This past weekend during the annual Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona Route 66 Fun, I met a delightful elderly couple that have been enjoying each others company and road trips together for more than seventy years. However, what made their story truly fascinating was the fact that many of these adventures, including participation in the Route 66 Fun Fun, have been made in a Plymouth that they had purchased new at dealership near San Leandro, California in 1950.
During our conversation about life, adventure, travel, raising a family, and keeping a car on the road for nearly 70 years, the owner of this one of a kind automotive time capsule said something that really hit home, especially since recent weeks have found me engaged in an epic struggle to find a center, a place where work and life are balanced, and that overpowering sense of being suffocated in a thick black satin curtain is kept at bay. “Plan for the future but don’t loose sight of one simple fact, today is yesterday’s future. Take one step at a time, one day at a time and don’t become so focused on the future that you forget to live today.”
The Route 66 Fun Run is Jim Hinckley’s America personified; cars, a celebration of Route 66 and the great American road trip, fascinating people, and good friends. As the event has been a father and son day for almost 30 years, I strive to avoid work as much as possible. Still, I am one of the fortunate ones and that enables me to blur the lines between work and life.
My son and I started the day by strolling the streets of Kingman and talking cars. When it comes to diversity, I know of no other automotive event that compares to the Route 66 Fun Run. As an example, this year vehicles ranged from the stunning one owner 1950 Plymouth to a customized Kenworth, a Morris Minor pick up truck, a Tesla, a ’55 Ford “glass top” Crown Victoria, a 1958 Imperial, a handful of Model T and Model A Fords, hot rods, rat rods, vintage four-wheel drive trucks, and colorful convertibles counted in the dozens.
At noon I shared a bit of the event with an Adventurers Club live program from Freedom Apparel, and then we had lunch (excellent pulled pork sandwiches) at Floyd & Company Barbecue and Wood Fired Pizza. This was followed with a delightful gathering of friends at Beale Street Brews Coffee Shop. My dearest friend, son, and I finished up the day at Grand Canyon Caverns were we met with Dale Butel, owner of Australian based Route 66 Tours, his spring tour group, photographer Efren Lopez, and John McEnulty, owner of the caverns. We talked, shared stories, and laughed late into the evening.
Sunday kicked off bright and early with muffins, coffee, and an early morning drive back into Kingman where I spoke about the infancy of the American auto industry before a group on tour with Sam Murray’s New Zealand based Gilligan’s Route 66 Tours. And that was followed with a breakfast at Rutherford’s Route 66 Family Diner with some old friends.
If you ever have an opportunity, I can highly recommend the annual Route 66 Fun Run that is always held on the first weekend in May. It is quite the event, 160 mile long block party on the most famous highway in America.