The final day of adventure is always tinged with mixed emotions. You don’t really want it to end but yet there is an eager anticipation to see home again even though a litany of frustrating and pressing issues await your return.

Left to right, Wolfgang Werz, Jim Hinckley,
and Anja Werz.

The last day of our recent adventure to Joplin was more emotional than usual. We had such a wonderful time visiting with Route 66 friends and fans, old and new, during the festival, savoring the warm hospitality of Joplin and Galena, relaxing to the sounds of the Road Crew, and making new discoveries on the road but yet there was a hunger to get back to work on the latest book, to share a few of the memories, to introduce readers to special places discovered,  to developing the promotional campaign for Route 66 Treasures(scheduled for release in about a month), for making arrangements for tours passing through Kingman, and for finalizing plans for the eagerly anticipated lunch with Wolfgang and Anja Werz, and their Route 66 Association of Germany tour.

Morning in Gallup.

So we simply decided to close the final day, a drive from Gallup, New Mexico to Kingman, with some good food and a bit of exploration. I started my morning at the El Rancho Hotel with a piping hot bowl of atole, Navajo tea, and coffee.  This it was off to photograph the unique sites in Gallup tinged by the dawning light.
There was a concerted effort to drag our feet and make the drive home last as long as possible, and a multitude of excuses to justify delays. Our first stop was at the trading post below the towering cliffs at Lupton to stock up on Navajo tea for the winter. 
Next it was a few fascinating photo opportunities resultant of looming storm clouds. Then, of course, it was time for lunch (Galaxy Diner in Flagstaff), and the ever present frustration of delays caused by highway construction. 
Still, in spite of our best efforts, we arrived home around 2:00, unloaded, washed and returned the rental car, picked up the Jeep from the shop, took care of a few family obligations, sorted through mail and email, downloaded photos, made a very big sigh, and set the sites on the very, very busy weeks ahead. 
Aside from the lunch with Wolfgang, his wife, and the tour group, there were organizational meetings for the forthcoming Route 66 International Festival in Kingman, preparation for meeting with a tour from Australia this week, and assisting in the development of a special lunch exhibition for a Chinese tour next week. Looming on the not so distant horizon, a speaking engagement in Flagstaff and Prescott, a television interview in Prescott, a trip to Los Angeles, the deadline for the Route 66 Atlas, and ….      
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