THE OLD MAN IN THE MIRROR
In my head I am still twenty, or maybe thirty. Of course, every morning the fellow in the mirror reminds me that this is but an illusion.
Maintaining that illusion has become increasingly difficult in recent years, especially when I do things like try to hike to Supai and back in the same day, or drive home from Santa Rosa, New Mexico in one day. But few things drive home the point that I am that man in the mirror more than trying to have conversations with folks who really are as old I envision myself to be.
Recently, in an address to some students about the importance of studying history, I received a few questions that made it quite clear, this nation, this world has turned a time or two since my biggest concern in the world was money for gas, admission to the theater, and dinner for my favorite girl. It was during this discussion the idea of using Route 66 as a catalyst for presenting history as something more exciting, and much more important, than dry wheat toast without butter or jam came to mind.
In the days that followed these thoughts began to take shape as a project with greater merit than anything yet imagined. What if I could derive a visual presentation that immediately sparked animated interest and discussion? What if I could jump start a program with something tangible, something relevant, and something far removed from the modern voyeuristic era where so many things are viewed rather than lived or experienced? What if I could devise a way to unleash youthful imagination and curiosity?
I knew that Route 66 would have to be the corner stone for such an endeavor. But how would I be able to tie the mythical world of Radiator Springs to the reality of Route 66 and give it relevance without loosing the excitement and color? A HUDSON HORNET!
Circulating in my vivid imagination was a daring plan to promote the new book with a media hyped tour along Route 66 in a vintage car. Initially I envisioned the vehicle to be a Model A Ford but the focus began to center on something more practical and yet unique enough to spark discussion and challenge preconceived notions about automotive history and fuel economy – a Nash, Studebaker, or Hudson manufactured between 1939 and 1953.
The school address added a sense of importance to my envisioned odyssey that transcended the promotion of a book. Here was a multi faceted opportunity. I could promote vintage vehicles as something more than a trailer queen, an investment, or fodder for hot rod construction as well as Route 66, the ideal road for enjoying vintage vehicles.
In turn this could be used to promote the people and places along the road that make it such a treasure. And this entire package could be used to inspire a new generation of Route 66 enthusiasts and history buffs.
With this grand and noble idea coming to life in stunning Technicolor there was but one obstacle that prevented it from becoming a reality. How would such an endeavor be financed? How indeed.