The Thirty Hour Workday, Mayhem, and the 6th Earl of Cottenham

I have always had respect for people who can focus on a project

with such intensity that nothing distracts them from the task at hand. Obviously this trait is a prerequisite for people who work as bomb disposal specialist or as a sniper. I have never had interest in pursuing either career but the quest for a level of mental discipline that allows me to finish projects without enduring thirty hour work days resultant of succumbing to distraction is ongoing. This is not to say that my pursuit of the red ball is abandoned when I see a green ball, or that the smell of fresh baked pie will always lure me from the office to the kitchen if a deadline is looming.

Scheduling and allocation of time is definitely an Achilles heel. In this I am not alone but that provides little solace when my most recent language skills test indicates a 21% proficiency in German, a 1% increase over last summer, and the venerable old Dodge (aka Barney the Wonder Truck) is still sitting in the drive awaiting repair, just as it was last Christmas.


The Speed Bump Theory Applied To Community Development

Every community is plagued by self serving factions, apathy, naysayers, and

people who simply never learned to play well with others. In communities where these people dominate government or the tourism office or media or civic organizations, opportunities are missed, long term sustainable progress is stifled, and vision for the future is conceived through extensive study of the rear view mirror. Spend an hour or two in a town, city, or village where these type of folks run the show, listen to the locals in the restaurants or taverns, check out the historic business district, cruise a few neighborhoods, peruse online reviews of businesses and there is a very good chance you won’t make a return visit.


So, exactly, how is a community transformed from a haven for the apathetic and people obsessed with protecting their fiefdom into a vibrant place where people want to visit, to open businesses, to raise families, and to retire? Let me introduce you to the speed bump theory of community development.

Walkabouts, Aussies, Kiwis, An SOS From Rhys Martin, and Assorted Adventures

As you may guess from the title for today’s post, it has been a

very, very interesting week. It has also been a somber week, an inspiring week, a fun filled week, a busy week, an exhausting week, a frustrating week, a laughter filled week, and an exciting week. In short, it was situation normal in my world. These are a few of the high, and low points.

Flooding in Missouri and parts of Illinois devastated lives as well as communities. Along the Route 66 corridor Devils Elbow, a revered destination for legions of enthusiasts was particularly hard hit. Jax Welborn did a fantastic job of providing regular updates about the flooding through Facebook but her photos of the devastation were heartbreaking. The inspiration came from the response, offers of assistance, and the generosity of the international Route 66 community, including donations made by the Dutch and German Route 66 associations.

The Devils Elbow Inn, a revered landmark, before the devastating flood of 2017.

Meanwhile, here in Arizona, on Wednesday evening my dearest friend and I had the privilege of enjoying fresh made ginger ale at Black Bridge Brewery (a highly recommended stop for the Route 66 traveler), and lively conversation with George and Bonnie Game of the Canadian Route 66 Association. We joined them again for a “roadie” dinner on Saturday at Calico’s, and then on Monday, it was a lunch at Rutherford’s Route 66 Diner with George, Bonnie, and Penny Black, another friend who is in the process of moving from California to Illinois. 

100 Things to Do On Route 66 Before You Die

Recently a publisher, on recommendation of Jim Ross, approached me

with an intriguing proposal – write a book about Route 66 that is in essence a bucket list. The challenge fascinated me. How do you whittle down America’s longest attraction, a 2,000 mile corridor of fascinating museums, quirky folk art parks, historic sites, renovated motels, ghost towns, dynamic cities, time capsule restaurants and diners, and breathtaking natural attractions into a list of one hundred must see locations? I accepted the challenge and the result is a fun new book scheduled for release on September 1 that is aptly titled, 100 Things to Do on Route 66 Before You Die.

(This “Buy Now” button is to purchase an autographed copy of Route 66: America’s Longest Small Town. Stay tuned for information about availability of other publications) 

Buy Now Button

The book represents a departure from most of my published work. Even with Route 66: America’s Longest Small Town released on April 1, my focus is usually on adding depth and context to the subject. As an example, even though this book has a bit of whimsy and  fun, and features a bit of my God given gift for telling folks where to go, the overall content centers on the renaissance, and the people that make this road a wonder of the world.


A 90-Year Old Angel and Some Very Amazing People

In case you missed it, Angel Delgadillo recently celebrated his

90th birthday. If you don’t know about Angel, or have never met this amazing and inspirational man, it would be safe to assume that you’re not a Route 66 enthusiast – yet.

The irrepressible Angel Delgadillo. Photo by Judy Hinckley

I am not exactly sure when it happened but at some point in time a highway transformed into an icon, an almost magical place that has come to symbolize the ultimate authentic experience for legions of passionate enthusiasts. That is one reason why I often refer to Route 66 as a living, breathing time capsule, but that isn’t really a very accurate descriptor as only the very best has been preserved. That is manifest in the people that give Route 66 an infectious vibrancy.

Sex, Murder, Scandal, and Celebrities on Route 66

In the 1940’s, W.A. “Tex” Thornton was a living legend, an almost

mythical figure whose exploits in the oil fields of Texas and Oklahoma made him seem larger than life. During the 1920’s he had perfected the use of nitroglycerin and dynamite to extinguish oil field fires, and in the era of the Great Depression, developed a steady rainmaking business using balloons, timed charges, and explosives.

The Park Plaza Motel on Route 66 in Amarillo was the scene of a murder that became a media sensation. Courtesy the Joe Sonderman collection.

Quests, Odysseys, Assorted Adventures, and Related Challenges

I am unsure as to how this past week can adequately be described. Exciting?

Frustrating? Maddening? Depressing? Exhilarating? Exhausting? Enjoyable? Fun? Thrilling? Productive? Perhaps I could better set the stage for today’s post by simply saying that it has been a combination of all of the above.

The release of a heavily revised second edition of a book on ghost towns was released this month. In addition, Route 66: America’s Longest Small Town was released on April 1, and this past week I completed the final edit for a book that is scheduled to be released in September. Needless to say, this is a cause for celebration, reflection, and the taking of a very deep breath. It was time for a shot of cognac.

The publication of a new book is also a cause of concern as this means that the schedule for promotion is about to become a towering tsunami. This time, however, it will be magnified by three. That is already starting. Last week I had an interview with Rudy Maxa, and yesterday with Keri Jones of the British based Great Destination Radio Show. With the publication of each new book I give thought to taking the writing game to the next level which means seeking an agent. Candacy Taylor and Brennen Mathews, two esteemed colleagues, are providing insight, direction, and gentle encouragement to begin that quest.

With the books completed, and the deadline for the next one still twelve months away, I will be turning my attention toward other projects such as the podcast, the Friday morning Facebook live program, development of the walking tours, providing assistance to the Promote Kingman initiative, and, hopefully, getting the truck back on the road and working on the endless construction project, a place that we call home. And I plan on getting distracted as often as possible with opportunities to visit with friends, to travel with my dearest friend, and to meet with interesting people.

A few days ago the model of Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner created by the late Willem Bor was unpacked at Dunton Motors next door to the restaurant. This 1946 dealership is also home to the Route 66 Association of Kingman Arizona. After receiving the model, Scott Dunton, president of the association decided to display the model at the office and is having a custom glass display case created. I was quite honored to have been entrusted with the model and ensuring that it was properly display.

There was a great deal of sadness involved with the opening of the packing crate. The first dinner my dearest friend and I ever ate in Europe was in the home of Willem and Monique Bor. Their names adorn a pillow presented to us on behalf of the Dutch Route 66 Association during a reception at de Prael in Amsterdam during that trip.  Last summer at the first European Route 66 Festival, Willem informed us that he had cancer, and through friends in the Dutch Route 66 Association, we followed the progressive decline. Willem was a part of our Route 66 family.

Even though the model will be shared with the world at the location selected, there was also a degree of sadness about this. I had hoped that this one as well as the model of the Twin Arrows Trading Post would be exhibited at the Powerhouse Visitor Center and Route 66 Museum in Kingman as part of a display that honored our friends from the Netherlands as well as highlighted the international nature of the Route 66 community. As with the stillborn Route 66 walk of fame, I find the overall lack of enthusiasm about Route 66 just a bit tragic.

At the grassroots level, however, there is a rather dramatic awakening. It is made evident in the Promote Kingman initiative, beautification projects that include neon sign restoration facilitated by the Route 66 Association of Kingman, the vibrancy of the Beale Street corridor in the historic business district made manifest in new stores and new construction. And it is made evident in the effort to welcome guests such as Toshi Goto to the community.

Saturday was a high point in the week. My dearest friend and I joined Toshi Goto, a friend and founding member of the Japanese Route 66 Association, and his charming wife Yoko, for a little trip to Ash Fork and a visit with Kirk at Zettler’s Route 66 Store. Even though we missed Angel Delgadillo (we had hoped to be able to wish him an early 90th birthday), we enjoyed a delightful lunch at Lulu Belle’s in Ash Fork, had a great visit with Kirk, and a wonderful dinner in Kingman at Calico’s hosted by the Route 66 Association of Kingman and the Promote Kingman initiative. We rounded out the evening by checking out the cars at Chillin’ on Beale, and savoring a fresh made ginger ale at Black Bridge Brewery.

This morning I had an interesting meeting with Steve LeSueur, the developer of the Promote Kingman initiative. In the near future we will be expanding our limited partnership. In addition to the video series, Jim Hinckley’s America: A Trek Along Route 66, the schedule for illustrated walking tours in the historic district that utilize historic images provided by the Mohave Museum of History & Arts, with me as the guide, will be expanded and custom tours will also be offered. Additionally, they will be selling signed copies of my books. If you are interested in a walking tour check out the calendar of events on the Jim Hinckley’s America Facebook page, or contact Promote Kingman.

Association with the Promote Kingman initiative has been an interesting endeavor. With a myopic focus on the development of grass root projects that foster development of a sense of community, and magnifying the marketing of businesses or events through partnership programs and project sponsorship opportunities, this pioneering initiative has contributed to an array of interesting developments.

Unfortunately there are still a few factions that seem intent on burning the house down rather than assist with the cooking. In one local newspaper inflammatory editorials and articles filled with carefully words and partial truths are still standard fare. Tragically there are those in the community that will believe an editorial about secret meetings and good old boy networks, and never know that the editor had been invited to the meetings.

In a nutshell, it has been a rather interesting week. It was better than some, not as good as others. It was the type of week that leaves you looking toward the future with eager anticipation, and a touch of apprehension. To paraphrase an old book, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.




Harry Edward Nipple and Other Colorful Characters

I have always been drawn to colorful characters, the mildly

eccentric, the people who march to the tune of a different drummer. To be honest, this affinity can be summed with the old analogy about birds of feather flocking together. For about as long as can be remembered I have been viewed as an eccentric, an independent thinker, a colorful character. I don’t see this as a bad thing. In fact, it could be said that I have made it a career of sorts.

Yesterday during a Promote Kingman walking tour through the historic district, as I shared stories about area history accented with photos from the Mohave Museum of History & Arts, my thoughts turned toward colorful characters of the past, the ones that have crossed my path over the years, and the character that I have become. It was hard not to, after all I did mention Harry Nipple (1876 – 1961), the source of countless jokes made by teenage boys in Kingman. 

Dusty Trails, Forgotten Rails, And An Old Road Signed With Two Sixes

This morning I have what is hoped to be an exciting post that will

encourage an Arizona adventure or two. First, however, I would like to thank the sponsors behind Jim Hinckley’s America, the multifaceted project that now includes a video series and Kingman, Arizona historic district walking tours developed in partnership with Promote Kingman, a Friday morning Facebook live program, the blog, a YouTube channel, photo gallery on Legends of America, and podcast. And, of course, there are the presentations and books, including a new release, Route 66: America’s Longest Small TownThe entire project is built around my gift for telling people where to go, and a desire to provide the information needed to make those adventures memorable and enjoyable.

So with that as the introduction, I would like to thank the folks at Grand Canyon Caverns, Promote Kingman, and the Route 66 Association of Kingman. Of course I would be quite remiss if I didn’t thank folks like you who through contributions to the Jim Hinckley’s America tip jar, as well as with comments, book purchases, and attendance at events make all of this possible.

The post office in Gold Road, Arizona on Route 66 courtesy Mohave Museum of History & Arts

Fame and Fortune, Obscurity and Poverty on Route 66

From its inception dreamers, entrepreneurs, gypsies, con artists,

and visionaries were attracted to Route 66 resultant of the near constant hype and publicity. It was the highway of dream for travelers as well as for those looking for a way to make a dollar. It was the road of boundless opportunity, and, for a few, a highway paved with gold.

Ed Edgerton came from Michigan shortly after WWI. A doctor recommended suggestion that he find a drier climate and the lure of riches in the gold mining boom town of Oatman prompted his westward migration.

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