On my list of people to be wary of, fortune tellers, astrologers, and their ilk rate right up there with televangelists, used car salesman, and candidates for political office. They all claim an ability to see the future for a price but yet never seem to see it coming. With that said, I will temporarily join their ranks and take a look at Christmas future. After all, I bet my predictive accuracy beats theirs. I will start with a prediction about Roger Naylor’s new book, Arizona Kicks on Route 66. Once the word gets out about this book, I sense that the publisher will be kept rather busy. I will also stick my neck out and say that this book should add to the number of smiles found along Route 66. Mr. Naylor has a way with words that on occasion borders on whimsical, or even poetic, and as a result they capture the very essence of the Route 66 experience. The excellent photography serves as a delightful stage upon which to display those words.
My next prediction is that fans of the double six will be reinforcing their book shelves this fall. I base this on the fact that the long awaited (and so glad to be finished writing) Route 66 Encyclopedia(an 8.75 inch by 11.25 inch, 288-page hardcover book with 750 color illustrations alone) is due for release this fall and the publisher is now accepting pre-orders. If you would prefer to save the postman from the potential risk of a hernia, and want to get in the spirit of the road before cracking the cover, I suggest a little road trip to Cuba, Missouri this October. Cuba Fest is the scheduled venue for the debut of the new book but there is much more to this delightful event (and community) this year than just me, a new book, and fall colors in the Ozarks. Joe Sonderman, Riva Echols, other artists and authors will be in attendance and the weekend schedule is filled with all manner of activities for the entire family. Did I mention that 66 The Mother Roadwill be announcing the winners of the Big Palooza contest at the festival? Did I mention Joe Loesch and the Road Crew will be performing at Belmont Winery? Next on my list, the International Route 66 Festival in Victorville. My prediction is that resultant of the late start and organizational issues it will be better than the one held in Flagstaff but not quite as good as the one in Amarillo last year. On a more serious note, as the event is all about THE ROAD and sharing the passion for it with others who feel the same way, I am quite confident a good time will be had by one and all. And now, my long odds prediction for 2012. The Route 66 community puts aside differences and occasional self serving myopia to pool resources to develop, promote, and enhance the Route 66 experience, and to protect that community and its visitors from snake oil salesman, medicine shows, and fast talkers. Please don’t prove me wrong.
The Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, site of the Big Palooza prize announcements during Cuba Fest.
First it was the 25th annual Route 66 Fun Run, a grand event that included cars, more cars, Route 66, lots of people, Route 66, cars, and Route 66. For us the event also included visits with old friends from the four corners of the globe; Dale Butel and his crew from Australia, Mark and Jo Powell from England, and Mike and Sharon Ward of Mesa, Arizona. On Sunday the grand adventure kicked into high gear. We were riding tail on the herd of Fun Run participants as they rolled into the Black Mountains, over Sitgreaves Pass, through Oatman, and on to the grand finale in Golden Shores with our first stop being Cool Springs and a visit with Ned Leuchtner, the owner.
Cool Springs, Arizona
Well, we made it to Cool Springs. A rear brake was hanging on the Jeep and by the time we arrived there, the wheel was to hot to touch. So, we visited a bit longer than originally intended and photographed a few cars as we waited for the wheel cool, and then limped back into Kingman to search for a rental car. The leisurely drive back to Kingman, the acquisition of the rental car, and then the drive to Golden Shores via I-40, consumed several hours and made it necessary to jettison a large block of planned afternoon activities. It also meant we had to bypass the drive through the Black Mountains and through Oatman, and pushed lunch to about 3:00. Still, we were on the road, some of that road was Route 66, and the road was filled with old cars, and that road was through spectacular western landscapes. As a bonus, we were on our way to meet with Dale Butel of Route 66 Tours, and his spring tour group from Australia. As they say (or at least as I say), the worst day on Route 66 is better than the best day any place else. We caught up with Dale and his crew in time for dinner at the Avi Casino near Laughlin, Nevada and finalized plans for a surprise he was planning for this tour. The surprise was me providing a bit of a history lesson among the ruins of Cadiz Summit Station near Amboy, California, and signed copies of Ghost Towns of Route 66 for the entire group. This morning, shortly after sunrise, my dearest friend and I set out in advance of the group which provided time for us to cruise at a leisurely pace along Route 66 through Essex and Danby, and into the vast Mojave Desert. In the half hour or so that we had to explore Cadiz Summit we discovered vast bottle dumps that have piqued the interest enough to ensure we will back later this winter when the temperatures cool just a bit and the snakes are not a concern.
Mark Fletcher, his assistant Shannon, and author Jim Hinckley at Cadiz Summit along Route 66 in California.
We provided a few cases of cold water, I spoke on the history of the station and the surrounding desert, answered questions about Route 66, and then signed books. Then I learned that Mark Fletcher, a television personality from Australia was in the group and granted an interview for his program. And then it was over. The Aussies were headed for Las Vegas via Amboy and Kelso, and my dearest friend and I were headed for lunch in Needles. We had squeezed three weeks into a brief forty-eight hours. We had another grand adventure on Route 66, and were counting the days until the next one, a trip to Tucumcari for Wheels on 66.