The twisted course of Route 66 through the Black Mountains of western Arizona is more than a stunning drive or the neighborhood where I grew up. It is also a fitting portrayal of my life in general.
The course I have followed through life is marked with twists and turns that quicken the spirit and ignite the imagination, it has seldom been boring, and even on stormy days, there is a raw and powerful beauty. Needless to say, all of this has been magnified and enhanced because I have been blessed with a dear friend to share the adventure with.
As each year draws to a close I look back in amazement. It seldom turned out as planned. The highs and lows were usually more extreme than anticipated, it went way to fast, and it was filled with unexpected surprises both good and bad.
Taking a peak through the mist that hides the future, the indications are that the year will end with a bang, and kick off with an unprecedented adventure that includes an opportunity to take Route 66 to Europe.
The weekend was consumed with what seems to have become an annual late summer/early fall tradition – striving to beat a deadline and an attempt to sell a publisher on the merits of a proposed project. In between I played a few games of chess, grilled some buffalo burgers with onions and garlic, enjoyed a movie with my dearest friend, and fielded an array of inquiries about my appointment to a World Monuments Fund steering committee on Route 66 development.
The latter was fraught with frustration. Discussions on social media sites about the committee are mostly constructive, creative, curious, and concerned. Unfortunately they are also often tinged with disinformation and open attempts to discredit the endeavor before it commences.
I learned long ago to deal with the slings and arrows. Still, it bothers me no end as the Route 66 community deserves better.
The current book project for History Press chronicling the often violent evolution of the American taxi industry has proven to be a real challenge when it comes to research. However, in all honesty, these challenges were compounded by a rather intense schedule this past few months.
Proposals being discussed for future projects are quite varied. There are two at the top of my list that I hope to bring to fruition.
One would be a travel guide to, and history of, the National Old Trails Highway. I have toyed with this idea for quite sometime but the recent adventure to Chevelon Canyon really provided some inspiration for transforming the idea into a book.
The second would be an ethnic history of Route 66. I harbor no illusions about the difficulties of the project and have concerns about how it would be received. Still, it is a chapter in the history of Route 66 that needs to be written.
Meanwhile, arrangements are being finalized for the forthcoming trip to Cuba Fest in Cuba, Missouri where I will introduce the latest book. Then on the 19th of October, I will speak on Route 66 as the crossroads of the past and future at an open house at Route 66 State Park.
There are an array of pending appearances and engagements associated with the trip. I am hoping to have all of these confirmed and arrangements made before the end of the week.
On the 15th of November, I will be at Auto Books – Aero Books in Burbank, California. The publicist is also working to set up an appearance at the Autry as well. It should be a full weekend as we also plan on seeing Scott Piotrowski to discuss plans for 2016, and to explore a bit of the original western terminus of Route 66.
Then in January, Vakantiebeurs in Utrecht, Netherlands. Plans are developing and a few things need to be confirmed but indications are that, courtesy of U.S. Bikers, we will be taking Route 66 to Europe. Stay tuned for details –