In a recent interview I was asked why my books and writings focus so deeply on obscure moments in history, historical unknowns, and forgotten places. At the risk of sounding overly smug, my answer was simple – why.
That little word is the catalyst for most everything I write. Why did the National Old Trails Highway, and the first alignment of Route 66 follow the twisted and torturous course through the Black Mountains of Arizona when there was a “valley bypass” that followed what is now the course for I-40?
Why did Benjamin Briscoe feel that offering a V8 engine in a car manufactured with laminated paper mache body panels over wood framing was a good idea? Why did he feel that one headlight mounted in the center of the radiator shell was sufficient?
In the grand scheme of things the answer to these and similar questions may seem irrelevant. However, there is the curiosity factor, the one that led people to stop at Two Guns even though they new in their heart it was a rip off and the one that leads people to seek obscure alignments of Route 66 or the runs of the Painted Desert Trading Post. 
And there are those historical questions that contain the answers to our modern problems or that at least can prevent us from duplicating mistakes. Case in point, to big to fail, a concept conceived to justify the federal governments role in subsidizing the auto industry with tax payers monies. 
Surprise! This very term was drummed up during the Hoover administration, and expanded upon in the Roosevelt administration, to keep banks afloat in Michigan which in turn kept the auto industry limping along. 
Then, as now, the devil was in the details. Consider Roy Chapin, Commerce Secretary under Hoover, President of Hudson, an automobile manufacturer, and a board member of the Guardian Group, an investment corporation tied to the banks that were bailed out. See any similarities here? 
Contrary to how history is often portrayed, it is not a dry, dusty, dead subject. It is the thread that links the past with the present and the present to the future. It is a road map, guide book, and inspiration. 
Even when history is presented in a proper context and is made exciting, as in the fabulous book, David Crockett by Michael Wallis, we often end up with a thick delicious soup that has yet to be stirred. The best ingredients are hidden at the bottom of the pot. 
In this book by Mr. Wallis, we are transported into the very world of David Crockett, a period so artistically woven from word pictures you can smell, touch, taste, and feel this long lost era. And yet we are left wondering about the lives of his obscure contemporaries. 
And so my focus is often on those obscure people, their lives, and the obscurity of their colorful lives. That is why I feel compelled to write about men like Ralph Teetor, the blind inventor of cruise control, or the Ghost Towns of Route 66. 
And so the answer is simply, why. 




The fun just never ends. Life just seems to be a never ending swirl, at very high speeds, that blend trials, tribulations, and grand adventure into a dizzying sensory extravaganza.
As noted previously, last week we were enjoying delightful spring like weather. Then came the weekend and a snow storm.
This morning the air was just cold enough to make the morning commute to work via a 1.5 mile walk quite invigorating. By mid afternoon the sun was out and it was warm enough to make a sweater somewhat uncomfortable but yet still cool enough that a sweater was needed. Meanwhile, I understand that in Chicago it was hovering around 80 degrees. 

The storm prevented my accountants return from California so the tax preparation scheduled for yesterday has been rescheduled to some evening this week. To ensure the week is filled with delightful and thrilling escapades of a similar nature, I will be discussing the closing of my mothers estate with an attorney as well.
The day started with a completely clogged bathroom sink and flurry of good, bad, potentially bad, and potentially promising email exchanges. All of them fueled the frustration that comes from current state of existence in limbo.
There is a pending book contract, currently on hold. The publicist and I are working on a summer promotional schedule but first we will need to evaluate the current reprint status for Ghost Towns of Route 66. The marketing department informed me that orders for this book as well as a couple of others is escalating but the reprint is delayed.
I arrived at the office twenty minutes before opening to find several customers who had arrived early in the hope that they would be the first ones in the door. As it turned out their eager anticipation was quickly dampened as I have a commercial customer every Tuesday morning whose schedule dictates an earlier than opening pick up.
I was open and ready for business by the scheduled time but a few issues with down units, and one extraordinarily fussy and nit picking customer slowed the exodus from Kingman, Lake Havasu City, and Bullhead City to Kingman. During lunch I composed notes for an exciting new project, a mile by mile guide book for the segment of Route 66 between Crookton Road and Topock on the Colorado River (the longest remaining uninterrupted segment of Route 66) that will be published in an ebook format.

My hope is to be able to tie the first segment of the research (a drive from Crookton Road to Kingman) in with the photography of wildflowers for the Route 66 in Mohave County exhibit and another project that requires photographs of the black footed ferret in the Aubrey Valley west of Seligman. With the recent spat of rain and snow, if it stays warm all week, the flowers should be pushing up by next week which means road trip and picnic.
The day at the office ended much as it began, with customers rushing to beat our closing time. But there was a delight surprise that balanced the day out quite well, my dearest friend stopping by to give me a lift home.
Now that I stop to think about it that last half hour was my life in condensed form. There are the blessings made manifest in the fact I have a job, in my dearest friend, and in the beautiful day. There is the turmoil of the lives I interact with that are as whirlpools, and the turmoil of my life that acts as whirlpools for those around me.
Somewhere in between is that peace and serenity that comes from the assurance that this is life at its best. This is simply a life where trials, tribulations, and grand adventures are woven into a rich, diverse, and colorful tapestry that exudes a pulse stirring vibrancy.