Two, count ’em, two days to go. On Wednesday morning at just about 4:30 AM, the caretaker becomes master of the estate, and my dearest friend and I commence the kick off of the 2015 adventure season with a drive to Las Vegas.
The following morning plus eight hours will find us in Amsterdam. That, of course, is dependent on possible flight delays resultant of weather and a multitude of other potential problems. As none of those are in our control, they are not something we can concern ourselves with.
Instead there is a need to focus on the tasks at hand and the last minute issues requiring attention. Counted among these is last minute packing (details on the single carry on bag theory to be posted soon), the office, submission of the first draft for the new book, following up on books sent but not received, jump starting Barney the Adventure truck (the cold snap finished off the battery), a last ditch effort to locate key images for the current project, and responding to what seem like millions of inquiries and notes.
Needless to say, preparation for the trip, requests for information about our schedule while in the Netherlands, the outpouring of generosity from our Dutch friends and neighbors, the European interest in Route 66 made manifest in the people attending the open house at de Prael in Amsterdam, and the request for me to make presentations at Vakantiebeurs in Utrecht has sparked a great deal of thought in the past few weeks. There are the personal thoughts about how blessed my dearest friend and I are for the friendships as well as the opportunities. There are also reflections on the amazing journey that has led a simple couple from the outback of Arizona on previously unimaginable adventures. Of course, there are also a lot of thoughts about the magic of Route 66, that highways future, the fast approaching centennial, and the dawning of a new one. In 1927, when the U.S. Highway 66 Association initiated marketing of this highway as the Main Street of America, I doubt if those involved had any idea that they were about to transform a highway into an icon, or that in time people from every corner of the world would be dreaming of adventures on the double six. Now, lets discuss lessons already learned in regard to the idea of traveling with only a carry on bag. There were two primary reasons I decided to try this. One is the simple fact that as this is our first international adventure, it seemed a good idea to simplify things as much as possible. The hassle of checking bags, reclaiming bags, or even a lost bag seemed to be an unnecessary complication, especially as we will be only traveling for ten days. The second reason had more to do with curiosity than practicality. In general, our adventures are of the driving variety. They also involve a Jeep. So, I seldom travel light but we are prepared for almost any contingency imaginable save for something that borders on apocalyptic in nature. As flying, especially international flights, prohibit almost any type of preparation for emergencies including the simple packing of a pocket knife, I began to wonder just how light we could travel. Through the miracle of the Internet, I learned that there is an art to traveling with only a carry on bag. I also learned that I wasn’t alone in my thinking. In fact, there seem to be a number of travelers who strive to make one bag adventures an art form. Here is but one example. The primary problem encountered so far is two fold; it is winter which means sweaters and heavy clothes, and pretty much everything I own is better suited to farming than traveling light. Still, after several attempts, I think everything needed for a week to ten days is currently mimicking a Chinese box puzzle in one carry on sized bag.
As our current luggage was either in need of replacement, or wasn’t suitable for our one bag experiment, the decision was made to try out two different type of bags. My dearest friend will be using a rolling back pack. I will attempt a back pack only that currently weighs exactly twenty-pounds. In addition, she will have a large purse, I will have the large camera bag. On our return, I will provide reviews of both bags, and details on our experiment in traveling light. Curiosity and an inquisitive nature tend to transform daily life into an adventure. Meanwhile, as we begin our international odyssey, out on Route 66 things are shaping up to ensure this is a most exciting year. The Rockbilly event in Tucumcari is shaping up to be one of the major events for 2015. Rich Dinkela is slowly making progress with the Events on Route 66 website and the Gasconade River Bridge preservation initiative continues. Nary a peep from the folks in Edwardsville but with Cheryl Eichar Jett overseeing things I am rather confident that the event being developed for the Halloween weekend this year will be most interesting. Let the fun begin!
I am not a big fan of kicking off the new year with headaches or the making of resolutions as these seem to be an ideal way to ensure a sense of failure tinged with a bit a depression at some point in the coming twelve months. Instead, my dearest friend and I have developed two traditions to ensure that a new year starts on the right foot. The first of these traditions is a grand adventure at some point in the month of January. Once it was to climb Amboy Crater, on another it was an adventure out to Kelso. This year, thanks to friends and associates in the Netherlands, we take that tradition to a whole new level. I hope to see you next Saturday afternoon at de Prael in Amsterdam.
The next tradition has its origins rooted in practicality. As I have a tendency to use and, or wear, things until they are one and a half steps beyond worn out, we replace one of those items every new years. On occasion a few of these items, such as hats, are merely moved down the line. Now, hats and caps have been an integral part of my life for at least a half century and in recent years the former has become my trademark, literally. In the thirty plus years that my dearest friend and I have been sharing the adventure of life together, only one hat was fully retired from service, and that was a Stetson purchased new by a previous owner in 1948 at a Phoenix tack and saddle shop, and never worn. Now, as my hats age and begin to mirror the adventures, the miles, and the passing of time, they are moved from something worn in public when meeting with respectable folks, to something only seen around the campfire or on long desert hikes. So, this year as the tradition of adventure will be one of epic proportions, it was decided that the second half of our new years celebration would include an “out with the old, in with the new” replacement of equal proportions. As my current “dress hat” is sun bleached four or five shades lighter than when purchased, and is starting to show its age, the search for a suitable replacement commenced last week. Through the miracle of the internet, I found a little store in Pattison, Texas selling discontinued Stetson hats. The rest, as they say (who ever they are), is history. The new year will begin with a grand adventure and a hat worthy of that odyssey. The schedule for the rest of the weekend, and the next few days, is rather full as we count down the hours until the adventure begins. There is the first draft of the current book to polish and a photo file to complete (I am still need of pictures suitable for use as illustrations). Captions will be written on our return. The adventure in packing will commence as we plan on traveling with only a carry on bag, and camera bag. Can we do it? Stay tuned for details on that one. As always, there will be a number of loose ends to resolve at the office. There is also the need to answer correspondence, ensure the caretaker (aka our son) has everything he needs, print out our boarding passes, check out the Jeep for the drive to the airport in Las Vegas, and make another valiant attempt to find the archives for Acme Newspictures. So, its time to get to work –
To say the very least, 2014 was quite interesting. In retrospect there seems to have been little middle ground. There were either highs or lows.
So it is rather fitting that the last day of the year was marked by a rather extreme snow storm, at least for our neck of the woods. While this did create some interesting experiences on my morning commute along Route 66, as well as with the drive home, it also transformed the desert into a place of rare beauty.
Today, the first day of 2015, will be cold and clear. By Monday the forecast is for temperatures near the 70 degree mark.
That is but one of the many reasons I love life in the southwest. We get just enough snow to realize how beautiful it is, and why we don’t live anyplace where this type of weather is a daily occurrence for months on end.
This particular storm was a rarity in that snow levels were quite low with even a dusting in Needles. That led to thoughts of photographing Cool Springs and the Oatman area at sunrise this morning but as the roads are little more than a rutted ice skating rink, that idea was shelved.
The view from our front door on the last morning of 2014.
It really might be for the best. After all, I need to have the first draft for the new book finished before we leave for Amsterdam next week. Then, on our return, I will have only two weeks to write captions. Hopefully by that time the rest of the expected photos will have arrived.
The last week of 2014 has been rather trying. The first weeks of 2015 will be consumed with an unprecedented adventure.
My dearest friend was hit with a sever bout of the flu last weekend and is slowly getting back on her feet. Before Christmas, I developed an eye problem that left me looking like a boxer after loosing a fight. That condition is also improving, which means there won’t be a need to find an eye patch and travel looking like a pirate.
Next week we leave for Amsterdam. To say the very least, this will be a grand adventure of epic proportions. The hope is that this sets the stage for a new year filled with an array of new adventures.
First, however, are all of the last minute details associated with preparing the homestead and travel preparation, one of which will be the highly anticipated study in how to pack the maximum of winter clothes possible into a single carry on bag. Details, perhaps of a humorous nature will follow.
Our son will assume the role of master of the estate in our absence. So, this weekend we will need to ensure that the estate is adequately stocked.
As I am unsure about the ability to make regular blog postings during the trip, a journal will be kept with paper and pencil for future reference. For more immediate updates you might consider checking the Facebook page for the Dutch Route 66 Association.
I would like to also suggest that you stay informed about the initiative to preserve the Gasconade River Bridge. Information about how you can provide assistance is located on Rich Dinkela’s website, Hooked on Route 66.
Before we leave I will see if updates about the Route 66 walk of fame in Kingman or the event under development in Edwardsville are available. If so, I will post them here, and personally respond to recent inquiries.
The Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum in Kingman is now officially open. I will post details pertaining to hours of operation next week.
Are there any other questions I can answer before next week?