The recent article in the Kingman Daily Miner about Kingman as a potential host city for the 2014 International Route 66 Festival, Joplin as the host city this year, and the 26th annual Route 66 Fun Run this past weekend, have sparked a wide array of interview requests. As a result I am again being asked to describe the indescribable, and to do it in soundbites.
For those unfamiliar with Route 66, the sense of community found along this old road, and the international scope of the highways appeal is almost impossible to grasp, let alone understand, and the Route 66 phenomena is an even bigger mystery. After all, like love and love lost, it is something that simply must be experienced if there is any hope of comprehending what lures people from Australia, or Germany, or Japan, to visit Victorville, California in August.
The closest descriptor I have is to compare a Route 66 adventure, or attendance at an annual international festival, to a family reunion, a visit to the old hometown after a long absence. It is a bittersweet experience where joy and sadness, loss and discovery seamlessly blend into a colorful tapestry.
Consider our experiences of this past weekend. On Thursday evening we shared dinner and conversation with folks from California that we had shared dinner and conversation with last year at Cuba Fest in Cuba, Missouri.
Saturday evening we had dinner with a friends from Mesa that we visited with last year in Tucumcari. Joining us was a couple from Canada that we met last year in Victorville, California.
After dinner we met with friends from Australia. Then, while assisting an Australian film crew on an obscure alignment of early Route 66 that dead ends west of Kingman, we met up with friends from Canada.
Next week we have breakfast and visit with folks from the Czech Republic we met last year in Victorville. In June friends from Amsterdam will be stopping by. We met them several years ago on Route 66.
How do you encapsulate this into soundbites? If someone has never experienced the sheer pleasure of toasting marshmallows over an open fire, in the glow of vintage neon, with people from several countries who are sharing your quest, how do you explain it to them?