Before my feet hit the floor on Monday morning I knew it was going to be a busy and frustrating day. There was also the very distinct possibility the unseasonably warm weather would lead to a Route 66 adventure, the carrot at the end of the stick.
It started with a hearty breakfast, sorting through a wide array of electronic communication, and sifting through a stack of newspaper clippings between the years 1900 and 1940 in search of tidbits to flesh out the encyclopedia. Then it was off to the dentist where I spent a leisurely hour having holes drilled and filled.
The next stop in the days adventure was to move a possibly major photo exhibit a little closer to fruition. The announcement in True West magazine that I had been selected one of the photographers of the year was quite exciting but this really has fired the imagination about future possibilities.
The rant of the day starts with the quest for death certificates needed to resolve the rest of my mothers estate. My complaints and frustrations are not so much with the mindless bureaucracy, after all that is simply the nature of government, but in the dramatic transition of the nation in the past decade that makes me feel a great deal like Rip van Winkle.
Simply put, I find it quite disturbing that to obtain a death certificate from the county health department, I must first undergo the type of security check once reserved for highly sensitive areas or to visit someone in prison. I will let you fill in the blanks about what the  response to my pocket knife, a little Case manufactured in 1948, was.
I have carried a knife most every day since my 10th birthday. There is never any thought given to slipping it in my pocket in the morning – keys, pocket knife, change, wallet, and on days off, the pocket watch. Suffice to say, I really didn’t even think of it and honestly had no intention of creating a panic.
With that fiasco behind me and the death certificates in hand, I quickly retreated to my corner of the world where, with the exception of electronic gadgetry, the clock seems to be stuck at 1959. My efforts to reach a lady at the Pioneers home in Prescott that I hope can answer a few questions about the relationship between Adamana, a ghost town, and Route 66, as well as the Campbell Hotel that was located there, hit a small brick wall.
Then it was a wonderful lunch with my dearest friend, and a few hours polishing the encyclopedia, and checking facts and dates for accuracy. By around 3:00 it had become impossible to ignore the gorgeous day.
So, I gave in to the overwhelming desire to play hooky for the rest of the afternoon. Our destination was the Mesa Trail at Cool Springs, something my dearest friend had discovered when we were there with Dale Butel and his merry band of Aussies.
With water, and a few snacks, camera gear, and a full tank of gas in the Jeep we rolled west along the pre 1952 alignment of Route 66, across the Sacramento Valley, and toward the rugged escarpments of the Black Mountains. As it turned out the weather was ideal for our little adventure, and the cloud shadows sweeping across the valley added dramatic effect for photos (I will share a few on Wednesday).
I can not recommend this trail enough. I would, however, suggest winter, fall or early spring, and I would also suggest you carry a pocket knife or heavy comb as cholla balls are quite thick. This and the rocky conditions of the trail also mandate the use of sturdy shoes.
If you make the trek during the cooler months snakes should not be an issue. However, this is the desert so it is better safe than sorry.
The views from the top were nothing short of stunning. Memories of childhood days spent climbing amongst these canyons, and the ruins of Cool Springs as well as King’s Dairy came flooding back like a storm tide. They were the frosting on the cake.
Reluctantly, as the sun sank in the west, we headed home where I again turned my attention to the task at hand – getting the Route 66 encyclopedia ready for the publisher by next week.

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