Where to begin? That is the question. To ensure the sordid tale is full of suspense, intrigue, and adequate emotion we will begin around the 20th of this past month. 

My office and the aftermath of an 18 month project. 

We had completed the quiet celebration that marked completion of the final stage in the writing of the Route 66 encyclopedia, the captions. Now, my attentions were turned toward the task of restoring my office, preparing for the appointment with the tax accountant, and a trip to Prescott. Then I received the email. 
As it turns out the editor had sent the cull list instead of the approved list, and then had become ill enough to require two weeks off from work. So, I had written 23,000 plus words of captions for pictures that were not to be included. 
Fortunately I had added photos (and written captions) to that list as they were very important, quite rare, or added a great deal of context. As many of these were featured in the approved list I only needed to write about 14,000 words in captions for this second endeavor. 

To give you an idea as to how much research went into this book, consider this pile of newspaper archives. The reason it stands on my desk is because the two drawer filing cabinet is full. 
In addition to sorting through through more than a century of newspapers, I acquired a wide of array of primary materials to ensure accuracy. These include AAA lodging guides from the period 1925 to 1960, travel guides from the period 1900 to 1960, and carefully selected books from numerous authors.
Well, the writing of captions has kept me a bit busy this past week or so. It also resulted in abandonment of the  schedule for the rest of February and the first week of March. 
Still, I am quite grateful the editor is back on her feet. In addition, I really feel that the end result will be an even better book. 
Now, the office computer, with external hard drive, is used exclusively for writing related endeavors and photography. The secondary computer is used for internet purposes and photography. 
My overly paranoid distrust of these little magic boxes dictated the avoidance of down time resultant of virus issues by keeping the writing computer severed from the electronic superhighway. Now, our internet computer has been showing its age as of late (9 years which I believe is equal to a century in computer time) but my dearest friend and miracle worker has kept it alive and functioning. On more than one occasion she was able to even resurrect it from the dead. 
On Friday it became quite apparent that the end was near. Now, I am not overly fluent in computereze but when the hard drive sounds like a blender filled with rocks and assorted bolts it seems to me that the end is very near. 
Now, that explains the lack of posts the past couple of days. So, here is my question. What are your thoughts on the new All-in-One systems? I am thinking Dell as they have served us quite well. 

Meanwhile, I used the lag time over the weekend to restore my office, the brightly lit cubicle that has served as my primary residence for a great deal of the past thirty months (Ghost Towns of Route 66 and the Route 66 Encyclopedia). I was quite relieved to rediscover that there was a desk among the piles. 
After the completion of each project, and during the subsequent office restoration, there is a sense of relief, a sense of anxious anticipation for the next project, and a sense of emptiness that results from having blank spots in the schedule after months of not having time to spit or pay attention. This year there was added reason for the sense of loss, for emptiness. 

Scattered throughout my office are a wide array of gifts and little treasures from friends that range from the wooden shoes hand crafted by Dries Bessels to an Arizona map penned by Bob Waldmire. There is also an Australian wall tapestry, and a couple of brochures for an auto show in Brookton in Western Australia, gifts from Dave Gurney, a fellow I met several years ago as he explored Route 66. 
Dave was a man of my own heart, a fellow who loved the empty places and the vast desert landscapes of the southwest. My dearest friend and I greatly enjoyed his visits as well as the opportunities they presented for us to play tour guide. 
His delightful and colorful tales of life in Western Australia had us giving some very serious consideration as to how we could explore that wild, untamed land. In the mean time, we had some delightful dinners and looked at various properties as his plan was to relocate to Kingman.
Tragically, just weeks after his return home, Dave died of a heart attack. As he returned every March, my wife and I have had a bit of difficulty with this anniversary, especially as I cleaned the office and unveiled the various reminders. 
Now, it is time to prepare for the tax man, make the trip to Prescott, fund and acquire a new computer, entice a publisher to approve the next project or projects, continue the development of a very busy promotional schedule, hang on to the day job, catch up on some home repair, and, in my spare time, make sure there is adequate room in the schedule for the most important item of all – time spent with my dearest friend, my son, and the grandchildren, as well as friends and fans of the legendary double six and the road less traveled. 

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