PROGRESS, FRUSTRATION, EXCITING UPDATES, AND AN INTERESTING TURN OF EVENTS
It has been a most interesting week, to say the very least. A detailed proposal for a tour guide and history of the National Old Trails Highway went down in flames when the acquisition committee deemed the topic was “to narrow in scope.”
On Wednesday, I received notice that there were unexpected shipping delays and as a result, The Illustrated Route 66 Historical Atlas scheduled to ship on September 30, may be delayed by seven days. This presents a slight problem. It also moves the stress meter a bit closer to the “red” as we are scheduled to kick off the promotional tour on the 14th.
So, we may be moving to plan “B” which is a rewriting of the Route 66 leg of the promotional appearance schedule, with the exception of Cuba Fest and the open house at Route 66 State Park scheduled for Sunday, October 19. This would also entail shipping the books directly to Connie at the wagon Wheel Motel, and me traveling with one copy of the book for show and tell.
Courtesy of the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum.
Meanwhile, the first organizational meeting for the Route 66 conference and event that will take place in Edwardsville, Illinois in October 2015 is now history. Cheryl Eichar Jett has officially assumed the position of head pinata.
On a more serious note, I was quite honored to be asked to serve on the conference and event planning committee. For more details here is a link to Cheryl’s blog, the clearing house for information until a website and Facebook page are developed.
The 2014 Route 66 International Festival in Kingman seems to have accomplished two of the primary goals, which was the fostering of a sense of community and community purpose in Kingman as well as along the entire Route 66 corridor. The developing conference in Edwardsville, and Scott Piotrowski’s initiatives for Los Angeles to serve as the host city in 2016 is one manifestation.
Another is development of a coalition in Kingman to create an annual Route 66 festival. The idea is to have the event take place in September or October. With the annual Route 66 Fun Run at the start of the tourism season, and this event at the end, and Chillin’ on Beale as a monthly event that takes place between April and October, Kingman could be a very busy, very exciting place as well as a destination for Route 66 enthusiasts.
As these activities would be a tremendous catalyst for revitalization of the historic district, and as we have a unified sense of community as never before, I am quite excited by these developments.
On numerous occasions friends have strongly hinted that I suffer from a highly developed case of Don Quixote syndrome. A compulsion to joust at windmills is a primary symptom.
With that said, as we are talking about developments on Route 66, I would be remiss if the Route 66 The Road Ahead Steering Committee, a contentious point in the Route 66 community wasn’t discussed.
As I have yet to receive additional detail from World Monuments Fund, there is little to add in regard to views on whether this will be beneficial or detrimental to the Route 66 community. However, the discussions and correspondence I have had with Route 66 associations in regard to the committee has been most enlightening.
With that said, to everyone who took time to talk with me, or drop a note, thank you for the input. Your honesty without sugar coating was most appreciated (“The steering committee steered into the ditch when it didn’t include representation from Texas or Kansas”).
I sincerely hope that it will be possible to address your concerns, as well as share your ideas and suggestions with this steering committee. I am also hoping that each state and European association will participate inn the conference in Edwardsville.
These discussions, the Crossroads of the Past and Future Festival in Kinmgan, the developing conference in Edwardsville and similar initiatives, and occasionally heated discussions about the needs of the Route 66 community and how best to meet them served as a sort of kick in the pants to move forward on a project that has been gathering dust. The short version of a long story is that rather than reinvent the wheel, I thought it might be a good idea to evaluate how the original U.S. Highway 66 Association served the Route 66 community for more than a half century, how they were structured, how they dealt with opposition within the community, and what the annual conventions focused on, and then share that information to further advance development of a sense of community and community purpose. Correspondence with Jim Ross led to discussions with Pat Smith at the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton. In turn there is now ongoing correspondence with Casey Garrett, an archivist at the museum. Casey’s mining of the past has provided a bonus of sorts in the form of delightful photographs. The photo below shows the Route 66 caravan sponsored by the U.S. Highway 66 Association at the Chain of Rocks Bridge. In addition to sharing information about exciting developments, I will be mingling a bit of fascinating history and trivia, as well as information about the international nature of Route 66, and the contributions of the U.S. Highway 66 Association in my Route 66 Crossroads of the Past and Future presentation at the open house at Route 66 State Park on October 19. There are still a few slots open on the October tour if this presentation would be of interest to your organization. For details, or to schedule an appearance, and to discuss costs, please send an email with contact information. To wrap things up this morning, I have two questions. One, what are your thoughts about inclusion of an awards dinner on the slate of scheduled activities with the annual conference? Two, what topics of interest would you like to see addressed in workshops developed around the conference?