The adventure that will culminate with our whirlwind tour of Route 66 in October (the rough itinerary is at the bottom of this post) commenced way back in April. The original game plan called for making the debut of Ghost Towns of Route 66 at the 2011 International Route 66 Festival in Amarillo, and then driving to Chicago along the double six as a promotional tour for the book with stops along the way to gather images for the current project, a Route 66 encyclopedia.
First, my schedule changed. Then the publicist I have worked with in the promotion of three books had to take an early retirement.
So, we made Amarillo one trip and the drive to Chicago a second trip. These sort of things seldom go smoothly in the world of publishing, writing, or the related promotion and this venture is following that course.
The fill in publicist took maternity leave on August 1. My work schedule now allows for just 9.5 days to make this trip. My dad, who lives 200 miles from Chicago in southern Michigan, is elderly and having a few issues so we really have to add a visit to the schedule.
So, on top of handling an inordinate share of the interview schedule and book signing dates, I have the regular job, where we are again short handed, work on the encyclopedia as well as a trip to Prescott for an interview on AM Arizona on the 12th of September, and general trip planning for October. To say the very least, I have no reason to complain of boredom anytime in the next month or two.
A big hurdle was cleared this week on the encyclopedia project and that is a very big relief. With that said a very big thank you is due Mike Ward, Steve Rider, Joe Sonderman, and Michael Witzel.
Now the focus can shift more intensely on the October trip. I evaluated flying to Chicago and driving back as well as taking the train. The cost factor and need to photograph sides has made it clear we have but one option – ROAD TRIP!
This leads to the next question, do we take the Jeep or rent a car? The Jeep is a dependable old war horse and as we have a tendency to find the road less traveled it is always our first choice.
Still, it is getting a bit old and I really don’t like to push it beyond 65 or 70 miles per hour. An added factor to consider is gas mileage, around 22 miles per gallon.
With such a limited schedule we will have to skip back and forth between Route 66 and the interstate highway. Please note, I said this while suppressing the gag reflex.
A rental car would add expense that is somewhat offset by a savings in fuel cost. Additionally, we can make better time.
While these and a few thousand other items are yet to be resolved the basic schedule is now set. Here is what we have at this time.
I close the office at noon on Saturday and as we can photograph Arizona anytime, and as we will be stopping to see Angel Delgadillo on the return trip from Prescott, we should be able to make Grants or Albuquerque that evening and still make cruise Route 66 in New Mexico.
Day two we will shoot for someplace between Shamrock in Texas and Clinton in Oklahoma. This will allow for a book signing at Basrnes & Noble in Amarillo, a little Route 66 cruising, photo stops, and, of course, a meal at the Midpoint Cafe in Adrian, Texas.
Our primary focus for photos will be in Missouri and Illinois resultant of previous trips to Oklahoma. So, the end of day three should find us at the Munger Moss in Lebanon, Missouri. Along the way, or on the return trip, we must stop at Afton Station to see Laurel Kane and the latest additions, as well as Jerry McClanahan and Melba at 4 Women on the Route. At least one meal will be eaten at the Rock Cafe in Stroud. What kind of trip would this be without a stop there? 
Day four we will shoot for either Joliet or Springfield in Illinois. On the list is a visit to the home of Abraham Lincoln, something on my list for almost forty years, a stop at the Cozy Dog, a book signing at Barnes & Noble, and a visit with Buzz Waldmire.
Day five will be a visit with Dave Clark, and hopefully, Cort Stevens, in Chicago before driving on to Jackson. A very long day to say the very least.
On day six we will visit with my dad in the morning, dine in the the Greektown section of Chicago, and shoot for someplace between Joliet and Springfield to end the day. This will be another very busy day with many hours spent behind the wheel and jumping from the car like rabbits to take pictures.
Speaking of rabbits, on day seven I plan on a visit with Rich Henry at Henry’s Rabbit Ranch.  We are shooting for Cuba to end the day where we will meet with Joe Sonderman and, possibly, sign books at the Wagon Wheel Motel.
That leaves us roughly 2.5 days to make it back to Kingman before the return to work where I can rest up from the vacation. In that space of time we must see the Muelers at the Blue Swallow in Tucumcari, Vicki at the Enchanted Trails Trading Post in Albuquerque, and a few other fine folks we have yet to meet.
To compensate for the rushed schedule I have promised myself a slower paced venture in the very near future. I am thinking Route 66 driven from end to end in a bone stock 1931 Ford truck should fit that bill. That might just be the trip that earns my wife sainthood.

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