With my nose now near the point of full recovery it is time to hit the promotional trail. To that end my dearest friend and I will be on the road to Prescott again this Monday for an interview on AM Arizona.
The topic of discussion will be the international fascination with Route 66, new projects, the release of my next book, Ghost Towns of Route 66, and adventures on the road less traveled. As always it should be interesting as well as stimulating conversation.
An ancient and ailing cat, and a promise to treasure hunt with the granddaughter on Sunday afternoon, prohibit making it a weekend of adventure with dinner and an evening at the Hassayampa Inn in Prescott. So, dark and early Monday morning we will leave the cat in the care of a sitter and roll east on US 66 to the point where that legendary highway is truncated by I-40 at the Crookton Road exit west of Ashork, forgo the luxury of the Williamson Valley Road, and follow highway 89 into Prescott.
The return trip is a bit less certain or structured and is dependant on the possible visit with my wife’s great uncle Orvin in Prescott Valley and the weather. He turns 98 this month and epitomizes a breed of man I admire greatly, the type of man this country sorely needs but just doesn’t seem to produce anymore.
In all of the years I have been privileged to know this man, he has always had a smile and never had a complaint to utter, unless of course you were crazy enough to bring up the topic of national direction. However, even these were pretty well tempered even when seasoned with a salty crowd and a touch of the Wild Turkey.
He has weathered the storms of life for most of a century and it shows. Working to help support a large family of siblings early in life, overcoming polio that was supposed to have left him crippled, and enlisting in the United States Army and serving as an infantry man from France to Germany during World War II.
He supported his family by working on road construction crews throughout the southwest and with his ranch in the Verde River Valley. His partner through thick and thick was his wife that he lost a couple of years ago.
As a simple man who was quick to offer assistance to those in need, and who did not believe the world or the government owed him anything but an opportunity, he stands in glaring contrast to the society of dependant victims we seem to have become today. I look forward to another visit as inspiration is something that can always be used.
If we do visit, and the snow isn’t flying and the back roads have not been turned to pudding, we will roll over Mingus Mountain into the ghost city of Jeorme, and then wander the old Perkinsville Road, forty plus miles of dust or mud dependant on season, into Williams. This drive is best made in the summer but any opportunity to cruise through almost pristine Arizona back country and enjoy the scenic wonders of the Verde River country should not be missed.
Plan B would be to take the road through Drake, just to the north of Chino Valley, and catch the Perkinsville Road for the drive into Williams. In the months of summer this rates as a top drive but winter can be a bit dicey as elevations near 8,000 feet and the road is often pretty soft.
In either case, I owe my dearest friend a belated Valentine’s dinner and in Williams are some of our favorite restaurants; Jessica’s, the Pine Country Restaurant, and Old Smoky’s to name a few.
If time allows we might also wander into Flagstaff as I hear Bookman’s has reopened after the roof collapse during last winters heavy snows. This little gem tops our list for best general book store. If you know of a better one, please let me know.
It will be another whirlwind adventure, but as always, I am quite sure it will be another memory maker. After all, how can you go wrong with family visits, a road trip that includes Route 66 and the Arizona back country, time spent with my dearest friend, and the stalwart Jeep as our trusty steed?