FROM RADIATOR SPRINGS TO A SCHOOL NEAR YOU

No where in my epitaph will you see me referred to as a man without imagination. If small dreams were a penny a pound, I would be quite wealthy and if big dreams were two cents a pound there would be enough in the bank account to pay off the national debt and still have enough left to let the president and congress continue their unrestrained spending spree for a year or two.
But as most dreamers know, dreams have less value than a promise from a politician. The reward is in the transformation of those dreams into a tangible reality but those rewards are not always monetary in nature.
As noted in a couple of previous posts, my latest attempt at alchemy began as the dream for a novel foundation upon which  the promotion of my next book, a Route 66 encyclopedia and atlas due for release in October of 2012 could be built. At some point that dream morphed into a unique opportunity for the promotion of Route 66, its colorful culture, and the people who keep it alive.
Then, as dreams so often do, it began to grow. Now my overactive and fertile imagination saw an even more exciting facet to this endeavor. Here was an incredible opportunity for introducing Route 66 to a new generation, for transforming the dull and dusty subject of history into something exciting, something to be passionate about, something with relevance to the present as well as the future.
The secret to these dreams manifesting into reality were contained in a single automobile, a once legendary automobile that had dominated the NASCAR tracks in the early 1950s – the fabulous Hudson Hornet. If it were not for the recent animated film, Cars, the legend of the Hornet would have faded into obscurity with only die hard NASCAR and automotive history fans remembering its prowess just as the mighty Stutz Bearcat had faded a generation before.
What if I were to bring Doc Hudson from Radiator Springs to a school near you? What if kids could touch a tangible link between the animated world and reality, a link between the muscle car and automotive antiquity, a link to an era when the Main Street of America was signed with two sixes?
Imagine the opportunities for promoting the virtues of iconic Route 66 that would unfold as Marshall Teague’s racing Hornet was transported from the 1951 NASCAR track to the 21st century. Imagine that growling Hudson as the pied piper for a band of vintage automobile enthusiasts motoring west on America’s most famous highway.
Will the dream become a reality or, just as a clanging alarm clock banishes the most vivid dream to the misty recesses of memory, will the reality keep it imprisoned with the unfulfilled dreams of childhood?
Well, the lofty goal of transforming this dream into a reality is my quest for 2012. Rest assured, details will be provided as they become available. What good is a dream unless it can be shared with others?
Now, a quick Route 66 related news item. I drove by the El Trovatore Motel last evening and most of the front neon sign was lit, as was the facia trim in front of the restored block of rooms! Bright red letters spelling motel flashed in the night and cast their glow over Route 66 for the first time in more than a decade.
In the past couple of weeks a great deal of construction related activity has been observed in an around the historic motel. Checking with Sam to see how progress is going is high on my “to do” list.
If things go according to plan, we will be photographing the Topock Gorge and Havasu National Wildlife Refuge this weekend for the forthcoming Route 66 in Mohave County Exhibit at the Powerhouse Visitor Center in Kingman. I often list this area as an overlooked Route 66 associated attraction. In next weeks report I will provide some details about this very rare desert oasis.