Our return home from the beautiful Netherlands was less than a month ago but I am already seeing indications that this adventure changed our lives. Just this morning I awoke with visions of hagelslag dancing in my head. It is with all honesty that I tell you that before January 2015, this never happened.
Yesterday while pushing to meet the deadline (finished with mere hours to spare), I stopped to rub the weary eyes, and for just a moment imagined that my dearest friend and I were once again enjoying the laughter, the food, and the camaraderie of friends new and old, and fellow Route 66 enthusiasts at the delightful de Prael in historic Amsterdam. That memorable evening was a Dutch (German and Belgian) rendition of dinner shared with friends at Missouri Hick during Cuba Fest or at Redneck’s Barbecue during the 2014 Route 66 International Festival in Kingman. The warmth, the generosity, the fascinating conversation, and the sincere friendship encountered in our Dutch adventure always brings a smile when time is taken to reflect.
Upper row, left to right, Swa Frantzen, WolfgangWerz (German Route 66 Association), Klaas vander Heide, Cees Vendel, Maggie and JeroenBoersma. Bottom row, left to right, Jim Hinckley,Dries Bessels, Dutch Route 66 Association,Judy Hinckley, and Willem and Monique Bor, alsowith the Dutch Route 66 Association.
That, my friends, is the essence of the Route 66 experience. That is the magic that transcends barriers of culture, of language, or even of distance. That is why it is often referred to as the Route 66 community.
I am always amazed to see what that magic inspires people to do. Look at the transformation of Galena, Kansas, Cuba, Missouri, or Pontiac, Illinois. Just look at the incredible one man show that is the Route 66 Chamber of Commerce and that organizations accomplishments.
Countless times each year, I meet people from throughout the world that have dreamed and saved for years in the hope of an adventure on legendary Route 66.
From Chicago to Santa Monica people like the Greer’s and Engman’s, the Brenner’s and Mueller’s are rolling back the curtains of time to ensure travelers and adventurers have an opportunity to experience the Route 66 of an era when the Edsel and tail fin ruled the road. From Melbourne to Berlin there is mourning for the loss of people like Gary Turner who always greeted visitors with a smile. This too is why we refer to iconic Route 66 as a community.
Now it is time to move from the world of dreams to the world of reality where obligations and jobs, deadlines and meetings consume the day. Still, as I turn my attentions toward the tasks at hand, a smile will cross my face as my thoughts are on hagelslag and a road signed with two sixes that led me to Amsterdam.