|Last vestige of a motel in Grants.|
Even though the travel, meetings, tours, and business of the past ten days has once again derailed the schedule for completion of the current book, I am still confident of meeting the deadline of December 31, especially if assistance is received in regard to the acquisition of suitable taxi related images. Help!
Okay, last week I provided a few details about the recent trip to California that included a book signing in Burbank as well as at the Autry National Center, a Scott Piotrowski led adventure on various alignments of Route 66 between Pasadena and the original western terminus of that highway, and discussions pertaining to the 90th anniversary Route 66 celebration proposed for Los Angeles. I seem to have forgotten to provide a review of a most delightful little coffee shop that we discovered just off of Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank.
It was one of those wonderful accidental discoveries that is almost providential in nature. We arrived in Burbank early and decided to get a cup of coffee and a pastry at Portos on Magnolia Boulevard but a line that stretched have way down the block discouraged us.
As I had noticed a charming sidewalk café between Portos and Auto Books – Aero Books, we selected that as our new destination. In the process of looking for a parking place, I turned onto Lima Street, parked the car, and then noticed that we were in front of Simply Coffee. What an absolute treasure!
The next item (or items) of interest pertain to the recent trip to Albuquerque, attendance of the World Monuments Fund Steering Committee that developed resultant of the conference in Anaheim last year, and a bit of exploration on the way home.
In answer to the requests for information received in the last few days, basic details will be coming soon in the form of an official press release. Detailed information about the historic and exciting proceedings will follow in a month or so when transcripts are complete and data compiled. Please be just a bit patient.
The historic Hotel Andaluz served as base camp for the steering committee volunteers, and as a most interesting place to explore. As a bonus it was also conveniently located to an historic strip of Central Avenue, the course for post 1937 Route 66.
After decades of neglect, general abuse, and closure, this stunning old facility recently received a new lease on life with complete refurbishment. As an interesting footnote it represents an historic moment in time as this was the cornerstone for establishment of the Conrad Hilton hotel empire.
After a long day consumed by meetings and discussions, which was preceded by a long day that included time at the office and a 480 mile drive, a walk on Central Avenue seemed an appropriate way to unwind.
Evidence abounds to indicate that this district is on the upswing. In every block there are busy shops, clubs, sidewalk cafes, and restaurants, Historic but empty buildings face the street with renovated facades. Additional evidence is found in the restored Kimo Theater, road improvements, and colorful signage. Still, there are ample vestiges of a recent time when this corridor was on the fast track toward decline.
As a result, to walk the corridor at night is to be immersed in an interesting atmosphere tinged with occasional apprehension that invigorates. There is a definite sense of vitality, and of enthusiasm but there is also a tangible feel of the despair that permeates an area that has seen better times.
The ebb and flow of crowds taking in the sites, attending the theater, heading to dinner or roaming from club to club, as well as extensive indication of recent construction at every turn, the road improvements, and the glow of colorful signage, including a bit of neon, and a pleasant dinner at Lindy’s, ensured a restorative walk. In fact, I so enjoyed the outing my steps were retraced on the second evening, but on that occasion other Greek menu items were sampled.
After completion of business, and a pleasant lunch shared with Kevin Mueller, one quarter of the Blue Swallow Motel team, I turned my attentions toward the long drive home. Even though it was late afternoon, and I was a bit weary as well as anxious to get home to see my dearest friend, the cloud speckled skies, and the soft glow of a late afternoon autumn sun compelled me to follow the broken asphalt of the old double six westward, and to cruise the streets of Grants and Gallup in search of suitable subjects for my camera.
The sun sank in the west before I made the Arizona line and so with reluctance, and a growing awareness of how tired I was, the wheels were applied to the interstate highway with steely determination. My one deviation was a quick stop at Safeway in Holbrook for anything suitable for a dinner behind the wheel, and a few quick shots of some neon under a starlit sky.
Now, attentions turn toward the future. Next week my dearest friend and I will finalize arrangements for the trip to the Netherlands in January. That should kick the year off on a most interesting note!
Once everything is confirmed, details and a schedule of appearances will be posted.
Today I met with Barry and Terry Klein of Adventure Caravans to discuss plans for two Route 66 tours that they are developing for 2015. Piloting class A coaches along the old double six will present a few obstacles not encountered in my developmental work with other tour groups.
In closing, I would like to provide a few additional updates. On December 11, another planning session for the development of the new and improved Andy Devine Days celebration that will include a Route 66 element is scheduled. Details on this will be provided as well.
On the way to Albuquerque, I met with David Heward in Holbrook. It looks as though their second annual Route 66 celebration being scheduled for June of 2015 will be something to make plans for.
That takes us to Thanksgiving. In the hustle and bustle of the holiday, as we rush to activities and dinners, I hope that there will be an opportunity to take a deep breath, and give thought to the ideal behind this holiday.