ON A MORE PERSONAL NOTE

On a more personal note, I would like to say thank you to each and everyone who provided the bright spots that made the trying and tumultuous 2011 a year like not other. The list of to whom we owe a special thanks is a lengthy one that includes Wolfgang Werz, Dries and Marion Bessels, Dale and Kristi Anne Butel, Joe Sonderman, Rich Dinkella, the Mueller’s, “Croc” Lile, Jerry McClanahan, Jane Reed, Connie Echols, Josh Noble, and Ramona and Bob Lehman. 

A Route 66 time capsule in Kingman, Arizona


With the exception of final edit, photo selection, and the writing of captions, the Route 66 encyclopedia and atlas is finished. As the primary goal for this project was to craft a time capsule representing the 85 year history of Route 66, the people behind its crafting and transformation into an icon, and that highways origins, I made the very difficult decison to break with tradition and as a result, this book will not feature the work of Kerrick James.
The photographic artistry of Kerrick served as a key element in the success and superb reviews received for previous titles such as Ghost Towns of the Southwest, Backroads of Arizona, and Route 66 Backroads. In Ghost Towns of Route 66, my wife and I supplied a few of the illustrations but it was Kerrick that ensured the vitality of the book.
It should noted that Kerrick and I do have a few joint projects simmering on the front burner. One of these is a feature, or series of features profiling Route 66 for Arizona Highways.
A primary reason for this departure was the very generous contributions made by collectors Joe Sonderman, who is also an accomplished author, Mark Ward, and Steve Rider. These historic images will account for about 90% of the illustrations with the remaining 10% being supplied by my wife and I. 

An example of the historic images to be used as
illustrations in the Route 66 encyclopedia. This
photo is from the Joe Sonderman collection.


As I envision my work to be a foundational element for the promotion of the highway, the people who keep its unique culture alive, and their businesses, we are planning to coincide the premier for this book with Cuba Fest in Cuba, Missouri on October 20th. Ambitious plans are in the works to follow this with a year long promotional tour that includes appearances at several major Route 66 events, a serious of articles for various publications detailing this tour that I hope will be made in a 1951 or 1952 Hudson Hornet, and a wide array of appearances at schools with the goal of sparking an interest in history.
Tied to this are plans to introduce the wonders of Route 66 to a wider audience, and to, hopefully, spark an American enthusiasm for the highway, its history, and its importance that will equal that expressed by European, Australian, and Japanese visitors. With that as the goal, I am crafting a few features that will present the old highway as the ideal venue for vintage automobiles.
I finished the first of these features for Old Cars Weekly a few weeks ago. The scheduled date for publication is unknown at this time.
This takes me back to a reoccurring theme. Another project I am quite excited about, and that I am very honoroed to be associated with is the development of a photographic exhibit entitled Route 66 in Mohave County for the Powerhouse Visitor Center in Kingman.
At this time plans call for it to be complete by July of this year. However, it will be displayed in segments until that date with the first segment scheduled for completion in February.
As the title states, this posting is a bit of a personal note. With that said, I have one more observation to share.
After traveling the highway in October, and making every effort to see it as though it was our first trip, I am quite convinced that the best is yet to come on Route 66, and that 2012 could be an amazing year. The interest and fascination with the iconic old highway seems to be increasing instead of leveling or waning.
More communities are awakening to the economic potential in developing attributes of their association with the highway. Resultant of this, Route 66 is being transformed into more than America’s longest attraction, it is also becoming its longest time capsule and a template for the resurgence of mom and pop enterprise.

2012, DAWN OF A NEW ERA ON ROUTE 66

It is the dawn of a new year and, possibly, a new era on Route 66. Please, let me explain what I envision and then, perhaps, together we can unleash the Phoenix from the glowing embers that is the resurgent interest in America’s most famous highway.
With the exception of Mr. Knudesn’s National Historic Route 66 Federation, the various organizations and publications created in the past two decades to promote and preserve Route 66 have met with limited degrees of success. The reasons for this are as varied as the landscapes through which this highway passes.
Some were initiated with good intentions but lacked the resources to make the vision a reality. Others were blatant, self serving attempts to profit from the resurgent interest in the highway and as a result stifled honest efforts to create a unified, linear Route 66 community that mirrored the one created by the U.S. Highway 66 Association launched in February of 1927.
Now, more than ever, the Route 66 community needs that unified voice, an organization that stitches together the wide array of individual and state association efforts into a cohesive element. So, here is a summary of what I propose. Please, feel free to provide your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions.
1) This organization would not supplant or intrude into the affairs of existent state associations, city promotional efforts, or organizations such as the National Historic Route 66 Federation. Instead, it would serve to coordinate efforts between these various entities.
2) This organization would consist of an eight member board, one representative from each state, and a director. Preferably the state representative would be appointed by the Route 66 association in each state.
3) As examples of how this organization would benefit the Route 66 community, and serve as unifying element –
a) maintain a list of speakers, authors, and artists to expedite the organizational efforts of city or state associations to create events –
b) in a manner similar to that of Tripadvisor, allow travelers to provide reviews of dining and lodging establishments, as well as museums, attractions, and events. Complaints would be forwarded directly to the owners or managers of properties and their response would also be published –
c) the organization could serve as the information clearing house for film crews, tour companies etc. seeking information about the highway, planing a trip on the highway, looking for site specific information, contact information, etc. –
d) assist organizations in the promotion of events through press releases, the publication of articles written about the event for appropriate publications, etc. –
4) The organization could create a much needed electronic archive of historic photographs, post cards, maps, etc.
5) The organization could assist in the design of programs for dissemination through schools and universities. In addition, it could provide contact information for speakers to present these programs.
6) The organization could provide key distributors of information, such as Route 66 News, with press releases for events, updates on artists and authors, reports with accompanying photographs and other pertinent information.
7) Funding for the organization, including a salary or travel reimbursement for board members and the director, would be derived through membership dues, and state tourism monies.
8) As incentive for businesses to join, the association would publish a yearly directory of member businesses with an overall rating derived from traveler reviews. These businesses would be asked to provide organization members a 10% discount on services which would serve as individual incentive for membership.
Okay, thoughts, ideas, suggestions?