The fall promotional tour kicked off last weekend with an
Surprises abound along Route 66 in southern California.
adventure to the original western terminus of Route 66 in the heart of the historic theater district in Los Angeles. Next week the tour heads east to the Miles of Possibility Conference in Carlinville, Illinois, with a detour to Jackson, Michigan.
These annual odysseys are one part research and two parts business but it is work that I enjoy immensely. My son I and hit the road long before first light cleared the music Mountains to the west, and we were deep into the Mojave Desert when a glorious sunrise unfolded. The first stop was Rancho Cucamonga where I made a presentation about Route 66 in western Arizona at a fund raising breakfast for the Route 66 Inland Empire Association, and signed copies of 100 Things to Do on Route 66 Before You Die. (more…)
We used to call it Needless, California. I still often quip that
Needles, California isn’t Hell but if you squint hard, especially in August, you can see it. However, in all fairness there is more than meets the eye in this well worn, sun baked old town steeped in history. On December 22, if all goes as planned, we will highlight a few of the surprises, and discuss neon restoration, when we visit with Rosie Ramos of Fender’s River Resort on our weekly Facebook live program.
That is but one of the exciting projects looming in the horizon. One of the more audacious projects currently being developed is a 21 day trip along Route 66 that will include 21 Facebook live interviews with community leaders, small business owners, artists, authors, event organizers, and legends of the Route 66 community. This is another project being made possible through the generous support of crowdfunding program patrons, promotional partners, and sponsors. Updates on these projects are being made available to patrons, and through our weekly free Mail Chimp subscription.
There are also plans to expand and develop our “welcome wagon” program. Essentially all this amounts to is creating a mechanism that ensures the red carpet is rolled out for those traveling Route 66 and making stops in communities along the way. As envisioned, an ambassador program will be developed that ensures each community has a spokesperson, a host that can answer questions, make dinner arrangements, and, perhaps, provide a walking tour of the historic business tour. It is a bit ambitious but I honestly believe it is quite doable.
This is part of a project to foster development of community awareness about the importance of tourism to long term economic development planning with emphasis on the Route 66 renaissance that we kicked off in earnest this year. It was made manifest in presentations about heritage tourism and economic development in Las Vegas, New Mexico and Tucumcari, New Mexico.
Also on the horizon, or at least in the crystal ball, is a linked promotional platform for authors, artists, and photographers. The cornerstone will be a central clearing house, a portal for event organizers that are looking for a speaker or book signing and authors or artists that would be willing to list availability for events, etc. Obviously this has a self serving component as I have a few books to promote, and am becoming adept at entertaining audiences with a bit of gum beating. Jim Hinckley’s America is becoming the multifaceted promotional platform envisioned, albeit slowly.
Next year, especially in the Route 66 community, will be an almost endless string of exciting events. From the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival in Springfield, Missouri to the Route 66 International Festival in Shamrock, Texas, from the 2nd European Route 666 Festival in Zlin, Czech Republic to the Route 66 Fun Run in Seligman, Arizona. If all goes as planned, we will be at each of these events representing our promotional partners, and sponsoring communities. As they say, stay tuned for details.
In my spare time (insert laughter here) I will finish my next book, number 19. This time the literary odyssey will transport readers into the darkest recesses of Route 66 history with tales of murder, mayhem, gangsters, assassins, serial killers, and disaster.
Yep, 2018 looks like it will be quite an adventure.
For the Route 66 enthusiast Santa Monica Pier is the end of
the rainbow. Yes, I know that the pier isn’t located on, or even near Route 66 but who will make the amazing cross country journey on this storied old highway and stop at a nondescript highway intersection when something as magical as the pier is a few blocks away. Well, this past weekend I was within spitting distance of the end of the rainbow but a couple of detours, lots of road construction, and a very tight schedule prevented me from making it to the proverbial end of the road, the Last Stop Shop and Bob Waldmire memorial at the end of the pier.
Still, as always, the trip to, from, and in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area was filled with adventure. Even though I have an aversion to communities with more than three stop lights, the museums, the history, the rich cultural diversity, the restaurants, and opportunities for new discoveries ensure my journeys into the Los Angeles area are always interesting as well as memorable. Still, once again, my only complaint was spending a week stuck in traffic during my weekend visit.
On a serious note, many enthusiasts skip this dynamic section of Route 66 because of traffic congestion. Yes, that can quickly put a damper on things, especially when that congestion is compounded by road construction, detours, closed ramps, and similar issues. Still IT IS possible to cruise most of Route 66 from the foot of Cajon Pass to Santa Monica and experience relatively light traffic. The secret is in timing – early Sunday morning is best but for sections such as in Pasadena early Saturday evening evening will work as well.
Colorado Boulevard (Route 66) in Pasadena early Saturday evening.
This particular trip was two parts business and one part personal. The business end was a book signing and video introduction at Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank, a delightful store in business since 1953. The personal end was a long overdue father/son outing that included a visit to the extraordinary Peterson Museum, and a quest for good food.
If your an automotive or aeronautical enthusiast, or you simply enjoy a good old fashioned book store, a stop at Autobooks – Aerobooks (2900 Magnolia Boulevard) in Burbank should be added to the list of stops when in the Los Angeles area. The store was recently relocated a few blocks from its original location but it still has a timeless feel. Travel books, repair manuals for most anything with wheels built in the last century, quirky automotive sculptures, DVD’s, magazines new and old, books on almost any automotive or aeronautical subject you can imagine, and a rare book section are but the tip of the iceberg. Needless to say, the shop is a haven for area auto buffs and as a result, especially on Saturday mornings, the parking lot becomes a car show in itself.
The Peterson Museum needs to be experienced. Mere words can not do it justice. First, cast aside preconceived notions of a what an automotive museum is. The exhibits are well designed and include something for everyone and every age group. The stunning artistry of murals on traditional low riders blends with the jaw dropping body designs from Bugatti, historic hybrids and electric cars are intermixed with futuristic fuel cell vehicles, cars from the movies are displayed against a looping back drop of the films they appeared in, and showcases highlight the evolution of dashboards and road maps. For the youngster (in age or at heart) there are an amazing array of interactive exhibits on everything from the workings of the internal combustion engine to modern computerized automotive design.
On this particular trip the Petersen Museum marked the limit for exploration as the adventure had commenced at three o’clock in the morning. So, we set out for the oasis that is the Saga Motor Hotel in Pasadena, and dinner. Of course, since this was Los Angeles that was no easy task. Road construction, traffic in the historic theater district, and a couple of accidents transformed the drive of thirty miles or so into an hour and half long odyssey. The upside was that this long, slow drive through unknown territory provided ample opportunity to take in the sites, and make new discoveries.
As always, the trip to Los Angeles, Burbank, and Pasadena was a grand adventure, a voyage of discovery that leaves me grateful I live close enough to visit but not close enough to deal with the frustrations of daily life in this dynamic metropolis.