OUT WITH THE OLD AND IN WITH THE NEW

I am not sure when the thought first began creeping into my head. It might have been last evening as we huddled in the alcove of the closed Power House Visitor Center as a a monsoon type deluge swept away the crowds at the Octoberfest. Perhaps it was early this morning as we savored the delight fall morning on our climb into the Cerbat Mountains along the Monolith Gardens Trail.
However, I am quite sure when it broke to the surface. I was deep into chronicling the bloody history of Holbrook, Arizona as it morphed from a territorial Sodom and Gomorrah into a tourist mecca fueled by the National Old Trails Highway and Route 66. Suddenly, the concentration was broken as the realization that the year 2010 is about to become history flooded my thoughts.

On the road less traveled in the Cerbat Mountains.

It seems like only last week that we bought the trusty Jeep and tossed common sense to the wind as we picked our way over the broken trail that leads from the summit of the Cerbat Mountains near Packsaddle Campground to the old Mining town of Chloride. That was more than a year and 14,000 miles ago!

Williamson Valley Road

Since that initial expedition the Jeep has proven itself a stalwart and dependable companion in our adventures. We have driven it on the sands of the beach at Malibu and through blizzards near Prescott, Arizona, Los Angeles traffic and the empty streets of ghost towns, over the rock strewn red clay through which the Williamson Valley Road was carved and into the pine forest that surround Williams, Arizona.

Jericho, Texas – ghost town

However, for us the year 2010 will always be inseparable from the Jeep as this was the year of grand adventure on Route 66. There have been three trips to California and across the Mojave Desert on this storied highway, at least a half dozen drives east to the Crookton Road exit near Ashfork, and best of all, an excursion to Springfield, Missouri with slight detours to the old Painted Desert Trading Post, Endee, and the once infamous Jericho Gap in Texas.
With Jerry McClanahan as our guide, and a 1929 edition of the Rand McNally atlas our compass for finding our way into the distant past, we sought the road less traveled. Or at least the road not traveled in recent memory.

Dead River Bridge

I am not writing the rest of this year off. After all, we still have just over two months to go and at least one trip to California simmering on the back burner and a grandson that will be announcing his arrival at any minute.
However, road trips were not the only new adventures this year. There were the comedic ones that included Jay Leno, a frustrating game of phone tag, rescheduled appointments, a chance meeting at Auto Books-Aero Books in Burbank, and now, a tentatively scheduled date for an interview. 
This was also the first year I had one book be shelved as a result of poor sales and another sell the first printing in 45 days. It was also the year I signed a contract for the largest project yet undertaken, the 150,000 word Route 66 encyclopedia and atlas.
The year 2010 will also be remembered as the first for having our work featured in two galleries. It will also serve as a milestone in regards to the first sale of our photographic work to an international collector.
All was not good news and grand adventure in 2010. After 53 years Amos Publishing pulled the plug on Cars & Parts magazine and my stint as associate editor came to an end. With the cessation of publication one of the most enjoyable features written, my monthly column entitled The Independent Thinker, became history.
Yes, I still have a day job that supports the writing habit. Yes, that is rather frustrating and yes, I am awaiting 2011 with eager anticipation.
There is the pending release of Ghost Towns of Route 66 and the international festival in Amarillo with the possibility of seeing old friends and making new ones. There is the very real possibility we will be driving the entire length of Route 66 beginning with a trip to Chicago.
I know the year isn’t over and I know that we will  have at least a few more milestones and points on interest along the highway of life before New years eve. Still, I think it would be safe to entitle the 2010 chapter as the year of the grand adventure.

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