I begin my exploration of Route 66 on Good Friday. The destination is Laughlin, an oasis of sin on the Colorado River. It is situated in the sliver of Nevada between Arizona and California. The radio talkback shows are in proselytizing mode. The religious connotations of this journey are thrown into stark relief as I leave the last vestiges of civilization behind me and enter the Mojave Desert.
Back on Route 66 out of Laughlin, the road takes you forward in mileage but back in time. Sometimes the clock winds back to the Wild West of the 1800’s, in hokey, tourist-dominated towns like Oatman, Arizona. More often, Route 66 goes back to an innocent moment somewhere between 1950 and 1970.
Huntington Railroad Fortune
One of the enduring pleasures of visiting art museums is to imagine yourself as the owner of the priceless work of art in front of you. The truly democratic aspect of public museums is that every patron becomes an artwork’s owner for one ephemeral moment.
Nowhere is this illusion better preserved than at the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery in San Marino, an affluent Los Angeles suburb just south of Pasadena. Huntington, a superbly wealthy railroad and real estate magnate, owned twelve hundred acres of land here.