Tandem, An American Love Story

Robert Waldmire

Later, we stopped at the Route 66 Visitors Center and Preservation Foundation in Hackberry, Arizona, about 25 miles west of Kingman. We met the proprietor Robert Waldmire, if you can call someone who does not charge for his museum that; he calls himself simply, caretaker.

The first things I noticed when we rode up, were a home made sun room and an old school bus converted to a beautiful wood hippie-bus. I knew this was going to be a memorable stop. The sprawling building is filled with Route 66 memorabilia, and just neat old 40’s and 50’s stuff, educational information of the route and the bioregions it passes through, free coffee, tea and cookies.

Bob is a gray-bearded small man of indeterminate mid-age and unflagging enthusiasm. His father invented the first hot-dog-on-a-stick he called the Cozy Dog, that later became known as corn dogs. Bob took his inheritance after his father died and bought this desert place as his gift to America. “You might say corn dogs built this place.”

We talked for a long time about all kinds of stuff, between visits from three couples from Ohio on big motorcycles, and two Bobbies on vacation from the United Kingdom. I notice that his enthusiasm and just plain joy in living, and giving, sends people away happy. The ramshackle museum, home, roadside attraction doesn’t look much the province of a rich man, but I think it is.

We took pictures all around and reluctantly began pedaling away. After a couple of minutes we heard hard panting and the loud squeak of Bob’s antique Schwinn bicycle. Despite a nearly flat rear tire he was giving us an escort out of Hackberry, smile splitting his face.


Tandem, An American Love Story — 3 Comments

  1. Thanks for the memories, and the update on your own adventures. That last few days back to Sequim was bitter-sweet after more than a year on the road. We’ve never been the same; a good thing.

  2. What a marvelous and beautifully descriptive article about a simply amazing woman – Karen Landis. I’ve had had the serendipitous experience to create and nurture a friendship with Karen after I underwent a hip replacement and three hip fractures and realized I needed to request the local “Meals on Wheels” service. And of course, if she didn’t have enough on her plate, Karen serves the Chino Valley community two days a week by delivering meals to people in my circumstance.
    I loved Karen the first moment I met her. And when we started chatting I knew I had met a soul mate. I’ve been looking all my life for a role model, a hero, an amazing example of humankind. I don’t know if she realizes what an outstanding example she is of a strong, independent, intelligent, talented woman. Sometimes as women, we have a dentency to undervalue ourselves. But Karen, I want you to know you are the real deal. You are just so beautiful in your authenticity. And I a so appreciative of the value you have added to our environment by caring for the land and the animals under your watchful care. Your abilities and strength simply boggle my mind. And thank you for your loving service to me these past four months. You rock girl!

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