As noted in yesterday’s post, the questions most asked at appearances pertain to my association with Route 66. So, in part one I wrote the introduction for what has been more than a half century association with America’s most storied highway. 
We pick up the story in the closing years of the tumultuous 1960s. These were the years that my roots were firmly planted in Route 66.
Life along that then empty segment of old US 66 in the shadow of the Black Mountains, especially for a kid with an active imagination and inquisitive mind, was almost magical. There were camp outs with friends among the ruins of Kings Dairy below Cool Springs, hair raising bicycle rides down the eastern slope of Sitgreaves Pass, and stories told by old timers such as Ed Edgerton of Ed’s Camp, and Tommy Thomas, a grizzled old man of indeterminate age. 
Fig Springs Station was a memory with only a concrete slab, and a miniature version built a s playhouse that served as a haven for snakes, to offer mute testimony of its existence. Before the crushers were brought in there was a vast junk yard near the Sacramento Wash that provided us with a wide array of places to play (and to cause mom endless worry as this was a haven for snakes). It was here that my passion for the intricate dashboard styling of cars produced in the 1930s and 1940s began. 
All of the kids living along Oatman rode began driving long before being old enough to get a drivers license. Hauling water was simply one of the chores and exploration of the desert, and learning the intricacies of navigating a sand wash, was one of the perks for such a rough and isolated existence. 
Shortly after the dawn of the new decade we moved back to Michigan after a brief stay in Silver City, New Mexico. It was there that a dawning realization of my passion for the desert southwest soon became an all consuming hunger. Few things attest to this more than the fact I never attended graduation and instead had my diplomas (in addition to high school I graduated from a trade school) forwarded to Arizona in premature anticipation of the return to my adopted homeland. 
The interstate highway was on the fast track to relegating old Route 66 to the ash heap of history at that time but in many places it was still very much alive. Still, with the exception of a trucker looking to beat a scale or toll road, someone with a battered old car that preferred to avoid the high speed race track of the four-lane, lost souls in search of long lost youth and associated memories, or the wrong turn Harry, legendary Route 66 was empty road in many places. 
In the late 1970s, and the early 1980s, I was one of each of these at least once. In hauling loads to Oklahoma City, I often took the old road when possible to alleviate the tedium. During the John Wayne period my old pick up trucks that were manufactured years before my arrival in this world weren’t any more suited to the modern era than I was. 
My now legendary desert excursions often began with a drive on Route 66. And, some thirty plus years ago when my dearest friend (whose family once owned an auto court and store on Route 66) and I began dating, it was old Route 66 that I followed from Ash Fork to Kingman in my old 1946 GMC. 
In the years between then and now that old highway has continued to be the thread that ties it all together. Our honeymoon, my first tentative steps as a preacher in Peach Springs, my office today (the last vestige of the Hobb’s Truck Stop), teaching my son to drive on the old road where I learned, and so much more. 
Now it is books and articles, speaking engagements and vacations. And these have allowed me the luxury of sharing the wonders of Route 66 with an international audience. 
There you have it, the short version of a long story. Every fan of the double six has his own story about what the road means to them. For me it is the stage where my life plays out and a tangible link to the American century. 

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