On Saturday morning the sense of excitement and anticipation had me acting like a kid on Christmas morning and so we rushed breakfast, drove to the big event following a very rare Edsel station wagon along Route 66, and again set up our table. Half way into our task, Michael Wallishttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0393067580&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr, the acclaimed author and speaker who was also selling books at the event including his latest, David Crockett: Lion of the West, stopped at our table to talk and purchase a copy of my new book, 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 would seem my sense of eager anticipation about the day was not unwarranted!
We discussed a wide array of topics but Route 66, its past present, and future, dominated the conversation. Then, he quietly asked if I would consider serving on the advisory council for the Route 66 Alliance he had co-founded. To say the very least, I was surprised and honored.
The rest of the day was a blur. I sold books, answered Route 66 related questions, distributed the Arizona Route 66 passports and other promotional material, signed prints, met people known only through correspondence, watched the vintage cars come and go outside the window, and ate another wonderful lunch with my dear wife, who photographed cars most of the day, from Dolly’s Diner.
In between were brief conversations with legends of the Route 66 community such as Shellee Graham, Jim Ross, and Jerry McClanahan, and a wide array of wonderful people who work behind the scenes to ensure the Route 66 experience remains alive and well such as Carolyn Hasenfratz of Missouri. What an amazing day!
All to quickly the time came to close down and load remaining materials back into the Jeep. We drove back to the motel for a quick shower as the best was yet to come, the banquet, silent auction, and awards celebration.
The celebration kicked off with tunes from the Golden Spread Chorus, a prayer, a patriotic celebration with the pledge of allegance, and then some first rate food supplied by the Red River Steak House in McLean, Texas. My table mates for the evening were John Springs and his charming wife, Judy, Dale Butel, his delightful wife Kristi-Anne, and their friends from Australia and New Zealand, and of course, my dearest friend.
Good hearted laughter and a few hijinks gave the silent auction a spirit of fun and then came the awards. The award for traveling the longest distance went to Dale and Kristi-Anne Butel, Richard and Robin Hattrill, and John Mascali of Australia, and Akio Takeuchi of Japan.
Alan McNeil, and his mother, received recognition for their efforts to ressurect the historic Triangle Motel. Joe Loesch and his Road Crew received the prestigious Bobby Troup Artistic Award.
Then Michael Wallis wove his story telling magic as he gave the annual state of the road address. It, and some final songs by the Golden Spread Chorus, capped off a perfect day, but I still had one task yet to perform – the signing of a hood on a fans truck!