With assistance from collectors extraordinaire Joe Sonderman, Mike Ward, and Steve Rider, the Route 66 encyclopedia and atlas is shaping up to be a true time capsule chronicling the 85 year history of that iconic highway, the people who wrote that history, and the roots of this history. It would seem that with just six weeks until deadline, and a whole lot of work yet to be done, including the organization of 1,000 plus images and adjustments to the text resultant of information obtained during our last trip, in addition to the continuing promotion of Ghost Towns of Route 66 and the day job, I would have more than enough to keep me busy.
Well, I have a very active imagination. I also have fuel for the imagination in the form of several thousand photos, such as this shot of the courthouse in Carthage, to review As a result thoughts and plans for the next road trip and the next project are beginning to keep me awake nights. The budget and time constraints imposed by the day job prevent a major adventure any time in the immediate future. So, thoughts and ideas of capturing the sights of Route with a layer of frost and ice as a decorative touch will have to be shelved until at least next winter. Likewise with my long anticipated dream of motoring along the old double six at about forty five miles per hour in a 1931 Ford truck. And I suppose the bicycle trip from end to end of that storied highway, and the guide to U.S. 6, will have to wait as well. So, that leaves me with one really good idea for a project. As for road trips, well there may be a short one to LA in the very near future, and there is an interview on AM Arizona on December 12 that will require a trip to Prescott, one of our favorite small cities.Then next year there is the little shindig being planned in Tucucmcari for four days in early June and the International Route 66 Festival scheduled for early August in Victorville, California. In addition, I am quite sure we can find the excuse, and hopefully the funds, for an escape to our new favorite hideaway, the Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, Missouri before years end. So, I do not see a shortage of road trips in 2012. The project idea that is percolating through my head is a guide book similar to the one I wrote several years ago, Route 66 Backroads. However, with this book I want to narrow the focus a great deal and make Route 66 the centerpiece rather than the baseline. As I envision it at this time, it will be a guide book that continues my tradition of adding depth and context, as well as the possibility for adventure, to the overall experience. The detours from Route 66 would be short, 15 miles or less, and would include unique opportunities for dining or lodging such as is found at the Cave Restaurant and resort in Richland, Missouri, about a dozen or so miles north of Route 66. With this book, I would like to transform Route 66 communities into destinations rather than stops. Consider Kingman in Arizona, as an example, where a drive twelve miles to the south can take the traveler from the heat of the desert to cool, pine shaded dining at the Haulapai Mountain Resort, or a drive of 15 miles to the north provides the opportunity to explore the old ghost town of Chloride, and a good meal at Yesterday’s restaurant with its unique atmosphere.Some ideas I have for inclusion are mere blocks from the old double six but these amazing attractions are often obscured by the quest for neon or more colorful destinations. An excellent example would be Mr. Lincoln’s Neighborhood, a a complex that recreates the neighborhood around Abraham Lincoln’s home in Springfield. Stay tuned for details and feel free to put in your two cents worth.