ROUTE 66 AND THE GRAND ADVENTURE

My earliest memories of a full fledged Route 66 adventure date to the summer of 1966, the year we made the epic move from Port Huron in Michigan to Kingman in Arizona. This, however, was not my first adventure on the now legendary double six. That trip occurred in 1959.
Obviously there was no indication given on either of this pioneering adventures that this highway would serve as the stage for a large portion of my life or that it would be the thread that tied together most every milestone along the way. 
As I look toward the future, something I seem to do a great deal of as we near the end of another year, it doesn’t seem as though there are very many detours on the road ahead. In fact, it appears that my life is about to become even more entwined with this amazing old highway. 
On our October odyssey we were on the road to promote the new book, The Route 66 Encyclopedia (available for order at the top of this post) which was conceived as a means to promote the people and places that make Route 66 so special, and to add depth and context to the Route 66 experience that often centers on the tail fin, ’57 Chevy, and neon lit nights. We were also gathering images and updated material for a new book, Travel Route 66, a travel guide to America’s most famous highway with a distinctly Jim Hinckley twist as it will include a number of very short side trips to fascinating places such as Maramec Springs Park or the Cave Restaurant. For this book the deadline for completion is March of 2013. 
I am not looking to compete with or overshadow the EZ 66 Guide by Jerry McClanahan. In fact in the introduction for the new book I make it quite clear that there are two books that are a must for any adventure on the double six – Jerry’s guide as well as the dining and lodging guide published by the National Historic Route 66 Federation, two books that we always carry.
Shortly before leaving on the trip the publisher had asked if I would write the text for a small book chronicling the evolution of Route 66 promotional material. Well, upon my return the discussion about this book solidified into another project that hinged on two key components; the need for illustrative material (enter Joe Sonderman who I introduced to the publisher), and a very short deadline of sixty days. 
For those who seek the glitz and glamour of the free lance writer lifestyle my suggestion is to look beyond the allure of road trips, the meeting of interesting people (see my interview with Jay Leno below), and endless adventures that would make Indiana Jones weak in the knees. There is a never ending swing between feast and famine, a near constant scramble for work, and lots of hours engaged in research or spent tapping on key boards. In short, it is an ideal career for a masochist. 
Still, it is the most fascinating work I can imagine. It provides an almost endless string of opportunities for sharing the colorful history of Roue 66 and various other topics such as the infancy of the American auto industry, and it serves as an introduction for meeting some of the most delightful people. 
Now, all of this seems to be blending together with increasing speed. At the center of the vortex is Route 66. 
I am now promoting two Route 66 titles and using this promotion to draw the spotlight to people on places on the road that give it vitality and life while working to complete two more titles. Next week we will, I hope, finalize negotiations for a store front on Route 66 that will enable us to create the long envisioned Route 66 Information Center, and to meet with more tour groups.   
In Cuba, Missouri we met with Kathy and David Alexander, proprietors of the amazing Legends of America website. Resultant of that meeting, I am quite honored to announce that in coming weeks I will be a regular contributor to their acclaimed site. 
Then there are the day tours being developed by Sam Frisher of the El Trovatore Motel, another opportunity to share my passion for the colorful history of the Route 66 corridor in western Arizona as well as another opportunity to contribute to the resurrection of another landmark. 
And to think, it all began with a journey west to a strange new land, a grizzled old man who squatted among the debris and flotsam of better times at a place called Ed’s Camp, and the wheezing sounds of a tired and battered old Model A struggling to make the grade at Sitgreaves Pass. 



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