Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Route 66 Ghost Towns

October 26, 2011

Rained last night and the desert smells great this morning. Finishing up copy for our Tenth Annual Best of the West where we honor those who keep the traditions alive. If you know any of these people, tell them they should be pretty dog gone happy in the next couple of weeks: Jay Dusard, Josh Hay, Michael Wallis, Baxter Black, Richard Wheeler, S. C Gwynne, BJ, Thom Ross, Gary Ernest Smith, Gib Singleton, General Palmer, Brian Lebel, Don Ensley, Patricia Wolf, Sharon Little, Chad Little, Randy Rogers, Rich Bachman, Bob Giles, Juni Fisher, Rex Rideout and Buck Brannaman.

Finished a study this morning before I came into work.

I call this "Once We Moved Like The Wind." Today, of course, we're just windy.

Also reflected on my youthful fascination with old west ghost towns. What me and my fellow frontier fans sought out fifty years ago (alleged ghost towns) has given way to the ghosts of crumbling curios and cafes, which were gleaming new when I was growing up on Route 66.

I say "alleged" ghost towns because in the case of the ghost towns I grew up with in Mohave County, Oatman, Gold Road, Cerbat, Chloride and White Hills, what we were actually looking at had expired a mere twenty years before (we thought we were looking at buildings and mines from the 1880s). Still, the idea that something that was brand new, when I was growing up, is now fading, or gone is quite amazing, shocking AND humbling.

Hats off to fellow Kingmanite, Jim Hinckley who continues to champion the Mother Road. This is his latest book and it is a good one. In spite of the gloom of the ghost town aspect of Route 66, Jim assures me there are still some good ol' mom and pop cafes along the route, but I have to say, on my recent road trip to New Mexico I was saddened by all the little towns I visited where not one cafe remains.

I'm afraid, we are where the oldtimers, like Wyatt Earp, were in the 1920s when their world was disappearing right before their eyes.

Speaking of irony, love this from a post by James Allder, on this site:

On the evening of September 29th, 2008, a gunfight exploded within a nightclub located in Ciudad, Juarez, in the Mexican State of Chihuahua. According to an article posted the following day at, four men were killed in a shootout occurring shortly after midnight. The participants wore western style clothing and cowboy boots, and investigators found a total of fourteen bullet casings at the scene.

The name of the nightclub: “The OK Corral.”

"Everything you love will be taken away."
—Slaid Cleaves

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