In the previous post I proposed the development of an initiative to foster a sense of community by inviting a Route 66 traveler to lunch or dinner. Today I would like to propose that we in the Route 66 community take that one step further by learning basic phrases and words in other languages.
There are a wide array of free resources on the web that make it easy to study at your convenience. As an example, my dearest friend and I are currently using Dutch Pod 101 to learn a bit of the Dutch language. Additional language lessons are also available through this site.
If you have a favorite resource for learning a language, please let me know. I will share these in a future post.
The international nature of Route 66 gives it a unique vibrancy that I don’t believe can be found anywhere else. In the past two weeks I provided assistance to French tourists, spoke with a gentlemen in New Zealand developing a fall Route 66 tour, signed books for visitors from the Netherlands and Brazil that were filled with palpable excitement about their Route 66 adventure, and sent information about the forthcoming Route 66 International Festival to some folks in Canada upon request.
On Tuesday evening my dearest friend and I enjoyed an excellent dinner of Mexican food shared with friends from the Netherlands, and an evening walk through the historic district where the conversation turned toward explorations of the National Old Trails Highway, the Beale Wagon Road, and early alignments of Route 66.
From Chicago to Santa Monica, festivals, events, and special exhibitions mirror this vibrancy. The Autry National Center of the American West in Los Angles debuts an extensive and highly anticipated exhibit entitled Route 66: The Road and the Romance next week.
In Tucumcari, its an incredible Rockabilly extravaganza. The ever expanding Route 66 festival in Edwardsville, Illinois takes place in just over a week and it promises to be bigger than ever. Then there is Summerfest in Rolla, Missouri.
Of course, the main event this year takes place in Kingman. The Route 66 International Festival is shaping up to be the event that encapsulates the Route 66 experience, and that sets the stage for this storied highway to assume a new role as the crossroads of the past and future.
Meanwhile, this weekend my dearest friend and I will not be basking in the intoxicating enthusiasm of the Route 66 experience. Instead our focus will be on the more mundane – tying my backside to the chair and initiating the writing of the next book, and continuance of an extensive combination of spring cleaning and home remodeling necessitated by the need for repairs.
Last weekend, after writing the introduction for the latest book, I dusted off the tools and a concerted effort to transform a never ending construction project into a home commenced. Here is a view of the front bathroom at the end of the Memorial Day holiday weekend, reason number 4,245,098 why after more than thirty years of similar adventures, my dearest friend is up for sainthood.
The chamber of commerce, organizer of the event, contact number is (928)753-6253.
The primary contact for all aspects of the festival is event coordinator Dora Manley –
email@example.com or (928)279-4560
The Road Crew will be performing at the festival even though the fund raising initiative is still a bit short of the goal. Rick Zimmer, the fund raising coordinator, is confident that the shortfall will be resolved before the festival.
The Walk of Fame will be dedicated during the festival. This long term project will memorialize the individuals that have transformed Route 66 from a highway into an icon.
My understanding is that Bob Waldmire, Angel Delgadillo, and Michael Wallis will be included in the initiation of the project. To submit nominations, to fund a brick for inclusion, or for general information the contact is Julie at TNT (928)753-1477 or the chamber of commerce.
A Route 66 Crossroads of the Past & Future conference is on the slate of activities scheduled for the festival. Confirmed speakers include Michael Wallis, Jim Ross, Kaisa Barthuli, Jerry Asher (Plug Share), Ed Klein, Ron Hart, Rudy Garcia, Kumar Patel, and representatives from most state Route 66 associations as well as the Dutch, Czech, and German association. The contact for information is Dora.
Chillin on Beale will take place on Saturday evening. The contact is Ralph Bowman. firstname.lastname@example.org
There will be a display of Bob Waldmire’s work pertaining to electric vehicles and Route 66 as an electric highway. TNT will also be hosting a major VW event. Julie at TNT would be the contact.
Rob Chilcoate is the film festival coordinator. He will be showcasing films from Shellee Graham, Ester Brym, award winning independent film makers, and movies filmed on Route 66. Rob Chilcoat email@example.com
The authors, artists, and collectors exhibition will also include displays from Route 66 associations. Mike Ward, Steve Rider, Joe Sonderman, Chery Eichar Jett, and others will be in attendance. Dora Manley is the contact for information.
The Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation is working with the chamber of commerce to develop the largest exhibition of historic electric vehicles ever assembled in one location. Roderick Wilde is the contact. Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation firstname.lastname@example.org
It is confirmed that Bob Boze Bell will be introducing a new book about growing up on Route 66. He is also developing an interactive Route 66 exhibit with the tourism office. Bob Boze Bell
The Holbrook Chamber of Commerce is developing a Route 66 festival for the weekend before the big event in Kingman. The idea is to provide a full week of activity on Route 66 in Arizona. The contact is Kathleen Smith. Holbrook Chamber of Commerce
Children’s author Anne Slanina will be hosting an Annie Mouse on Route 66 Party for the children in conjunction with Betsy Parker. email@example.com
Last evening my dearest friend and I shared a delightful dinner peppered with stimulating conversation at El Palacio with Jeroen and Maggie Boersma, friends from the Netherlands. We prolonged our visit with a late evening stroll through the dark and quiet streets of the historic district after dinner but all to soon it was time to say tot ziens.
For those of us privileged to live or work along Route 66, spring, summer, and fall is an almost magical time. Last week it was an interesting lunch with Professor Nick Gerlich and this week it was an enchanting dinner with friends from distant shores. In between was a visit from two charming, elderly French ladies who stopped by the office seeking directions to Route 66 (they were on it) and the Grand Canyon. As they spoke almost no English, and my French is quite limited, I resorted to typing messages in Google translate and printing them in French. All of this sparked an interesting idea. I call it the take a tourist to lunch initiative. During the months of spring, summer, and fall an almost endless stream of explorers and adventurers flow through every community along Route 66. Even though most of the travelers from abroad speak English as well as Americans do (or better) they are usually easy to spot. So, what if we started a Chicago to Santa Monica initiative of inviting them to lunch? Restaurant owners and chambers of commerce could subsidize the program or help offset the cost. The chamber of commerce in each community would initiate the program by soliciting restaurants to participate, and provide a list of participating restaurants to interested volunteers. In turn, the participating restaurants could then be provided with the list of names for the volunteers participating in the program. The chamber of commerce could encourage participation by offering a monthly subsidy to restaurants, or restaurants that join the program could offer special discounts to the volunteers who bring a foreign guest to lunch, dinner, or breakfast. The rest of the initiative is easy. Simply put, when we meet a traveler or traveling couple, we ask them to join us for a meal. The benefits of such an endeavor would have far reaching implications. The Route 66 community develops a reputation for hospitality. People in communities along Route 66 develop a deeper understanding about the potential impact of Route 66 on their town. The traveler gets the authentic American experience that most Route 66 adventurers are seeking and they discover restaurants often missed by tourists. Would you care to share your thoughts, ideas, or suggestions about such a program?
In recent years the historic motels on Route 66 were listed as endangered. During the Route 66 International Festival this year, historian Jim Ross will make a presentation at the Route 66 Crossroads of the Past and Future conference about the endangered Route 66 bridge.
Preservation of bridges and motels require a distinctly different approach. However, the preservation of both are crucial if Route 66 is to remain as a multifaceted time capsule where more than a century of societal evolution is preserved for future generations.
However, the loss of an historic motel or bridge, landmark or even section of roadway is not the greatest threat to Route 66 today. It is the inability of some Route 66 business owners, community leaders, and self appointed guardians of the road to put aside personal interests, egos, and petty differences.
Even worse are the individuals who publically profess the need for unity, for cooperative efforts while stirring discontent and dissension or while actively fostering divisions at the local level. If we in the Route 66 community are unable to put aside differences in the best interests of the road, what chance do we have of creating a coalition needed for the preservation of a bridge?
If business owners at the local level are incapable of forming beneficial partnerships, how are we to create a community wide cooperative for the entire Route 66 corridor?
Why is the historic Route 66 motel endangered? First, many were built with short term goals of profit in mind, not longevity or as a future historic artifact.
Second, people traveling Route 66 want an authentic Route 66 experience, but not to authentic. That presents a tremendous challenge in regard to renovation.
Third most historic motels were small complexes of less than a dozen rooms. Large tour groups that constitute an important part of modern Route 66 traffic can not utilize these facilities.
However, if two or more historic motels in close proximity to each other are renovated, and if the owners form a mutually beneficial partnership, both properties have a better chance of surviving as profitable entities.
We can extrapolate on this concept. If neighboring communities pool promotional resources, create interlinked events, and build cooperative partnerships all facets of Route 66 from preservation to revitalization and economic development benefit. An excellent case study is found in the cooperative formed between Joplin, Carthage, and Galena.
The people traveling Route 66 are looking for an authentic, fun filled adventure, a holiday escape to a magical place where the best of the past and present blend together seamlessly. They have little interest in the political intrigue, the infighting, the backbiting, or child like feuds.
Airing these publically for the single purpose of fostering arguments rather than to resolve problems or offer solutions not only diminishes the Route 66 experience, it endangers every aspect of the roads future.
I am painfully aware that intrigue, disagreements, and competition are also a part of the Route 66 legacy. However, times have changed. We as a community need to focus on ensuring the Route 66 traveler and enthusiast enjoys their adventure. We as a community need to build and unify rather than destroy and divide.
The embryonic conference in Kingman is a step in that direction. The developing plans for a convention in 2015 is another. However, if we are to build a cooperative partnership that serves the entire Route 66 community, we must first build cooperative partnerships at the local level.
Lets use these fledging opportunities to ensure Route 66 remains vital for future generations. In all honesty, I would like to hear your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions pertaining to how we can build these partnerships and cooperatives.
My dad left the uniform wearing aspect of military life behind shortly after I turned eight but he still kicked off most every day with boot camp styled wake up calls at 0-five hundred hours. Add to this weeks of summer vacations spent on farms, and a John Wayne period that filled a few years of my life with ranch work and you have a lifelong habit of the feet hitting the floor at 4:30 or 5:00 without the assistance of an alarm clock.
Dad also instilled a very strong work ethic. His theory that there was plenty of time for sleep when you were dead overlapped into his views on sports, watching television before 7:00 in the evening, holidays, or in general, anything that wasn’t work related.
Even though my dearest friend has made tremendous strides in helping me balance being a workaholic with simply savoring life, weekends and holidays are not exempt from long developed habits. So, the three day weekend has been somewhat productive.
The weathered eaves on the south side of the house are now in primer. With assistance from dearest friend, the front bathroom is gutted. A bedroom long used for storage is on the cusp of being transformed into a small workshop.
There was still time for the penning of a Route 66 related feature for Mid-Century Magazine, a movie and barbecue shared with my dearest friend, an early morning visit with our son, a bit of reading, and in depth cleaning of the house. Today the schedule calls for visiting with Judy’s mother, providing a bit of assistance to the fine folks at Legends of America (the official outlet for our photo prints and a few special features), a walk filled with reflection on the holiday, assisting with development of a Route 66 tour for a New Zealand based company, adding a bit of grease to key components under the Dodge, and, hopefully, starting on the next book.
In looking to the week ahead, it seems to hold the promise of fun, adventure, and, hopefully, moving beyond the crossroads where we have been camped for a very long time.
On Tuesday evening it is dinner with Jeroen and Maggie Boersma, friends from the Netherlands. Between Tuesday and Saturday there will be numerous conference calls pertaining to Route 66 International Festival development, the scheduling of appointments to obtain estimates from contractors, and the establishment of a schedule for the penning of the new book.
Now, a bit of breakfast, and a three minute visit with Marleen. First, however, there is need for fitting theme music to set the mood for the day.