It has been so dry here in my corner of Arizona along Route 66 that there was a very real concern we would be hunting jerky instead of deer and be forced to water the cactus to keep them alive. Those concerns are laid to rest for the Christmas season as we now have rain and lots of it.

As an added bonus the surrounding mountains are wreathed in clouds, dappled with ever changing patterns of shadows, and highlighted with shafts of brilliant sunlight. Stunning sunsets and equally stunning sunrises begin and end each day.
Storms in the desert, summer or winter, are truly awe inspiring sights that quicken the spirit. In the spring, summer, and fall they transform the raw and harsh landscapes into a multi hued palate. In winter a touch of snow in the high country softens the harsh edges and provides stunning backdrops to the majestic desert landscapes.

On rare occasions the desert itself is blanketed with a fine layer of the white stuff. It only last long enough to be enjoyable and serve as a reminder of why I choose not to live in one of those nasty places that start with “M” – Michigan, Minnesota, etc.
Rain, or snow, for Christmas is always a blessing in the desert. However, this year it seems a special and symbolic treat.
As the air is cleansed and the earth renewed from the life giving waters, so is my mind. With each drop of rain and every shaft of light silhouetting a stone spire on the horizon I can feel the sense of loss, of emptiness being transformed into pleasant memories.
Before becoming to maudlin in my thoughts let me share a few exciting news items. As noted yesterday the first of two interviews with Jay Leno is now available for viewing on his website. 
As you may imagine this represents the professional highlight for 2010. Other great milestones include completion of Ghost Towns of Route 66, and, for the first time, having photographic work sold to an international collector.
However, none of this success can be attributed to a superior intellect or incredible skills or talents. It is the people who provided support, assistance, and encouragement that have enabled me to make this far in my quest to become a writer when I grow up.
I know this list will be incomplete but please do not think your contributions are forgotten because of this. With that said I would like to thank Joe Sonderman, Laurel Kane, Jim Ross, Maurrie Salenger, Tina Van Curen, Josh Noble, Chris Durkin, Mike Ward, Dale Butel, Dries Bessel, Ron Warnick, Cort Stevens, Dan Rice, Darlene Bitter, Carolyn with the Missouri Route 66 Association (I won’t try and spell your last name without notes), Darrell Olsen, Bob Lile, Sandra Ashcraft, the fine folks in Cuba, Missouri, Pontiac, Illinois, Galena, Kansas, Kumar, and the many others who enabled me to transform an idea into a book. Here is to the success of our book in 2011!
As many of you are aware the current project is a massive undertaking, a Route 66 encyclopedia and atlas. To ensure it is accurate and that it encapsulates the amazing and colorful history of this extraordinary highways first 85 years, I need your help.
If you have a business on Route 66, manage a museum, own an historic property, or have a long association with this magic carpet of asphalt and gravel please drop me a note. Our encyclopedia will only be complete with your help.
Don’t forget our weekly travel tips and book review posting. If all goes well I should have it up by Sunday evening.
In closing it is my sincere hope and prayer that each of you will be richly blessed this holiday season as well as in the year to come.

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