The writing of the captions for the Route 66 encyclopedia has been an interesting exercise as I found myself being drawn into some of the old photos. The little details pique the imagination; a lady leaving the bank in circa 1930 Weatherford, Oklahoma, a man on the running board of a Model A in Camp Cajon, an automobile of early teens vintage on the street in Barstow in about 1940. 

Others that act as windows into the lost world of places like Pillman’s Camp in Arlington, Missouri, or Wetherholt’s Ideal Cabin Camp in Pontiac, Illinois leave me scratching my head. When were they built? Who was the owner or proprietor? What are Nebo oil products?
Loose ends such as these are most frustrating as my quest from the inception of this project was to craft a Route 66 time capsule with as much detail and depth as possible. To that end I turned over stones in all eight states through which the highway passes, delved into some very dusty spots, and pestered a number of enthusiasts, historians, and a few friends. 
I will wrap it up by the end of the week, send it to the publisher, sit back and wait for the galley proof, and worry over details or things that may have been overlooked. This too is part of the process, at least for me. 
High on my wish list of projects to be built on the foundation of this book is an educational program for schools that will spark an interest in history, specifically Route 66 as a mirror of societal evolution for the past century. The cornerstone of this will be the donation of copies of the book to school libraries and a vintage car that will spark immediate interest and stimulate conversation. 
I have been leaning toward a Hudson Hornet, or perhaps a bullet nosed Studebaker, but have not given up on the idea of using a Model A Ford for this cross country adventure. What better vehicle for introducing a new generation to the Grapes of Wrath, the Great Depression, and the infancy of Route 66?
The Hudson and its association with the animated film, Cars, presents almost infinite possibilities in regard to promotion of the book, this educational program, Route 66, and the businesses and people that make it special. However, it is a car from the golden era of Route 66.
Still, there is just something about the Model A that invokes simpler times. It is almost magical in its ability to induce friendly conversation. From that perspective this lowly old Ford has a great deal in common with Route 66. 
At this time, this all a mute point but pipe dreams can and do become realities, especially with a little hard work, a whole lot of thick skinned perseverance, and a great deal of patience. Meanwhile, the first task is completion of the captions. 


The weather continues to be a source of fascination for me, specifically winter. In the writing of the Route 66 encyclopedia I have developed a real fascination for what could be deemed the winter of the named roads era and the spring of Route 66.
For several weeks the walk to work in the morning is accentuated with spring in the form of song birds, baby rabbits, and grass turning green even though the temperatures hover around the freezing mark. Now the weather in my corner of the world is most always a bit different, but this is notably odd. 
An average winter here is a few weeks of cold mornings (6 to 20 degrees) with afternoons that hover between 35 and 50. This is followed with a day or two with temperatures being about ten degrees warmer. 
This winter we had December 12. The rest of the winter has been strange in its consistency. Most every morning it is 30 degrees and most every afternoon it is between 50 and 60 degrees. 
On on average winter we will have one or two snows of about six inches. This year zip, a dusting. Ditto for rain, barely enough to form a puddle here or there. 
I suppose what is most notable about the weather is the consistency and as inconsistency is often the hallmark of weather in Kingman, especially in the winter and early spring. One year, in January, it was warm enough for my dearest friend and I to picnic along the Colorado River, and even go wading. Two days later it snowed. One year it snowed during the Route 66 Fun Run.
I know, global warming. Well, yes, I suppose. However, I just have trouble buying a prepackaged disaster that a select few stand to profit from. I mean, when was the last time we heard “experts” include the change to the earth’s axis resultant of the earthquake in Japan or New Zealand in the global warming discussions?
Okay, I deviated from my usual course this morning. I suppose this fascination with a change in weather can be attributed to early years, a time when I spent so much time out of doors that the weather could be read like a watch. As crazy as it may sound, there was one time, at the end of summer down in New Mexico, I lived outdoors, day and night, for six weeks. 
Okay, enough of my weather obsession, at least for this morning. Lets talk Route 66 starting with our little contest. 
Keep your notes pertaining to why you have a fascination for Route 66 coming. Remember, the deadline is May 1. 
The March edition of 66 The Mother is just weeks away. This issue will be the most exciting one to date as John and Judy Springs will be providing details for what may just be the biggest Route 66 contest yet organized.
The writing of captions for the encyclopedia is consuming vast quantities of time but with each written, it becomes easier to envision the final product and the excitement builds. The images supplied by Steve Rider, Joe Sonderman, and Mike Ward have given this work a previously unimaginable depth. 
One of the most engrossing segments of this work is the period between 1919 and 1930, the end of the named roads era and the infancy of Route 66 and the U.S. highway system. Fueling this fascination is the rare, early images of auto camps, service stations, garages, and street scenes provided by these collectors. I am quite confident these will spark a great deal of discussion among Route 66 enthusiasts. 
I will talk more about this Thursday.