I Just Couldn’t Wait!

With the deadline for the new book fast approaching, and an array of

Traveling home from the first European Route 66 Festival in 2016. Photo Sylvia Hoehn

other projects demanding an inordinate amount of my time, a weekly blog posting is the best I can manage. Still, there are a number of very exciting developments that I just could not wait to share.

Let’s start with the European Route 66 Festival in Zlin, Czech Republic. It has been our plan to attend the event, especially as I had accepted a request to assist with the creation of a Route 66 information booth, and tentatively agreed to make a presentation on Route 66 as well as show the two part Jim Hinckley’s America video series produced by MyMarketing Designs. However, even with the launch of the crowdfunding platform, the cost of the trip made attendance questionable. Yesterday Jim Flynn of Kingman Chevrolet-Buick confirmed sponsorship in the form of airfare, and a couple nights lodging. We still have a ways to go but a major hurdle was cleared.  Continue reading “I Just Couldn’t Wait!”

Now What? To Young To Retire, To Old To Work

What do you do when the regular paycheck comes to a

screeching halt, and the illusion of security that comes from a steady job vanishes? What if you are to young (and broke) to retire, and employers think you are to old work?  You get creative, you reinvent yourself, you launch a never ending learning curve, and you saddle up for one hell of a wild ride!

The Johnson Canyon tunnel was deemed an engineering marvel when completed in the early 1880’s.

Writing in various forms worked well as a second job. It was always the day job, however, that supported the writing habit and that paid the bills. Two years and four months ago everything changed. No paycheck, no job, and employers that worked very, very hard to avoid hiring someone of my age. Now what?  Continue reading “Now What? To Young To Retire, To Old To Work”

AN ANCIENT STUDEBAKER, A PENDING ROAD TRIP, FRUSTRATION, AND PURSUIT OF A DREAM – SITUATION NORMAL

More often than not when I read a posting here on the blog, there is a painfully sharp awareness that what constitutes normal in my world is just a tad bit different from how others would describe it. Case in point, the past seven day and the seven days looming on the horizon, fourteen days filled with frustration, chasing dreams, visitors, and a 1902 Studebaker electric automobile. 
The majority of my customers at the office are pretty decent folks. However, there seems to be a growing percentage that leaves me worried by the fact that they are loose without supervision and that they may be using forks in public.
Case in point, a customer calls tens minutes before we officially open because the store in Upland, California where they are picking up the truck does not have their reservation. This customer claims they made the reservation, and paid for it at our office last Saturday. 
We have no record of the transaction. Now the customer is screaming because they are being charged twice, because they do not have the money to pay for the rental, again, as they have allocated $100 for fuel to make the trip from California to Arizona. 
Well, as it turns out the reservation was made in Yucca Valley, California, in a different name, for a pick up in Palm Springs. Even better, the customer had refused to give a credit or debit card number while making the reservation, and had made the reservation for a 12′ truck but was renting a 26′ truck.
Seldom is the week dominated by such zaniness and this week was no exception. As a bonus, I had a surprise visit from Dan Rice, the owner of 66 to Cali on the historic Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California who had decided to see Supai with a friend.
The rest of the week was consumed with the mundane tasks that consume so much of the day, research for the current book, a Route 66 historic atlas, the weekly radio program (Jim Hinckley’s America), and making reservations for the pending trip to Joplin for the Route 66 International Festival. I even managed to find time to crank out another automotive installment for Legends of America.
Frustration, like mundane tasks, is also simply a part of what we call life. For me frustration took on a new form last week, the request from a major corporation that I spend ten days as a guide, on Route 66, with clients.
There are few things I would enjoy more than this. Even better, the compensation offered was more than adequate. The frustration is that my vacation time will be consumed with the trip to Joplin.
The flip side of the coin came in the form of an extremely rare 1902 Studebaker. To give you an idea of rare this car is, the best estimate of production for that model year was twenty cars.
An integral part of the big shindig being planned for next year in Kingman is the inclusion of alternative energy vehicles (past, present, and future)as a centerpiece. Obviously an operational 1902 Studebaker should enhance the event quite nicely and so we are quite pleased that the owner has pledged display of the vehicle.
As we are eager to use the event to promote Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica, discussions are ongoing with Rick (Becky’s Barn) who is deeply involved with promoting the venerable old road as America’s first electric highway. Wouldn’t a Route 66 rally, with Kingman as the final destination, for alternative vehicles be interesting?
For more information about the upcoming event in Kingman stay tuned for details or contact the Kingman tourism office.
Now, I noted that the next seven days look as though they will be just as normal. Well, lets see, there is the office, always a potential source for entertainment, replacement of the rear wheel bearings in the Jeep, again, a pending visit from explorer extraordinaire Nick Gerlich, and his brother, signing books for a tour group, notifying Jay Leno about the Studebaker in the hope it will spark enough interest for him to bring a car or two, another installment of Chillin’ on Beale on Saturday evening, making arrangements for a pending lunch with a group touring Route 66 from Germany, work on the radio program, work on the new book, developing promotion in anticipation of the release of Route 66 Treasures …. 
 
    
     

AND THEN I SAW THE PACER

On more than one occasion it has been noted that in my head I am still 20 but the reality often intrudes on the illusion. I am quite sure there are other individuals that suffer a similar disconnect between the perception of age and the reality.
It is not always a physical shortcoming that kicks the illusion of youth to the curb. A few years ago I was writing a feature on the unique Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo, California for Cars & Parts when a pristine AMC Pacer brought me up short.
Standing before me was a bulbous blue and chrome manifestation of my true age. I had worked on these cars when they were late model trade ins, and now they were museum exhibits!

San Fidel, New Mexico – Geezerville

In recent years this line of thinking has become more prevalent, another sign that Gezzerville is my next stop. I am quite sure this is caused by something more than advancing age, creaking joints, and ear hair.
To a large degree I believe it is the speed with which the world is changing that may play a large role in this. After all, if I take but a moment to stop, to think, and to look around me, there is very little evidence of the world I once knew.
Perhaps this is also a reason I have such a fascination with Route 66 and the empty places. It might also explain my quest to travel that road in a vehicle older than I am.
Simply consider the technology behind this blog post compared to what it was when I sold my first feature article in 1990. That article was written on a 1948 Underwood manual typewriter using paper, and carbon paper. The photographs were taken with a 25 year old, 35 mm camera.
The article, with photos, was sent first class mail and it took four weeks to receive a response, via first class mail, and an additional two weeks for receipt of my check. Phone calls weren’t really an option, as I was not home during the day and did not having an answering machine. However, I did have a rotary dial phone.
You may ask, just how old are you? Well, I remember with clarity my dad paying .19 per gallon for gasoline on a trip through Mississippi and the first time gasoline was paid for with money from my pocket, it was .29 per gallon.
In late 1964 my dad purchased a year end close out Ford Fairlane. He asked about the availability of air conditioning as his plans were to move from Michigan to Arizona in the next 18 months. After numerous phone calls, the dealer informed dad that he could not find a vehicle so equipped but he could order one and have it in about four weeks.
On one of our trips across Kansas in about 1966, we stopped for gas and ended up being investigated by the local police. The suspicious activity was in dad trying to pay for the fuel with a one hundred dollar bill, something not often seen when a tank of gasoline cost less than six dollars.
After driving a wide array of battered old trucks and cars, I made the decision that with the money being earned at the mine a new truck was in order. So, in late 1980, flush with cash, I stepped into the showroom at Busby Chevrolet in Silver City, New Mexico, and purchased a three year old 3/4 ton Chevrolet truck, fully loaded, with camper, for $2,995.00.
This was quite a step up from the first car purchased with my hard earned money – a 1964 Rambler American station wagon for $225.00. And the price paid for that Chevy stands in stark contrast to the $3,000 paid for a ten year old Jeep Cherokee in 2008.
Even the lexicon has changed. As an example, when I was a young man “gay” meant happy, not …
I refuse to resort to “back when I was a kid” or “those were the good old days” even though the current era often has me looking back at the truly cockeyed 1960s and 1970s with wistful romanticism. I still adhere to the adage that when ever you are alive, it is the best of times, it is the worst of times.
If it were just the popping joints, the thicker glasses, the receding hairline, and the price comparison on getting a set of partials, I might be able to keep the illusion of youth going just a bit longer. However, when combined with the dramatic and sweeping changes of the modern era maintaining that illusion becomes a chore unto itself.

VENTING, WITH JUST A MIX OF EXHAUSTION AND ENTHUSIASM

Okay. I take a small package to the post office, the clerk weighs it, informs me of the cost, I pay, accept my receipt and leave, foolishly assuming the package is well on it way. It was, to my house.
The package mailed on Monday was in my mail box last night. It was returned as a result of postage due in the amount of fourteen cents.
Cort, your package is in the mail. Again.
I am diligently racing the clock to beat the December deadline and exhaustion is rearing its ugly head. A day job plus five hours per night on the encyclopedia is taking its toll but I do have to admit, it is the most enjoyable work possible.
Now, lets talk enthusiasm. I am very excited about this new book and am eager to see it made available. I almost feel as though a time capsule has been created, a feeling greatly enhanced by the contributions of Steve Rider, Joe Sonderman, Mike Ward, and a few other fans of the legendary Route 66.
For several weeks I have hinted of something special looming on the horizon. I am still not at liberty to discuss the particulars but after meeting with Josh Noble, the tourism director here in Kingman, this morning we moved one step closer to making this project a reality. Stay tuned for details as they become available.
We have been blessed with a pretty spectacular fall here in northwestern Arizona this year. Still, this old desert rat has lived here long enough to know that when it stays nice this long, and this late into the season, the change will come quite fast.
On Sunday when my dearest friend and I climbed high into the Cerbat Mountains (I forgot to post pictures!) it was a pretty nice seventy degree day by the time we returned. This morning there was a hint of chill in the air on the walk to work and now I have learned we are to expect snow and sub freezing temperatures by the weekend.
Well, a dusting of snow might give the weekend photo assignment a bit of a snap. The desert and snow presents a pretty stark contrast.
It is only the first week of the month but in typical fashion, at least for us, it is shaping up to a busy time. There is the deadline for the book, the aforementioned project, the day job, Thanksgiving, my sons wedding, negotiation for the next book contract, two magazine articles to write, and in my spare time, a small list of needed home repairs that includes installing the baseboard in the office where I installed a floor three years ago.
The schedule for December looks a bit light. Of course I still have three weeks to fix that!