In following the expeditions, exploits, adventures, and travels of various groups, couples, and individuals traipsing along Route 66, the hunger to take to the road and to visit with old friends is becoming unbearable. Still, I need to hold it in check for just one week and four days.
Meanwhile, the week that was didn’t go very well with but one exception. I started the week with the flu, my first bout in a more than a year. Today is the first time in four days that I thought survival was really an option.
Fortunately this coincided with an insightful and visionary decision made by the owners of the company. As I am leaving on the 14th, the decision was made this past Tuesday to have me train someone. So, temporarily, I now have a staff of two. That was a blessing on several fronts.
Meanwhile, shipping of The Illustrated Route 66 Historical Atlas is still listed as pending without confirmed dates. As shipping was to take place on the 30th of September, and as our forthcoming road trip centers on promotion of the book, this could present a small problem.
I did receive A copy and my general impression is favorable. However, I am often my harshest critic so there is a curiosity to hear what the Route 66 community thinks.
In general it is a companion to the Route 66 Encyclopedia. My intent was to keep overlap to a minimum, but in some instances it was unavoidable. Where this did occur, I was able to provide more detail in this work.
This book provided a unique challenge beyond that of the ever changing editorial requirements that seem to simply be an integral part of the publishing industry. As an example, at one point I received notification that five new illustrations with captions were required, and 5,000 words of text needed to be removed. Needless to say, this presented a bit of a challenge as well as a dilemma.
The primary problem was in regard to content. On one hand I wanted to add depth and context to the Route 66 experience as well as introduce people to unique aspects of the highways history. Still, I did not want it to be to dark. This coupled with editorial constraints of size challenged my creativity.
It became a balancing act. Yes, tales of unsolved murder and even serial killers make for morbid but interesting reading but do they add depth or context to the Route 66 story? What about the race riots in Texola, or the gay lovers quarrel that ended in murder at Glorietta Pass?
Still, I think that overall the book will be a valued addition to the library of Route 66 enthusiasts. After all, where else can you read about the 1908 bank robbery in Texola, the murder of Hazel Johnson at Mountain Springs Ranch west of Williams in 1925, Nikola Tesla’s involvement with St. Louis, Harry Houdini’s appearance in Galena, or the burial of RAF pilots in Miami?
Upon completion of the current project for History Press, I am thinking it might be time to see what Amazon.com self publishing is about. I have an idea for a series of detailed guide books for communities along Route 66. Judging by the response to similar proposals, I don’t think a publisher would be interested.
Another project rattling around in my head is an autobiography. I have trouble with this idea even though there have been numerous requests received from fans of my work.
On one hand, I would feel embarrassed with such a glaring display of perceived self importance. On the other there is chance that it might serve as a source of inspiration or encouragement, as well as provide a laugh or two.
Simply put, my first half century on this earth wasn’t exactly normal. That story includes homelessness, meeting with Jay Leno, a John Wayne period, prospecting for gold in Arizona that became an exercise in survival, truck driving, mining, mistaken identity with harrowing consequences, adventures in Mexico, repossessing cars at funerals and on Indian reservations, a childhood spent reliving the Great Depression, raising a family, blizzards in South Dakota, and other assorted adventures.
Meanwhile, as I contemplate future projects, the time has come for another day at the office.