Painting ©2018 John Clark III
Had the privilege of speaking on the phone for nearly an hour today with Dan Rice, who was in his car on some backed-up California freeway headed somewhere in his never-ending quest to preserve one of America's great historical landmarks -- Route 66.
I recently completed the 2,400-mile drive along the Main Street of America, from Chicago to the Pacific Ocean at Santa Monica, Calif. Rice, 45, owns a souvenir shop on the Santa Monica Pier and that was my last stop before heading back home. Unfortunately, Dan was not there, but one of his employees, a young man named Bryan, assured me he would leave his boss a message and my card.
As we stood there talking, Bryan asked me if I was a Christian. I told him, no, not really. I consider myself more of a seeker.
"Oh, that's cool," Bryan said, smiling. "You are seeking the truth, then?"
I said, yes, and after I bought a couple of Route 66 T-shirts, Bryan asked if he could pray for me before I left. Sure, I said, and he extended his hand across the counter of the small shop. With hundreds, probably thousands, of people bustling back and forth along the famous pier, this guy I'd never met and will likely never see again held my hand and prayed for my blessing and safety.
It was pretty cool.
Dan and I emailed back and forth a couple of times, but never connected until this afternoon. He's a pretty amazing guy -- one of those genius entrepreneur types who was on his way to earning a doctorate in psychology when a terrible car crash nearly killed him. It took him a long time to recover, but now he has built a small and growing empire centered around his love for Route 66, and efforts to preserve what he fears may be a dying part of history.
This guy has driven Route 66 not once, not twice, not 10 times. How about 29 times? He told me that his grandfather, who was from Chicago, showed him the downtown streets where Route 66 begins when he was a little boy, and told him it was a road that traveled all the way across the country to Los Angeles, where Fonzie (remember Happy Days?) lived!
Young Dan was hooked, and several years later, traveled part of the Mother Road for the first time with his father. Now, he is one of the leading experts on Route 66 and its history, and he told me some wonderful stories, including what Route 66 means to him. His comments were personal and heartfelt, and once again, as is always the case when people bare the souls in response to my questions, I was honored.
Dan wrote a book, "End of the Trail," about his experiences on Route 66, along with his eight-year struggle to recover from Traumatic Brain Injury following his car accident.
I'm excited to be able to include my interview with him in my upcoming book about my trip on the historic highway.
Time to get to work ...
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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