What do you call a weekend that starts off with a fascinating evening of conversation with a German professor who is studying early 20th century British literature, and who is on vacation looking for obscure Arizona ghost towns such as Signal? Did I mention that she also teaches English to Chinese students in Canada? 
Well, in my world a weekend that starts like this usually escalates into a high adventure. This past weekend was no exception.
The seeds for this particular weekend were sown several months ago when Josh Noble, the local tourism director, forwarded a request for a guide from Melanie Stengele. This was the catalyst for an odd series of coincidences. 
First, she was looking for a guide to the obscure and remote ghost town of Signal – on April 6, the same date that I was scheduled to appear at a major multi-author book signing (Harrison Scott, Sal Santoro, Bob Walton, Russell Olsen, and Steve McCarthy) at Auto Books – Aero Books in Burbank, California. Second, it just so happens that I am good friends with the last person living near the old town site. 
So, instead of serving as her guide, I instead facilitated an introduction. Then we agreed to meet in Kingman the night before her trip to Signal to answer questions and to offer preparatory tips for her adventure into the Arizona wilderness.
On Saturday morning the feet hit the floor at 3:30 as we were hoping to be on the road before 5:00. In addition to the book signing we were in dire need of Route 66 photos for the section between Victorville and Santa Monica Pier resultant of a dropped ball in the form of promised assistance that never materialized, which resulted in a slight issue with a pending deadline.
Details and photos will be forthcoming but suffice to say our love/hate relationship with the greater Los Angeles area were magnified exponentially resultant of dealing with a never ending string of stoplights, gridlock on the highway, endless opportunities for testing the new brakes, stunt performing parrots, the cacophony of colors, sites, and sounds on Santa Monica Pier, and intriguing green tortilla wraps filled with avocado, grilled chicken, whole marinated asparagus, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and cucumbers. In following posts I will also provide secrets for photographing the beautiful circa 1913 bridge over the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena, make a few suggestions for lodging as well as dining, and even give you directions to Toto’s grave.
Last but not least, to Penny Black and everyone who stopped by the book store on Saturday evening, it was great to meet you. I look forward to hearing of your adventures on legendary Route 66 and the road less traveled. 

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Jim Hinckley's America is a grand adventure on the back roads and two lane highways. It is an odyssey seasoned with fascinating people, and memory making discoveries. As made evident by the publication of fourteen books on subjects as diverse as diverse as Ghost Towns of the Southwest, The Illustrated History of the Checker Cab Manufacturing Company, Travel Route 66, Backroads of Arizona, and The Route 66 Encyclopedia, I enjoy sharing adventures and helping people plan for their own memory making journeys.

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