|My dearest friend, a rainy winter evening, the sampling ofHexengeist, and a pleasant Belgian tavern. Thank youMr. Bessels.|
Well, the year 2015 is about to enter the history books. Recent and ongoing severe weather issues ensure it will be a memorable one for many people, but for all of the wrong reasons. In our household, as is usually the case with most everyone, the year 2015 was the best of times, and the worst of times. It was a year of truly epic adventures filled with friends and laughter and, fortunately, not to many disasters or illnesses aside from the occasional cold. So, I can honestly say that we are rather fortunate.
Last year we ushered in 2015 rather quietly, just my dearest friend and I, a bottle of wine, and the watching of various videos about Schiphol airport, how to pack for a single carry on bag trip, Amsterdam, World War I sites in Belgium, and the reviewing of a proposed tour of the Netherlands and Belgium prepared for us by Dries Bessels. As I recall, there was a tangible atmosphere of eager anticipation and apprehension that evening as we were at that time mere days away from our first European adventure. The trip was truly a grand adventure made special thanks to the generosity and hospitality of friends and acquaintances who treated us like family.
Even though the year kicked off with our biggest adventure to date, our travels were rather limited until late October when we made our annual pilgrimage along Route 66. Not that we ever need an excuse for a Route 66 odyssey, but this year the Miles of Possibilities Conference in Edwardsville, Illinois and the need to acquire a new portfolio of images for another book provided the added incentive. In between the two adventures we stayed close to home. That, however, does not mean that we stayed home. There was a trip to Two Guns, and a tour of the site given by Sean Evans shared with Dries and Marion Bessels, and their family, a trip to the Route 66 festival in Holbrook, and other to a festival in San Bernardino. We also enjoyed a most interesting trip to Grand Canyon Western Ranch, and an overnight get away to Grand Canyon Caverns.As always, friends, opportunities to visit with friends, and opportunities for sharing adventures with friends were among the highlights of the year. We had the opportunity to introduce Dale Butel and his crew to the old wagon road north of Kingman, and to share a meal with Jan Kuperus, Toshi Goto, David Heward, George and Bonnie Game, KC Keefer and Nancy Barlow, Wolfgang and Anja Werz, Zdnek Jurasek, his wife, and their charming daughter, Nick Gerlich, Anne Slanina, John and Judy Springs, Mike and Sharon Ward, the May’s, and so many others. True wealth is not measured by the dollars stuffed in the mattress.
|Courtesy Steve Rider collection|
Our adventures were not limited solely to travel or visiting with friends. With the generous assistance of David Keppel, there was the first, but not last, self publishing endeavor. There was also a tentative foray into the provision of walking tours of historic sites in Kingman. Another milestone was being retained by Grand Canyon Caverns, Ramada Kingman, and the Route 66 Association of Kingman to serve as a promotional consultant. That new endeavor has me eagerly looking toward 2016. I also accepted another book contract, albeit reluctantly as the deadline is extremely short. Still, now that I am closing in on the half way point for the first draft of the text, the book is taking shape and to be honest, it might be my best work to date.
|A different side of Jerry McClanahan.|
As always, the adventure on Route 66 was most enjoyable. Of course, meeting with old and new friends along the way, as well as the discovery of new restaurants and attractions, were among the highlights. The conference and events in Edwardsville that included good food, visits with friends, and another opportunity to listen to a Road Crew concert was another highlight of the year. The “roadie” party that has become a center piece of these festivals really adds some zest. However, this year, the party hosted by Rich Dinkela and Joe Sonderman was one for the record books, in part because it fell on Halloween night. Thanksgiving this year was a most memorable event. We were privileged with an opportunity to share the holiday dinner with Bernhard and Sylvia Hoehn at Grand Canyon Western Ranch.
|Courtesy of Sylvia and Bernhard Hoehn.|
Now, as we turn thoughts toward 2016, we bid adios to a most interesting year. In closing the last post of the year, I want to remind you that at the end of January we will be giving away a free copy of Travel Route 66. To enter this contest simply share the story of your most memorable Route 6 adventure.