It has been an interesting week here on Route 66. Monday, I met with Josh Noble, the tourism director to discuss promotional ideas and his brilliant geocaching idea. This little gem of a project transforms a drive along Route 66 into an interactive adventure as well as one that provides tangible windows into the past.
Next Tim McDonnell, the president of the Route 66 Association of Kingman, and I met with Robert Bravo, the director of Grand Canyon West, to discuss a stunning mural planned for the west end of Kingman. This breathtaking panoramic mural will present the history of the Hualapai people from the beginning through the future represented by the sky walk against the back drop of the Grand Canyon.
I rounded out the evening with dinner and a quick tour of often missed Route 66 sites with Cort Stevens of Elgin, Illinois. It would seem I am becoming an unofficial ambassador and tour guide of sorts.
On Tuesday, as per request, I began mapping out places visited utilizing Facebook and Tripadvisor. The long term goal is to use this as a foundation for quick posts about interesting attractions, hotels, and places to eat.
Wednesday evening I initiated mailings requesting first hand stories from folks that lived and worked along Route 66 in places like Afton, Glenrio, or Oro Grande. These will be used to add flavor to the Ghost Towns of Route 66 book.
If you have stories to share or know some one who does please let me know. I should also note that photographs and postcards are being sought as well.
I was quite excited to learn that my latest book, Ghost Towns of the Southwest, is now available for preorder on
I am not sure the cover really captures the unique scope of this book. In addition to the old frontier favorites such as Tombstone and Bisbee, I also profiled towns from the Spanish colonial era, Native American communities that predated that, and modern ghost towns such as those found along Route 66.
This note received from Jim Conkle pertaining to the vision of the Route 66 Alliance really sparked my imagination.
The legacy Fund: The mission of the Legacy fund is to collect capital from private donations, government grants and our profit producing programs that support and promote commerce along Route 66. The fund will generate financial support to The Route and its people through interest earned on capital deposits. A constant underlying goal of the fund will be public goodwill by serving our people and moving “The Mother Road” towards the status of “A National Monument”. The Passport Program: The Passport Program is a self- sustaining promotional program designed around Tourism. It’s primary goal is connectivity of travelers and places along Route 66. It will introduce new users to the history of The Route. It will identify icons, business and places of interest for the traveler using the most current electronic technology. While promoting business along the route, The Passport Program will also identify the demographic makeup of our current and future users. It will identify markets along the Route as well as coordinate product distribution. It will track and define those products and services with the highest demand.
The Electric Highway: Certainly the most aggressive program proposed! The Electric Highway proposes 18 to 26 recharging stations connecting L.A to Chicago. The “SLAB LAB” as we call it, will be the first of its kind in the nation. Each of the 18 to 26 “Green Choice “66” recharging Stations” will make the semi-transcontinental trip available to those vehicles wanting to use alternative forms of renewable and non-renewable energy. “The Route 66 laboratory” will be open to all Companies, Corporations and Individuals worldwide who would like to showcase, test, prove or display their inventions by “Running the Rechargeable Route” from Chicago to LA. The Alliance will be there to help support their efforts by using the Media and “The Mother Road” (The most famous roadway in the world) to focus attention on their results towards the greening of our nations highway system. Individual renewable sites will be sponsored by private donations, companies and corporations specifically seeking to promote technology or vehicles development that reduce the carbon footprint and use alternative forms of energy. As we move into the future “The Mother Road”, through our Alliance staff, will become the first clearinghouse of ideas, systems and information. We will reach out nation wide to disseminate “the best ideas” to help cities, counties and state government’s co-ordinate a intelligent grid system of renewable energy stations to our main street America . The “Electric Highway Program “will re-energize the nation’s attention toward the Mother Road. Increased traffic and exposure will in turn generate dollars and achieve a common sense approach towards restoration and establishing new businesses along the route. We ask for your support and contributions towards our “Founders Donations”. Initial donations are so important as they will be used as seed capital to develop The Passport Program and the Electric Highway Programs. These programs are designed to be self-sustaining and provide continual funding to the legacy foundation and The Route for the foreseeable future.
It was this last section that really grabbed my attention. What a brilliant marketing idea, utilize Route 66 as a bridge linking the past and the future!
How exciting. I have long dreamed of a Route 66 Fun Run type event that featured nothing but alternative energy powered vehicles – solar, historic, steam, electric, hybrids, etc.
This is all rather timely as Kingman is about to become the epicenter for the solar generating industry.
This weekend is the Kingman Street Drags. After work today I will drop by to check out the festivities and get a few photos. Stay tuned for details.
Last but not least is the never ending parade of motorcycles flying flags from throughout the world. This week alone I have met Hungarians, Italians, Swedes, Germans, and Brits.
Life on Route 66 is never boring!