One of my dads favorite admonishments was that it is better to fill the
head with useless knowledge than no knowledge at all. Exactly when the quest for useless knowledge, for odd and obscure facts, trivia, and weird coincidences began to dominate my life is not something I can pinpoint. However, what can be said is that to a degree I have made a career out of providing this information to people with an equally inquisitive nature. Case in point, the title for today’s post.
Did you know that in July of 1915, on a cross country odyssey, then 21-year old Edsel Ford spent the evening at the Brusnwick Hotel in Kingman, Arizona? Did you know that Kingman is also where Pamela Anderson had a slight run in with local police resultant of a complaint about indecent exposure during a Playboy magazine shoot? Did you know that Clark Gable and Carol Lombard did NOT honeymoon in Oatman after marrying in Kingman? Did you know that the 1925 movie Go West directed by and starring Buster Keaton has two Route 66 connections? He stayed at the Hotel Beale in Kingman, Arizona during filming and the final scene is of a cattle stampede in downtown Los Angeles near 7th Street and Broadway, the original western terminus of Route 66 in 1926.
I suppose that this inquisitive nature is one reason that the release of a new book by Jim Ross and Shellee Graham is eagerly anticipated. However, another reason is that I am simply a fan of their work. Published by Reedy Press, Secret Route 66: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure will surely inspire an adventure or two along the Main Street of America, especially with folks like me.
I realize that a myopic focus on the obscure is a bit, shall we say, eccentric. To me, however, the quest for the unique, the different, and often overlooked is the very essence of a successful road trip. Which is more memorable, a sandwich at McDonald’s in Omaha or New Orleans, or alligator tail in apricot sauce at a restaurant built in a cave deep in the Missouri Ozarks? What makes a more memorable photo, a store front in Hollywood or the discovery of Toto’s grave at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery?
Underlying my writing, and presentations, is more than just an urge to document the odd and obscure. I derive a great deal of satisfaction in sharing this information, in helping people fill their head with the most delightfully useless knowledge. This spring I was privileged with an opportunity to do more than merely tell people where to go. Through a limited partnership with Promote Kingman, I now conduct walking tours in the Kingman, Arizona historic district and along the Route 66 corridor.
If you find yourself motoring west, or east, on Route 66 and are looking for something a bit out of the ordinary to enhance the trip, schedule a walking tour with Promote Kingman. Imagine, a photo opp at the church where Clark and Gable were married, on a vintage wagon road in the shadow of towering bluffs, at a territorial era jail, or where Pamela Anderson was arrested as a souvenir.