I am sort of an old fashioned fellow (surprise!). The idea of reading a cold, electronic Kindle or tablet on the can or in the outhouse rather than a book or magazine of paper seems odd and disconnected, almost unnatural. It is sort of like showing up at the Renaissance Fair with a light saber while wearing a Darth Vader outfit or to a Civil War reenactment carrying an M-16. Still, I am quite fascinated by modern technologies, especially when they blend seamlessly the world of the past, the modern era, and the future. Case in point, the latest issue of 66 The Mother Roaduploaded this morning (click on the cover image to open the free publication). In less than an instant the magazine was made available to the legion of international fans of the double six in every corner of the world. In less time than it takes to aim and spit Route 66 enthusiasts were looking at photos of Joe Sonderman, Michael Wallis, and Melba from 4 Women on the Route at the recent international festival in Victorville, reading about the Big Palooza Contest, and learning about the desert oasis that is Hualapai Mountain Park near Kingman. From its inception Route 66 has been a mirror of societal evolution. It would seem that this trend has continued long after the highway officially ceased to exist. Another manifestation of the wonders of the modern electronic era that sort of have me in awe is the use of QR codes in the forthcoming Route 66 Encyclopedia, as well as pre-release promotional material. With this little touch of magic I can provide updates on the books release (see the encyclopedia page on this blog) as well as the promotional tour, ensure the book remains relevant and current with posted updates, and correct any issues that arise pertaining to accuracy resultant of the discovery of new materials. That, my friend, is nothing short of amazing for fellow who cranked out his first feature article on a 1948 Underwood typewriter! As they used to say, stay tuned for further details –
WOW! The response to Ron Warnick’s note about pending Route 66 day trip tours from Kingman in Route 66 News, as well as to my recent post on this subject is quite amazing. My assumption is that this was prompted by international fascination with Route 66, not just the fact I will be serving as an occasional guide. On a more serious note, here is a link for the El Trovatore Motel. The owner, Sam, would be the contact for more information but please remember that scheduled tours are still a few weeks away. I realize that this will be toward the closing of the traditional tourist season on Route 66 but this is Arizona. Fall and winter are some of the best times for really dramatic photography so keep that in mind if your looking for a really unique weekend getaway. The next topic of discussion is the debut of the Route 66 Encyclopedia at Cuba Fest, in Cuba, Missouri, and our fall adventure-slash-promotional tour. A cohesive plan is coming together quite quickly so here are the latest updates. On the 13th of October, after a half day at the office and getting our house guests settled in, we will set our sights on Gallup to close out day one. As the schedule is rather restrictive it will be impossible to visit with all of our friends along the road, schedule a formal signing that can serve as a promotional venue for stores and gift shops that sell my books, or even have the luxury of a leisurely drive. Still, this a Route 66 adventure and everyone knows that the most harried day on this road is better than one spent anywhere else. So, we have no complaints. Plans are to make McLean, Texas at the end of day two. In between Gallup and McLean we will visit with Vickie Ashcraft, Enchanted Trails Trading Post and RV Park in Albuquerque, and the Mueller’s at the Blue Swallow in Tucumcari. There will also be a meet and greet at Bob Lile’s new gallery on 6th Street in Amarillo that afternoon. I should note that even if a formal stop isn’t possible, we will make every effort to sign books at shops along the way and then promote those places as venues for signed copies on my blog. Just drop me an email if this would be of interest or if there is anything we can do to assist with promotion during our trip. Day three is a bit vague. I know that a stop at the museum in Elk City, and Clinton, is on the list as there has been a request for us to stop and sign books. So is lunch or dinner at the Rock Cafe in Stroud with Jerry McClanahan, if we can coordinate our schedules. The Munger Moss is the projected last port of call for the day but plan “B” would be the refurbished Boots Motel in Carthage. A lot depends on if we can catch Melba at 4 Women on the Route, how long it takes us to wander through Tulsa, (we are also gathering photos and information for a new book on this trip), if we catch Laurel at Afton Station, and how long it takes for me to get my buffalo burger at Waylan’s. With Springfield in Illinois as the destination, it should be a slower paced day. The only scheduled stops, to sign books and visit, at this time are Mr. C’s in Lebanon and Rich Henry’s Rabbit Ranch. With the exception of Cuba Fest in Cuba on the 19th and 20th, the rest of the schedule is still rather vague. Likewise with the drive home which will be a whirlwind affair resultant of 2.5 days to make it from Cuba to Kingman. The last item of business pertains to our on line photo studio at Zenfolio. The Route 66 Gallery, with international shipping of a wide array of print sizes, is now closing in on 100 images as new photos from our recent Seligman excursion were added on Monday.
There was a time back in the years of my misspent youth when it seemed as though rodeo was the most exciting adventure on the planet. Well, I have had to revise that a bit as the wildest ride is the one I have been on for the past couple of years. However, unlike the hoped for eight second ride of the past, this one just never seems to end.
It is Route 66 time!
It started off simply enough. I met folks with an interest in Route 66 and shared the hidden places or my knowledge of the old road in person. Then I began sharing my fascination, passion, and experiences on the road through articles written, books published, or with photography. Somewhere along the way things began to escalate in direct correlation to the rising resurgent interest in the amazing double six. All of this has led to meeting delightful people from all over the world, inspiration to see Kingman (my adopted hometown) transformed, finding new opportunities to blend my passion for writing and photography with a love for inspiring others to explore, and developing international friendships. In recent months the incredible Route 66 odyssey that began back around 1959 seems to have kicked into high gear. What a ride! One of the most satisfying aspects of being an author is to learn that a book serves as an inspiration. From that perspective my book, Ghost Towns of Route 66, has been one of the most satisfying writing endeavors ever.
Guess who –
I have received countless letters and emails of appreciation from readers who have used the book to enhance their adventures on the legendary highway, and even had one couple from Bavaria stop by the office with a copy purchased in Munich. The book has also unleashed a wide array of opportunities for sharing the magic of Route 66. Each new opportunity seems more amazing than the one that preceded it. As an example, I thought assisting with the development of a Route 66 themed exhibit at a mall in Prague, Czechoslovakia through the contribution of photographs was an exciting venture. Then, about two weeks ago, I was offered a weekend job as a tour guide for a company that is planning to launch a series of day trips from Kingman. The initial discussion ended on a note that provided little indication if it would ever become a reality. In an instant that all changed. With each phone call and each meeting the sense of eager anticipation mounted. Then I received a call informing me a small bus had been purchased and a driver hired. Next came a request to make a trial run and so, yesterday, I took for my first bus trip on Route 66 with stops in Hackberry, at Grand Canyon Caverns, and in Seligman for lunch, as well as a visit with my old friend, the unofficial mayor of Route 66, Angel. What a grand adventure, one that I would be quite happy to share with you. If the opportunity for an unforgettable tour along legendary Route 66 in western Arizona, with a few very special perks, piques your imagination, drop me a note. I would be happy to provide contact information so you may begin planning your adventure today.
Well, our visitors from China seem to have had a grand adventure on Route 66. Hats off to Dan Rice (the unofficial mayor of Santa Monica Pier and co-owner of 66-to Cali) for contributing your organizational skills to ensure the tour was a success and “Croc” Lile for being a delightful guide that the folks from Shanghai will be talking about for years to come. In reading Laurel Kane’s blog about her adventures at Afton Station, I learned today that a merry band from Norway is making their way along Route 66 on a grand adventure. If this highway isn’t America’s most famous attraction it must rate somewhere near the very top of the list. Another series of exciting announcements came from the publishers of 66 The Mother Road this week. The November/December issue will be a special trip planning issue that will contain a calendar of events and it will showcase a new feature as a pilot program – an insert profiling a particular community. It would seem the efforts spearheaded by Carol Young, Josh Noble, and Kristi Turman that manifested in the massive gift basket containing what amounts to a complete weekend for two in Kingman, a prize for the Big Palooza contest, are about to bear some very serious fruit. The first community to be profiled in the new featured community insert will be my adopted hometown. I should also note that effective immediately there will be a new advertising package to ensure the initial goal of providing a voice for the Route 66 community continues into the magazines third year. This is the response to my inquiry about the advertising package:
1) Full price for advertisement, no discount, but…
2) Place an advertisement in one issue and, with approved changes in content, it runs free in the next issue. In addition, the advertisement will be available in archived editions for up to one year.
3) Billing is sent after publication of the first advertisement, not at the time the advertisement is placed.
4) Payment must be received within thirty days of billing or the second free advertisement is canceled.
In an unrelated development, the Kingman based day trip tours are progressing. I am most excited about what this will mean to Kingman, how it will benefit the Route 66 community, and how I will fair as a tour guide.
According to the latest reports, the long anticipated New Mexico Route 66 Museum is about to become a reality. Details can be found on Route 66 News but it looks as though the ambitious folks in Tucumcari have scored another hit.
The calendar for November is still empty but until a few weeks ago so was October with the exception of our journey to Cuba, Missouri and Cuba Fest for the debut of The Route 66 Encyclopedia. Now, I have received approval for two feature articles as well as a small photo assignment, still need to finish the rough draft for the new book, and will be meeting with Dale Butel’s fall tour group from Australia, something my dearest friend and I look forward to.
And so begins a new chapter, and a new season, on Route 66 –
Meanwhile, back at the Route 66 ranch, while the political pundits unleash their creative talents in an effort to present presidential candidate “R” or presidential candidate “D” in the worst light possible, or to convince the voting public that one of these candidates is the savior of the nation, we are making plans to ensure the Route 66 experience is more exciting than ever. Where do I begin?
In October, on the 20th, we will unveil the long anticipated Route 66 Encyclopediaat Cuba Fest, in Cuba, Missouri. As the event is at its core a small town fall festival with a Route 66 overlay I am quite confident that it will be most enjoyable. Enhancing that sense of expectation is the near daily posting of new additions to the fun filled weekend.
Today, I learned that the new and improved Lile Fine Art Gallery in Amarillo, the distributor of our limited edition pints which was recently located to the historic 6th Street (Route 66) corridor, will be hosting a short “meet and greet” on the afternoon of October 14. We are quite honored to be able to assist Bob “Croc” Lile in the promotion of the gallery as he is a true friend to the Route 66 community.
That about wraps up the schedule for appearances on our October tour. If, however, you carry our books in your store or gift shop it would be my pleasure to stop by and sign what you have during our travels.
In regard to our Amarillo stop, as a bonus we will be able to call attention to the fascinating and delightful Route 66 corridor in this city. When it comes to Amarillo the Big Texan hogs the limelight even though it was relocated from Route 66 to the I-40 corridor and as a result folks often overlook gems such as the Golden Light cafe in operation since 1946.
Details are still being finalized but I am pleased to announce that the tours hinted at for sometime are about to become a reality with the possibility that the first one will take place in about six weeks. Initially the tour will be along the Route 66 corridor between Kingman and Seligman with yours truly (ME) as the guide.
The tours will blend the lure of Route 66, the romance of southwest history, and great photo opportunities. If things go as planned, the tours will be expanded to include the segment of Route 66 west of Kingman to the Colorado River and the sites of Kingman by next year.
If this is something that you feel would enhance your Route 66 adventure, please let me know and I will provide contact information for the owner of the enterprise. Additionally, if your group would like to schedule a tour drop me a note.
A few last minute snags in the forthcoming Powerhouse Visitor Center photographic exhibit are now finalized. So, in a few weeks I should be announcing the opening as well as be providing details about the full press gala that accompany the official grand opening. As my dearest friend and I were selected as the photographers for this exhibit there is a real sense of excitement about this.
Monday evenings meeting to hammer out details for the mural project on the west wall of the Old Trails Garage (1915) and the creation of the World’s Largest Route 66 Museum went rather well. Now, the only thing left before launching the first mural is a meeting between the artist and contractor, and then a bit of fund raising. Is anyone interested in helping to write a new chapter in Route 66 history.
The World’s Largest Route 66 Museum will take a bit longer. Still, the game plan is to have several segments (it will be built in increments of ten) in place by the Route 66 Fun Run Weekend, the first weekend in May of 2013.
Nothing is set in stone as of yet but all indications are that the 2013 International Route 66 Festival will take place in Joplin, Missouri. Congratulations Ron Hart of the Route 66 Chamber of Commerce for spearheading this.
On September 9, Roger Fox will be leading his stalwart Ride for the Relaygroup into Kingman on their Route 66 tour. Last year I was honored by the request to pray for the group as they left on their westward journey. It looks as though I will again be honored this privilege.
On the morning of September 19th, Zdnek Jurasek of the Czech Route 66 Association and his group will be stopping at Dora’s Beale Street deli (one black off of Route 66 in the Kingman historic district) for breakfast. Would you care to join us for impromptu international celebration of Route 66?
Well, lunch is over. So, stay tuned for details on further developments. Meanwhile, drive careful, see you on the road.