You know you have acclimatized when you find the temperature of Phoenix fine, Vegas cool and Kingman cold. Unprepared I was for 70˚, (now considered chilly), and 60˚ considered cold, and a desert wicked wind that constantly whipped at my heels. It never occurred to me to pack anything, but short trousers, T’s, one hoodie in case, or two to change. So I was caught out in Kingman where my Phoenix 99’s were sorely missed on this “66” weekend.
For a car enthusiast, one of the best things about living in Arizona or the South West has got to be the fact that nothing rusts. Therefore, the state is filled with classic cars, either still being driven as regular vehicles or residing for preservation. I first noticed the abundance of 1960s and 1970s pick-up trucks being used as work-a-days vehicles in new Mexico. I put it down to a sad comment on poverty until I arrive in Arizona and realized that, unlike humans, motor engines thrive on hot and heat and continue and continue. Tickey just got lucky.
So much sentiment is bestowed on Route 66. Over used and over played, it remains the original byway, the ‘mother road‘, still in use mostly in Arizona and California as the last vestige to dangerous, single lane highways. The “Route 66 Fun Run” is an annual and national event and a chance to celebrate sentiment, extend the life of road side commerce, revel in cars past, things masculine, stylish and powerful. And all things “pretty and shiny“.
Our group has a twelve-year tradition of volunteering to anonymously judge 60 of 66 categories. Best of British, Italian, Best Pre-1906 etc. Constantly changing, color coded dots clapped on every windshield as a confirmation of contest consideration and a gentle ruse to avoid the winner being revealed. A perennial black dot, Robert Louis Stevenson’s proverbial “black spot“, assigned to those with attitude. Usually Corvette coveters.
The day’s outings before the judging was a choice of do-nothing, antiquing, local shopping, or … wait for it … a jaunt in a local junk yard(!) I can’t remember last when one of the highlights of a get-a-way weekend included hunting over dead cars in a “you pick’em, we price’em” junk yard. But, when in Rome … when with Gearheads … all talk is trucks, all interest is vehicular, all motivation is automotive.
My treasured, head turning moment was spotting a perfectly restored FIAT 600, Multipla whizzing by the junk yard en route to the Fun Run. Later, an opportunity to be photographed with the 600, highlighted by a passing biker dude, whom, upon hearing me caution my photographer to not “cut-off-my-legs“, with, “Dude, your legs already look like they have been cut-off in those pants“!!! I think I probably should have stuck with the diminutive damsel at the dam! (I guess … never lose your sense of humor or the ability to laugh at yourself).
The day ended with hospitality from our host at his Kingman home with food, fun, festivities and a viewing, admiring and playing with his 1907 Reo, 1913 Cadillac and, his latest, 1906 Queen; a price paid for which, seen once advertised on Hemmings Motor News, was constantly suggested, but never disclosed. I may have moved West, but my New-York-City-quick-step and eager-elbows served me well to ensure I was one of the few that managed a short and brisk ride in the Queen. Expecting a bone rattling wheel barrow, I was pleasantly surprised by soft seating and a springy ride. The Queen was indeed, well … soft as a Queen feather bed.