes as well as hybrids.
It would seem the idea of getting your kicks on Route 66 is an international one that may just keep this old highway in the spotlight well past its centennial.

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