I received a succinct inquiry yesterday that simply asked, “What is all the hype about Route 66.” After careful deliberation I attempted to answer in an equally succinct manner.“That is a very good question. It is not the most historic or the most scenic. However, from its very inception it has had the best hype. Meanwhile, here in Kingman, it is a rather frostry day. To the north, the clouds hang heavy and dark over the mountains casting the canyons into deep shadows. To the south, the snow covered flanks of the Hualapai Mountains stand in stark contrast to the thick black clouds that obscure the summit. Today the old road has transcended its original purpose to become an icon of epic proportions. You might say the myth is becoming the reality (I borrowed that from Joe Sonderman, a fellow author). It is a time capsule chronicling almost a century of American societal evolution with an overlay of Disneyland glitz. It is America’s longest attraction. It is the very essence of America. It is nothing short of amazing. Only on Route 66 can mom and pop enterprise compete, successfully, with chains and franchises, which makes it the last bastion for these type of endeavors. There are beautiful 1930s era stone cabins, fully refurbished with just a thin veneer of modern amenities, restaurants owned by the same family since the 1920s, museums, trading posts, refurbished neon, ghost towns of the 20th century, and stunning landscapes. Does this answer your question? May I suggest you take a drive this next spring or summer and discover, or rediscover, the joy of a the all American road trip.”I shared this on Facebook and asked if anyone had something to add to this. It would seem Europeans and Australians have a very deep understanding of what a unique treasure this old road is. Americans, however, seem to be largely unaware or uninterested. I find that interesting as well as sad.
Technically winter is still weeks away but weather wise, it is here. Heavy clouds, snow, and a distinctly damp chill are not the only manifestations of winters arrival. Another would be my thoughts that keep drifting toward spring and summer adventures on Route 66 as well as the road less traveled. Providing the balance, the tether that holds the thoughts to the present, is approval for the new exhibit, Route 66 in Mohave County, that we will be supplying photos for. I really want this exhibit to grab the visitor, to draw them in and make them part of the adventure, but most of all I want to inspire them to set forth on their personal voyage of discovery along this amazing highway.
The recent snow fall in the surrounding mountains has me eager to load the Jeep, have my dearest friend in the passenger seat, and the cameras on board to capture scenes most Route 66 enthusiasts never see. These thoughts often lead to ones about what other seldom seen seasonal wonders we can provide glimpses of. For stunning beauty, winter is perhaps the best time of the year in northwestern Arizona. The dramatic contrasts of deep snows on mountains as a backdrop for some of the harshest landscapes on the planet never ceases to inspire a deep sense of awe and reverence. Even though I find great visual pleasure in desert winters, my preference is the days when the temperatures hover in the triple digit range. And there you have another reason why I no longer reside in places like Michigan. On December 12th we will be driving to Prescott as I will be the featured guest on AM Arizona in Prescott, one of our favorite little cities. Hopefully this will not provide to many opportunities for a refreshing of my icy road driving skills. I also hope that the mud and snows in the high country will not keep us from making the return trip on the beautiful but remote Williamson Valley Road the connects Prescott with Seligman, one of our favorite drives. And there you have the reason I drive a Jeep instead of a sports car or hybrid. The rest of the month looks relatively quiet with the exception of the grand kid invasion of December 25. That, however, is but one of the perks of surviving all of those years as a parent. In the next few weeks I should be able to provide more detail about the pending vintage car odyysey on Route 66. I hope to also be able confirm a few details about Cuba Fest and the debut of the next book – next fall.