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 asillustrations in the Route 66 encyclopedia. Thisphoto 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.