“End of the Trail” is an autobiographical account of Route 66 enthusiast Rice’s eight-year struggle with Traumatic Brain Injury. His Hollywood life and high-paced track to a Ph.D. in Psychology was abruptly derailed in 2002 when he suffered severe brain injuries in a near-fatal car accident, and a long and painful road to recovery began.
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Author: Dan Rice
Category: MIND AND BODY
Dan Rice, National VP of the Route 66 Alliance, first walked Route 66 as a child in Chicago. Since then, he’s driven it 27 times and in 2009, he opened the first Route 66 shop ever at the road’s end, “66-to-Cali” on the Santa Monica Pier. His tiny shop of US Made Route 66 products became an instant landmark, drawing fans around the world.
Rice corrected the historical oversight Santa Monica made by never placing signs referencing Route 66’s end there. After 2400 miles, a quarter million annual travelers always complained of the ultimate roadtrip’s anti-climactic end, so Rice’s shop changed that. Even moreso when he and his wife rediscovered, bought the rights to, and resurrected the historic “End of the Trail” sign that once stood at Route 66’s end but went missing from Santa Monica in the 1950’s.
Just three months after opening “66-to-Cali,” Rice resurrected that sign for the 83rd birthday of Route 66, a birthday event that according to Pollack PR, an LA Based PR company reached an estimated audience of 60 million people around the world. Rice states, “NBC showed up at 4:30 in the morning, and by 9am we had all the networks, radio stations, and newspapers. That night we made the NBC Nightly News and the next day the New York Times, LA Times, and the ‘Independent’ in the U.K. That last article got syndicated to Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa making it the largest one day event in Route 66 history, an incredible birthday present to 66.” Suddenly fans had a “finish line” to celebrate at, and with a finish finally established, things really revved up for Rice.
Rice was quickly elected President of the California Historic Route 66 Association. The California Assembly drafted a state resolution for “Route 66 Day” in Santa Monica, specifically citing 66-to-Cali as central to Route 66’s resurgence. The National Historic Route 66 Federation ensconced Rice as a new Route 66 icon for his vision, including him as a new writer to their quarterly magazine, distributed in 14 countries around the world. But Rice’s biggest compliment came just after the sign went back up. “I spoke for 3 minutes to the press and was immediately offered a book deal. It was surreal.” Rice put pen to paper, and 66-to-Cali won “New Business of the Year” at the 2010 Will Rogers Awards. Eleven documentaries and a year later, his book “End of the Trail,” was released, prompting a national book tour. In 2012, a small project with the History Channel followed, bringing a subsequent offer to develop his own TV show in 2013, “The Road Scholar.” Rice takes none of it for granted. “We’re having great discussions with several networks, but you never know what’ll happen. At the end of the day, it’s the roads and the people who build them that are the real stars anyway, not me. I just do what I love.”
Recently, Rice expanded his scope beyond Route 66 by working with CBS Radio in the Midwest to anchor Heritage Tourism there. “Our roads link us together and while Route 66 links 8 states, there are 42 others with their own stories to tell. What I’ve done with Route 66 is just the beginning. I want to tell them all. By telling them all, we can bring glory to the whole country!”