Tuesday, September 29, 2009

September 29, 2009
Thomas Charles flew in from Peru last night. Deena, Kathy and I met him at the airport. His first request: Mexican Food, so we whisked him up the road to 24th Street and McDowell Road to the old Adrian's location, which is now called La Barquita. The Mole Man (T.'s nickname) had the mole and he said he wasn't disappointed (Ed Mell recommended it). I had the seven seas soup which I split with Kathy. Sometimes it's tough being the Healthy Guy.

The reason T. Charles is so starved for Mexican food is because it really doesn't exist south of Guatamala (and only in G. because they are next door to Mexico). In South America it's all beef and Italian pasta stuff. And not spicy. That is totally the invention of Mexico. It's not in Spain (they think ketchup is too spicy!) and in none of the countries we visited this month. I just assumed it was Mexican variations all the way down to Antartica. Ha.

Yesterday, a book author contacted me about a forthcoming Route 66 book he's doing. He requested a good photo of my dad's gas station in Kingman. Although I have some pretty decent images, the photo on a small, mileage card is the best. And so Robert Ray, our production manager, put the tweak on it and came up with this:

Pretty sweet: my father, Allen Bell had numerous gas stations on Old Route 66, starting with a Whiting Brothers station at Peach Springs in 1946. He and my mother manned the pumps 24/7 in the summer time. He then ran another Whiting Brothers at McConnico, which was below Kingman, on the way to Goldroad and Topock. After a move back to his home state of Iowa, where he ran a Phillips 66 in Swea City, we returned to Arizona in 1955, and that's when he started the classic Al Bell's Flying A which he ran from 1956 to about 1960 or 61. He then opened a Phillips 66 across from El Trovatore, about a mile west of the Flying A location and ran that through most of the sixties. And he finished his gas station career with a Shell station in downtown Kingman in the early 70s. In the mid-seventies he went to work for Ford Proving Grounds at Yucca (also adjacent to Route 66) as a test car driver and parts manager, and, that is where he retired in the mid 1980s. Al passed on October 5, 1998 and is buried in the Kingman Hilltop cemetery. On his tombstone it says: "He Loved Cars."

"When a writer is born into a family, the family is finished."
—Czeslaw Milosz

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