In mid December of this year, the State of Missouri closed the historic Gasconade River Bridge that carried Route 66 traffic from the infancy of that highway to the modern era. Now this scenic bridge faces a very uncertain future. In addition, its closure means that historic and scenic sections of Route 66 are relegated to dead end corridors similar to that running past John’s Modern Cabins to Arlington.
Rich Dinkela has launched a multifaceted grassroots initiative to have the bridge renovated rather than replaced. Full details about the bridge, video, an on line petition, and contact information for the individuals that need to hear from you are found on Rich’s website, Hooked on Route 66.
Even though this bridge is in Missouri, its loss or preservation will have tremendous ramifications for the entire Route community. The essence of the Route 66 experience is the opportunity to do more than travel from point “a” to point “b”, it is the opportunity to travel through time. It is a multifaceted sensory experience filled with tangible links to more than a century of societal evolution.
Key to maintaining that experience is preservation of the highways unique infrastructure, especially its picturesque bridges. Few aspects of the highway itself provide such a sense of context or history, even fewer provide the photographic backdrop for images that seem to transcend time.
In recent years we have irretrievably lost Route 66 bridges that were engineering and architectural masterpieces in Oklahoma, Los Angeles, and numerous other locations. With each loss a hole is ripped in the Route 66 tapestry.
I lament what we have lost and feel a sense of melancholy for what we stand to loose. However, this initiative provides more than a glimmer of hope as the groundswell of support for the preservation of this bridge provides clear indication that along Route 66, the sense of community and community purpose is growing exponentially.
Historian and author Jim Ross has been at the forefront of focusing attentions on the roads historic bridges, almost all of which are endangered. I for one am eagerly anticipating the forthcoming publication of his book that will document the history of every bridge on historic Route 66.
In addition to generating an awareness of how endangered the roads bridges are, fostering a sense of community, and laying a foundation for effective grassroots initiatives in the future, the social media commentary about preservation of the Gasconade River Bridge has revealed two items that need to be discussed.
The first of these is what exactly the steering committee facilitated by the World Monuments Fund and the National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program is. In a nut shell, the steering committee is little more than the framers for a proposed organization that, if successfully sold to the Route 66 community, will be a professionally led entity comprised of elected representatives.
The second item revealed in the initiative to save this bridge is the need for a reincarnation of the original U.S. Highway 66 Association. Take just a moment to imagine the possibilities.
What if we were faced with the loss of two, or three bridges simultaneously? What if an organization was in place to magnify a grassroots initiative such as Rich’s with an established network for email blasts, a networked website, and an updated list of contacts for the submission of letters and petitions?
What it this organization had initiated inclusion of the bridges in the National Register of Historic Places? What if this organization could assist in the coordinated development of rallies, distribution and creation of press releases, and in person presentation of petitions? What if this entity had an established network of business owners, international Route 66 associations, state and city tourism offices, politicians, highway department officials, and a promotional arm?
Such an organization would not only be able to contribute to the success of grassroots initiatives, it would also be able to bolster the work of vital organizations such as the Historic Route 66 Federation, Route 66 Alliance, Route 66 Chamber of Commerce, Route 66 associations, and local tourism offices, and it would also be able to provide businesses with promotional assistance, develop educational programs, and meet the needs of media.
It all sounds rather ambitious but the time has come to dream big. An organization such as this came to life in 1927 during an era of Model T Fords, dirt roads, and horse drawn milk wagons. What can we create in an era of conference calls, instant international social media, and Ipads?
Those folks back in 1927 were trying to market a road and build the network needed to make it a vital artery of commerce. All we have to do is strive to ensure that the essence of the road, and the things that make it the most famous highway in the world are not lost.
Now, a few of the end of the year notes. Next week we set off on our epic Route 66 adventure to the Netherlands. In addition to the meet and greet at De Prael in Amsterdam (details at the top of this blog), I will be manning the booth for U.S. Bikers and U.S.A. Holidays that will be sharing space with the Dutch Route 66 Association at Vakantiebeurs in Utrecht on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, at 2:30 in the afternoon, I will also be making special presentations about Route 66.
To our European friends and neighbors, I hope to see you at one or both events. Please bring your books as it would be my pleasure to add a signature.
To close this out I thought a bit of a travel advisory would be in order. We have a winter storm moving in this evening and the forecast is for a couple inches of snow at around 2,000 feet. Here in Kingman at 3,300 feet, there may be up to six inches of snow. If so, to the east you can add at least an inch for every 1,000 foot climb in elevation. So, if you can, avoid travel in the area for a day or two.
I sincerely hope that each and every one of you had a delightful Christmas, or at least a holiday with a reason or two for rejoicing. In our household it has been a best of times, worst of times sort of year and Christmas continued with that theme. Still, we have much to be thankful for. Our celebration of Christmas kicked off on Tuesday evening with what seems to be a new tradition; dinner with KC Keefer and Nancy Barlow. This was the second year for what I hope becomes an annual event. Lively conversation, a few laughs, and good food shared with friends is an excellent way to kick off a holiday such as Christmas. On Christmas eve we continued with that theme, this time with pizza and a house full of family and friends, and friends of friends and friends of family. In spite of years spent in a valiant effort to overcome what passed for family traditions in my childhood home (a bizarre blending of the Adams family and Norman Rockwell), normal during the holidays has proven to be quite elusive. I blended my wife’s family holiday rituals with a bit of the sappy celebrations that appear in grainy black and white Bing Crosby specials but there finally came a time when, with a very deep sigh, I resigned myself to the fact that normal and I will most likely never be close friends or even acquaintances during Christmas.
From Acme Newspictures/My Inwood
So, on Christmas morning, as I am an early riser, I plugged in the lights on the tree, started the coffee, sent a few emails to friends, engaged in some on line discussions with others, and spent an hour or so attempting to organize the latest pile of notes and printouts for the final assault on the current book project. Then my dearest friend and I turned attentions toward the holiday, opened a few packages, and enjoyed a breakfast amply sprinkled with thoughts of the grandchildren. It was mid morning when she turned her attentions toward the cooking of a most delightful Christmas dinner that filled the house with enticing aromas, and I again slipped into the world of stock swindles, murder, various forms of mayhem and malfeasance, cronyism, sabotage, and arson that has consumed a great deal of my spare time and thoughts this past few months. One aspect of crafting a book that I find to be quite enjoyable is the research. As an example of the fascinating discoveries made, please consider the intriguing blog My Inwood, the initial source for this photo and the story behind it. By late afternoon, it had become increasingly difficult to concentrate and so, after closing out the project, I let the mind wander through memories of more than a half century of Christmases. My first memories of Christmas aren’t very pleasant. As it was the year before my little sister was born, it would have been 1962. I spent that holiday suffering through the chicken pox. For at least the first dozen Christmases or so, with the exception of 1962, attendance of midnight mass was mandatory for everyone with the exception of dad. Before 1966, if he was home on leave, he played grumpy chauffeur and had a beer down the street until church was over as mom never learned to drive (long story, don’t ask). After 1966, he stayed home or played grumpy chauffeur. When we lived in New Mexico, church was one block down and one block over, so we walked.
Christmas trees were always interesting when I was a kid. While living in Michigan, and once in Arizona, we often hand cut them. On several occasions this was followed by feats of strength in the form of push starting the car or truck, and on one occasion by digging the car from the mud.
If trees were purchased, dad would wait as late as possible “to get a better deal.” Of course, regardless of price he would dicker. Then we would lash the tree to the roof, and we would push start the car.
If we had a truck, the tree and kids went in the back. Needless to say, in Michigan this ensured a memorable outing.
On more than one occasion we decorated the tree late Christmas eve. Of course, that ensured we were awake for midnight mass.
Dad was insistent that Christmas gifts be of a practical, or at least educational nature. Mom was insistent children have toys. Seldom was the resultant compromise a pretty picture.
Dad liked working on Christmas as “they pay double time.” Mom would insist on making a huge dinner, even though we never had family or friends over. In turn that led to a week of creative ways for disguising left overs.
When my dearest friend entered my life, and later my son, Christmas was transformed. It became something light, cheerful, and warm, a stark contrast to the darkly comedic Christmases of the past. Still, on occasion a dark shadow would tinge the twinkling lights with a hint of grey. A few years ago my mother passed away on December 1, and my little sister nine days later. My stroll down memory lane where my son was still a little boy gleefully scurrying down the hall on Christmas morning came to an abrupt end with a knock on the door. It was the man my son had become and his family, just in time for a delicious dinner of roast, potatoes, carrots, buttered rolls, and a pumpkin cream cheese roll with whipped cream. We closed out Christmas 2014, my dearest friend and I, with a movie after a half hour spent talking with my oldest sister who lives in Texas. Life is good. It could always be better but it could always be worse. So, I will file away another Christmas for next years stroll down Memory Lane, and turn my sites on what promises to be a most interesting new year.
With Christmas fast approaching, and New Years Day nipping at its heels, I increasingly find myself thinking about the year that is drawing to a close, family, friends, and, of course, Route 66. After all that old highway seems to be the thread that ties it all together.
Left to right, Jeroen, author Jim Hinckley, and Maggie, our friends from the Netherlands on an Arizona adventure.
Introducing friends and fellow fans of the road less traveled, including Route 66, from the Netherlands (Jeroen and Maggie Boersma) to some of the often overlooked gems in the Kingman area was a most delightful way to kick off the year 2014. Interestingly enough, the year 2015 will kick off with another visit with Jeroen and Maggie, and other Dutch friends but this time they will be showing us the sites in Amsterdam.
A few weeks later we set out on another grand adventure in our very backyard. This time it was an exploration of the National Old Trails Highway west of Seligman on the edge of the Aubrey Valley with John McEnulty, owner of the Grand Canyon Caverns.
As Ian Bowman who works on Santa Monica Pier at 66 To Cali so eloquently put it, Route 66 is merely the gateway drug. Once you begin exploring the various manifestations of this iconic old highway, and its multifaceted culture and history, interest in other two lane highways, historic trails, and forgotten roads soon blossoms. As a result, there is a growing interest in the National Old Trails Highway, predecessor to Route 66 in the southwest and California.
Author Jim HInckley, and John McEnulty along the National Old Trails Highway in Arizona.
Looming as silent memorials in the brush, the culverts and red stone retaining walls provided a palpable sense of history to our early morning winter hike. Our amicable host and guide, and the stimulating conversation that accompanied us on our journey through the scrub oak and cedar studded hills ensured it was a most enjoyable adventure.
Plans for March, when possible, most always center on a business and cell phone free birthday adventure for my dearest friend. This year when I asked where she would like to go, my thoughts were on the coast as she loves to visit the ocean. Instead she surprised me with a request to see Crown King, and an adventure on the territorial era Senator Highway.
So, that is exactly what we did. However, our plans for a bright and early start were a bit delayed resultant of interview with Rudy Maxa Travel World.
The latest book, Travel Route 66 was about to be released and Steve Roth was able to negotiate an array of top tier interviews resultant of the surge in interest in the double six. These included Frommer’s radio program, a Toronto newspaper, and print interviews for publications in New York, Chicago, LA, Oklahoma City, and Denver. To date, this has proven to be the most popular book yet written. That is either indicative of the popularity of the road or my growing fame as a writer and teller of tales. In either case it provided a real sense of satisfaction. After the interview we journeyed west on Route 66, bypassed Prescott on the new parkway, and commenced a journey through time at Mayer. As the desert winds stirred the dust from our tires, we motored through the fast fading remnants of Cordes Junction, and the old town of Cleator that hangs on to life with a very busy bar and general store, and then began the climb to Crown King along the narrow and twisted road that was once a railroad deemed an engineering marvel.
The faded old town of Cleator is but one of the gems found on the dusty trail to Crown King.
The faded mining boom town of Crown King just may be the busiest ghost town in Arizona, especially in the months of summer when off road enthusiasts in droves descend. Our home away form home for the evening was the delightful oasis that is the Cedar Roost Inn, a new favorite of ours, which was enhanced with a superb dinner at the Mill Restaurant. The latter is a recent incarnation with an ancient appearance resultant of ample usage of salvaged materials and a vintage stamp mill as the center piece.
The historic Senator Highway.
The following morning we headed home via the 1870’s toll road, the Senator Highway. What a grand adventure through the Arizona outback! Shade dappled rutted tracks that climbed high on to ridges where stunning vistas swept to the distant horizons, vestiges of boom towns and mining empires, and even authentic stage station are but a few of the highlights found on this most invigorating old road that is truly a link between the past and present. July proved to be a most interesting month. A an evening that began with Route 66 International Festival dinner meeting with Dora and Kurt Manley ended with us fording streets transformed into rivers. Incredibly, in the storm we also lost the workshop and shed at the homestead but there was no additional damage to the house or fence.
Even though we did not embark on another Route 66 road trip until September, we still traveled around the world and never left home. We enjoyed delightful meals and wonderful visits with Dale and Kristi-Anne Butel, Dries and Marion Bessels, Wolfgang and Anja, George and Bonnie Game, Zdnek and his charming wife, Sam Murray, Hanneke Wiersma, the Kuperus brothers, Tim Kikkdert and his father, and Dr. Nick Gerlich and his family. We also met with tour groups and media tours from Australia and Canada, New Zealand and Holland, China and Germany, the Czech Republic and France.
Left to right, Angel Delgadillo, Jim Hinckley, and Michael Wallis.
In May, for the first time in more years than I care to count, I was able to enjoy the Saturday festivities during the Route 66 Fun Run, including the kick off in Seligman and the cruise to Kingman, with my son. He sort of grew up with this event as it was our custom to attend every year if we weren’t on the road. As an added bonus, we got to share it with Sam Murray from New Zealand, the owner of Gilligan’s Wild West Tours who recently purchased the Frontier Restaurant and Motel in Truxton. In August we were privileged to attend the Route 66 International Festival and never left home. As always, it was a big family reunion filled with surprises and unexpected visitors. Many of our friends from Europe and Japan attended the gala as did the irrepressible Melba Rigg and her sister Renee Charles. Bob and Ramona Lehman, the Sondermans and Rich Dinkela, representatives from most of the state Route 66 associations, and a few from Europe, the Michael Wallis and Buz Waldmire, Scott Piotrowski and his delightful son, Gary Cron and Rick Zimmerman and his charming wife, Kaisa Barthuli and the Rice family, Bob Boze Bell and Jerry McClanahan, Jim Ross and Shelle Graham, the Wards and countless others ensured that the event was memorable, historic, and most exciting. For us a real highlight of the event was attendance by the legendary barber from Seligman, the one and only Angel Delgadillo, and a Saturday evening performance by Joe Loesch and the Road Crew. This would be the first of two opportunities to enjoy an evening with this delightful band.
I would be quite remiss if it were not noted that a select few Route 66 enthusiasts were chosen for membership in a new and exclusive club. I will allow new members to explain if they so choose. In September my dearest fried and I celebrated another anniversary, this time with a bit of back road adventure on the National Old Trails Highway with a weekend excursion to Winslow. Our quest was to see the Chevelon Canyon Bridge that dates to 1913, which had been refurbished, before the taggers got to it. Then, in October, we set out for Cuba Fest via U.S. 54 through Kansas and Missouri where we were to kick off promotion for The Illustrated Route 66 Historic Atlas. Along the way we caught up with Dean Kennedy for dinner in Santa Rosa, and I introduced my dearest friend to a few roadside treasures such as the World’s Largest Hand Dug Well and Fort Scott, as well as the beauty of Lake of the Ozarks tinged with fall color. What really ensured our visit to the lake will never be forgotten was the generous hospitality of Bob and Robin at the Waters Edge Motel. The charming motel, a delightful dinner shared with our friends, and the soul stirring beauty of the lake at sunrise ensured this tirp would remain one of our favorites.
The Chevelon Canyon Bridge.
Cuba Fest in Cuba, Missouri is a quintessential small town America event that is almost like stepping into a Norman Rockwell print. Still, as with Route 66 itself, what really makes the festival special as well as memorable are the people such as Jane Reed and Connie Echols, the proprietor at the Wagon Wheel Motel. As a bonus, it often becomes another opportunity for a Route 66 family reunion that includes a dinner with fellow “roadies” at Missouri Hick, a fireside party at the Wagon Wheel Motel, an evening with the Road Crew at Belmont Winery, and the pleasure of sharing table space with acclaimed authors, and friends, such as Joe Sonderman and Cheryl Eichar Jett.
Sunrise over Lake of the Ozarks.
After Cuba Fest, at an open house for Route 66 State Park, I spoke on Route 66 before heading toward home. The return trip was a bit of a harried affair but as it was a Route 66 adventure, there was time for friends along the way. There was a visit with Bob and Ramona at the Monger Moss Motel, dinner with Mike and Sharon Ward in Lebanon (and a breakfast in Albuquerque), a lunch with Texas Ivy at the Golden Light in Amarillo and a visit with Vickie Ashcraft at the Enchanted Trails Trading Post and RV park in Albuquerque as well as a couple of book signings. On the heels of this adventure followed a book signing at Auto Books – Aero Books in Burbank, and at the Autry National Center. Anna, the intrepid young lady from the Ukraine on an around the world adventure that we had met at the Route 66 International Festival stopped by the signing in Burbank, as did Jay Leno, John and Judy Springs, Scott Piotrowski, Ester Brym, and a number of folks with an interest in Route 66. To say the very least, it was a most fascinating day. Before heading home on Sunday afternoon we embarked on a long overdue Scott Piotrowski led tour along the many fascinating facets of Route 66 in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. The tour confirmed my suspicion that remote sections of the old double six in the deserts of Arizona and California may be better known than these urban alignments. It also left me with eager anticipation for 2016. That is the target date for Mr. Piotrowski to introduce the world to the wonders at the original western terminus of the highway with a gala 90th anniversary celebration. Before bidding adios to the metropolis, we made a short stop at the Wigwam Motel in Rialto to sign books, and to visit with Kumar. For the Route 66 novice or well seasoned traveler, a stop at the Wigwam Motel and a visit with colorful Kumar is an absolute guarantee that the trip will truly be memorable. Less than a week later, I drove to Albuquerque and attended the steering committee facilitated by the World Monuments Fund and the National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program. This is a story in itself but suffice to say, I am rather confident that we may be on the cusp of seeing the rebirth of the modern equivalent of the U.S. Highway 66 Association. Tonight we wrap up a very full year on Route 66 with dinner shared with Nancy Barlow and KC Keefer. Our adventures on the double six in 2014 commenced with friends, and so it is rather fitting that we are closing it out with friends.
Scott Piotrowski, my dearest friend, Jay Leno, and fans of the double six at Auto Books – Aero Books in Burbank.
The final days of the year will be shared with family, and consumed with a mad dash to complete a book that I seem to have fallen behind on, and the laying of plans for another year of adventures tied to legendary Route 66. In closing this out, I would like to thank everyone who made this a most enjoyable and exciting year. Thank you. If you weren’t mentioned in today’s post, please don’t think you were forgotten. Now, it is our sincere hope that you are blessed with a delightful Christmas holiday, and that the new year is filled with laughter, health, and boundless adventure.
I have some very exciting developments to share, a few requests to make, and updates that may be of interest. So, since my weekend schedule is quite full lets get right to it.
First, Kevin Mueller, one half of the duo that has transformed the iconic Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari into a destination and an oasis through their friendly smiles, smores, cozy rooms with a personal touch, and catering to the needs of travelers as well as guests took a bad spill this past week. He was evacuated by air to Albuquerque and is suffering from multiple fractures of the hip and pelvis.
Cards and letters would go a long way to speeding Kevin’s recovery. Use this link for contact information.
The next items of interest are a bit closer to home (Kingman, Arizona). The Route 66 Cruizers are expanding and revamping their website. If your planning a trip to the Kingman area this is an excellent site to learn about events large and small. The site also features an extensive resource page with a staggering array of links for car clubs, blogs, Route 66 associations, and other sites of interest.
Yesterday morning I participated in a conference call with Rich Dinkela, the Indiana Jones of Route 66 exploration, and Josh, his website designer. The topic was the tweaking of the Events on Route 66 website and ensuring this site becomes an integral component for promoters developing Route 66 related events as well as for those planning an adventure on the old double six.
The lag time between posting and publication was among the primary topics of interest. Still, for this site to become the valued resource envisioned it needs to be used. So, sign up, sign in, and post event information. If you happen to own a business on Route 66, I also suggest evaluating the advertising rates that represent an incredible promotional bargain.
Rich Dinkela, known world wide as Roamin’ Rich has a Youtube channel that will surely inspire an adventure or two. He is also spearheading the initiative to save the recently closed Gasconade River Bridge in Missouri, a picturesque and historic Route 66 bridge with a very uncertain future.
In coming weeks I will provide details on how you can become involved with this initiative. The historic bridges of Route 66, the subject of a pending book by author and historian Jim Ross, are one of that highways most endangered components.
Yesterday I received minutes form the World Monuments Fund and National Park Service Route 66 Preservation Corridor facilitated steering committee meeting that took place in Albuquerque a few weeks ago. I also received copies of the mission and strategic outcomes and goals that were unanimously approved at that meeting.
I will review these to refresh my memory, and share highlights in the coming weeks as in the first months of 2015 a public outreach strategy will be developed. To be absolutely honest, this initiative represents an historic moment in the history of the double six.
In my humble opinion this could very well be the most exciting development on Route 66 since creation of the U.S. Highway Route 66 Association in 1927. It is also a concept with incredible potential for the international Route 66 community.
As always, I would like to hear your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions. We, the Route 66 community, are in this together.
There is never a dull moment on Route 66 but it looks as though things are about to get very exciting and quite interesting.
If the titles for some of my postings are any indication then it would be a safe bet to say that the home office is a reflection of the inner workings of my mind. That is a rather disturbing thought, to say the very least. Today’s post provides an excellent example as well as case study.
At first glance into the office there is an appearance of complete and utter chaos, especially in the latter stages of a project such as with the current book for History Press that will document the turbulent and often violent evolution of the American taxi industry over the course of the last century. I assure you, however, that there is method to the madness.
There is a pile for everything and everything must be in the proper pile. If, however, the subject matter in one pile can be used to cross reference the materials in another pile, then they can then be organized in a manner that allows them to serve as the foundation for larger piles. Keeping the piles corralled are towering book cases filled with books, magazines, and more piles, as well as file cabinets where piles from previous projects are stored, and boxes with piles discarded from the current project that may be of use in future projects.
Initially when research for the current book commenced, three basic piles began to form in a manner that provided an illusion of order in the chaos through the use of pretty colored tabs. In one pile was the research from the previous book written about the Checker Cab Manufacturing Company. The next pile consisted of the materials pertaining to malfeasance and mayhem, in the streets as well as in the boardroom. The last pile consisted of materials associated with bringing order and structure to the taxi industry, and stemming the violence associated with that business.
Now, however, with mere weeks to go before deadline the piles are intermingled on a foundation of piles. As they reach heights that seem to defy gravity, I on occasion will allow the imagination to ponder if they are breeding and multiplying.
The notes in the pile from previous work on documenting the history of Checker are in folders with notes on Pennant taxis built by Barley of Kalamazoo which is in the pile with notes on the violent taxi wars in Chicago during the 1920’s. This pile is now entangled with the one that contains notes and files on the New York medallion system, which in turn seems to be intertwined with the files documenting the SEC hearings and indictment of Morris Markin, founder of Checker, and E.L. Cord, and the dominance of electric taxis on the streets of New York City in 1900.
What really makes this interesting is that more often than not I have an unrelated project vying for my time. This project is no exception and so the materials needed for completion of an article about the new Route 66 electric vehicle museum for Old Cars Weekly teeters precariously on the top of a book case because until I finish the current book, and make a valiant attempt to organize the piles, there is no where else to put that file.
As Route 66 is the primary topic of ongoing interest, scattered about are the files in piles that are needed to answer questions, complete interviews, complete press releases for pending appearances or speaking engagements, to fill book orders, and to provide assistance to individuals and tour groups planing Route 66 trips. As we are closing in on Christmas as well as the end of the year, we can add two more items to the chaotic maelstrom; grandchildren and preparation for taxes. The latter is inevitable and with the former, attempts will be made to keep them at bay. I am more worried about them becoming lost among the piles than having them mix the piles up. In recent weeks I discovered another way to add to the chaos, immersion into the never ending learning curve. This time it is in the form of planning for the trip to the Netherlands, our first international endeavor requiring an airplane, and the research for a forthcoming series of articles about the trip and our preparation. And so I have a new pile started – international travel. The most recent lesson entails seating. Did you know that just because you share the same last name, and the reservations for tickets were made at the same time, and that the reservation numbers are in numerical sequence, this doesn’t ensure you will be seated next to each other. Interesting. Well, that issue was resolved – for an additional fee after forty minutes on the phone, twenty of which was spent un attempt to talk with a human. Interesting. At least I learned something new. I also discovered this intriguing website – seat guru. The new luggage arrived yesterday. Now I can commence a study in packing for a trip with but one carry on bag per person, and evaluate the practicality as well as durability of an Ebag and one from High Sierra. That file, the seed for a new pile should fit nicely under the scanner. One of the most awe inspiring aspects of the office is that within five minutes, I can locate almost anything needed. Now, where did I put breakfast?