The countdown is underway. That may be a bit vague but at this juncture that is an adequate descriptor for most everything in my world. 
The countdown is underway for the 2014 Route 66 International Festival in August. That has unleashed the imagination as I envision ways to get other communities such as Holbrook and Needles involved, and how those communities can use that involvement as a catalyst for their development. 
The countdown is underway for completion of the Route 66 historic atlas, a project that was as exciting as it was tiring. I spent the weekend working on creating a photo file for illustrations, an activity which involved perusing thousands of historic photographs and post cards graciously provided by collectors Steve Rider, Mike Ward, and Joe Sonderman. 
I forwarded the photos for the Arizona and California segment this morning, and work on sending the rest tonight. That leaves the acquisition and addition of a few select images, the writing of captions after the final photo selection, and the final edit. 
Meanwhile I can lay plans for the books debut and promotion that will commence with Cuba Fest in Cuba next fall, the debut of another book next April, and, of course, meeting with friends new and old as they enjoy their Route 66 adventures. Between now and next October is a wide array of activities, adventures, and deadlines that ensure I will be spending the next few months focused on countdowns.
As you have been patiently listening to my long winded tales about the development of the atlas, I suppose a few teasers to whet the appetite are in order. Moreover, I suppose we can have a bit of fun with this as well.
Okay, here is the first item. What is the connection between this movie (Harlem Rides the Range), Apple Valley, Route 66, and the Big Band era of the 1940s?
For an interesting cinema history research project, and an interesting look at segregated America, see what you can find out about Herb Jefferies. Now here is a fascinating and overlooked story!
Next, here is one from Texas. This obscure little motel in Amarillo figured prominently in a celebrity murder that garnered dominance of the front page in newspapers all across America for more than a year. Any guesses?
Okay, at the Colorado River you have two Route 66 landmarks, book ends if you will. One, the bridge in this photo post card, opened as the river crossing for the National Old Trails Highway, and then carried Route 66 traffic after certification in 1926. 
Representing the final chapter in the official history of U.S. 66 is the bridge that currently carries I-40 traffic across the river. Now, both bridges have a direct link to cinematic history, and actors with the last name Fonda. Any ideas or guesses? 
With every book written, I am often the biggest critic and see no reason why the atlas will break that pattern. A primary issue is always the material that is not included, and the need to be concise to ensure inclusion of as much material as possible resultant of editorial constraints imposed by the publisher.
In all fairness, if it weren’t for those limitations, I would still be working on the Route 66 Encyclopedia, and the final work would be measured in volumes. How do you approach a topic as diverse as Route 66 related crime scenes, disasters, film and celebrity associated sites, and pre 1926 historic sites, and shoe horn the information between two covers with a set number of pages. 
In short, how do you get 20 pounds of sand into a ten pound bag?  
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