In my humble opinion I really believe that those who are well read, those who have an understanding, and a grasp of history (as it was, not as we would like it to have been) have a much better understanding of how fortunate they are to live now instead of then. They have also seem to have a more pragmatic and clear picture of history yet to come.
From that perspective I am aggravated and saddened by the current state of historical knowledge in this nation. It is also one of the foundational elements of why I write, and why I rave about books (such as the recent release of David Crockett that present history rather than snippets of history to justify an opinion or belief.
Some years ago I was privileged to befriend an elderly gentleman that contributed greatly to a more balanced perspective in regards to my passion for old cars and trucks. Like Route 66, vintage cars are enjoyable because we have a choice.
We can drive the Model A because it is fun, not because we have no other means for making the trip to Phoenix in the summer. Likewise, Route 66 is fun because we can enjoy it rather than endure it, we can savor its charms and multifaceted wonders free from the constraints of bumper to bumper traffic on narrow bridges, and patching inner tubes on a hot summers day.
We can travel Route 66 to remind us of the price paid for the modern life. We can linger in little cafes and mourn for our loss and sleep in peaceful slumber in vintage motels while meditating on the price paid for the illusion of progress as well as what really constitutes advancement.
My buddy Don began his life long career as a truck driver in 1937 at the age of 17. His family owned a produce market in Needles, and supplied fresh produce to the Central Commercial stores in Kingman and Oatman.
His dad and older brother would make two runs to Los Angeles from Needles every week, a trip of twelve to eighteen hours each way. On more than one occasion an overload or mechanical problem would result in a call home and Don being dispatched with a pick up truck to share the load or bring the needed parts out to Amboy, or Daggett, or Chambless, or Cadiz Summit.
Even at the age of 17, Don often had additional duties such as making the deliveries to Kingman and Oatman, over the grades and curves of the Black Mountains, in a flat bed Ford. Flat tires and roadside repairs, over heating and traffic, accidents and detours, were all part of another day on the road.
When he turned 18, he began making the L.A. runs alone. On hot summer days, with a full load, he would drop the old Ford truck into compound low gear, pull out the throttle knob, and stand on the running board to steer the truck with two wheels on the shoulder at speeds of less than ten miles per hour.
Two spares were carried as even with new tires at least one flat was almost a guarantee on each run. During the months of summer, with the relentless heat baking that narrow strip of asphalt as it snaked across the desert, the return trips were made at night if possible but still, gallons of water were carried for the radiator as well as driver.
One of the best films for portraying the life of a truck driver in those early years that I am aware of is They Drove By Night Tough is a very inadequate word to describe the men who made their living on the road in the pre 1950 world.
I prefer the old ways and the forgotten roads and am grateful for that choice, for that luxury. Perhaps it is that realization that makes them so special to me. 

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