While our elected representatives argue over ways to resolve the financial mess they created, and to present the illusion they are earning their pay instead of finding new ways to line their pockets, we will continue to discuss Route 66 and adventures on the road less traveled in the year to come.
With that as our introduction, lets start planning an adventure. First, lets start with proper theme music to set the mood for planning road trips –

The historic Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas, New Mexico
  • Next, a couple of excellent guide books. If your adventure plans include Route 66 it is imperative to have a copy of the Lodging & Dining Guide and EZ 66 Guide for Travelers by Jerry McClanahan. As a bonus, if your order them through the National Historic Route 66 Association you will be supporting an excellent organization –
  •  If your thinking of an adventure of a different kind, my first suggestion would be to consider Arizona and New Mexico, two of my favorite states and two states that just happen to have a Route 66 association. It just so happens that there are several excellent guide books for both states available through this blog (see above): Backroads of Arizona, Route 66 Backroads, Ghost Towns of the Southwest and Route 66 Backroads –
  • Aside from Kingman, I have two Arizona recommendations for anyone interested in unique destinations, historic lodging options, fascinating shops and museums, and delightful restaurants – Prescott and Bisbee –
  • Prescott is an excellent Route 66 detour as it is less than fifty miles south of Ash Fork. For lodging our preference is the most delightful 1920s gem, the Hassayampa Inn
  • Bisbee, nestled in the bowl of a beautiful canyon, is an almost perfect time capsule circa 1910. It also makes for an excellent base camp to explore Tombstone, Douglas, and ghost towns such as Pearce and Dos Cabezas, and the ruins of Fort Bowie on the old Butterfield Stage road –
  • For lodging there is but one option, in my humble opinion, which is the historic Copper Queen, the oldest continuously operated hotel in Arizona –
  • If your a bit more adventuresome then another suggestion would be Crown King. And if you have a sturdy vehicle with a bit of ground clearance I would also suggest driving the historic Senator Highway from Prescott to Crown King –
  • Now, in New Mexico my list of destinations is rather lengthy. First would be Silver City and most everything within 100 miles. Hands down, this is my favorite corner of America –
  • Suggestion number two would be the pre 1937 Route 66 loop through Santa Fe to Albuquerque. I would add a slight detour, highway 104 from Tucumcari to Las Vegas, a most wonderful drive to an incredible city (think Santa Fe but without the tourists or cost) –
  • Again, in my humble opinion, there is but one lodging option for Las Vegas, the historic Plaza Hotel. The saloon and the view from the front window is little changed from when Doc Holiday sent a cowboy to meet his maker here. With the exception of the expected modern amenities, the hotel itself is unchanged from when Teddy Roosevelt hosted the first reunion of the Rough Riders there –
  • Do you have a favorite spot in Arizona, New Mexico, or along Route 66?
  • Okay, we did not have a winner in our recent photo contest. So, in conjunction with the publisher, we are developing a contest that should be a great deal of fun for the Route 66 enthusiast as it will be one part scavenger hunt and one part trivia. The prize for the first to provide correct answers, autographed copies of Backroads of Arizona, Ghost Towns of Route 66, Ghost Towns of the Southwest, Route 66 Backroads, and The Route 66 Encyclopedia. As they say, stay tuned for exciting details!


My office, the last vestige of the Hobb’s Truck Stop, fronts Route 66. So, I am awarded a very fine view of Route 66 from here. 
Let’s see what is on the horizon – 

  • Mark Fletcher of C31 television in Australia (Classic Restos) is debuting his series filmed this past summer along Route 66 – 
  • Stetson Winery near Kingman, just off of Route 66, is up and running. Their first big event is a New Years Eve celebration – 
  • Dora’s Beale Street Deli, a great place for breakfast just one block of Route 66, is catering the affair – 
  • This is a bit off topic but before I forget, the latest installment in my series profiling the early development of the American automotive industry written for Legends of America is now available for your viewing pleasure – 
  • From now until January 30th, 10% of the proceeds from the sale of books through this blog, the sale of photographic prints through Jim Hinckley Studio, or the sale of souvenirs from our gift shop will be donated to the Kingman Route 66 corridor beautification projects – 
  • When planning your next adventure on Route 66, or to the Kingman area, it might be a good idea to include a day tour from the historic El Trovatore Motel in your schedule – 
  • If your having Route 66 withdrawals, here is an incredible website that should hold you over until the snow melts – 
  • If not, perhaps seeing the neon of the Blue Swallow Motel reflected in a fresh snow might help. I understand they have added new comforters to the rooms. Please say hello to Kevin and Nancy for me when you stop – 
  • And if would prefer a time capsule experience circa 1960 rather than 1940, don’t forget that the refurbished Motel Safari is just across the street. If you stop, say hello to Richard for me – 
  • For those in the St. Louis area in need of a weekend getaway, and a Route 66 fix, it would be hard to beat a drive to Cuba, the Wagon Wheel Motel for the night, Missouri Hicks for dinner, and Shelly’s Cafe for breakfast –
  • Plans are to resume our regular schedule for posts next week. In the mean time – 


The title for this mornings post sums it up. I will let you be the judge of what constitutes good news, better news, or exciting news. 

  • Laurel Kane, the proprietor at Afton Staton, is making a steady recovery and as of this morning, is expecting to be released from the hospital soon. I have really missed her musings on the blog Ramblings of a Route 66 Business Owner – 
  • Ron Warnick of Route 66 News has picked up on the year in review video posted by Frank at Seligman Sundries in Seligman, Arizona – 
  • On January 3, 2013, I will be the featured guest on AM Arizona. As you may have guessed the topic of discussion will be Route 66 and my latest book, The Route 66 Encyclopedia – 
  • Speaking of The Route 66 Encyclopedia, here is the latest from Amazon.com – 
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the success of this book (headed for a second printing as I type these words) through its purchase – 
  • With the exception of Ghost Towns of the Southwest, autographed copies of my books can be ordered through the blog.  I should have copies of Ghost Towns of the Southwest available in about ten days – 
  • Well, we did not have a winner in our mystery photo contest. So, I will have to up the ante and come up with another challenge. As they say, stay tuned for details – 
  • In this digital age when everyone is a photographer, or has a computer program that makes them seem like one, it is refreshing to see something unique and original. Chris Robleski and Katie Nelson of Fading Nostalgia have found an interesting take by turning back the clock just a bit – 
  • A new installment in my series on the interesting and quirky early days of the American auto industry will be available at Legends of America by the end of the month. This feature profiles Jackson, Michigan, the forgotten Motor City – 
  • We are moving closer to official establishment of the Route 66 Information Center (I think). Still, if we may be of assistance in regard to helping development of your personal Route 66 travel plans, or your group, please let me know –
  • If my appearance at an event or fund raiser in 2013 would be of benefit to your organization, please contact me as we are currently organizing a calendar for the year – 
  • The international Route 66 festival for 2013 is scheduled for August 3 in Joplin. I am curious as to who plans on attending and who might be interested in a reunion lunch, dinner, or breakfast that weekend (Sunday?) at the Cave Restaurant near Lebanon – 
  • If your looking for a great organization to support, or a solid source of information about Route 66, I suggest looking at the website for the National Historic Route 66 Federation – 
  • One more, are you planning on a Route 66 adventure this year? If so, and if those plans include Kingman, I just may have something that will ensure a visit will be most memorable. And don’t forget, Chillin on Beale takes place on the third Saturday of each month, April through October, on Beale Street one block north of Route 66 in the historic district – 


Merry Christmas to one and all. It is our sincere hope that each of you have had a delightful holiday.
I fully realize that the holiday we celebrate is simply the tradition of man. Still, there is a foundational element to this most delightful holiday that should be considered.
With that said, as we join together in celebration of Christmas, may I respectively ask that you take a moment to reflect on Christianity and the contribution its philosophy has made in this world over the past two thousand years. I am not speaking of the religion made manifest in the restrictive doctrines of various denominations, the for profit version espoused by the televangelist, or the selective use of parts that empower a group to set themselves above others, but the foundational precepts that have inspired men and women to stand with boldness and transform the world.
In closing, here are a couple of quick scenes of Christmas from Route 66 –


Well, another holiday season is upon us, which means another year is about to become history. As I again have a very tight schedule, rather than overlooking something or forgetting someone who deserves a hearty thank you, it seemed best to provide a simple overview of the year. 
So, with that introduction here are the highs and lows of 2012 – 

  • My dearest friend and I kicked off the new year with a New Years Day desert excursion to Amboy where we climbed the namesake crater. What a grand adventure! This is not something I would recommend in the middle of summer, but a hike into the crater and along the rim is something that should be added to every Route 66 enthusiasts list – 
  • I closed out January, and started February, with editorial issues that threatened the scheduled release date for The Route 66 Encyclopedia. As plans were well underway for the debut to take place at Cuba Fest in October, this was a series issue. The short version of a long story is that an editor sent the illustration cull list, I wrote captions for these images, learned that it was the wrong list, received the correct list, wrote the captions again, and was assigned a new editor unfamiliar with the project –
  • As this resulted in some very, very long days, to celebrate completion of the project my dearest friend and I escaped to Prescott for a weekend at the historic Hassayampa Inn. In recent years rates at the hotel have climbed to such a degree that it is very difficult to justify. Still, Prescott, and the old hotel, are highly recommended stops. For fans of the double six Prescott is a short detour of about forty miles (it is south of Ash Fork on highway 89A) – 
  • Lon Haldeman asked that I address his bicycle tour group when they stopped in Kingman. Even though I greatly enjoy meeting with groups and speaking on the colorful history of Route 66 and Kingman, it is rather humbling to think folks would seek me out for this honor. As I was on the back side of a nasty flu it wasn’t my best or most passionate presentation but the group was understanding and enthusiastic – 
  • We were on hand for the first lighting of the El Trovatore Motel in more than a half century. Sam Frisher, and his wife, Monica, are on the fast track to bringing this Route 66 classic back to life. Later in the year I served as a tour guide for his fledgling day tour company. The days bonus included Dean “Crazy Legs” Walker and LuLu as guests on the ride along to Seligman where we had an opportunity to visit with Angel Delgadillo –
  • In the research stage of the book Ghost Towns of the Southwest I learned about the Johnson Canyon Railroad Tunnel. In April we picked a warm spring day and set out on an adventure of discovery. The tunnel was truly amazing and is another Route 66 detour that must be recommended for Route 66 enthusiasts. It is located a few miles from the early alignment that runs from Williams to Ash Fork and is accessed via the Welch Road exit on I- 40 – 
  • The Route 66 Fun Run, an event that captures the very essence of the Route 66 experience, is held on the first weekend of May every year. We have always found the event interesting but in recent years a new dimension has been added that leaves us looking forward to it with eager anticipation. Dale Butel, Route 66 Tours of Australia, has asked that we meet with his group during the event weekend to talk with them about Route 66, and the history of the desert through which it runs. This year I met with his group during the event and at the ruins of Cadiz summit, talked and answered questions, signed books, and gave an interview to Mark Fletcher, a television personality from Australia – 
  • Lots of folks stopped by the office this year to say hello or have a book signed including Geri Metterle + and her husband from Germany. These visits are always highlights filled with surprises. I even received a vintage atlas from a fan from France!
  • I was asked to speak at a series of meetings that the sponsor hoped would be a catalyst for development and beautification in the historic district of Kingman. The first fruits are the murals being installed at the historic Old Trail Garage – 
  • In June we were honored to be able to lend our support to the fine folks in Tucumcari as they kicked off the premier of Wheels on 66. Highlights of this grand adventure included poking among the empty places with author and historian Joe Sonderman, a wonderful evening at the Blue Swallow Motel where we basked in the cordial hospitality of the hosts, Kevin and Nancy Mueller, and shared a fireside dinner with Jerry McClanahan, Jim Ross, Shellee Graham, Joe Sonderman, and two new acquaintances that happen to be quite gifted in their own right, Chris Robleski and Katie Nelson – 
  • On the return leg we stopped for an evening at the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas, New Mexico. As this is less than a dozen miles from Route 66, and as the rates are quite reasonable and the setting truly unbelievable, I highly recommend this as a stop for Route 66 enthusiasts – 
  • Shortly after our return we met with Dries Bessels of Amsterdam and the tour group he was leading down Route 66. We were honored by the opportunity to serve as a tour guide for Dries and showcased the many highlights of the Kingman area; the site of Fort Beale, the old wagon road at White Cliffs, the Silver Bell mine, and lunch at the Hualapai Mountain Lodge. It was a most delightful day and only the fact that his wonderful wife, Marion, had been unable to attend put a damper on the adventure – 
  • This summer we also had the opportunity to serve as a guide for Kevin and Nancy Mueller of the Blue Swallow Motel and Dean Kennedy – 
  • Another highlight of the summer was an opportunity to organize, in conjunction with Josh Noble of the tourism office, a lunch for a contingent of Route 66 travelers from China. As a bonus their guide was Bob “Croc” Lile, a friend from Amarillo – 
  • The International Route 66 Festival is always a thrill. It provides a wonderful opportunity to meet with friends old and new who share a similar passion for America’s most famous Highway. Counted among this years new acquaintances were Zdnek Jurasek and his charming wife of the Czech Route 66 Association. We met with Jurasek and his tour later in the summer for a shared breakfast at Dora’s Beale Street Deli in Kingman, another great detour as it is only one block off of Route 66  –
  •  We rounded out the summer with another opportunity to visit with a Dale Butel tour, and an interesting tour group from Holland led by Karel Kuperus and Hanneke Wiersma –
  • A highlight of the year was the opportunity to help the fine folks in Cuba get a little press and attention for the most wonderful Cuba Fest event by debuting The Route 66 Encyclopedia there. As often happens with these events on Route 66, it turned out to be a family reunion of sorts as there was a dinner at Missouri Hicks, a party around a fire at the Wagon Wheel Motel, a dinner at the Belmont Winery with music provided by Joe Loesch and the Road Crew. All of this was shared with Tom Dion, Chris Robleski and Katie Nelson, Richard Talley, Rick Zimmerman, Bob Swengrosh, Buzz Waldmire, Joe Sonderman, Rich Dinkela, John and Judy Springs, Rich Henry, and a host of other friends from the road – 
  • The event was the catalyst for a grand adventure on Route 66 that included side trips to the National House Inn in Marshal,Michigan (a must stop), Maramec Springs Park near St. James (another must stop), and the Cave Restaurant near Richland (another must stop) – 
  • Along the way we had the opportunity to visit with Bob Lile, Rich Henry, Bob and Ramona Lehman, Gary Turner, Ken Turmel and a few other friends – 
  • Another highlight of the adventure was breakfast shared with David and Kathy Alexander of Legends of America at Shelly’s in Cuba (another must stop). As I  have long been a fan of their vast website, a stunning repository of history, this was quite an honor. Even better, they asked me to become a contributor, an offer I quickly accepted – 
  • Shortly after our return we again met with a Dale Butel tour – 
  • We closed a deal with the new owner of the historic Brunswick Hotel in Kingman and as a result, next spring we will have a gallery, small store, and place to meet with tour groups. This should be the first step in the creation of a long envisioned Route 66 information center –  
  • December has been marked with a high and low point. I have learned that The Route 66 Encyclopedia is going into a second printing. At this juncture I should note that I still have 24 copies available. The low point was to hear the Big Red at Rich Henry’s Rabbit Ranch passed away. We offer condolences to Rich, his family, and the Route 66 family as Big Red was more than a celebrity n this road – 
  • I think that about covers it. Thanks for the support and encouragement in 2012. Here is to an exciting and adventuresome 2013 –