Before kicking things off this morning I need to respond to a comment made by Lee yesterday. I am rather confident that many folks share his concerns and frustrations.
The Route 66 International Festival meeting on Tuesday evening was an invitation only affair. This was not devised as a means to exclude anyone.
To date there was a very noticeable lack of coordination between event managers and city officials. The goal of this meeting was to rectify that problem, which would then allow for an appeal for public assistance to come from a goal focused point rather than a chaotic and vague one. 
Lee, please drop me an email. Your help is needed.
This mornings post was inspired by the reading of an article in the recent issue of Readers Digest (did I mention that Ghost Towns of Route 66 will get a plug in that publication soon?). 
The essence of the article was that the definition of happy changes as we age. In youth happy is often linked with new experiences or acquisitions. By middle age calm and quiet becomes the new happy, at least according to this story.

The desert near Burro Creek,


Thoughts like this confuse me. Forty is the new thirty. The new happy. What, exactly, does any of that mean? 
With the exception of the modern eras reluctance to let go of immaturity, forty isn’t thirty. Trust me on that one. And if your approaching fifty, I can also tell you that fifty-five isn’t the new forty.
Simply put, you can call a dog a cat, and believe it, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is still a cat.
If that article has any basis in science then I must have hit middle age around age seven. Even though a stroll on the wild side has taken place a time or two, my happy place is, and has been for at least a half century, in quiet dinners with friends, and adventures in the empty places.
I must confess that when we first moved to the Arizona desert in the summer of ’66, the vast empty was just a bit unnerving. Up to that point in my life the empty places were shade dappled trails in the mountains of Alabama and in the forests of Michigan. 
As with so many things in life, once I moved beyond the apprehension it became increasingly apparent that it was the unknown,not the desert that filled me with unease. Today I find it difficult to imagine living someplace where the bare bones of the earth are hidden beneath grass and gnarled roots.
Don’t misunderstand, I enjoy the empty places in the forests as well as meadows but it is in the desert where I find that solace and calm that renews the mind and inspires the soul. So, even though I occasionally allow the imagination to paint pictures of us living in a quiet town with shaded streets, a stream flowing through the park at the edge of town, and an occasional frosting of snow, in my heart I know it is a flight of fancy. 
The desert with its empty places is my happy place. 


Events such as the Route 66 International Festival share a commonality with your morning sausage. There is a better than average chance you would not enjoy breakfast very much if you saw how that sausage was made. 
As to the festival, please come and have fun. If your in Kingman before that date, and are planning to be here for the festival as well, don’t ask for a behind the scenes tour.
So with that said, rather than spoil your appetite I would prefer to spark your imagination with thoughts of slow cured, smoked maple links, fried chicken, buttermilk pancakes, fresh brewed coffee, farm fresh eggs, red eye gravy, and biscuits fresh from the oven. 
In a nut shell that portrait of a diverse and hearty breakfast is exactly what this festival is shaping up to be. Even though I have a front row seat to how it is being prepared, the various organizational meetings on Tuesday have me licking my lips in eager anticipation. Let me provide a few quick updates and see if you don’t feel the hunger begin to build. 
First, the recent transition in organizational leadership seems to have kicked this thing into high gear. Last evenings meeting left little doubt that this is an event that will bring this community together, and build long lasting partnerships.
As to the latter, consider the fact that Hualapai tourism is a primary sponsor. I should also note that the attendees last evening included business owners, representatives from city and county government, the chief of police, the tourism director, the president of the chamber of commerce, and even representatives from neighboring communities. 
Mike and Sharon Ward drove all the way from Phoenix to attend and ensure that the interests of the Route 66 community was represented, and that the very essence of these festivals is not lost in the diverse array of activities under development. That, of course, is also my primary role in all of this. 
Overall things are still loose as there are a litany of issues pertaining to permits, coordinating activities, amenities such as toilets, and parking to resolve. Still, I was most impressed by the professional management of the proceedings that resulted in a serious sharpening of focus and the development of a cooperative sense of vision, something that has been sorely lacking to this point.
We are now on track for regularly scheduled meetings. That is another item that has been missing in regard to the festivals development. It was also the greatest source of my frustrations and concerns.
The majority of activities are being centered in the historic district. However, facilities in that area are not available for a few events such as the film festival and bowling tournament. To address this ideas under development include use of KART (our local city bus service) to allow visitors to take in these activities with friends, to eliminate visitors concerns about traffic, and to keep frustrations to a minimum.
I am quite confident that by the time of the next meeting in a few weeks there will be dramatic news to report. In the mean time, you can help ensure this event is a true spectacular. 
First, join the initiative to get Joe Loesch and the Road Crew to the festival (see the upper right corner). Next, …



All work and no play…(see The Shining for clarification of the veiled meaning). Saturday I set out to rectify the issue with the Route 66 Historic Atlas and to even use this as an opportunity to present an improved product. 
With the exception of a few errands in the morning, I closed the shutters to avoid being tempted by the spring like day, and glued my back side to the chair for a ten hour marathon of writing. I rounded out the day by watching an interesting movie with my dearest friend. 
We often watch a movie on Saturday evening. A few are less than memorable and are an actual waste of time. A  few are good and some are superb. A few are somewhere in between these two but yet are unique enough to warrant a recommendation. 
Such is the case with Miracle at St. Anna, a Spike Lee film. With just a bit of polish this movie could easily have slipped into the superb category.
However, it was just a bit to predictable, and resultant of a bit of choppy dialogue in spots, was just a little long winded. In short, it missed my classification of superb by the slimmest of margins. Still, I can honestly recommend this film but would need to add the caveat that it is for an older audience resultant of a few graphic combat scenes, and a hint of nudity. It should also be noted that this is not your average war movie as the combat sequences are relatively short.
I kicked off Sunday bright and very early by working on THE PROJECT. Then it was off to Wickenburg (a drive of 130 miles) for a two hour meeting. Even though THE PROJECT was demanding my full attention it was impossible not to take advantage of a seventy degree day and so on the return journey my dearest friend and I made a brief stop at Burro Creek (wait until you see these pictures!).
All work and no play just isn’t healthy. Still, we arrived home early enough for a couple of hours of work, and another episode in the unfolding saga of Walter White’s slide into complete moral bankruptcy. At this juncture I would be remiss if Nick Gerlich were not properly blamed for the Breaking Bad addiction that currently consumes a few hours a week.
Plans call for posting photos from the Burro Creek stop in the morning post. On Wednesday updates pertaining to the Route 66 International Festival should be available as I will be attending two key meetings tomorrow. 
Stay tuned for details –    


What do you get when the dispatcher assumes the driver knows where he is going, and the driver is a one eyed blind man? Well, it makes for a most interesting tour but not one your likely to want to sign up for a second time. 
In a nut shell that about sums up the current situation with the Route 66 Illustrated Historic Atlas. The unmitigated disaster that was the caption writing for The Route 66 Encyclopedia (an incident that seems to have played a role in an editors unexpected departure from the publisher) spawned an idea to avoid any semblance of confusion on this project. 
Assume is a fancy word for describing a mess created by an ass with you and me to clean it up. Well, I was the assuming party and that makes me the north side of a south going mule.
For this project the principle editor is someone I have worked with on several projects, and as a result, we are able to fix problems before they become issues. Failure to explain my brilliant idea was the seed for the current glitch that will require most of the weekend to fix.
See, the proper way to correlate captions and photos with the text is to include corresponding number slugs in the text with those that match captions and photos. With the encyclopedia this did not work at all. 
The editor on that project deleted the numbers from the text file submitted. Next, in mid stream, the decision was made to add several dozen photos. Following this was the severing of most captions from the corresponding numbers, and then deleting photos without notification. 
All of this came to my attention with submission of the project to me for a final edit. It wasn’t a very pretty picture.  
So for this project I skipped the numerical designations and instead utilized detailed but succinct descriptors (state, city, category, credit, etc.). As noted, I failed to clear this with the editor, an embarrassing rookie mistake, and then the confusion was compounded by the publisher using what must have been a one eyed blind free lancer.
The free lancer returned the file to the editor with 271 photos out of 540 that they said could not be matched with captions. If you think I am harsh in referring to this individual as a one eyed blind man please consider the fact that they were unable to match a picture post card that has the name and location of a restaurant on the photo with a caption reading, “The interior of the Ariston Cafe in Litchfield appears today as it did in this 1940’s era post card.” 
Did I mention that the photo was accompanied by a descriptor reading, “Illinois, Litchfield, landmark, Ariston Cafe, 1940’s B/W photo post card of interior, credit Steve Rider?” 
So, to clarify and sort things out I will be spending the weekend creating a traditional numerical legend for these images that will be added to the photo descriptors, and then inserting these numbers into the text. Never assume. Never take your seat on the bus if the driver has a seeing eye dog.