Comment via blog
Just in Casey
Beans east, corn west.
Learning, gawking, and singing along
With a fourth Route 66 Miles of Possibility Conference scheduled, it seems
safe to think of it as an established event. I think that makes it not a
blip but a watershed. It is one of the very few Route 66 related events
bigger than a meal that people have actually paid to attend. In fact, as
far as I can remember, the only other such event was last year's
gathering in Los Angeles, and that was a one-time thing. Admittedly
attendance has not been overwhelming and it involves just one of the eight
Route 66 states, but it has happened three times and shows no sign of
stopping. On the subject of attendance, there seems to be a sort of
improvement in one area. At the first MOPCon in 2015, there were people
who attended without attending. They were in Edwardsville during the
conference and they were present at evening gatherings but they did not
actually register (and pay) for the conference and consequently were not
present at the presentations. The same is true of the conference in LA. I
did not attend the 2016 MOPCon in Bloomington so don't know if that was
the case there. It did not seem to be the case in Joliet.
Will there ever be a conference style event that roams up and down the
entire road like those of the Lincoln Highway and Jefferson Highway
Associations? I'm guessing not. At least not until Route 66 has a national
membership based organization along the lines of the LHA and JHA and I
don't see that happening anytime soon -- if ever.
I began the day by nullifying yesterday's last detour then had my last
meal of the trip, just like the first one, on the National Road.
After reaching the end points of three different roads, I had a nice drive
down US-35, although I got detoured more than I like.
After a full day of presentations and a visit to a newly opened brewer, I
hit the road for home. I stayed with my planned route into Indiana. But
Not a minute to spare with a day of informative presentations and an
evening of great music inside a gorgeous theater.
I got in quite a few miles of new-to-me US-45 before turning to the
expressway. I drove some abandoned concrete and found some big dolls in
the midst of the fall harvest.
On the way to the Route 66 Conference, I traveled a little National Road,
had lunch in a classic diner, and saw seven of the largest things in the
I attended the first Miles of Possibility Conference back in 2015. This is
the third. In the journal postlude for that 2015 trip I noted that it was
not yet obvious whether it was a blip or a watershed. The reason for
thinking it one or the other was that it was a conference rather than a
festival. The Route 66 festivals I was familiar with were sponsored by
some organization and free to attend. Vendors were charged a fee to market
to those attending and there were optional banquet style meals which cost
money but pretty much everything else, which might include some
entertainment, was free. Getting people who were used to that sort of
event to pay to learn something about a road many felt they were already
experts on was not easy. Attendance was modest but sufficient to keep the
sessions from feeling empty. On the other hand, the numbers were hardly
enough to indicate the wholesale embracing of a new tradition. The fact
that its third incarnation is a real thing that is happening in a few
weeks makes me think it possible that it was a watershed rather than a
blip. We shall see.