Adventures Are Meant To Be Shared

If Jim Hinckley’s America had a cornerstone it would be the

simple premise that adventures are meant to be shared even if that sharing is done vicariously. It started with the books that were a blending of my fascination with the infancy of the American auto industry and a passion for adventures on the back roads as well as the two lane highways. This was followed with presentations, a Facebook page and Facebook live programs, a video series developed in partnership with MyMarketing Designs,  this blog, the provision of services as a tourism development consultant for businesses as well as communities, the crowdfunding initiative, and an on again, off again podcast. Now, the latest endeavor, a closed Facebook group for folks to share their adventures, encourage people to take adventures themselves, and help me tell people where to go, preferably in a manner that makes them want to take a trip – Jim Hinckley’s America Adventurers Club. 

At some point the whole endeavor morphed into a multifaceted platform for the promotion of artists, authors, communities, and the small businesses that make the adventures on the back roads memorable. Now, Jim Hinckley’s America has become an adventure in itself.

So, what’s next, you may ask. Well, first there is the current book project that has a deadline of next spring. In this little tome we will delve deep into the dark corners and recesses of Route 66 where murders lurked in the shadows, mayhem came without warning, and natural disasters added to the highways reputation as bloody. As always, I will be adding a bit of context to the highways stories with tales about Egan’s Rats, the St. Louis based crime syndicate that often made Capone’s boys in Chicago look a bit mild, a few serial killers, a couple of unusual killing sprees, a few unsolved murders, and natural disasters of epic proportions.

The marketing and promotion of books published is on going process that is as much a part of being an author as the writing itself. This year I am, or was, juggling the promotion of three books released in 2017; Route 66: America’s Longest Small Town, Ghost Towns of the West, and 100 Things To Do On Route 66 Before You Die. Unfortunately Reedy Press, publisher of the latter, recently suffered a devastating fire at their warehouse and distribution center in S. Louis. All inventory was lost. Now, even though I am promoting all three, all that can be done in regards to 100 Things To Do On Route 66 Before You Die is market with the caveat that the book will be available sometime after the first of the year.  There will be no holiday sales, book signings are postponed or canceled, but, fortuitously several major reviews for the book won’t be released for several weeks or longer.

Tim Kikkert of the Canadian Route 66 Association has informed me that a favorable review will be forthcoming in the journal for that organization. Melissa Beasley has reported a similar review will be published in the magazine produced by the New Mexico Route 66 Association. In addition, I am adjusting the schedule, and adding new dates to the calendar for book signings in 2018 that will include the Route 66 bucket list presentation.  

Then there is the podcast. This project has languished on the back burner for quite sometime but I am currently gathering the equipment needed to ensure it is a professionally done endeavor.  It was the need for equipment, as well as the time for the projects development that after months of deliberation led to the launch of the crowdfunding initiative. I am a bit like a sloth when it comes to rushing into projects.

From its inception, thoughts about the crowdfunding initiative centered on two primary needs for its launch and development; funding that would allow for the expansion of Jim Hinckley’s America as a promotional platform for artists, authors, small businesses, and communities, and the provision of services to artists, authors, etc. As with most of my projects, it has been developed in a painstakingly slow method of trial and error (a character flaw of mine is an aversion to instruction manuals). There are a few more tweaks to be added, and I am confident that it will evolve, but overall I am pleased with the balance. Of course, your opinions and suggestions, as always, would be greatly appreciated.

From the aspect of providing a promotional and marketing platform for the aforementioned authors, artists, small businesses, and communities, I am rather pleased with the entire Jim Hinckley’s America initiative.  The reach on the Facebook page alone, which in turn is the level of of exposure being provided to promotional partners such as Uranus, Belmont Winery, Grand Canyon Caverns, etc. is growing a steady clip. Now attentions are being turned toward expanding the reach of the other two legs in my social media network; Instagram and Twitter. I will also be expanding on the association with the Promote Kingman and Promote Route 66 initiatives, and with the Route 66 Association of Kingman in coming months. All of this will add value for those who invest in the crowdfunding initiative, one of the primary goals.

Let’s see, what else is on the agenda. Ah yes, the ongoing battle of keeping the house from falling down around my ears. Last week it was water heater replacement (don’t ask what the plumbers fees were) all because the one that we purchased 28 years ago failed. This past Thursday, I came one step closer to getting Barney the Wonder Truck back on the road (does anyone want to buy a vintage Dodge?). Tuesday, I spent under the kitchen sink replacing the entire drain system into the wall while my dearest friend worked on a clogged drain in the shower. And next week, I will be on the roof enjoying views of the Hualapai Mountains while replacing shingles in an effort to postpone an entire roofing project.

I am rather confident that for the foreseeable future boredom will be kept at bay. Meanwhile, the house is beginning to smell like Thanksgiving as my dearest friend is baking a pumpkin pie.  I wonder if it will be possible to refrain until tomorrow? Speaking of tomorrow, I am eagerly awaiting a dinner of roast and potatoes.

Folks, in all seriousness, thank you for the support. It is my sincere hope that you, your family, and your friends enjoy a delightful Thanksgiving holiday.

 

 

Who Made The List?

On September 1, my latest book was released, number 18. It is

a deviation from most of my published work. It is in essence simply a detailed  list of 100 of my favorite places on Route 66, and it was one of my most challenging projects to date. How can you distill something as amazing as a Route 66 adventure, an odyssey of more than 2,000 miles through the heartland of America on the most famous highway in the world into a simple list of just 100 museums, attractions, restaurants, and classic motels?

With that as an introduction, let’s discuss the places that made the list.  We will start with the delightful Belmont Winery near Cuba, Missouri. In advance I should note that several places and events in Cuba, and in the surrounding area made the list.  As you might have guessed, my dearest friend and I are quite enamored with this charming Ozark Mountain community, and the people that make it so special.

Belmont Winery, officially, is located in Leasburg, Missouri. Perched atop a wooded knoll there are delightful views of the valley below, and the rolling forested hills that march toward the western horizon, especially from the covered open air pavilion.  Continue reading “Who Made The List?”

The October Adventure – Good Food, Good Friends & Discoveries

The October adventure officially came to an end last Saturday

Sunrise in Shamrock, Texas sets the mood for a great day on the road.

afternoon with the return of the rental car. It was, to say the very least, an amazing odyssey filled with good food, good friends, new discoveries, and endless road construction that nudged the frustration level into the anger zone.  With few exceptions the weather was perfect, which again confirms my belief that mid to late October is the ideal time for a Route 66 adventure.

Officially it was a business trip. Still, I can think of few things more enjoyable than doing business on Route 66 and the back roads of America. To borrow from an old adage, the worst day on a road trip is better than the best day most anywhere else.

The primary destination was the Route 66 Miles of Possibilities Conference in Joliet, Illinois where I was scheduled to make a presentation on Kingman tourism 1900 – 2020. However, this was not just a Route 66 adventure as plans called for a slight detour to Jackson, Michigan where we would pay my pop a visit (he will be ninety in January) and to meet with Ted O’Dell who has a vision of using the long empty 1910 Hackett automobile factory as the cornerstone for a museum that chronicles the rich manufacturing history of the community.

An amazing array of original components make the old factory a time capsule of early industrial production.

I am always inspired by projects such as Ted’s but this one has a personal connection. My grandfather was a prolific inventor who was deeply involved with the early auto industry in Michigan, specifically in Jackson. In 1900 he was a machinist for David Buick. For years a photo of my grandfather and Henry Ford adorned the mantle of the ancestral Hinckley house on Hinckley Boulevard in Vandercook Lake just to the south of Jackson.

The trip was also an opportunity to introduce a new aspect of the patrons program, the crowdfunding initiative launched to enable me to expand on the various community development and small business promotional projects under the Jim Hinckley’s America banner including the Facebook live programs. To lend your support as a patron simply click on the Patreon button on the top right side of the page.

Juvenile humor abounds at Uranus and now they are a distributor of Jim Hinckley’s America videos.

Louie Keen, the self proclaimed mayor of Uranus, Missouri was the first business owner to take advantage of the new program and lend support to Jim Hinckley’s America at this level. So, I wanted to meet with him in person, get our partnership off on a solid footing, set up the displays for the Jim Hinckley’s America: Trek Along Route 66 videos and to pick up a few items for product placement as well for some forthcoming contests. This level of support for the program provides the business owner with “product placement, an occasional shout out during Facebook live programs and posts, and blog posts as well other promotional opportunities in exchange for your support are just a few of the perks that come with becoming a Jim Hinckley’s America promotional partner.”

Uranus is one of those places that has to be experienced. Rather than spoil the fun I will just say this, the fudge consistently receives rave reviews and the humor found at every turn is sure to unleash the inner child. How can you not smile when the clerk says, “Thank you for picking Uranus.”

Another aspect of the trip had to do with the quest to become a writer when I grow up. At Bookworks in Albuquerque, I made a presentation on a Route 66 bucket list, and signed copies of my latest book, 100 Things To Do On Route 66 Before You DieI also signed copies of books at the National Route 66 Museum, the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, Ariston Cafe, Wagon Wheel Motel, and for fans along the road as well as at the conference in Joliet.

In St Louis we had a luncheon marketing meeting with the editor and publicist for Reedy Press, publisher of the book, and Jo Ann Faust Kargus, author of the fascinating and artful Route 66 Splendor adult coloring book.  We also discussed the possibility of future projects as I am closing in on completion of a book for Rio Nuevo Publishing. The photos needed for this book was another reason for the trip.

Presentations and interviews framed the venture. Aside from presentation made in Albuquerque and Joliet, I also spoke on heritage tourism and economic development in the original Las Vegas, the one in New Mexico. With each and every visit to this charming little community thoughts of changing my address grow stronger. Even though it isn’t a Route 66 community,  a 5.8 detour is well worth the trip but I highly recommend the drive from Tucucmari to Las Vegas on state highway 104. Then there was a visit with Pat Smith at the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, and an interview with Galen Culver of KFOR television in Oklahoma City, a CBS affiliate.

Of course, the highlight of any adventure is the people you meet along the way – friends, adventurers, inspirational travelers. On a Route 66 adventure this reward is magnified one hundred fold, as is the sorrow of people missed because of schedule induced restrictions or that have passed on.

My dearest friend and Efren Lopez at Swadley’s in El Reno, Oklahoma

On our October adventure we were privileged by an opportunity to enjoy a delightful dinner at Belmont Winery (a stop that should be included in any Route 66 travel plans) with Trish and Jeff Voss. There was also an interview with artist and creator of Red Oak II, Lowell Davis, a few meals and laughs shared with our Route 66 family in Joliet, a dinner and lively conversation in El Reno with Efren Lopez, some cake, coffee, a wonderful lunch and discussion with Peter at the Wild Hare Cafe, and conversation with Nick Adam at the Ariston Cafe as well as a pleasant reception hosted by Connie Echols at the Wagon Wheel Motel and dinner in Tucumcari with Amanda and David Brenner.  We missed Croc Lile and Bob and Ramona but we did catch Michael Wallis and Rhys Martin in Tulsa, another great dinner.

As is often the case, we returned home road weary and exhausted but with big smiles, fond memories, and thoughts of the next adventure.

 

 

 

Telling People Where To Go Since 1990

I can not pinpoint exactly when “Telling People Where To Go

since 1990″ became the Jim Hinckley’s America catch phrase. I do know that it has been a running joke for quite some time, and I do know that, judging by the popularity of my books, presentations, and now the video series produced by MyMarketing designs, I seem to have a talent for telling folks where to go.

How popular are my books and videos? Well, they are being sold all along the Route 66 corridor, through Promote Kingman, in book stores internationally, on Amazon.com, and now, Uranus. You might say the video series, Jim Hinckley’s America: A Trek Along Route 66 is out of this world. I just couldn’t resist.

On a more serious note, recently a new reward level was added to our patrons program. It was designed to provide a promotional and marketing service for business owners that have pledged to support my community development initiatives.  The promotional partnership level includes “product placement, an occasional shout out during Facebook live programs and posts, and blog posts as well other promotional opportunities in exchange for your support are just a few of the perks that come with becoming a Jim Hinckley’s America promotional partner. ”

The first business owner to join us at this level was Louie R Keen, the developer of Uranus, Missouri. The owner of this eclectic, fun filled stop takes full advantage of the myriad opportunities for juvenile humor based marketing. The entire complex is a direct link to an era when diverse and unique roadside attractions transformed the roadside into an almost endless side show. Even better, the fudge is superb.

Stay tuned for more from Uranus, and other fun filled roadside stops.

 

 

Road Trip!

As you read this my dearest friend and I are on the road on

the way to the  Miles of Possibilities Conference in Joliet, and our son is happily (we hope) enjoying his role as caretaker of the homestead. Combining the business of Route 66 with the fun of Route 66 was a central component of the annual conventions developed by the U.S. Highway 66 Association that was formed in early 1927. The modern incarnation kicked off at the 2014 Route 66 International Festival in Kingman, Arizona.

The conference in Joliet promises to be an interesting, historic, and fun filled event. How can you can you go wrong when entertainment includes music by the Road Crew at the historic Rialto Square Theater and the list of featured speakers reads like a list for Route 66 who’s who; Cory Jobe
Illinois Director of Travel & Tourism, Bill Thomas of the Route 66 The Road Ahead Partnership, John Weiss, Ellie Alexander, the director of tourism in Pontiac, Illinois, and Jerry McClanahan, to name but a few.

If you can’t join us in person maybe you can do so vicariously as the plan is to host our weekly Facebook live program, as well as short interviews, from the conference. So, stay tuned and follow Jim Hinckley’s America on Facebook.