As often happens in the days before the beginning of a grand adventure a litany of problems arise that must be resolved or that demand immediate attention. For me these include the departure of my fill in at the office that has resulted in more than a month of six day work weeks, the search for a replacement, and now, a week to train that replacement. To this we can add a leaking faucet, the pressing deadline for two feature articles that received approval last week, a couple of interviews, addressing a Rotary club meeting, a few meetings with tour groups, and the coordination of an ever evolving promotional schedule for the trip as it is in essence a tour with the introduction of The Route 66 Encyclopedia as the foundational element. Meanwhile, we continue checking things off the list as we add them to the pile to ensure nothing is overlooked and that we can toss everything in the car as soon as I lock the office next Saturday. Cameras and related equipment, check. Our copies of the Route 66 Dining & Lodging Guide, EZ 66 Guide for Travelers, check. Atlas, check. Picnic basket and ice chest, check. Case of bottled water, check. First aid kit, check. Ovaltine, instant oatmeal, crackers, dried fruit, nuts, tea, honey, check.Cases of Books (Route 66 Backroads, Ghost Towns of Route 66, Backroads of Arizona, Ghost Towns of the Southwest), check. Yes, The Route 66 Encyclopedia is absent from the list. Crank up the pre trip stress a notch as there was a delay in publishing and as a result the books will not be shipped for about five days so I will have them sent straight to the Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba – and pray. Promotional material such as rack cards, Arizona Route 66 passports, and museum passes that I have promised to distribute along the way, check. Laptop, check. Proper roadtrip music, check. Sweaters and long johns, check. As a secondary purpose for the adventure is to gather current information and photographs for the current book project, I have compiled a lengthy list of stops. Most of these should be added to the list for anyone planning a Route 66 adventure on a shoe string budget, a central theme for the current book. So, from west to east, our partial list includes – Walnut Canyon National Monument near Winona – Two Guns – Petrified Forest National Park (don’t forget your national park pass) – El Moro National Monument south of Gallup – Bandera Volcano and Ice Caves south of Grants – Sandia Peak Tramway in Albuquerque – Rio Grande Zoo in Albuquerque – Washita Battlefield in Oklahoma –Redrock Canyon State Park south of Bridgeport in Oklahoma – Battle of Carthage State Historic site in Carthage – Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield near Springfield – Meramec Springs Park south of St. James – Cahokia Mounds State Historic Park in Illinois – Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site near Springfield – As you may have guessed, with a 9.5 day schedule for the trip I will have to return to the day job for rest. Still, the worst day on a Route 66 adventure is better than the best day anywhere else. If there is a downside to a Route 66 adventure on a constricted schedule it would be the lack of time to visit with friends along the way. After all, it is the people along Route 66 that make this old road truly special. So, if we miss you on this trip – Gary Turner, Buzz Waldmire, Laurel Kane, Cort Stevens, Lulu, Melba, Dennis, and a few dozen other friends, please accept our apology and rest assured, we will be back.