There are a number of advantages to having survived more than a half century spent learning things the hard way. The narrowing of the list for what I want to do when I grow up is one of these. Another is the realization that I am smart enough to bluff my way through most anything short of brain surgery and home vasectomy but the blessings in the form of talents bestowed upon me are few.
When I first began trading the written word for food, money, and other gratuities my primary concern was that I would be caught imitating a writer. Then came the concern that if I was blessed with the talent to be a writer, there was a responsibility to develop it. Last but not least is the dawning realization, after the writing of several hundred feature articles, and a half dozen books, that I may have discovered my special purpose.
So, it was with that liberating line of thinking that I jumped at the chance to write a Route 66 encyclopedia and atlas and, after a bit of negotiation, accepted a contract that was not ideal but had potential for possible profit. The mere thought of writing for profit, a novelty in itself, further fueled my excitement.
At the time it really seemed like a good idea. On occasion it still does. Of course that is usually on the days that did not start at 4:00 by answering correspondence and ended around 10:00 with me stumbling off to bed bleary eyed from trying to write several thousand words after a full day at the real job, the one that pays the bills and that supports the writing habit.
I am now closing in on 60,000 words of text and have edited almost two hundred photos. So, it looks as though I am rapidly closing in on the half way point and still have ten months before deadline.
The research and study has filled my head with fact after fact, and the file cabinet and desk to overflowing with notes, notebooks, and papers, and yet there is so much more to learn, so much more to share in this magnum opus.
- Route 66 Magazine celebrated its 18th year of publication with the winter 2010 issue –
- Murray’s Ranch in Victorville was billed as the only “Negro Dude Ranch in the World” during the 1950s –
- Automobile registration in Oklahoma jumped from 15,000 in 1914 to more than 500,000 in 1926 –
- In 1955 only 20% of Oklahoma’s highways had paved surfaces –
- Initially the National Old Trails Highway, predecessor to Route 66 was to follow a segment of the Trail to Sunset from Santa Fe to Yuma via Albuquerque, Springerville and Globe in Arizona –
- Lyon’s Park near Arcadia, Oklahoma was one of the few amusement parks in the county during the 1930s that catered to African-American customers –
- Sammy Davis Jr. lost his eye as a result of an automobile accident on Route 66 –
- Before 1937 the highest point on Route 66 was Glorietta Pass in New Mexico. After the bypass resultant of a realignment in 1937, the highest point was Bellmont in Arizona –
- For Hyde Park in Arizona, the slogan pasted on signs for a hundred miles in both directions was “Park Your Hide Tonight At Hyde Park” –
- Lawndale in Illinois was originally platted at 19 blocks –
- Essex in California was the last community in the United States to acquire television service –
- Goffs in California was once the junction for two railroad lines and two highways, the National Old Trails Highway and the Arrowhead Highway –
- Endee in New Mexico is named for the ND Ranch –
- The Madonna of the Trail statue in Springerville, Arizona, one in a series placed along the National Old Trails Highway by the Daughters of the American Revolution, was originally slated for Kingman, Arizona –
- The origination for Spencer, Missouri was the construction of a mill there in 1858 –
- Of the three remaining Wigwam Motels, two are located on Route 66 –
- The sharpest curves and steepest grades found on Route 66 are La Bajada Hill on the pre 1937 alignment of Route 66, not the pre 1952 alignment in the Black Mountains of Arizona –
- Emily Post wrote, in 1916, that La Bajada Hill was the best section of road between Las Vegas and Albuquerque –
- Truxton, Arizona,1952 is one of the newest towns to be established on Route 66 before its decommissioning –
- The California State Highway Department noted an average of 300 motor vehicle per day crossing the river from Arizona at Needles –
- In 1924 the California Highway Department suggested that three days be allowed for travel from San Bernardino to Needles. Barney Oldfield, during the 1914 Desert Classic Race, had driven this route as part of the course that ran from Los Angeles to Phoenix, and had completed the entire race in 16 hours, forty minutes –
But the greatest discoveries are not the facts and trivia. Its the people met in my adventures with writing, their passions as they pertain to the old highway, and their willingness to share the fruit of those passions to ensure my books are well seasoned. As an example consider this amazing collection and the books written by Joe Sonderman.
This will be the second time Joe has graciously lent assistance to making sure my projects are full of flavor. The first endeavor was on Ghost Towns of Route 66http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0760338434&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr.
It is people like Joe that make my quest to become a writer enjoyable. It is notes from those who read the finished product that is my reward.