I am hoping that friends and associates will not mind celebrating Christmas in January as the Russians do. As I have yet to prepare cards or packages the 7th of January seems a much more practical goal.
It seems the entire month of December has been spent in a thick fog that lifted only long enough to provide a clear look into the deep, dark abyss. The death of my mother on the first of the month and her funeral on the 7th was followed by the death of my little sister on the 13th and her funeral yesterday.
Still, in the midst of death there is life. All of this brought my father, sister, and I together for the first time since 1968. All of my grandchildren were present. My nephews were in town, one on leave from Afghanistan and the other from New Mexico. Friends arrived from Utah and New Mexico. One postponed a date with his wife and a trip to Las Vegas. And as always, through it all, there was the support and prayers of my dearest friend.
I would be remiss if a hearty thank you was not given to all who expressed condolences and offered prayerful support. As many of you are facing personal challenges even greater, the fact that you would take time to offer these is almost overwhelming.
Three weeks ago I began a new feature by dedicating a weekend post to travel tips and book reviews. As therapy for me, and to keep my promise to you, here are this weeks tips and book reviews.
Lets start with a great destination, Harold Warp’s Pioneer Village in Minden, Nebraska on U.S. 6. Both the village and the highway are often overlooked destinations.
The highway is about 90% intact and currently connects Bishop in California to the tip of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. All along the route is found stunning scenery ranging from deserts to the Rocky Mountains, the plains and the sea shore. A veritable cornucopia of roadside America from the pregeneric era, and a wide array of surprising attractions such as Cedar Point amusement park in Ohio and Pioneer Village in Nebraska ensure the drive is never boring.
Pioneer Village is a mind boggling array of artifacts that trace the history of the spark plug, the kitchen, outboard motors, china dolls, and, of course, the automobile. Sprinkled throughout the complex are little treats like a steam powered carousel with rides costing a nickel.
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B003LD2FPQ&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrIt is not often people think of Nebraska as a vacation destination. However, if you are looking for an uncrowded vacation getaway next summer you might consider whiling away the winter evening hours with a google search. I promise you will be quite surprised.
If you prefer curling up in front of the fire with a good book, I have two to suggest, Nebraska Travel Guide, and an interesting book by Michael Wallis, the gentleman who lit the fuse for resurgent interest in Route 66, http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0393059383&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrThe Lincoln Highway: Coast to Coast from Times Square to the Golden Gate.
As it is tough to enjoy the pleasures of a motel swimming pool in Nebraska in January, I suggest your tour to that state be scheduled for summer. However, the deserts of the southwest are best explored during the months of late fall, winter, and early spring.
The wide array of attractions found along Route 66 from Seligman in Arizona to Santa Monica in California can easily consume a vacation or two. Add a few detours and you should be able to enjoy winter exploration for years to come.
With that thought in mind I have a great book to suggest. It was written by a knowledgeable author that http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=076032817X&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrhas a passion for the road less traveled, especially if they cross desert plains or lead to ghost towns, seldom visited national parks, or quaint little villages where time has stood still.
The author is yours truly and the book is Route 66 Backroads: Your Guide to Scenic Side Trips & Adventures from the Mother Road. The idea for this book came through the discovery of a photographic post card from about 1950.
The card featured a billboard on the eastern border of Arizona. Dominating the center of the advertisement was a picture of the Grand Canyon. Both sides were a list of attractions and sites only found with short detours from Route 66.
With that idea in my head, I sat down with an atlas and began looking at attractions between Chicago and Santa Monica that could be accessed with short detours from Route 66. Well, the list that included Palo Duro Canyon south of Amarillo, Supai in Arizona, and Death Valley in California served as the catalyst for the book.

Elk in Hualapai Mountain Park

A number of these attractions and sites can only be accessed utilizing Route 66. Hualapai Mountain Park, a forested island in a sea of desert south of Kingman, and the village of Supai, the most community in the lower 48 with thundering waterfalls that dwarf the one at Niagara, are just two examples.
As an added bonus, if you purchase the book, or any other travel guides I have written, simply drop a note requesting updated information or with your questions, and a response will be sent as quickly as possible.

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