There are times when it seems this thing called life seems to be an endless series of trials and tribulations bracketed with joy and happiness. In the past twenty-one days I have learned that grandchild number three is on the way, have lost a very good friend from Australia, have gotten a clean bill of health from the doctor, am eagerly anticipating a visit from our friends from Amsterdam, Dries Bessels and his wife, have recovered from a painful bacterial infection in the pulp of a tooth, had to replace the refrigerator, and am in limbo as I await for confirmation of the scheduled date for another interview on AM Arizona in Prescott and with Jay Leno at his garage. To ensure the self induced stress level keeps pace with the natural stresses of life (the day job, age, money issues, etc.) I have the pending deadline that is now hanging over my head like an anvil, pending approval for an ambitions two book deal, and planning for the October trip. If there were any fears in this swirling sea of chaos and tribulation it would be that I become myopic and loose track of what is really important. A few years ago I was privileged to meet a fascinating young man from Illinois, Cort Stevens, as he made a pilgrimage along Route 66. In spite of what many would consider debilitating health issues and other challenges, he manages to maintain a relatively upbeat and even optimistic outlook that is infectious. You might even say he is inspirational. Now that is really the essence of life, that is the difference between a life well lived and a life endured. And that just may be the greatest blessing that comes from living on Route 66, writing books about that highway, and our travels along that storied highway – the inspirational people met along the way. Try sitting at the Midpoint Cafe in Texas, where Fran and her crew serve everything with a smile, with a slice of fresh pie and a cup of hot coffee and not feel the spirits lift. It is an impossibility. This is where the real magic of Route 66 is found, in the people. This is what is fueling the ever growing international resurgent interest in this old road. In these trying, crushing, harried times people are in need of inspiration that feeds dreams and the break from the cold impersonal electronic world of the modern era that is made manifest in the smiling faces of the people behind the counter who call you by name even if your last visit was in August of 2010. This was another aspect of the Route 66 encyclopedia project I found to be so enjoyable. Along the way I met some of the most inspirational people and have an opportunity to share their story, people like Alberta Ellis or Victor Green.
In a couple of somewhat unrelated notes, it looks as though the Route 66 tour will take place during the first weeks of October. As always, if you sell copies of my books I would be pleased to stop and sign them for you. In addition I will have some copies with us, as well as prints from our various adventures on Route 66 and the desert southwest. Additionally, if you are having a fund raiser and I may be of assistance, please let me know as soon as possible. The trip is going to be a whirlwind and the schedule is filling quickly.