Things have been slow to the point of being creepy around the office as of late. To illustrate this consider that for the past five summers we averaged fifty to sixty out bound trucks per week and about the same number inbound. This past week we had five outbound and four inbound. Welcome to the Great Depression Part II!
This dramatic slow down in business led a friend to ask if I ever get bored. After careful deliberation it dawned on me that boredom is the very least of my concerns. In fact I think the last time boredom was an issue President Carter occupied the White House.
First, is the fact the job is wholly and completely unpredictable in nature. There are reservations, broken trucks, roadside assistance issues, customer issues, employee issues, and a few dozen other items to keep me occupied.
In recent months unpredictability has become the new normal. I am truly stunned by the number of people who walk in to make a reservation for the following day and are unsure where they are moving to!
On the up side if there are no after hours calls I only work 4.5 days per week. This is tough to get used to as for thirteen of the past twenty years I worked six days per week.
So, with all of this spare time I have found a wide array of projects to keep my busy in my effort to stave off celebrating my 75TH birthday as a greeter at Walmart. If I was ten years old they would most likely medicate me for hyperactivity. With that said here is a quick look in to the world of a starving artist on Route 66.
This morning between 4:30 and 5:00 I dug into some reading from the old testament. Next I answered email correspondence on a number of issues from the ghost towns of Route 66 project to the upcoming book signing in Flagstaff. This was followed with breakfast and several postings on various forums – one on the AACA about automotive museums and the selling of my sons ’78 Olds and another pertaining to the use of Bibles in schools.
At six it was breakfast (oatmeal with wheat germ, flax seed, and molasses) and coffee with my dearest friend. Together we made plans for the coming day, week, and month, talked over old times, worried over the headlines, and laughed as much as possible. To say I am truly a man blessed by God would be an understatement.
Then it was time for the pleasurable and contemplative 2.5 mile bicycle ride to the office. Chaos central might be a better descriptor.
For the weekend I have a number of projects simmering, all of which need my attention. Lets see, there is research and correspondence for the next book, Ghost Towns of Route 66. We also have the research needed to complete a full outline with summary chapter for a travel guide to U.S. 6 for an agent in New York by September 2.
This is a project that I have longed to do for years. U.S. 6 has to be the most fascinating highway in this country. More on that later.
Next we have promotion for the book signing in Flagstaff, September 12, and additional work for the proposed trip east on U.S. 66 in early October.
This little adventure has morphed from a simple and somewhat leisurely drive on the old double six to a full blown business trip. There are interviews, a couple of book signings, and a stop at the Lile Gallery in Amarillo where our prints are currently being sold. In addition there is now some promotional work for the Route 66 Association of Kingman to add to the mix.
We also need to decide what photos will serve as the second release in our limited edition series. These will be taken with us to Flagstaff as Tom Alexander’s shop there is our print facility.
On Saturday evening after work there is a town hall meeting with Senator Trent Franks that we would like to attend. I have this odd feeling it will be little more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic but still …
As I look through my calendar for the next few months it doesn’t appear that boredom will be able to get a toe in the door. In September, I have the book signing in Flagstaff, covering the Kingman Street Drags and block party, hosting a meeting with a Monte Carlo group motoring west on US 66 from Chicago, and our 26TH anniversary.
In addition, I have been asked to handle the Sunday morning service in Peach Springs on September 6TH. This is in addition to writing the next installment for my Independent Thinker column for Cars & Parts magazine and the next chapter in the demise of the auto industry for the Kingman Daily Miner.
In October we have the Route 66 trip. There is also now the possibility I will be conducting services in Supai one Sunday. A trip to Suapi is always an adventure. It is also one that never fails to remind me that fifty is in the rear view mirror and that sixty is at the top of the hill regardless if the mind thinks I am still twenty.
Last but not least are plans for the Adventure Expo in Chicago. This will be immediately followed with the kick off promotions for Ghost Towns of the Southwest.
Welcome to Hinckley’s world where boredom is never welcome!

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