The first order of business is congratulations to Melba and everyone who worked so long and hard to bring recognition to the shortest stretch of Route 66, that 13 mile segment found in the state of Kansas. Rather than reinvent the wheel, follow this link to Route 66 News for more details of their accomplishment.
Another item of note pertains to Rich Dinkella’s latest endeavor to shine the light of fame on legendary Route 66. Again, Route 66 News has all the details.
If you have a company or business that is looking for unique promotional opportunities, I have got a deal for you. How would you like to have that business associated with Route 66? How would you like to help support the numerous places along this storied highway that make it the last bastion of mom and pop enterprise in America?
The idea initially started as the foundation for a new book. As I envisioned it the book would be something similar in nature to Travels with Charley or On the Road, a classic by Jack Kerouac.
In these difficult times when it seems the world has been turned upside down I thought it might be kind of neat to search for the America that shone so bright with promise during the 1940s and 1950s. I would not be seeking the nation that made the Negro Motorist Green Book a necessity for a large portion of the populace during those years but instead the nation that negated its need.
As I gave thought to this project it became increasingly evident that there could be but one road for this quest – iconic U.S. 66, the very Main Street of America for most of the 20th century. This road would be ideal for my journey into the past as it is the colorful thread that ties the past with the present and future.
When I allowed the imagination to meditate upon the many facets of this idea it became quite apparent that driving this road, and savoring its wide array of time capsules would not quite be enough. To develop the proper mindset that allowed me to see the present and future from the past, our mode of transport could not be a new rental car as it was on our last excursion along Route 66. 
Initially, I gave thought to something really unique, a rolling time capsule of historical proportions if you will. As I have long had a curiosity about the first generation of Hudson Super Six, roughly between the years of 1916 and 1928, that became the focus of initial research in seeking the ideal vehicle. 
This search evolved into evaluation of the Model A Ford for this venture, a vehicle admired for its durable simplicity that I have longed to own since my first days behind the wheel. My dearest friend, an adventuresome gal cut from the cloth of frontier era pioneers, gently nudged me to something just a bit more practical – a Nash, Hudson, or Studebaker manufactured between the years 1948 and 1953.
These cars are quite durable, are simplistic in nature, easy to repair and obtain parts for, and have unique styling but are also capable of modern highway speeds, as well as gasoline mileage in the 22 to 30 mile per gallon range. With the focus narrowed as to what type of vehicle would transport us on this grand adventure, and the course charted, I began meditating on other aspects of this odyssey worthy of Jason and the Argonauts.
The book is still the primary reason for the adventure. However, the more I thought of my pending voyage of discovery, the more I came to realize the inspiration that it was my hope to provide through this book should not stop there. I could use this journey to promote the road itself and the people who are transforming it into America’s longest attraction, the people like Laurel Kane, Connie Echols, and Dan Rice who represent the America of the pregeneric age that I was seeking.
This would be accomplished from developing and promoting international buzz about the adventure through the media, the blog, internet radio, television interviews, by scheduling speaking engagements in schools as well as museums, and other venues. As my thoughts twisted through the labyrinth of possibilities it dawned upon me that funding for the trip, a factor that could greatly hinder development of the project to its full potential, could be derived by offering business owners an opportunity to hitch their wagon to the Route 66 phenomena, and in so doing, fuel the resurgent interest that is making it economically viable to refurbish old motels, restaurants, and trading posts.
So, in a nutshell, what I am seeking is sponsors, companies that would like to have their name associated with such a wild and wooly adventure, companies that would like to see their logo and name displayed on a vintage Nash, Studebaker, or Hudson in a NASCAR type manner. What is needed are companies that would benefit from having promotional material for their company distributed along America’s most famous highway from Chicago to Santa Monica.
A rough date for this voyage of discovery is October of 2012. That should allow enough time to locate a vehicle, acquaint myself with its mechanical intricacies through repair and refurbishment as well as a few test runs, and resolve the myriad details associated with a scheme such as this.
As always, your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions are appreciated. Stay tuned for details –



The well laid plans for the weekend went south on Friday as my son had the flu which negated the Saturday drive to Las Vegas for the Motor Trend Auto Show, an early birthday present. So, my dearest friend and I went to plan “B” and used Saturday for the Sunday photo safari along Route 66 to Seligman, and Sunday for the Las Vegas trip.
A secondary reason for the Seligman excursion was the hope of locating the site of Deer Lodge, a roadside business that had consisted of cabins, a bar, service station, and store during the 1940s. I learned of Deer Lodge during the research for the Route 66 encyclopedia but its exact location remained a mystery and current sources indicated a wide array of sites between Pica and the Grand Canyon Caverns.
The first real break came in meeting the niece of the original owner. Her recollections and a couple of photographs that provided a few landmarks for reference gave me a great deal of confidence in regards to locating the site.
We hit the road early but by the time we made Hackberry the morning chill was giving way to delightful warm temperatures. Most folks visit the Hackberry General Store and never realize that directly to the south are the dusty, fast vanishing remnants of a town once given consideration for the Mohave County seat. 

The old school in Hackberry, Arizona

Of particular note is the old school. This mission styled building with an uncertain future was the last two room school in the state of Arizona.
The drive from Hackberry to Truxton, past the ruins of Valentine, and through Crozier Canyon is always a delight as well as a stroll down Memory Lane but on Saturday it was a true pleasure as the rich fall colors transformed the rugged landscape into a stunning tapestry of reds, yellows, and greens against a backdrop of towering walls of weathered stone. Nowhere was this more breathtaking than at the old Crozier Canyon Ranch, an historic property with extensive ties to Route 66 as well territorial history. 

Hackberry General Store

After a morning of wanderings in Hackberry, a pleasant visit with the Pritchard’s at the general store and the signing of books they had in inventory, and scrambling to the top of countless hills for photos, we had worked up a fair appetite and so decided that the lodge in Peach Springs would be the dinner (a burger and grilled cheese) stop for the day.  The lodge is the one bright spot in a very tarnished, well worn old town but I have always liked Peach Springs and the folks who call it home.
After a little photography and exploration amongst the ruins of Hyde Park, we went in search of Deer Lodge and found its barely discernible remnants in an instant. Our information had been proven correct. 

Deer Lodge site on Route 66 in Arizona

A pile of burned wood and timbers, and broken concrete, bulldozed into a pile, a section of stone wall, a portion of floor and a large sign with faded letters “Dee” on the face are about all that remain but we will return for more extensive exploration in the future. There were also a couple of 1930s era car carcasses that warrant examination.
We made Seligman as the long shadows of late afternoon were giving the town a sort of sleepy look. Still, the sidewalks were relatively busy as tourists from dozens of nations spun about taking photos, sampled the goods at the Snow Cap, and chattered with animated excitement.
The hope had been to round out dinner with a milk shake at Seligman Sundries but they were closed so we played tourist and took photos as though it were our first visit. We were debating the merits of also including Ashfork in our photographic expedition when an old friend, Angel Delgadillo, rounded the corner on his bicycle. A delightful day suddenly got even better.

The drive home was relatively uneventful with the exception of a stop to capture some of the stunning color in Crozier Canyon. Then on Sunday, I made the trip to Las Vegas, the flip side of the coin from the Saturday adventure.
Suffice to say, even though we had a grand time, the reasons why this was my first trip to Las Vegas in several years, even though we live only 100 miles to the south, were made abundantly clear.


Where to begin? Thanksgiving was, as the name implies, a day of thanksgiving in our humble homestead.
It may seem a bit self centered but the list of things for which we are thankful begins with the fact I survived to see the holiday after a year that included interviews with Jay Leno, which required a drive to the Los Angeles metro area, skin cancer, and a bacterial infection that put me in the hospital. From that point the list of things for which we are thankful for include our 2.5 grandchildren, my family, and the opportunities to share my fascination with Route 66 and the road less traveled through books and photography that I hope will inspire others to chart their own adventures of discovery.
Tied in with the later are the wonderful people met along the way and as a result of the books written. These folks are truly the seasoning that make those adventures so memorable.
We are also quite grateful for the friends and acquaintances that have survived a year filled with even more trial and tribulations than we endured. With that thought in mind, I have a personal message for Cort – get better soon or the next music shipment could be very strange indeed.
The plans for the weekend, as is often the case in my corner of the world, are quite lengthy. They include a long anticipated trip to the auto show in Las Vegas, a shared birthday present for my son, finishing the photo file for the Route 66 encyclopedia, and preparing all of the related files for shipment ot the publisher on Monday. Then I can start on the feature for Old Cars Weekly, seek the top of my desk after locating the desk, and organize photos for future projects.
With the slate relatively clean I can turn my attention to other projects such as trying to interest the publisher in the next book, and planning a Route 66 adventure to promote the books as well as photography from behind the wheel of …If I get bored there are a few dozen jobs around the house that have been pressing for the past couple of years.
I have shared a few of these thoughts, these words of encouragement before but in light of the ongoing replay of the Great Depression they are worth repeating.
1)   as bad as it seems today, if tomorrow is worse, then today will seem like the good old days –
2)   no matter how bad the job is, you can bet money that it offers opportunity for a slower death than starvation –
3)  if you start every day meditating on the worst case scenario for the day, you will be suprised by just how good the day seems to go –
4)  if you focus on the past with little thought of the future, you most will not see the opportunity until it becomes a part of history –


I have given a great deal of consideration to this years Thanksgiving post. In the process, I dusted off some very old books, did a bit of reading, and meditated on the deep divisions in our country today.
As I gave thought to these divisions and how they pertain to the thanksgiving holiday it occurred to me that one aspect of our society where these divisions run deepest is between the “America was founded as a secular nation” and “America was founded as a Christian nation” crowds. Oddly enough, to a degree both are correct.
See, the modern American concept of Christianity made manifest in mega churches and televangelists would have been abhorrent to the nations founders. For them the foundational elements of Christian philosophy – the flaws of human nature that necessitate the need for sincere repentance, the importance of heartfelt thanksgiving, humility – were a sublime world view that influenced a great deal of their thinking.
They also understood another key component of the Christian philosophy, acceptance or acknowledgement of Christ must be made of a free will. Hence, each individual must be free to worship according to the dictates of their hearts. They were also intimately familiar with the problems that result from Christianity being reduced to a mere religion constrained by the dictates of church doctrines and the inherent danger of allowing the doctrines of the church to influence governmental policy.
“Such is my veneration for every religion that reveals the attributes of the Deity, or a future state of rewards and punishments, that I had rather see the opinions of Confucius or Mohamed inculcated upon our youth than see them grow up devoid of a system of religious principles.”
Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and one of the first to call for the creation of a free public school system, continued with, “But the religion I mean to recommend in this place is the New Testament…All its doctrines and precepts are calculated to promote the happiness of society and the safety and well being of civil government.”
This knowledge was the cornerstone for adoption of the first amendment on June 15, 1790. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …” In America, there would be no Church of England and the Vatican would not dictate governmental policies. There would, however, be an underpinning of Christian philosophy.
Chief Justice Joseph Story explained the essence of the First Amendment like this. “The real object of the First Amendment was not con countenance, much less to advance, Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects.”
From the very origination of the colonies, Christian philosophy was a cornerstone. And yet we, the American people found ways to justify genocidal policies toward native Americans and slavery.
Men like William Penn applied Christian principles toward native peoples and treated them with great dignity and respect. But yet he owned slaves.
Thomas Jefferson penned one of the greatest political statements ever written, the Declaration of Independence. The man who wrote that all men are created equal owned slaves.
From the perspective of the 21st century this is blatant hypocrisy that negates their Christian world view. That is largely resultant of the fact in this age we see Christianity as being individual centered and not God centered.
The group of men lumped together as the founding fathers were painfully aware of their shortcomings, and the shortcomings of man in general, and how those shortcomings affect a society. Hence the creation of a truly revolutionary government, a government that would allow for the addressing of those short comings.
“The ethics, doctrines, and examples furnished by Christianity exhibit the best models for the laws,” Dewitt Clinton, a governor New York and senator, at the introduction of the 12th amendment.
That is enough of a preamble. Lets let George Washington explain the concept of a thanksgiving holiday.
A proclamation issued by President George Washington, October 3, 1789. “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor…”
Towards the end of this unique document he concluded with, “And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions…To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue.”
With this said, may I respectively ask that today as you gather with friends and family for an afternoon of food, of football, and good times, a moment be given for reflection, for thoughts on the need for national repentance, and that just a moment be given for sincere reflection on how blessed we are as a nation in spite of our many shortcomings.