There are those moments in life when it is tough to count the blessings even though they out number the disasters as the disasters large and small look as though they they might drown the blessings. That, in a nut shell, is my world since Labor Day weekend.
As noted in previous posts, the television died (long overdue as we purchased it used almost a decade ago), the DVD player died from obsolescence, the drier that should have lasted more than seven years died, the swamp cooler motor that should have lasted more than three years died, and a bearing in the cooler died, all since the holiday weekend. As of yesterday, our primary computer, the one we purchased a year ago last spring, the one that came out of the box with a defective hard drive, appears to have developed a case of extreme senility.
As of this morning my dearest friend was working diligently to recover information, including book keeping files. First, however, she needs to see if it can be resuscitated.
Yes, we have most files on backup. However, we will first need a computer that will accept the backup files, a computer that contains the program associated with the backup files, something that is not happening at this time.
Meanwhile, on the writing computer, I spent most of Sunday racing toward the December deadline for the Route 66 historic atlas. This too is a mixed blessing.
The deadline is actually December 31 but as I want the debut to be at Cuba Fest in 2014, it will need to be finished by December 1. As this represents the third book written in eighteen months, it is a blessing since it represents a quantum leap toward the fulfillment of the childhood goal.
This was after a mixed bag Saturday that included a wonderful lunch date with my dearest friend, a productive afternoon of correlating new research material for the book, a haircut and great conversation with the barber, and confirmation of pending appearances.
Now, its just a matter of juggling the next six weeks that are filled with mixed blessings. On Friday after work I am to drive to Las Vegas to catch a flight to Chicago, my first venture via airplane in a decade.
On Saturday morning I start a whirlwind six day introductory tour with Wes Davies, publisher of New Zealand Today magazine who is looking at hosting two Route 66 tours next year.
A Route 66 adventure is always something to look forward to. However, this particular adventure represents another episode in the continuing series of mixed blessings.
It will be the first time in many, many years that an adventure did not include my dearest friend. Call me spoiled but this is going to suck the color out of the entire trip.
On the Thursday after my return, I am to speak at the Westerners in Flagstaff. This will require a day at the office, followed by a drive to Flagstaff, which will in turn require a drive home afterwards since I need to be at the office by 8:00. Another round of mixed blessings.
Two days later, on Saturday evening, it is Chillin’ on Beale that will include the Smithsonian Institute Journeys program. I am scheduled to speak on the evolution of Route 66. This is after I sit for an hour interview for a forthcoming program. Again, mixed blessings.
Two days later, on Monday afternoon, I am scheduled to speak to Dale Butel’s fall Route 66 tour group. Again, mixed blessings as this is an opportunity to visit with a friend and his wife, and meet great people, but there is also the issue of an interview scheduled for later that evening that will no doubt be tinged with a hint of exhaustion.
Rising seas, taking on water, no lifeboats, sharks, and a hard list to port, no problem. It quickens the spirit, may give me an opportunity to learn to swim, may give me an opportunity to see if what I read about defense against shark attacks is true, and, if I survive, it will provide for some great stories to tell around the fire.
First, the invitation. I know the season for Route 66 adventure is winding down but this invitation has no expiration date.
If the schedule allows, and you are interested in a bit of lively discussion about Route 66, drop me a note the next time your planning to be in Kingman. I really enjoy listening to stories about the legendary double six and how its magic inspired a road trip or change in lifestyle. The coffee will be my treat.
These conversations have inspired many feature articles, a book or two, and even a couple of speeches. They have even served as a catalyst for a few of our adventures.
While we are on the subject of Route 66, Kingman, and road trips don’t forget to mark your calendar for the weekend of August 16. That is the scheduled date for the 2014 Route 66 International Festival in Kingman.
Next on the schedule for discussion this morning is my inquisitive mind. Would you care to share your thoughts and ideas?
There are a staggering number of Route 66 related titles on the market at this time, a number of which are excellent additions to the library that are well worth the investment. I am about to add two more titles to the mix and am working hard on a third. That means I will soon be in need of a new project.
So, is there a particular aspect of Route 66 or its history that you are interested in? Do you see a need for a Route 66 book on a specific subject?
The next questions I have are a bit more personal. I may be leaving myself open for some slings and arrows but do you have a favorite Jim Hinckley penned book? Do you have issues with a book penned by me?
May I inquire as to where you purchased my books? Did you purchase them on the road? Did they enhance your adventure?
The next item up for discussion is the current project with a looming deadline of December 1, the Route 66 Historic Atlas that will feature, for each state, entries under specific topic headings – crime scenes and disasters, film and celebrity associated sites, sites with military association, transitional sites, landmarks, and pre 1926 historic sites. Do you have any suggestions for material to be included under these topic headings?
Now lets talk about events and adventures in 2014 as my schedule for the next six weeks is rather full (a possible trip to Chicago next week, the looming deadline, a speaking engagement in Flagstaff and Prescott, a television interview, meeting with Dale Butel’s fall tour group, and possible federal jury duty). At this point in time the schedule for appearances in 2014 is, for the most part, wide open.
There is the Route 66 Fun Run, meeting with Dale Butel’s spring summer, and fall tour, meeting with a group from New Zealand in April, meeting with friends from Holland, Germany, and the Czech Republic, and, of course, the International Route 66 Festival. Plans are still in development but we are looking toward Cuba Fest in Cuba, Missouri next October for the debut of the Route 66 Historic Atlas.
So, if you have need of my services for an event or speaking engagement, or to address a commercial tour group next year, please let me know and we will work out details. You may also contact Steve Roth, publicist at Voyageur Press through the exhibition and speaking engagement bookings tab at the top of the page.
European and Australia tours are on the radar. However, nothing has been confirmed, including budgets and funding. Stay tuned for details as they develop.
That takes us to the last item of the day, the 2014 Route 66 International Festival. If you are a Route 66 photographer, author, artist, or collector, and would like to display your work at the exhibition, please let me know and I will make sure that your name is on the list when full details about participation are released.
Likewise if your a vendor, or southwestern, or Native American artist. Plans are underway to include an expedition of this work as well and vendors will be set up with the car show.
Now, as to the car show. As with all of the cruise night activities, the car show is open to anything with wheels. However, the organizers are actively seeking owners of vintage electric or steam powered cars, modern electric cars, solar powered vehicles, and even experimental vehicles as the theme is crossroads of the past and future.
Again, if you are interested just drop me a note. I will make sure you receive updated information as it becomes available.
Did I forget anything?
It was just another day on Route 66 in Arizona. It kicked off with a delightful breakfast at Dora’s Beale Street Deli (California omelets and thick black coffee) shared with my dearest friend, Zdnek Jurasek, his wonderful wife, Eva, and their tour group from the Czech Republic.
I was quite pleased to be able to present an advance copy of Route 66 Treasures. One of the greatest pleasure derived from writing is being able to share something that people enjoy.
The office was a bit more of a zoo than normal. An elderly gentleman was waiting for me and within two minutes I knew something was very wrong.
He wanted to rent a truck for a trip to Montana and would not accept the fact I had nothing available. He never became overly belligerent but refused to leave. To compound the problems he spoke in English with a very heavy French accent.
The reservation schedule for the morning was blank so my plan was to play catch up and prepare for the onslaught of reservations on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. That didn’t happen.
Instead a virtual tsunami of people returning trucks early, wanting information on truck rental, and the scheduling of service on other units transformed the quiet office with an old man into Union Station.
I had hoped to get to some assistance with the elderly fellow but he vanished in the confusion. This, of course, led to worry and concern.
He didn’t appear to be homeless. With that said it was obvious that he had issues and most likely needed help.
It was noon before things settled down. By that time the winds were closing in on the projected forty mile per hour gusts that had been predicted, weather not really conducive to inspiring enthusiasm about working on trucks.
The rest of the day at the office was relatively anticlimactic. There was even enough time at the end of the day to have an impromptu meeting with Steve and Mike Wagner, the primary organizers for the 2014 Route 66 International Festival, and do a bit of glad handing at the chili cook of next door at the Chrysler dealership, a part of the Andy Devine Days rodeo celebration.
Now, lets see what this day has to offer.
This morning there is a definite hint of fall in the air. However, on Saturday during a little Route 66 expedition with Mike Ward, his wife, Sharon, and my dearest friend, the Sacramento Valley along the pre 1952 alignment of Route 66 was so full of flowers I thought it was spring.
|The Czech Route 66 Association during
their visit to Kingman in May, 2013.
In all honesty I can not remember the last time there was such a profusion of wildflowers in the valley. I will post photos we shot at the ruins of Fig Springs Station later but suffice to say it was nothing short of amazing.
So, with a touch of season confusion in my mind I took a look at the weather predictions in the Farmer’s Almanac. It looks as though a bit of preparation for a wet winter might be in order, a little something extra to add to the fall schedule that currently includes a pending book deadline, three speaking engagements, work on promotion for the 2014 Route 66 International Festival, a one week whirlwind Route 66 adventure from Chicago to Santa Monica with a publisher from New Zealand, and the possibility of federal jury duty.
I am not a fan of cold, wet, snowy winters. That is reason number 3 for why I live in the deserts of Arizona. Still, at this point I would take snow up to my backside for five days of the week if it meant relief from allergies.
Allergies are a relatively recent affliction as they are not something I suffered from until quite recently. This year, however, has been terrible with days upon days of maddening and near debilitating symptoms that include pounding headaches, runny nose, watery eyes, and restricted breathing.
Still, as the old adage says, the show must go on. This week that includes a few busy days at the office, another opportunity to share breakfast and conversation with Zdnek Jurasek and his tour from the Czech Republic, the Andy Devine Days Rodeo festivities, the penning of two speeches, and assistance in the creation of a realistic itinerary for the Route 66 trip in October.
It looks as though I will again be able to keep boredom at bay for a few more months. I have two axioms for the life I live, both reflect the optimistic pessimism that seems to run rampant in my view of the world.
The first is that working like this is a sure death but a slower one than starvation. The second is that another fifty years like this one is going to kill me.
Well, it is now quite apparent that at least one old adage is incorrect. You can teach an old dog new tricks but it will be a frustrating endeavor for the dog as well as teacher.
The teacher in this instance was Gary of Route 66 Radio. The old dog was me.
Gary and I have talked for quite awhile about the development of a series of ten minute programs (Jim Hinckley’s America, The Route 66 Edition) for Route 66 Radio. As he was in town to provide his two cents worth at an organizational development meeting for the 2014 Route 66 International Festival, we decided to utilize his portable recording equipment, a quite room at the El Trovatore Motel, and create a program or two for a marketing test.
Gary is a consummate and professional teacher. However, it was quite obvious this student was providing a great deal of frustration.
For reasons unknown I was having extreme difficulty in developing a steady flow. After about four hours and the creation of thirty or forty minutes (maybe) of usable material it was time to move on to other business.
For quite some time map and post card collector extraordinaire Mike Ward, and his charming wife Sharon, and I have talked about a little Route 66 exploration in the Kingman area. As he was also in town for the meeting it seemed an appropriate opportunity for our planned adventure.
So, after picking up my dearest friend, and topping off the tank, we set out on a double date. Here to there was a bit of frustration in that I was having trouble concentrating (another warning sign that the schedule is reaching a saturation point) but in spite of that it was a rather refreshing outing.
We cruised west on the pre 1952 alignment of Route 66 making several stops along the way – the site of Fig Springs station, the old homestead that is now on the verge of collapse, and along early alignments at McConnico, to name a few. Then I provided the fifty cent tour of Kingman that included the site of Fort Beale and the old wagon road, as well as sites we plan to utilize during the festival next year.
We rounded out the day with an excellent dinner at Redneck’s on Beale Street, and a very vibrant edition of Chillin’ on Beale. For the most part it was a pretty good day.
Still, I could not help but think of where my dearest friend and I were last Saturday, and how nice it would have been to stay there for a week, or two. Thoughts of Carlsbad, California lead to thoughts of why were there, how fortunate I am, and the very busy schedule that has the October and November calendar filled to maximum capacity with only time for a bit of sleep not allocated to a meeting a deadline, travel, or the keeping of appointments.
Still, I have no complaints. After all, the crazy schedule is of my choosing and it is mostly filled with things I enjoy doing such as sharing the wonders of Route 66 with others.
With that said it is time to finish breakfast, see if I can find the top of the desk, and get to work on the Route 66 atlas.