What IS This Place?
Since April of 2005, I’ve been trying to make Route 66 Rambler a go-to resource on the history and heritage of AMC, Rambler and various companies and individuals that created that tradition. Around here, I refer to that history as The AMC Heritage.
This will mark the umpteenth time I’ve tried to stack over 35 gigabytes of information dating all the way back into the mid-1800s a mile high.
It’s Fallen Down, HARD.
Way more than several times along the way.
It’s also gotten mentions on the Hemmings blog and Jalopnik among others, as well as the “Cool Site” designation by DMOZ, which is actually a huge deal in the website world. DMOZ compiles the directory of the internet that’s used by all the search engines to find stuff for you.
They don’t just hand out DMOZ Cool Site awards like candy. Less than one percent of applicants ever get approved. The fact that it was awarded to Route 66 Rambler without even applying for it is a BFD, to paraphrase a recent Vice President.
The Route 66 Rambler home page has been crawled and indexed 73 times by the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.
The AMC Heritage Forum was crawled and indexed 37 times.
The version that we archived when we switched to new software was crawled and indexed 87 times.
The Rambler TimeLine page? 17 times and the Rambler Open Library 22 times.
The RustBucket gallery was crawled and indexed into the Wayback Machine 6 times.
These are not big-time numbers. But they are important ones. This place did matter. And it’s going to matter again. I’m going to enjoy it. A lot.
We’ve tried every kind of software you could imagine to categorize this much stuff. The original intent was to create a dealership-style museum, and that may still happen. But the problem with most software is that it just gets way too cumbersome to withstand the sheer load of so much data and the resulting heavy traffic.
We’ve had encyclopedias similar to Wikipedia. We’ve tried forums of every description and type of engine. We’ve gone with every brand of “All in one” Content Management Systems like those used for museums and corporate websites.
The difference between those places and this place is that one guy does most of the work. I install the software, I load in 90+ percent of the data and writing, and I update the software, back up the site and maintain the software.
That’s mostly okay, but of course it ends up being full time work with no pay.
I get it. I’m an AMC person myself.
The end result is basically inevitable, however.
How To Kill Yourself Slow
As server and internet software keeps updating, Google and the other mega tech giants keep imposing more and more rules, the front-end software for the site like the forums, encyclopedic stuff, galleries etc. keeps having to be updated, eventually things break. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how well you keep backups if the software stops working with the new version and won’t accept your carefully backed up databases.
At one point we had one of the most visited forums on the web that covered AMC and Rambler information. There were never a huge number of people that contributed to the forum, but at one point in 2009 it was averaging over 30,000 visitors per month. I feel that it did serve its purpose, which was to attract information and begin to categorize it in such a way as to create a cohesive picture of The AMC Heritage.
Around that time, I had a severe health crisis that left me within minutes of death, related to my service in combat. During that time, good friends like Doug Shepherd of the AMC Eagle Nest Forum and the AMC Heritage Facebook page, Scott Campbell of Ohio AMX Restoration and a few other people kept the site running for me for nearly two years while I was almost unable to walk.
Eventually, however, the factors mentioned above took their toll and even when I returned to the project, there was just no way to keep that giant stack operating anymore. Between additional health crises, resulting abject poverty and some consequent mental struggles that go with military-grade PTSD and just tough life, we ended up on the verge of homelesness.
This website paid the price for that. Eventually, with the help of good friends and a lot of plain old gut-level struggle, we got ourselves out of our hole and into a better living situation. We’re making a living again and my health is better.
Get To The Point, Already
Against my better judgement, I’m starting to stack things up again.
This time I’m just going to stick with WordPress blog software and see what I can do. It’s the easiest package to use and has the widest available information and support.
I’m not holding my breath. But I am a stubborn bastard who’s never had a lot of common sense.
So, heartbroken as I am that I have no more dealership museum collection (all donated to other projects) or car collection (all donated or sold), and not even a shop to work in, this entire ridiculous rant adds up to just a few words, in the end:
This site will never be like it was. It may never be very good again at all.
That’s perfectly fine with me. I will do something here that has value.
You can watch it if you want. You can even be part of it, if you dare.
ROUTE 66 RAMBLER IS BACK.