When I was a kid dad bought me a toy dashboard that hung on the back of the front seat. It had fake gauges, a steering wheel, various switches, and a horn, something I am quite sure he disconnected on the second day. It had a lot of pointy things and to play with it you had to stand up on the back seat floor or sit on the edge of the seat. 
This little gadget and laying on the package shelf in the rear window were my favorite way to pass the miles. I am quite sure providing a child with a toy such as this, or allowing that kind of behavior today, would be considered child abuse, or at least endangerment.
There was little doubt in my imaginative mind that turning the wheel actually had a bearing on which way the car was going. In retrospect, I suppose it was those imaginary journeys along U.S. 127, U.S. 66, U.S. 12, and other stretches of two lane blacktop that were the catalyst for my life long passion for the road trip.
In all honesty, I think this was also the seed that grew into a deep fascination for the almost unlimited capacity humans have for self deception. As with so many things in this old world, a little self deception can be a very good thing provided its kept in the back seat and not actually allowed to drive the car.
I can almost bet money that old man Fowler’s fascination with space travel began as a hobby and a few flights of fancy. Even the self deception that he could build a space ship wasn’t really a bad thing as it got him to college.
The he let the fantasy take the wheel. That was shortly before I met him, and just a year or so before he began work to convert his VW bug into a spaceship.
The explosion of international interest in Route 66 is a manifestation of harmless self deception. The old highway has become a 2,200 mile attraction that blends the best of the Yellow Brick Road with Disneyland, and that vanilla ice cream cone on a hot Saturday night on the lake shore when you were eight or nine.
Now, when you spend 2.5 times your annual income to seek the life changing adventure that is a ten day journey on Route 66 there is a very good chance you have allowed your private little self deception to drive the tour bus. Yes, a journey like this would surely be life changing, but it would probably end in a manner similar to my dad taking his hand off the wheel and letting me take control from the back seat.
Perhaps one of the more intriguing aspects of self deception is that if it is wrapped in a pretty enough package, and has a convincing spokesman, it can be sold wholesale to a group and for a profit. Consider the diamond mines and other treasures that made Shakespeare in New Mexico a boom town, at least for a little while, or the current state of politics in America today.
If you are interested in this story, and similar tales of profit through the marketing of self deception, may I suggest Ghost Towns of the Southwesthttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0760332215&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr. The author will be donating the profits received from the sale of this book to the elimination of poverty, namely his own.