To kick off the 2011 edition of our weekly book review and travel tip feature we have an international perspective on derelict automobiles, legendary American muscle cars out to pasture, a suggestion for an ideal weekend getaway, and a few other items we hope you will find of interest. As always, please feel free to share your thoughts, ideas, suggestions, and experiences.
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1845843460&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrItem one is another wonderful little book from Veloce Publishing of England. In Sleeping Beauties USA, Bjoern Marek, an automotive journalist with an intimate knowledge of the United States and a fascination for American automobiles, captures the forlorn beauty of vintage vehicles found along the highways and byways including legendary Route 66.
In this relatively small publication, 96 pages with 62 color photographs, Marek successfully manages to blend rusting hulks framed by raw scenes of natural wonder or equally faded roadside remnants from the era of the Edsel, in a manner that evokes fine art. As a simple, inspirational book for the initiation of lively conversation this book rates as more than a mere shelf filler.
The books is available through Amazon.com as well as direct from the publisher at http://www.veloce.co.uk/. Of course, it is also available through my favorite book store, Auto Books – Aero Books in Burbank.
The next title is an American chronicle of vehicles out to pasture but in this book by CarTech (http://www.cartechbooks.com/) the focus is on http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1934709409&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrlegendary muscle cars. I found this book to be more in the realm of automotive archeology as the author Steve Magnante, provides a bit of substance for the eye candy by providing information on the pictured vehicle by decoding the vehicles vehicle identification data plate.
Rusted Muscle: A Collection of Derelict Dream Machines is more than 176 pages packed with 420 color images of legendary muscle cars out to pasture, it is the stuff of dreams. If your fantasies lend themselves to resurrecting a vehicle from the era of raw, tire smoking horsepower, this book might just be the inspiration you need to transform them into realities.
Okay, our next title is, in essence, a giant, hard cover post card from America’s most famous highway, Route 66. Heavily illustrated with concise entries from then pens of a number of authors intimately associated with this highway and its history, Greetings from Route 66, is http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=076033885X&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifra great addition to a roadies library. In addition it is also an excellent introductory course to the highways mystique for those unfamiliar with its captivating charms.
There is, however, a small flaw with this title, some of the material is out of date. Rather than reinvent the wheel, and as I am not a wholly impartial judge since I too am featured in the bylines, here is an excellent review written by Ron Warnick of Route 66 News that details the flaws as well as the merits.
Now, lets talk road trips, even though scouting for junk yards constitutes a good reason for a road trip in my book, with my weekend getaways suggestion of the week. Located less than fifty miles south of Route 66 and Ashfork, is the delightful treasure that is Prescott in Arizona, the former territorial capital.
Summer is the best time for a visit as the elevation keeps it relatively cool. However, even winter is an excellent time for a visit even though they do get snow on occasion and the temperatures are a bit cooler than Phoenix with mornings often well below freezing.
The heart of Prescott is its charming historic district and courthouse square. With the exception of the traffic parked along the curbs, the area is a near perfect time capsule from the pre suburbia era with its malls and sprawl.
There are well preserved and restored hotels that have been meeting the needs of travelers for a century, a wide array of restaurants, museums, fine art galleries, and even an authentic western saloon with original bat wing doors. Encapsulating this rare gem are national forests and all the trappings of modern American from chain restaurants and malls, to auto plazas and housing tracts.
There are two historic hotels that I can recommend, the Hotel St. Michael and the Hassayampa Inn. The Hotel St. Michael is at the heart of everything on historic “Whiskey Row” and as a result quiet for a good nights sleep can be a rare commodity, especially during one of the many weekend festivals that give Prescott a vibrancy.
|Hassayampa Inn in Prescott|
So, when business or the need for a weekend getaway takes us to Prescott, we lean toward the 1920s era Hassayampa Inn, several blocks to the east. The price is reasonable, its always clean, the staff is friendly, the restaurant and lounge are wonderful time capsules, and the property is maintained in a near perfect balance between historic preservation and modern convenience.
Dining in the historic district of Prescott runs the gamut from Mexican restaurants in the same location for a half century, a micro-brewery that serves excellent food, and simple, small cafes. In our travels we choose the historic restaurant in the Hassayampa Inn for breakfast.
The ambiance and food are wonderful as is the service. It also allows us to start the day on a more leisurely pace.
|The lobby of the historic Hassayampa Inn|
Now, if you happen to visit in the months of summer, have a vehicle with a bit of ground clearance, and really want to glimpse frontier era Arizona, the Senator Highway to the historic mining town of Crown King, an interesting attraction in its own right, is must. The old road twists and turns through the Bradshaw Mountains, past historic mines, and an authentic stage stop, the Palace Station, crosses small streams and through forests that present the illusion that it is 1880.
When traveling back roads, and this is a back road as it is a highway in name only, always check locally about road conditions. In Prescott the forest service office is downtown near the courthouse.
As a final item of the day we have an update. The new camera system has arrived, the learning curve is well underway, and, if anything goes according to schedule, we should be able to show you what makes Kingman such a special place in the next few days.