From its very inception Route 66 has been the highway of change, of transition, and nothing in the modern era indicates that this is about to change at any time in the near future. As an example consider the article about QR codes in the last issue of 66 The Mother Road, a new electronic magazine, a publication that exemplifies the collision of the past and present that is Route 66 today.
GPS guided Route 66 geocaching is fast becoming a popular new way to add some zest to the Route 66 experience. Now add some QR code based electronic kiosks along the route, a few more places to spend the night like the Wigwam Motel in Rialto, the Motel Safari or Blue Swallow in Tucumcari, and a cafe or two such as the Midpoint in Adrian, Texas, and legendary Route 66 becomes a tangible bridge between the historic past and the future that looms on the horizon.
Just imagine the possibilities of blending the past and future along Route 66; the old Texas Longhorn Cafe in Glenrio, Texas with all power being generated by the wind and sun, CNG and electric charging stations masked as old visible register pumps at vintage stations that appear a holdouts from the Gilmore or Whiting Brothers chains, GPS linked guided tours narrated by Michael Wallis. The possibilities are truly only limited by the imagination!
Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, there are folks like me, Joe Sonderman, the new trustees of the iconic Blue Swallow Motel, and Gary Turner of Gay Parita who seem to spend more time looking back than forward. I like to think we have been entrusted with the task of ensuring that the colorful history of this amazing highway is not eclipsed by the excitement of the future or the romanticised version of what once was. We are the balance at the other end of the scale.
In between is each and every one of us who enjoy cruising the old road, making new memories, conjuring old ones, and watching the renaissance of legendary Route 66 with eager anticipation. The life blood of Route 66 has always been the people and that is something the future can never change.
Now, let me share a few quick updates. I received notification today that Arizona Highways profiled Kerrick James, the artistic and primary photographer for the 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, with an interview about his involvement with the project and the international fascination with Route 66. This interview was posted on their blog.
I should also note that the August issue of True West http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B00005N7VL&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrmagazine with feature a three page review of the book with photos. My hope is that this feature will emulate the old road and bridge the distant past on the western frontier with the more modern era, an odd time when people were cruising a road that would become Route 66 in their Model T Fords while posse’s were chasing cattle rustlers on horseback across the plains near Endee, New Mexico.
While on the subject of Endee, let me share a few tidbits gleaned from old newspapers while conducting research for the current project, a Route 66 encyclopedia and atlas. It would seem this community, and much of the surrounding area was a bit slow in regards to adapting to the modern era represented by the dawning of the 20th century.
In 1907, a band of cattle rustlers were rousted from their headquarters in Endee by a heavily armed posse who had tracked them from Tucumcari. In 1909, a temperance meeting was interrupted by mounted and masked cowboys who rode their horses into the meeting and proceeded to shoot up the mirrors, the glass ware, and then stampede the anti drink crowd out into the street.
On a final note, if you have purchased a copy of Ghost Towns of Route 66, I would enjoy hearing your thoughts in regards to how it has affected your perception of Route 66 as well as how it might have influenced your travel plans on that highway. If you haven’t purchased a copy plans are under way to add Paypal purchase opportunities to the blog before the end of the month.