This morning we kick off the continuing stroll down Memory Lane with a little inspiration. This link is for a story about Jim ‘Pee Wee’ Martin, a veteran of the D-Day landings that parachuted into Normandy for the 70th anniversary celebrations.
Live life with grit and determination. To the best of your ability, put the mistakes and tragedies of the past behind you. Never forget that the world does not revolve you. Always remember that self focus rather than self sacrifice is a living death. Live life with the simple goal of leaving the world a better place than it was when you arrived. Those are the lessons to be learned from the people who took part in the historic event that was D-Day.
Now, the countdown continues. This first photo received only a few comments and notes. However, one of these were priceless and it remains one of the most touching responses ever received.
“Shortly after we married in 1954, my wife and I traveled to California for a new job. We picked up Route 66 at St. Louis and the ten day trip to California remained our favorite memory.
On occasion we followed portions of that highway on family vacations to places like the Grand Canyon but never traveled it from end to end even though we often talked about doing that.
In 1998 we decided to do a Route 66 trip end to end as we traveled to my 50th high school reunion in Warren, Ohio (that is where Packard started). A few weeks before we were to leave, my wife became ill and she passed away shortly after.
My grandson introduced me to internet and that is how I found your blog. Route 66 was then associated with the best and worst moment of my life but through your writings the good overshadowed the bad and in 2010 my grandson and I drove Route 66 from end to end.
The catalyst for moving beyond the sorrow that had kept me from going was this photo. My wife and I had never been to Arizona before moving to California but one day on our trip, after a storm, we entered some mountains and just as in your picture, there was a stunning scene of shadows, clouds, fall color, and blue sky.
I remember it with clarity as my wife was so awe struck she made me stop just so she could watch the clouds shadow the mountains. She said until that moment she had been worried that our move away from family was a big mistake but that stunning scene made her feel confident in my decision.
The day my wife passed, my wife and I talked of the big trip. She reminded me of that day, that beautiful desert storm, and how we always talked of trying to find that place again. That was the last time I saw her smile.
The other Las Vegas, the one in New Mexico.
The road has always been about the people. It still is. It always will be.
The posting of stories and photos from our various Route 66 detour adventures always seem to generate interest. I think this is indicative of what Ian Bowman has said of Route 66. “It is the gateway drug.” Once you venture beyond the beaten path and road most traveled, once you have discovered the adventure beyond the off ramp, it is no longer possible to find pleasure in the generic world of the 21st century.
Las Castaneda, Las Vegas, New Mexico
Tales of detours to Las Vegas, New Mexico and to Crown King, Arizona have proven to be the most popular. The former is a must for any Route 66 traveler, just as it must have been before the realignment of Route 66.
Now that Alan Affeldt of La Posada fame has obtained the stunning La Castaneda, and has his sights on the historic Plaza Hotel, I am quite confident that more Route 66 adventurers will be discovering the ample charm of this historic old city located just one hundred miles northwest of Tucumcari.
Crown King is a very big detour. However, an adventure to this historic and remote Arizona mining town either on the 28 mile gravel “good road” or the 35 mile drive over the territorial era Senator Highway has all the hallmarks of what endears us to Route 66.
There is ample history. There are fascinating remnants of highway engineering. You meet infectiously enthusiastic people along the way. There is an excellent restaurant that is quite unique in its eccentricity made manifest. Most importantly, there is ample opportunity for memory making fun at every turn.
The historic Senator Highway in Arizona.
Our recent trip to Crown King was a birthday present for my dearest friend. My suggestion had been that we celebrate at our favorite hotel on the coast in Carlsbad, California but she instead wanted to return to what we enjoyed best when dating and first married, an adventure into the back country of Arizona.
Photos posted from Las Vegas and the Crown King adventure sparked a number of comments. They also generated a number of requests for more information.
If I were to analyze the comments received from photos posted, the most popular are the ones from the deserts we call home, especially if they are Route 66 related. As an example, this shot of the Sacramento Valley taken from the hiking trail opposite Cool Springs in the Black Mountains really grabbed folks attention.
Here is a photo we took on a California adventure, the return from the Route 66 International Festival in Victorville. We were fortunate to be traveling the desert after a recent summer storm and that always provides ample opportunity for stunning photographs.
The original owner of this historic motel (the second El Rancho on Route 66) in Barstow built the entire complex from used railroad ties! At last report it served as a weekly/monthly rental complex.
And that concludes this mornings adventure on Memory Lane. The time has come to turn the attention toward breakfast and pressing weekend projects – greasing the Dodge, the new book, Route 66 International Festival related items, another barbecue, a little more spring cleaning, correspondence, and the weekly movie with my dearest friend.