Laurel Kane of Afton Station recently posted a fascinating little snippet on her blog, Thoughts from a Route 66 Business Owner, that I found of particular interest after recent conversations with Kevin and Nancy of the Blue Swallow Motel and Sam Frisher of the El Trovatore Motel. As we have had a very busy week in regard to friends from Europe stopping by for a visit, and as we are on the fast track to seeing some rather exciting Route 66 developments unfold, this particular posting continues to provide a great deal of food for thought.
A life entwined with the lure, the mystique, the history, and camaraderie of the Route 66 community is not easily explained as mere words are poor descriptors. It is almost like trying to explain love or passion, the awe inspired by a sunset at the Grand Canyon, or the sense of joy that comes from holding a newborn grandson in fifty words or less.
For a fortunate few, such as Angel Delgadillo, a steadfast patience was all that was needed when it seemed the old road would be relegated to historic footnote. They knew in their heart that the world would rediscover the simple pleasures of life along the legendary double six.
For others a life built on Route 66 began with a voyage of discovery and then, an awakening. Spend a night at the Blue Swallow, talk with the guests and owners as you make smores under a starlit desert sky. Savor the ocean breeze as Dan Rice passionately explains the importance of Route 66 on Santa Monica Pier. Listen to ZdnekJurasek as he talks of life in a communist country and the beacon of hope that was America encapsulated in a highway signed with two sixes.
Then there are folks like my dearest friend and I. For us the old road has been the thread that binds us to our past as well as our lives together and as a result our passion for Route 66 is tinged with deep seated memories that always foster a smile or emotion.
For my dearest friend there are memories of trying to get to the City Cafe from her folks store and auto court through a near endless sea of traffic, and Sunday dinners in restaurants that teemed with travelers. For me it is moving to Arizona, learning to ride a bicycle and to drive, and long summer vacation adventures.
Our shared memories run even deeper. There were the long drives to Kingman from Chino Valley in my ’46 GMC for a Saturday date, camping trips as husband and wife, and our first cross country drive as a couple. Now it is dinner with friends from the four corners of the earth, endless opportunities to share the wonders of this old road through books and photography, and road trips peppered with visits with old friends.
And now we stand on the threshold of a new and exciting chapter in our association with this iconic highway. In a few weeks my latest book, The Route 66 Encyclopedia, makes its debut at Cuba Fest and of course this means another opportunity for a grand adventure on Route 66.
I am sprinting toward the finish line on another book, a travel guide to Route 66. As Jerry McClanahan has penned the definitive book for tracing the roads course, I will be able to focus on sharing my special places.
In a few weeks our first major photo exhibition will be unveiled at the Powerhouse Visitor Center in Kingman. We have also been asked to create an exhibit for the lobby of the historic Brunswick Hotel. All of this mirrors the development of our online photo studio – http://jimhinckleystudio.zenfolio.com/- where prints are available for international customers.
Last week a new opportunity for sharing the wonders of Route 66 manifested with the debut of Legendary Route 66 Adventure Tours and a request that I serve as a guide. Riding close on the heels of this endeavor comes a new service, Route 66 trip planning tailored to an individual or groups special needs and interests.
This all ties to the most exciting development of all, a store front in the historic Brunswick Hotel where I can create a full Route 66 information center featuring promotional material from stops all along the road, offer books, and provide information about area attractions. Even better, I will be able to speak with larger tour groups about the magic, the wonder, and the history of America’s most famous highway.
A life built on a Route 66 foundation is not for everyone. However, if life seems empty and a bit sterile, if the daily grind is wearing you down and there is no end in sight, may I suggest a voyage of discovery on Route 66?
You might just be a bit surprised to see what unfolds. Just ask Laurel Kane.