I am rather surprised by the number of people who look forward to a morning post just as folks in another time enjoyed the morning paper. The schedule necessitated a late posting yesterday and notes received ranged from frustration to concern.
In continuation of the theme started yesterday, as we count down to 1,500 posts, I will be sharing popular photos from throughout the blogs history and share a bit of the story behind them.
Snow in the desert is a relative rarity that adds a unique beauty most visitors never see as they make their sojourns during the months of spring, summer, or fall. This photo proved quite popular on the blog and it was used by the publisher for various promotional materials.
My dearest friend took this photo as we walked along the old wagon road near Kingman after a late winter snow. Most notes received were inquiries guessing about my deep thoughts on this morning hike. At the time my responses were somewhat vague.
Thoughts that morning were heavy and deep. In a period of just a few short months I had accepted my largest book contract to date, been interviewed by Jay Leno, dealt with skin cancer, and lost my mother and little sister in less than a two week period. At the very least it was a challenging winter but this snow felt like the dawning of a new era.
I have traveled Route 66 from Chicago to Arizona since 1959, and the western portion since at least 1966. My dearest friend, however, had never driven east of Albuquerque, New Mexico until we motored to Missouri with our recently purchased Jeep.
My wife’s first view of Texas was from the drivers seat as we cruised from San Jon to Glenrio on the old alignment of Route 66. I was quite surprised by the response this photo of Endee generated.
Road trips, friends, and people met on our various adventures have dominated the theme of most postings. It has been a true pleasure to share these with you through photos.
The Painted Desert Trading Post is sort of like the Holy Grail for Route 66 enthusiasts and adventurers. Few, however, have had the opportunity to experience the incredible sense of timeless serenity inspired by the vast landscapes that embrace its crumbling walls. As a result I wasn’t really surprised by how popular photos proved to be.
I suppose this is as good a time as any for a bit of shameless self promotion. A wide array of the photos posted on this blog, or that appear in some of our books, are available as prints through a special arrangement with Legends of America.
With the release of Ghost Towns of Route 66 we took to the road on a promotional tour. Along the way we stopped to say thank you to friends along the way.
Our visit with Fran at the Midpoint Café is a favorite memory. I think the popularity of this photo was indicative of just how much this charming women touched the Route 66 community.
I am well aware that some of the greatest treasures found anywhere on Route 66 are located within the greater Los Angeles metro area. Still, my dearest friend and I are small town folk and as a result, for more than two decades our westward journeys on Route 66 ended at Hysteria (on maps it is shown as Hesperia).
It was a book signing at Auto Books Aero Books in Burbank that prompted our first explorations beyond the Cajon Pass.
This photo taken on the historic Colorado Street Bridge over the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena proved to be surprisingly popular. It was also selected by the publisher for use in various promotions.
One more and then it is time to wrap this up. This one is a favorite of mine for a number of reasons.
It was taken by Harley of Harley and Annabelle fame. My dearest friend and I were on a promotional road trip and were fortunate enough to catch these two delightful characters in their native habitat.
However, what really makes it special for me is the second person in the photo, my dearest friend. Far to often she is the one on the other side of the camera.
This may have been the first photo of my wife posted. A few of the notes received were light hearted references to now having proof that she existed.
Tomorrow, posting number 1,490 and a few more trips down memory lane.
An interesting milestone is fast approaching. At the current pace of blog posting (five or six a week), in about fourteen days I will hit 1,500 posts.
When I reflect on the fact that this initially started as an educational experiment, an endeavor to move from the world of rotary dial phones and eight track tape players into the modern era, that is rather amazing. Even more incredible is the international audience of regular readers that has developed over the years.
As with any such endeavor the embryonic stages were to say the very least, a bit rough around the edges. With the passing of time the blog transformed into a blending of a public version of my daily journal entries, a small town weekly newspaper, a bit of shameless self promotion, and a voyeuristic look into life lived on legendary Route 66.
I suppose waiting until the milestone post would be in order before sharing a few of my personal highlights. However, waiting until the morning of Christmas to open packages isn’t something I was ever very good at.
So, I will share a few of my favorite moments over the course of the next couple of weeks. If you would be so kind as to share some of your favorites, I will include these as well.
We transformed this view of Angel’s barbershop in Seligman into a post card, and shared it with a number of friends as well as followers of this blog. Much to our surprise it remains one of the most popular photos yet posted.
For those who missed it, on one occasion I posted the story behind this shot.
My dearest friend and I had spent the evening in Prescott in early December as my appearance on AM Arizona with Tonya Mock (an Arizona cable television program) required being at the studio by 7:00 AM.
We awoke to heavy pewter skies and intermittent snow flurries. As we were also scheduled for an appearance in Flagstaff that morning, there was a bit of apprehension even though we were driving the Jeep.
Route 66 near Crookton Road exit on a grand adventure.
Surprisingly the weather held, at least until we hit the Crookton Road exit. Then it began to snow, and soon the road vanished.
We weren’t breaking any speed records but on the grade before the overpass we were slowed to a crawl as a battered old Oldsmobile slid and fishtailed to the top of the hill.
Even with four wheel drive we did a bit of sliding as well. It was a most memorable Route 66 adventure.
As the title for the blog implies, the primary focus is on Route 66, our adventures on that storied old road, and the people we meet along the way. However, on occasion we shared a few of the detours.
One of these was to the Johnson Canyon Railroad Tunnel. In regard to popularity this photo is probably the second most popular. Within two weeks I lost count of how many people asked for information or directions.
Author Jim Hinckley at the historic Johnson Canyon Railroad Tunnel.
The historic tunnel that dates to the early 1880s remains one our favorite discoveries. It was an incredible tangible time capsule with craftsmanship that bordered on the artistic.
Our journey to the tunnel was a grand adventure that we were pleased to share with you. On my to do list is a return trip. This time, however, I envision watching a snowfall from a campsite in the tunnel. Rest assured, when that takes place photos will be shared.
Route 66 is and has always been about the people. That is what truly makes this amazing old road so special. That is what gives it a vibrancy, a sense of palpable excitement, and fills the visitor with inspiration.
Left to right, Dean Kennedy, Rich Dinkela, author Jim Hinckley, and author Joe Sonderman at Zeno’s, a Route 66 landmark erased from the roadside several years ago.
Over the years, as a result of our travels, books written, and speaking engagements, we have been privileged with countless opportunities to meet Route 66 celebrities as well as fellow travelers that inspired us. I am quite pleased to say that more than a few of these folks we now count as friends.
This photo of a breakfast at Zeno’s proved to be quite popular. It is also one of our favorites.
Zeno’s closed and was razed shortly after this photo was taken. That tragedy taints the happy memories of Cuba Fest, an adventure led by Rich Dinkela, and delightful conversation with friends of the double six.
Here is another photo that proved to be quite popular. It too stirs some very happy memories.
Do you recognize any of these characters?
Book sales were less than anemic at this event in Tucumcari. I actually gave away or traded more books than I signed!
This, however, didn’t really matter as it was a weekend filled with laughter, memory making Route 66 adventures shared with legends of the road, good food, and new found friends Christopher Robleski and Katie Nelson. It was also our first evening at the legendary Blue Swallow Motel with Kevin and Nancy Mueller as proprietors.
Lets see what I can dig up from the archive tomorrow.