Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays. It is more than fireworks and barbecues, it is a time to reflect on the greatest experiment in self government ever conceived.
In our homestead yesterday the celebrations were minimalistic beginning with a reading of the Declaration of Independence and ending on the tailgate of Barney the Wonder Truck with my dearest friend as fireworks illuminated storm clouds. In between was mostly a work day as there was a pressing need to complete the first chapter for the next book.
In this tome I return to my journalistic roots by chronicling the corporate adventures of men like John Hertz Sr. and Morris Markin, and the bloody era of street violence in the late teens and early 1920s. As a bonus there is a need to research the future of the taxi industry.
Initial progress was brutally slow. Now, however, it seems to be flowing smoothly but there are still many, many hours strapped to a chair in the near future.
My initial writings were mostly automotive in nature and I soon developed a reputation for specializing in the American automobile industry between 1885 and 1940, a fascinating period with many parallels to the first decade of the 21st century. It too was a time of tremendous technological and societal change.
In 1909 companies in the United States manufactured more than 828,000 horse drawn vehicles and less than 125,000 automobiles. Twenty years later, in 1929, manufacturers produced less than 4,000 horse drawn vehicles but more than 1.5 million automobiles. Imagine the dramatic transition that this represents!
Today will most likely be a repeat performance of yesterday with at least five hours spent in the office. However, there is a plan afoot to close out the day with the grilling of some mushroom, garlic, and onion buffalo burgers.
Meanwhile the urge for a road trip is growing by the day. We are long overdue as the last big adventure was in March when we made a trip along the territorial era Senator Highway on the way home from Crown King.
The suspension of vacation time coupled with the new book, festival issues, home repair, and the arrival of a new grandson haven’t been conducive to road trips or adventures. Still, while sitting on the tailgate with my dearest friend, the rain scented desert breeze inspired some conversations about the long overdue need for a camping trip.
Today, however, I will put aside dreams of smokey mountain mornings, rutted dirt tracks through the Arizona wilderness, and old two lanes of sun baked asphalt stretching toward the horizon as there is work to be done.