Somewhere between the crass commercialism that is at the heart of the modern Christmas celebration and the Christian philosophy that serves as the holidays foundational underpinnings is a magic place of tradition, of family gatherings, and heartfelt gift giving. And somewhere between Christmas and New Years Day is often the time for reflection, making plans for a new year that often include short lived promises, and a maelstrom of emotions. In our homestead I seem to have lost track of time and as a result, a few folks will be receiving Christmas wishes and packages just a bit late, depending on delivery times from Amazon.com. If your in a similar position this might be your best bet for last minute shopping.I am still locked into brick and mortar store shopping but to say the very least, the recent Christmas shopping experience at Amazon.com was most fascinating. Of course, I am also fascinated by the phenomena of cell phones, GPS units in cars, and people who pay for tans while living in Arizona. Even though I can see in my online shopping experience the demise of the big generic box store, and a revolution in rural living, in my world it will never replace the simple pleasure of shopping at the mom and pop stores. Speaking of mom and pop shops, did I mention that a new bakery and ice cream parlor opened on Route 66 (Andy Devine Avenue) in Kingman today? Today’s schedule didn’t allow for stopping to sample the goodies so I did a simple drive by photo shoot shortly after sunrise. As a result, a report on the quality will have to be made after Christmas.As the primary goal for the early morning outing, aside from a much needed haircut, was to photograph a couple of celebrity associated sites for the new book, I spent most of an hour in the Kingman historic district perfecting my drive by photographing techniques.The primary locations were the former Methodist Church, where Clark Gable and Carol Lombard tied the knot in 1939, and the very tarnished Hotel Beale. The latter served as a home away from home for Buster Keaton, Tap Duncan, Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, the crew of the Memphis Belle, and a wide array of notables over the years. I don’t have a great deal of hope that the old hotel will ever be restored. The family that owns the property seems to be quite unreasonable as they have turned down a number of offers (some of which were for staggering sums) for the property over the years. Still, with the ice cream parlor and bakery opening in the same block, and the refurbishment of the historic Brunswick Hotel well underway there is the faintest of possibilities that the tarnished gem may some day get a bit of polish.Since announcement of Kingman serving as the host city for the Route 66 International Festival, I have received a number of request and inquiries about the possibility of a Beale Hotel tour during the big event. The answer is it isn’t likely but I am working on it. In our neck of the woods the big event for 2014 will be the festival, an event that has already taken on an historic stature resultant of the partnership between Kingman Now, the organizing entity, and Hualapai Tourism, and the developing spotlight on alternative energy vehicles as well as related infrastructure. Of course, as with Route 66 itself, it is the people that will make this event a truly spectacular moment in that highways history. And that takes us to the next item. Who plans on attending the festival next August? Will you be driving, flying, or taking the train? Will you be a visitor or will you be participating as an author, a collector, or vintage car enthusiasts? Or will you be here to add to the exhibition of alternative energy vehicles from the past, present, and future?