A DAY OFF?

In theory, Monday is my scheduled day off, at least from the job that supports the writing and travel habit. However, driven by the fear of celebrating my 70th birthday as a Walmart greeter, the day was spent in a variety of productive endeavors that might enable me to become, instead, a writer when I grow up.
For those new to the blog my definition of a writer is somewhat different than the one found in a dictionary. My definition of a writer is someone who derives all of their income from that profession and is still able to afford food, at least every second day.
The day started with a bit of a devotional, the hearty breakfast, and correspondence. Then it was off to evaluate the area proposed for the “Route 66 in Mohave County” exhibit, a part of the Arizona centennial project.
This was followed by two stops to sign books for gift shops, one at the Powerhouse Visitor Center and the other at the Mohave Museum of History & Arts. Then it was off to the studio for the recording of an interview that will run on cable channel 57 in the tri-state area.
The topic of discussion was the new book, Ghost Towns of Route 66 (in a second printing as of October), the legend of Route 66, and how communities are using the resurgent interest in that highway as a catalyst for development. When conversation turns toward that topic two communities always come to mind, Pontiac in Illinois and Cuba in Missouri, and during this interview the casual observer might have thought I worked for the chamber of commerce in either of these towns.
With completion of the interview, I bravely joined my dearest friend in the battle that is shopping at Walmart for Thanksgiving dinner ingredients mere days before the holiday. It is never a very pretty sight and today was no exception.
Then it was a light dinner, creating a couple of files, saying a quick prayer, and hitting the send button that launched the text for the Route 66 encyclopedia, via the wizardry of the Internet, to the publisher. Now, I can devote the rest of the week to finalizing the photo file that contains more than 1,250 images. To say this has been a mammoth undertaking is akin to saying Route 66 is a road.
The developing idea of promoting the next book, the current book, and the highway, as well as the great mom and pop businesses that give it life, color, and vibrancy, utilizing a vintage automobile continues to evolve. Now, it has grown to include speaking at schools about the importance of Route 66 in the 20th century, why it remains popular today, and what it represents.
Somewhere out there is a sponsor or two that would be interested in a unique advertising opportunity as well as an opportunity to play an important role in another chapter of Route 66 history. My job is to locate them.
To that end I made a few phone calls and began following a few strings to see if they lead to something promising. Likewise, I composed a few more formal letters seeking sponsors masquerading as advertisers. Or is that the other way around?
Initially the plan had been to get out and photograph Hackberry, the town not the famous general store on the later alignment of Route 66. A cold wind deterred that idea even though the storm clouds provided some dramatic shadowing effects.
I rounded out the afternoon in lengthy, interesting, and thought provoking conversation with John Springs, the publisher of 66 The Mother Road (http://www.66themotherroad.com/), a fascinating ezine that debuted earlier this year.
The primary topic centered on material and themes for future issues. After kicking around a wide array of topics, and ideas for a contest in the planning stage that will knock the socks of any fan of the legendary 66, we agreed to talk again next week after having time to flesh out a few of the ideas.
Now, it is time to prepare for another day at the office. So, until next time …

A WEEKEND OF SHOCKING DISCOVERIES, A WORLD OF BLACK AND WHITE, AND ROAD TRIPS

As the title for this post implies, it has been a rather interesting weekend. Saturday morning at the office was spent in valiant efforts to find amicable solutions to real problems with unreasonable customers. A portion of the afternoon was spent rectifying a shocking oversight.
For the umteenth time I was going through the text for the Route 66 encyclopedia to satisfy my paranoia about having transposed a date and to find a way to sneak in more information without adding to the overall word count as a promise had been made to send it to the publisher on Monday. As it turned out the paranoid was justified, I had inadvertently skipped writing the entry for Boise or Washburn in Texas.
After resolving this problem I wrote the acknowledgements, the bibliography, dedication, and authors biography. Now, on Monday morning the whole package can be sent to the editor.
That leaves me a full week to finalize the illustration file. With that complete I can send a copy of the text file and a copy of the illustration file to the publisher. Then, with the exception of final edit and caption writing after the photo selection, I can take a deep breath and set my eyes on promotion of the final product.
This morning, with storm clouds looming and a cold desert wind blowing, my dearest friend and I set out to gather a few final images for the project. The goal was something to illustrate the entry on Lt. Beale, Beale Springs, and the Kingman Army Airfield.
On Monday afternoon, if time allows, I will post a few photos from our endeavor. As I have been playing with black and white photography a bit lately a few might have dramatic overtones.

The header photo for the blog is from last weeks excursion into the Black Mountains. Here is another from that odyssey.
Upon our return we replied to an inquiry requesting additional photos for evaluation. This is for a proposed Arizona centennial project chronicling Route 66 in Mohave County for the tourism center.
Then it was time for Sunday dinner with my son and his family. The grandson, now one year of age, has discovered the joy of food and wants to try everything. The granddaughter, age four, wants to skip dinner and go for the pie or cake. It makes for a lively dinner table.
This evening I compiled a dozen or so photos that exemplify the modern era on Route 66. These are to accompany my interview tomorrow morning for a local tristate cable television program.
The afternoon should be rather exciting as well. The pipe dream of taking to Route 66 in promotion of the new book and the road itself behind the wheel of a vintage car is on the fast track to becoming a reality.
On Monday, I will be discussing this with a couple of potential sponsors, composing a program to be pitched to schools along the road, and checking on two vehicles that fit the bill quite well, both Nash built products, one in 1948 and the other in 1950.
As they say, stay tuned for details. If you are interested in tagging along perhaps we can turn this venture into a veritable convoy of automotive history on America’s most famous highway.
Another exciting development pertains to a permanent gallery location. We took another step forward with this and hope to have an answer before Christmas. This would for allow for development before the 2012 season on Route 66 kicks off.
And that about sums up my weekend. As for the rest of the week, well it looks as though it be just about as busy.
Before I forget, be sure to check out my annual Thanksgiving post. This one will be a bit different and as a result the “America is a secular nation” crowd and the rabid Christian community may very well find common ground in looking for rope, a tall tree, and my address.

ADAMANA AND OTHER PUZZLING MATTERS ON ROUTE 66

The Adamana picture is still a bit murky in regards to its relationship with Route 66. As an example consider the information on this site, the Route 66 Atlas, and this one showing a highway map from about 1928 provided by Rick Martin.
Still, based on information provided by Route 66 historian Jim Ross, and map collector Mike Ward, I am going to have to make the educated guess Adamana did not have a direct association with Route 66. I would hazard a bet that the Adamana referenced in the 1928 map is actually a service station or related business located at the junction with the Adamana road.
So, that leaves several unanswered questions. How long did the Campbell Hotel operate in Adamana? Likewise with the garage and gas station. If they were in business during the Route 66 era is it safe to assume they were promoted with signage that lured a few travelers from the main highway?
I am still awaiting the opportunity to speak with the lady in Prescott who lived in Adamana during the teens. Perhaps on Monday.
Another issue, one I touched on in Ghost Towns of Route 66, pertains to Cotton Hill in Illinois near Springfield. In the research for the encyclopedia, I came a bit closer to decoding this mystery but there are still large gaps and holes.
There was a small pottery company operating here in the 1850s. The post office continued in operation until 1908. A newspaper article dated 1919 indicates there was a garage here. Then, with the creation of Lake Springfield, the town vanishes and only signs reading Cotton Hill Road offer mute testimony to its existence.
So, it had a brief association with Route 66. Were there services available? Or was the town something like Lawndale by this date?
I had hoped to provide a concrete answer in regards to Adamana in the encyclopedia, as well as more detail about Cotton Hill. But the time is up so I will just have to provide the information on hand and let the reader draw their own conclusion. And, perhaps, the book will spark a memory or lead to new discoveries that resolve these “hanging chad” type questions.
The next book project is hanging in limbo as the publisher is peering into the future and trying to discern the economic conditions of 2012, which seems to be shaping up as a replay of 1932. Not a pretty picture by any means.
I have two confirmed projects for December and three very exciting possibilities. First will be the writing of an exclusive feature for 66 The Mother Road.
If your not familiar with this new electronic publication, I suggest you take a look through the latest issue as well as the archives. I am quite confident you will find it of interest.
The next item is a feature for Old Cars Weekly. The ideal is to present Route 66 as a time capsule tailor made for the automotive enthusiast or anyone interested in tangible links to 85 years of societal evolution dominated by the automobile.
The pending projects include a possible feature for Arizona Highways, and development of a photo exhibit for a visitor center. Another project of equal importance is on going discussion to locate a permanent location on Route 66 for an official Hinckley photo gallery. 
A preview of upcoming attractions on Route 66 Chronicles includes –
My annual Thanksgiving post with some thought provoking historical insights into the holiday –
A look at modern prospectors –
The continuing development of the vintage vehicle Route 66 tour –
An updated schedule of appearances –
And some photos that I hope with stir you to thinking seriously about road trips –

GOLD!

Just a quick update. In the coming weeks I will touch on a subject that is becoming increasingly important to a few readers – the search for gold.
First, I need to learn the nuances of a couple of metal detectors. Then I can provide a bit more information about the modern gold rush in the southwest.
Stay tuned for details!

A SIGH OF RELIEF, RISING ANXIETY, AND LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE

Perhaps it would be best if I began today’s post with an explanation of the title. The sigh of relief comes from knowing that the Route 66 encyclopedia will be on the way to the publisher Monday. With exception of the final edit, photo selection, and then caption writing, the two year project is over.
The rising anxiety always arrives at this stage of a book. What did I miss? What did I forget? Did I type the date as being 1983 instead of 1938? I have learned that, at least for me, these nagging doubts are simply part and parcel of the writing process.
After a week or so they subside to a point that they are hardly noticed. Of course, I have never attempted a project of this magnitude, scope, or importance before.
As I have a very active and colorful imagination, looking toward the future is never very structured. My thoughts are like a covey of startled quail. All I can do is grab one and then decide how to cook it.
Projects simmering on the back burner always take priority at this stage but holding the imagination in check can be exhausting. At this time these include trying to interest the publisher in another book idea, development of a photo exhibit for a tourism center, finding a location for a permanent photo gallery, laying the ground work for next springs promotion of Ghost Towns of Route 66 and Ghost Towns of the Southwest, and building a framework for the promotion of the Route 66 Encyclopedia.
Each of these potential projects is multifaceted with a wide array of options. To sort them out requires a number of long walks with my dearest friend, at least that provides an adequate excuse for taking to the hills, the deserts, and the back roads.
Another excuse would be the delightful weather and winter, the ideal time for seeking the lost treasures and the wonders of the desert back country. With that thought in mind, I wonder what the weather forecast for the weekend is?