From a Jersey Girl

Greetings! Thought I would share this letter so all of you will know why I love Route 66 and do everything I can to keep the Mother Road alive. Enjoy!
Michael Wallis

Dear Michael,

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have met with you on my recent Route 66 journey. You were certainly the highlight of my trip and everyone that I met afterwards noted how fortunate I was to have had the opportunity – apparently you’re hard to get a hold of! I was also able to meet with Jerry McClanahan (and sit in his ’57 Chevy!), who is amazing and hilarious! I managed to visit with Gary Turner for just under 2 hours (I’m told that I got off easy!) and Kumar gave me a tour of the Wigwams in Rialto. Unfortunately, I missed out on meeting Harley & Annabelle, Dawn, and Angel, as he was with his daughter in Flagstaff.

I took your advice and made sure to have a meal at La Posada… the building is stunning to see in-person and my lunch was out of this world – their black bean and corn soup was the best I’ve ever had! I will absolutely make sure to stay there the next time around.

About a day into my trip, I realized that Route 66 is not a one-time journey. I had to skip over many places in order to make it to others that I felt were a priority. I’m now noting all of the towns that I wasn’t able to visit or spend much time in to create what will be the itinerary for my next trip.
I had stunning weather my entire two weeks – a bit of rain and drizzle in the middle of Illinois and strangely enough, rain and then snow as I approached Flagstaff. Other than that, it was beautiful and not too hot (except for the California sun while I was in the Mohave).
I may time it differently for the next trip so that I have more daylight to play with. Daylight, or lack thereof, became a huge factor – I have no idea what Albuquerque, Sandia Peak or Santa Monica look like as well as a lot of other locations! Luckily with Santa Monica, I caught the very tail end of the sunset and was able to take some beautiful photos. I’ve never been the biggest fan of California but I now certainly understand the allure of driving west towards it. I’d imagine that the trip would be much more depressing driving east to Chicago. Going west, the scenery became more and more brilliant with every minute that I drove. I might cry having to do that backwards!

I knew that I would take excessive photos on my trip but I fear that I may have worn out the right-hand turn signal on my rental car from pulling over constantly to take them! I’m also 99% sure that I was chased (non-aggressively, thanks goodness) out of Glenrio for taking photos of the buildings. Although I returned home on November 2nd, I’m still organizing and editing photos and have only been able to post up through Kansas online. I hope to post Oklahoma today or tomorrow. I’ve attached the photo I took with you in Tulsa (thank you for the opportunity!)

Prior to my trip, I spent as much time as I could reviewing your books and videos. At that point, I was already in awe of the detail and huge range of sites that you covered. After driving 66 (as much of the road as I could manage to stay on during my 2 weeks, anyway), I am completely blown away by the vast amount of hard work and love that it must have taken, and continually take, for you to have created your works and fight for the road.
Having all of your knowledge for the actual journey made me feel like I was truly involved with experiencing the road and its history. I know that without your books & videos, I would have been excited but felt lost and out of touch, especially since I was driving solo.

My trip would’ve been a sad attempt and not even remotely as enjoyable if it weren’t for the knowledge you’ve made available.
I can’t thank you enough for your continued work memorializing and paying tribute to Route 66. I know that you’ve already served the United States as a Marine but clearly, you’ve continued to serve this country in preserving and teaching about one of its most important cultural assets.

Thank you so much and it was an absolute honor to meet you!

Lisa Genovese

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