Several weeks ago I received a call from Dan Rice (the unofficial tourism director on Santa Monica Pier and proprietor of 66-to-Cali) who was assisting with the development of a Route 66 tour for representatives from GM China, the Cadillac division. A conference call or two later and I found myself committed to crafting a reception for the group when they arrived in Kingman. So, I turned to Josh Noble, our local tourism director, and local car clubs to set the wheels in motion. As Josh is an innovative and organizational talent, and as the car club set in Kingman looks for any excuse to show off their cars, my primary task became swapping days off at the office, and directing from the sidelines while my dearest friend researched proper etiquette.
Today, the big day, marked an entire week of international relations on Route 66. This one, however, will be tough to beat.First representatives from the local car clubs began arriving at the Powerhouse Visitor Center, along with tourists from London, Italy, Germany, and Norway. It wasn’t on my planned schedule but soon I was signing copies of Ghost Towns of Route 66 at the gift shop, answering questions, helping folks with maps, and in general, having a most delightful time. As the primary focus of the Chinese tour was Cadillac, I was most delighted to see Bob Campbell’s 1911 Cadillac, which recently completed a 500 mile tour of Colorado, roll into the parking lot as well as a stunning, unrestored 1957 Coupe De Ville. Another show stopper was Josh Noble’s wonderful 1948 Oldsmobile with period trailer.
|Bob Cambell’s 1911 Cadillac.|
At about 11:30 the Chinese contingent arrived with journalist in tow. As an added bonus their primary guide was none other than the one and only Bob “Croc” Lile, a friend from Amarillo as well as a talented artist with gallery in that city on 6th Street, the original alignment of Route 66.In less than the blink of the eye the parking lot became a veritable sea of motorcycles (a group from Germany), vintage cars, new Cadillacs emblazoned with the Route 66 emblem and Chinese script, and crowds that ebbed and flowed around the old cars and into the museum. It was delightful chaos!
|Josh Noble’s 1948 Oldsmobile.|
In the midst of it all I gave one of the most interesting interviews of my life. The journalist asked a question in Chinese, and interpreter relayed the message, I responded, and the interpreter relayed my response. Then it was off to Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner, an interesting adventure as only a few of the people spoke English. The folks at the restaurant earned every tip and were still grossly under paid!All to quickly the international celebration came to end as the group had a schedule to keep. That included a cruise through Oatman and days end in Needles. What an amazing day! I even learned how to say “hello” in Mandarin. Every day on Route 66 leaves one awaiting the next day with eager anticipation. I wonder what adventures will unfold tomorrow?