Painting ©2018 John Clark III
I can almost smell the ocean -- the salt air, the sea breeze, the .... oh, wait a minute, that might be something else.
Probably won't reach the end of the line until Wednesday, since Santa Monica is about 350 miles from Kingman, Ariz., where I'm hunkered down for the evening. On the interstate, that's just a few hours' drive, but traveling Route 66 and stopping along the way to interview folks and grab some photos adds a lot of time to the trip.
Today, I headed out from Winslow, where I stopped for a minute and took a much better photo of Standin' On the Corner Park. It's the coolest place down there. If you missed yesterday's report, Winslow was the inspiration for the Eagles' classic song, "Take It Easy," which was actually created by Jackson Browne, who later gave his unfinished version of the song to Glenn Frey. As you walk along the sidewalks around the various shops, Eagles music is playing everywhere. Here's the new and improved photo:
Scenery got really pretty today in the Flagstaff area and farther west. High atop the San Francisco Peaks around Flagstaff, there was still some snow in some places. And after a lot of interstate driving yesterday, it was back to good ol' Route 66 for most of the day, as the Mother Road travels more than 100 uninterrupted miles toward California, including passes through historic Williams and Seligman.
Williams, the last town to have its section of Route 66 bypassed by I-40, is a small but bustling tourist town now, taking full advantage of its Route 66 heritage. Restaurants, souvenir shops and bars line the main drag through town, including the "world-famous" Sultana Bar and the Canyon Club Bar, which is where I ran into Azusa, California, native Mike Grimm, 64, who retired in Williams after spending his working life as a veterinary technician in Mohave Valley. His wife, Rebel, runs the Canyon Club, where he was relaxing with a cold beverage on a warm afternoon.
Grimm said he enjoys the small-town atmosphere and friendly folks in Williams. I'd have to agree. When I walked into the Sultana Bar looking for a likely suspect to interview, there was not a soul in the place, except a young lady mopping the floor. I asked if they were open. She smiled brightly and said, "If the door's open, I'm open." I did not catch her name, but she's the one who directed me over to the Canyon Club.
On the way there, I spotted Cruiser's Route 66 Café, which was doing big business, as both pedestrian and automobile traffic filled both sides of Route 66 through town.
From there, it was on to Seligman, a tiny town devastated by the Route 66 bypass. A number of people are working hard to keep the town alive, including Deborah Balistreri and her husband, John, owners of Route 66 Motoporium. When I walked into their shop and introduced myself to the ponytailed dude sorting T-shirts, he directed me to a back office where Deborah, a "Route 66 baby," was tidying up.
"I was born in San Bernardino, Calif. So, yes, that's why they call me that. I am an actual Route 66 baby," Deborah, 65, said, showing me a colorful Route 66 tattoo encircling her left wrist. "When we were kids, we drove up and down Route 66, in our cars and on our motorcycles. I like the old cars and the old bikes. It's just special. I love it."
She hopes to see the scattering of small Route 66-themed business owners in Seligman join forces to market and advertise the town, and fund improvements, Deborah said.
More later. See y'all on down the road ...
A few reviews of John's books
The 30-Day Optimism Solution:
“Part memoir, part informative text. You get both when reading 'Depression Blues' by John H. Clark III. Mr. Clark shares his struggles with depression in an honest and real way, and as the book progresses, so does his hope. Woven into the story as jumping off points are bits of information about depression and ways to "conquer" the sadness, loneliness, and despair that comes with it.
Mr. Clark becomes more than an author in this book; he becomes a friend who understands the pain of depression and provides light. I recommend this book to anyone looking for light or to anyone who knows someone with depression and wants to learn more.”
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