The title for today’s post is indicative of my reflective, deep thinking mood this morning.
The legendary Wigwam Motel in Rialto, California
I awoke before sunrise meditating on the current state of the nation as reflected by the recent elections and the mud slinging promotions that preceded it. Then, after watching the Eye on LA Route 66 series, I turned my attentions toward the addressing of correspondence pertaining to future development and promotion of Route 66, carried on with the fruitless endeavors to locate illustrations for the current book, continued with ongoing efforts to sell the publisher on the merits of two new book proposals, and had a few interesting on line conversations with friends in the Route 66 community.
This was followed by an always enjoyable breakfast and conversation shared with the president of my fan club, business partner, and photographic and editorial assistant that I refer to as my dearest friend. The topic of discussion was the pending Route 66 related adventure to the Netherlands in January, and now in 2015, a possible Australian one as well.
To say the very least it was an interesting and enjoyable morning. It was also filled with ample fodder for deep reflection on an array of issues.
Santa Monica Pier
An increasingly dominant train of thought, currently competing with how to promote and subsequently sell books through the blog in the months to come, pertains to the obscure alignments of Route 66 and the roadside gems awaiting discovery. More specifically, I am thinking of the irony in the fact that, perhaps, the most obscure segment of Route 66 is hidden in plain sight in the largest metropolitan area through which the highway passes.
Most every Route 66 enthusiast has a familiarity with the Wigwam Motel in Rialto. Likewise with Santa Monica Pier, A Route 66 destination that shares commonality with the Big Texan and the Cadillac Ranch as all three are major attractions but none of them are actually on Route 66.
Still, at least Santa Monica Pier provides a more suitable place to celebrate the end of a Route 66 adventure than the drab, nondescript actual terminus a few blocks to the east.
But what wonders are lurking between the Wigwam and the traditional end of the trail at Santa Monica Pier, aside from a sea of traffic and a seemingly endless string of traffic signals?
Scott Piotrowski has worked to shine light on these forgotten corners of the old double six for years through a well written and researched guide book to the Route 66 corridor, speaking engagements, and tours. Now he is using his years of experience and lengthy list of contacts within the community to build a most impressive coalition for the development of a 90th anniversary celebration of Route 66 at the original western terminus in the historic heart of downtown Los Angeles in 2016.
As a bonus, there is also the distinct possibility that the first Route 66 convention since the demise of the historic U.S. Highway 66 Association will be linked with the celebration.
This is but one manifestation of an exciting new wind that is blowing along Route 66. Tucumcari is gearing up for a major event next June. Kingman is moving forward on development of a fall event with a Route 66 theme. Edwardsville is developing a conference to assist in the evolution of the Route 66 corridor into a community linked by a unified sense of purpose. Major events in Springfield, Illinois as well as Missouri are being planned for next year. The World Monuments Fund steering community holds tremendous promise.
Ron Hart of the Route 66 Chamber of Commerce, with assistance from Joe Loesch, has recently completed a wonderful public service announcement. He also oversees the most comprehensive Route 66 website in the world.
These are truly thrilling times on Route 66. The highway where dreams come true lures legions of explorers from every corner of the earth just as stories about the mythical Seven Cities of Cibola did centuries ago.
In the months ahead announcements will flow, the excitement will build, and eager anticipation of an exciting new decade on the double six will build. Still, you can bet your bottom dollar that with every announcement that heralds the dawn of a new golden era for this storied old road, self lynching promoters and hucksters will climb on their soap box and with shrill voices, try to discredit the endeavors while they sell old moth eaten two headed cow as the attraction that will put Route 66 on the map in the years to come.