There was a time not so long ago where English had replaced Latin as the “universal” language. To a degree that still seems to be the case. However, I am starting to wonder if Route 66 isn’t eclipsing English. Is there any place in the world where the highway shield with two sixes isn’t recognized?
As an example, consider Afton Station in the worn at the heel town of Afton, Oklahoma. The blog postings by Laurel Kane, the charming proprietress, are an excellent barometer offering clear indication of the roads international appeal.
Oddly enough yesterday’s posting contained a reference to Gilligan’s Wild West Tours, a New Zealand owned tour company. This is the company that I provided a condensed Route 66 tour for last October. They are also the company that contacted me yesterday in an effort to solicit my participation in their summer and fall tour. Route 66 tours in one form or another have been a relatively consistent theme as of late. In recent weeks I have received several inquiries pertaining to the possibility of me serving as a guide for individuals as well as couples planning a Route 66 adventure.
That and a wide array of Route 66 related items ranging from the Fun Run to the pending festival, from forthcoming visits with friends and travel plans swirled through my thoughts yesterday but, as with the past few weekends, restoring the homestead and work needed to ensure that Barney the Wonder Truck remained dependable transportation was the primary focus.
Last week I repaired a few oil leaks, added a new set of plugs, and gave the truck a thorough evaluation and determined that the old Dodge wouldn’t be a showpiece but it was good for many more years of dependable service with just a bit of work. Yesterday it was a set of plug wires (or leads for our international readers), a distributor cap, a few mechanical adjustments, door latch repairs, and compilation of a list of items to be repaired next week.
The old truck remains a tangible milestone in vehicle evolution. In 1968 the Adventurer represented the top of the line for Dodge, this was the boulevard cruiser, this was the workhorse that cleaned up right pretty and was respectable enough to be seen in polite society.
Yet even a cursory examination reveals that it is very much rooted in the 1950s, even more so than a similar vintage Chevrolet or Ford. Only the trucks manufactured by International Harvester reflected Spartan agrarian roots better than Dodge.
The styling, something that takes a bit of getting used to, may have been modern but the suspension, including a straight axle, was largely unchanged from the mid to late 1950s. Likewise with the oil bath air cleaner and brakes, and an engine which dated to 1958.
Over the years the old Dodge has grown on me. The various oddities and eccentricities unique to this model give it character and it has proven to be a dependable old workhorse. All of my initial complaints have vanished save one, any hope of fuel economy through tune ups or adjustments is a distant memory. Meanwhile, today its low key – a picnic with my son and his family. a bit of correspondence, a few phone calls, etc. Than a new week begins, a new week with Route 66, the universal language, dominating the course charted for the future.