Here in western Arizona spring is in definitely in the air with afternoon temperatures projected to be in the low to mid seventies. Still,I have lived here to long to let this fool me into packing the sweaters since in years past there has been a dusting of snow as late as the first weekend in May.
|Our 1968 Dodge at Cool Springs.|
Still, it is difficult to focus on the multitude of tasks demanding my attention as this weather makes it almost criminal to stay in the house or office. This is the type of day that seems tailor made for long walks in the desert with my dearest friend and, perhaps, a picnic somewhere along the way. However, as the first appointment with the tax accountant is on Monday morning, and as the office is in dire need of extensive reorganization before commencement of the next project, this day is preplanned regardless of weather. Sunday, however is another story and I have my thoughts set on but two simple goals – an outing into the desert and getting Barney the wonder truck (our 1968 Adventurer) back on the road.The old truck, like me, is beginning to show the years and miles. I parked it last December until such time as there was an opportunity, and warm weather, to address a few oil leaks, pack the wheel bearings, and give it a good tune up.Meanwhile, I am deep into the research stage for the historic Route 66 atlas, a companion volume for The Route 66 Encyclopedia. Nick Gerlich of Texas, a Route 66 enthusiast and avid explorer of the old roads most obscure early alignments, responded to my request for assistance in documenting film and crime scene locations on the double six with tremendous zeal and excitement. The generosity and passion of the Route 66 community never ceases to amaze me. In the research stage for the Route 66 encyclopedia project collectors extraordinaire Joe Sonderman, Mike Ward, and Steve Rider graciously made their vast collections of photographs, post cards, and memorabilia available and as a result, the finished project far exceeded what I had hoped for.The recently completed Route 66 guide book was also greatly enhanced by the contributions of these gentlemen. A foundational element of this book was my desire to introduce Route 66 to a broader market, as well as encourage the Route 66 enthusiast to do a bit of exploring. With the atlas, as well as the encyclopedia, the ideal was to create a repository of information about the old highway. However, the atlas will take this to another level as there will be only seven categories for each state keyed to a legend and map of that state. The categories are: Historic sites – these will be locations on Route 66 but with an unrelated history. Examples would include the Pigeon Ranch and Glorieta Pass. Sites key to the highways evolution and development – excellent examples would include Hooker Cut and Chain of Rocks Bridge. Military site – this will be a broad but interesting segment with details on Japanese internment camps POW camps, frontier era outposts, and Civil War battlefields. Iconic locations – this is fairly self explanatory but there is challenge in regard to what needs to be included. Obviously locations such as the Blue Swallow Motel and the Munger Moss Motel will be featured but what about Afton Station or the Palms Grill Cafe? Film locations – this will cover television, movies, and music videos. Most Route 66 enthusiasts know that the courthouse in Sayre, Oklahoma appeared in the 1940 film adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath but how many know Tom Mix included landscapes near Kingman in a few of his movies? Crime scenes – I have mixed reservations about this even though my opinion is that this aspect of Route 66 history should be documented. Still, I don’t want to be morbid nor do I wish to reopen old wounds. Parks, state,national, local – this category is also self explanatory but I feel it will add balance as well as depth as well as context to the Route 66 experience, especially with inclusion of lesser known locations such as Havasu National Wildlife Refuge on the Colorado River.As always, your input would be most appreciated. This is another book that will be written by the Route 66 community with mne as the ghost writer.