Well, its time to say adios to 2010. Even though it didn’t end very well in the grand scheme of things we had a pretty good year and are looking toward 2011 with a degree of optimism as well as excitement.
After an almost two month hiatus I am ready and eager to get back to the Route 66 atlas and encyclopedia project. With that being the goal for the first weeks of the new year, I composed the following letter and am submitting it to historical societies as well as communities all along Route 66.
“December 31, 2010
1308 Stockton Hill Rd.
Suite A, PMB 228
Kingman, AZ 86401-5190
As an introduction, I am an itinerant author and photographer obsessed with Route 66, the great two lane highways of America, and their history. Until quite recently I served as the associate editor for Cars & Parts magazine but my body of published work includes more than one thousand feature articles and six books.
My current project is an ambitious one, to chronicle 85 years of Route 66 history in an encyclopedia and atlas. I fully understand it will be an impossibility to document every aspect of the highways colorful history during this period but my intention is to provide a summary of every community along Route 66, biographical profiles of key figures in the highways development, promotion, and the era of resurgent interest, as well as overviews of specific properties.
One of the key aspects of this project is to document existent motels and restaurants along Route 66 that have a history which predates the decommissioning of the highway. To ensure relevance, I am also hoping to document future plans for these properties.
Thank you for the assistance.
Please feel free to circulate this letter as I want this work to be as accurate and relevant as http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=076032817X&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrpossible. Additionally, I am hoping it will also be a valuable promotional tool for businesses along the highway.
Even though I have a wide margin in regards to editorial constraints my opinion at this time is this work will have to have “Volume One” in the title. How can the amazing 85 year history of this iconic highway, and the people that wrote it, be encapsulated in a mere 120,000 to 150,oo0 words when I have already exceeded 50,000 with just an overview of the communities along the route?
Another aspect of this book that I am quite excited about is in regard to the illustrations. I have been supplying the accompanying photos for my magazine articles since at least 1994, provided a few images for books written including the bottom shot on the cover of
Route 66 Backroads, and about five percent of the photos for the forthcoming Ghost Towns of Route 66. For this project I will be supplying about 90% of the current photos.
I really like the concept utilized in Russell Olsen’s book, Route 66 Lost & Foundhttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0760334927&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr and would like to apply that to this work but on a larger scale. As Joe Sonderman and Mike Ward have graciously offered access to their wonderful collection of post cards, my vision is to portray Route 66 businesses then, now, and perhaps at some point in their transition.
We have photographed and scouted locations from Santa Monica to Springfield in Missouri. Now the plan is to use material garnered from the circulation of this letter to coordinate three photography expeditions; California this winter, the trip to Amarillo for the festival in June, and then a drive from Chicago back to Arizona in early fall.
At 4:30 this morning the temperature was hovering at eleven degrees. For reasons unknown exactly, I decided that as the wind wasn’t blowing a bicycle ride to work would be an invigorating way to start the day.
I am always amazed at the clarity of thoughts during bicycle rides on mornings such as this. Perhaps it is merely a natural defense to keep the body from realizing it has been plunged into a freezer rather than encased in the warmth and comfort of the Jeep.
By the time I arrived at work, and could again work my facial muscles, the thought of having an excuse for several road trips made me smile. In all honesty just the realization that I had feeling in my face would have probably been reason for smiling.
Even though the finish line is still quite some distance down the road, I am turning thoughts toward the next project. As enamored with Route 66 as I am, my thinking is that it might be time to shine the light on another historic road like the Lincoln Highway or something a bit more obscure like enigmatic U.S. 6.
Meanwhile, with thoughts of peanut butter chocolate pie at the Midpoint Cafe, another night nestled in comfort in the Wigwam Motel, and another opportunity to savor the solitude in Endee dancing in my head, the focus is turning toward the ride home now that it has warmed up to a balmy 35 degrees, a New Years eve spent with friends, and a weekend composing the history of America’s most famous highway.
To each and everyone of you that has contributed to making this one of our most exciting years, a hearty thank you. It is is our sincere hope you will be richly blessed this weekend and in the year to come.
See you on the road.