Trip Peek #35
Trip #61
Sweetheart Cruise ’08

pv44This picture is from my 2008 Sweetheart Cruise trip. This was my first time joining the annual (weather and other stuff permitting) cruise organized by a small group of Missouri road fans. The name comes from its proximity to Valentines Day and the fact that it usually includes sweethearts Kent and Mary Sue Sanderson. This particular cruise ran north along the Mississippi River from St. Louis to Hannibal then crossed over and returned through Illinois at some distance from the river. There were lots of bald eagles and pelicans to be seen on the way to Hannibal with the area around Lock 25 near Winfield, MO, where the picture was taken, being one of the hot spots. The second day featured some Sanderson childhood memories including a look (from the outside) at the Lustron house that Mary Sue remembered her father assembling after it arrived on a truck. Weather was fine for the two days of the actual cruise but I did encounter snow on the way home which prompted me to move from two-lane to expressway much sooner than planned.

Two aspects of this trip, one good and one bad, were photo related. On the good side was the move to posting 800 x 600 pixel photos after more than eight years of sticking with 640 x 480. On the bad side was the failure of a memory card containing lots of snowy National Road pictures on the third day. I’m sure they would have looked marvelous in the new larger format.


Trip Pic Peeks are short articles published when my world is too busy or too boring for a current events piece to be completed in time for the Sunday posting. In addition to a photo thumbnail from a completed road trip, each Peek includes a brief description of that photo plus links to the full sized photo and the trip journal it is from.

Book Review
Greetings from Coldwater
Emily Priddy

gfc_cvrI’m going to admit right up front that defending this post against my About page claim that readers will “not be seeing a review of the latest novel” is pretty much a lost cause. I proclaimed my earlier review of Cincinnatus “not guilty” on the technicality that, at five years of age, it was not “the latest novel”. That tactic simply won’t work here as Greetings from Coldwater was published right at two months ago and is Priddy’s latest offering and first novel. That I am guilty of breaking my own promise is obvious. I can only beg for leniency on the grounds that I did say I’d be reviewing books “related to something I personally like such as old roads or cars” and, while Greetings from Coldwater isn’t actually about Route 66 or classic Volvos, both have roles. Maybe I can be forgiven.

Volvos only get bit parts but Route 66 is a star. The novel’s story-line is a girl-meets-boy romance. Motel owner Sierra Goldsmith meets school principal Grant Loucks and sparks — tastefully subdued — ensue. But Grant doesn’t even show up until page 104 and there’s romance in the air almost from the book’s beginning. That romance is between Sierra and Route 66. More specifically Route 66 in New Mexico. Anyone who knows Emily Priddy will recognize that the love Sierra has for the state and its portion of the historic highway is a dead-on reflection of the author’s. There is no avoiding the fact that there is a certain amount of autofantasy (It’s related to autobiography.) in the book but it’s hardly a hindrance. It doesn’t get in the way of the story and it adds energy and conviction to its telling.

Sierra is not a motel owner when the story begins. She stumbles into the aging Tumbleweed Motel shortly after her fathers death. Her mother died years before and they had separated years before that. The fictitious Tumbleweed is in the equally fictitious town of Coldwater, New Mexico. The more or less directionless Sierra, buys the motel and proceeds to refurbish it as she learns about the small town that has suddenly become her home. Even after Miss Shirley, the previous owner, leaves the Tumbleweed, Sierra isn’t the only full time resident. She inherits/adopts Joey, the developmentally disabled resident “handyman” Miss Shirley had taken in long ago. Other businesses in the town include a garage, hardware store, and bar each with a friendly and helpful — in his own way — owner. It’s a good place for someone who, although not exactly running from her past life, is not at all eager to share it.

Not only does Priddy have the knowledge, through years spent on Route 66 and the Coldwater-like towns it connects, to paint a complete and colorful background for her story, she has the skill, from years as a journalist, to tell that story properly. I wouldn’t know a good romance story if it stuck its tongue in my ear (although I suspect that’s a sign of a bad romance story) so I can’t really say if the tale of Sierra and Grant is one. I can say that it is well written.

It is also well drawn. Several of the novel’s chapters are fronted by pen-and-ink drawings produced by Priddy. In her acknowledgements she points to the late Bob Waldmire as the influence for these. Some are indeed reminiscent of his work and add to the book’s Route 66 flavor.

There are some “Easter eggs” in those drawings and in the text. Readers familiar with the Route 66 community will have fun finding them, all readers will be treated to a well informed sense of what life beside the historic highway might be like, and some readers will really enjoy following Grant and Sierra as they deal with the baggage Sierra brings to their relationship. I guess I even enjoyed it a little myself. It is somewhat, as Joey would say, “a kissy story” but not terribly so. The girl definitely shows some love for her guy but she shows at least as much for her road.

Greetings from Coldwater, Emily Priddy, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, September 26, 2015, 9 x 6 inches, 272 pages, ISBN 978-1517049386

Trip Peek #34
Trip #32
IL 66 Run

pv20This picture is from my 2005 Illinois 66 Run trip. The three day outing started with an early morning wet drive to Indianapolis that led to a somewhat drier drive to the Luna Cafe in Mitchell, Illinois, to connect with a group of Route 66 fans to drive to Springfield, Illinois. Pre-planned activities more or less ended with an overnight in Springfield but a portion of the group continued north the next day and that is when the picture was taken. It shows some of the remnants of a bridge that once carried US 66 over Salt Creek near Lincoln, Illinois.


Trip Pic Peeks are short articles published when my world is too busy or too boring for a current events piece to be completed in time for the Sunday posting. In addition to a photo thumbnail from a completed road trip, each Peek includes a brief description of that photo plus links to the full sized photo and the trip journal it is from.

Dandy Trail

pic08bEver wonder what it would be like to drive to a city a hundred miles away, drive half a circle around the city for breakfast, then drive the other half circle and go home? If so, you’re kind of weird but I can answer that question for you. On Sunday, I drove to Indianapolis, followed the circular Dandy Trail around the city, and met friends for breakfast in a west side suburb.

The journal for the trip is here. This entry is to let blog subscribers know of the trip and to hold any and all comments

Trip Peek #23
Trip #35
SB Rendezvous

pv23This picture is from my San Bernardino Rendezvous fly-and-drive trip to the 2005 Route Festival. I flew into Phoenix then drove north through Prescott, Jerome, and Sedona to reach Historic Route 66 at Flagstaff. The photo is of the late Bob Waldmire’s 1972 VW Microbus being returned after mistakenly being towed from the authors & artists area of the festival. Bob was pretty nervous until the bus was back on the ground without damage. Following the festival, I drove through Joshua Tree National Park before picking up US-60 to the coolest named airport in the country, Phoenix’s Sky Harbor.


Trip Pic Peeks are short articles published when my world is too busy or too boring for a current events piece to be completed in time for the Sunday posting. In addition to a photo thumbnail from a completed road trip, each Peek includes a brief description of that photo plus links to the full sized photo and the trip journal it is from.

Route 66 Festival 2014

pic01bI am now on my way to the 2014 International Route 66 Festival in Kingman, Arizona. My first day ended in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which is not exactly on the imaginary straight line connecting Cincinnati and Kingman. In fact, it is at least 300 miles from any such line and I’m going to get a lot farther away from it before I’m done. I’m starting out in Tennessee because I’ll be visiting my son in San Diego before the festival and I’m following the Old Spanish Trail, which starts in Saint Augustine, to San Diego. Between Chattanooga and Saint Augustine, I’ll be on the Dixie Highway which isn’t any farther off of a Cincinnati to Saint Augustine line than those fancy modern interstates. I’ll probably get on the route in the title a little before the festival and I’ll certainly drive parts of it as I head home afterwards but, if Route 66 is the only reason you’re here, you’ve got a couple of weeks to wait.

The trip journal is here. This blog entry is to make blog-only followers aware of the trip and to provide a place for comments which are very welcome and appreciated.

Trip Peek #9
Trip #66
2008 Route 66 Festival

Tow Tater from GalenaThis picture is from the my 2008 Route 66 Festival road trip so it is quite fitting that it was my sixty-sixth documented trip. Because the festival was in Litchfield, Illinois, which is Sixty-Six’s nearest approach to my home, I was able to work the entire festival into a four day trip. There were appearances by both Beatles and Elvis impersonators along with the real celebrity in the picture. That is the actual truck that John Lasseter first saw on Route 66 and used as the model for Tow Mater in the movie Cars. The original in now named Tow Tater and is normally on display at 4 Women on the Route in Galena, Kansas. Tow Tater was trailered to Litchfield for the festival where he was a major hit with kids.

Trip Pic Peek #8 — Trip #85 — 2010 OLHL Meeting


Trip Pic Peeks are short articles published when my world is too busy or too boring for a current events piece to be completed in time for the Sunday posting. In addition to a photo thumbnail from a completed road trip, each Peek includes a brief description of that photo plus links to the full sized photo and the trip journal it is from.

Trip Peek #6
Trip #1
Rt66in99

Juan DelgadilloThis picture is from my 1999 Rt66in99 road trip; The very first of my trips documented on the World Wide Web. A buddy and I were heading west to join a Corvette caravan that would be heading east to an anniversary party at the museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. We had just stopped in Seligman, Arizona and I was getting my first exposure to Juan Delgadillo’s bag of tricks when several Corvettes, traveling to the party on their own schedule, pulled up. Some teasing banter between Juan and the women in the group soon led to Juan firing up the Snow Cap Mobile and treating some of them to a wild and breezy ride up and down Route 66 in the heart of Seligman. Although I visited Juan a couple more times before his passing in 2004, this is the only time I ever saw the Christmas tree totting 1936 Chevrolet in motion.

Trip Pic Peek #5 — Trip #26 — Pair of Madonnas


Trip Pic Peeks are short articles published when my world is too busy or too boring for a current events piece to be completed in time for the Sunday posting. In addition to a photo thumbnail from a completed road trip, each Peek includes a brief description of that photo plus links to the full sized photo and the trip journal it is from.

Book Review
Route 66 Encyclopedia
Jim Hinckley

Route 66 Encyclopedia - coverE-N-C-Y-C-L-O-P-E-D-I-A
I can’t look at this book without hearing Jiminy Cricket singing. I’ve never read an entire encyclopedia (Including this one — yet) but thanks to Pinocchio’s little bitty buddy, I can spell the word.

I’ll confess to being a little leery every time I hear of a new Route 66 book. How many books does one road need? I think I was doubly leery of this ambitious project because, as Jiminy says, an encyclopedia contains “everything from A clear down through Z” and that’s a tall order. Well, Jiminy… I mean Jim seems to have done a pretty good job covering the alphabet and I’ve once again discovered that Route 66 needed at least one more book.

The encyclopedia made a good impression before I ever read a word. It’s a fairly large hardback with full color glossy pages. The book’s first page folds out to present a three panel map of the entire road lined with photos and images from postcards, maps, and brochures. It is well illustrated throughout with modern photographs from Jim and wife Judy and lots of historic images from collectors Joe Sonderman, Steve Rider, and Mike Ward. It looks like Rider, at least, also contributed some modern photos. I probably ought to mention that I personally know all those guys and Jim, too, but I don’t believe I owe any of them money.

As might be expected, the entries are in alphabetical order and the starting page of each letter can be determined from the table of contents. Only ‘X’ is a no show. ‘Q’ and ‘Z’ get one page each and ‘C’ gets thirty. The rest get something in between. There is a large letter at the outer top corner of each page to further help with locating topics. There is also an index but it is a bit unusual, at least in my experience. Rather than a single alphabetical list, there are sub-lists for people, places (further divided by state), other, and publications  It’s quite usable but it seems like it could get awkward if there were many more divisions or longer lists.

I expected to encounter some new stuff here and I certainly did. The book starts and ends with things I’d not heard of: Missouri’s Abbylee Motel and New Mexico’s Zuzax trading post. There are plenty more in between. Among the many entries that weren’t at all familiar to me are quite a few defunct businesses such as Drumm’s Auto Court in Arizona and the Premiere Motel in New Mexico, several vanished communities including Des Peres, MO,  Lela, TX, and Siberia, CA, and at least a few humans. I don’t recall ever hearing of businessman Arthur Nelson and, while it seems like I must have at least read about “father of the good roads movement” Horatio Earle, I sure didn’t recognize the name. On the other hand, a couple searches for folks I did know of came up empty but I believe that, too, is to be expected. It really isn’t possible to include absolutely everything and choices must be made. Every “Best Beatles Songs” list I’ve ever seen has left off at least one of my favs.

Route 66 Encyclopedia - sample 1This is not my first exposure to Hinckley’s work and, as I’ve said before, the man does his homework. Of course everybody knows about the Gemini Giant and it’s not too tough to learn that it was made by International Fiberglass. But learning how many cowboys the company made for Phillips Petroleum and how they managed to make some giants with beards and some without and that the company’s founder once set a world record in sailing? That takes some digging. And practically any book with 66 on the cover will tell you how Cyrus Avery was instrumental in getting the pair of sixes for the route after the desired Highway 60 designation was assigned elsewhere. Hinckley does that and also tells us quite a bit about some of his other activities such as his prior role in creation of the Albert Pike Highway and his subsequent role in helping form the U.S. 66 Highway Association. Incidentally, although I have not read every article in the encyclopedia, that is the only mention of the U.S. 66 Highway Association I found. Its post WWII spark plug, Jack Cutberth, was one of the names I thought I might see in the book but didn’t.

Route 66 Encyclopedia - sample 2Even without Cutberth, the Route 66 Encyclopedia includes an impressive number and range of articles and many of those articles go into significant depth. The writing isn’t flowery but neither is it terse. It’s lean and efficient. The goal is to get as much factual information between the covers as possible and keep it readable. Hinckley does that rather well. Moreover, I think you’d probably still get your money’s worth if you decided to forgo the text altogether and just look at the pictures.

Encyclopedia Britannica always had yearbooks. (To my surprise, I just learned they still do.) The Route 66 Encyclopedia has updates here. They can also be accessed through a QR code on the back of the book.

The Route 66 Encyclopedia, Jim Hinckley,  Voyageur Press, 2012, hardback, 11.1 x 8.7 inches, 288 pages, ISBN 978-0760340417