The past week or so here in Kingman the weather has been a delightful blend of spring with a touch of early summer tempered with a hint of winter. In short, a typical spring.
I have no complaints, after all I choose to live here on purpose. Having lived in a variety of locals including a few of those nasty places with names that begin with “M” (Michigan, etc.), I have come to the conclusion that there are far worse places a man can dwell than Kingman, Arizona.
As noted previously it will most likely be Monday before posting will resume but rest assured I will have lots of stories and more than a few photos to share. This evening after work we load the Jeep, turn the house over to our son, grab a few hours sleep, and take to the road on a new adventure, an adventure that I am quite sure will enhance our feelings about Kingman.
For this trip I have evaluated possible routes from every angle as is my custom when we are being chased by a schedule. Any way I slice it the only real choice is to run I-40 to I-15, south over Cajon Pass, and then west through Pasadena to Burbank.
I have difficulty finding words to adequately express my disdain for the traffic of the Los Angeles area that begins in Barstow. Suffice to say, in recent years the traffic in Kingman has begun to bother me. When we acquired our fourth traffic signal some years ago I began to feel constricted.
It is my nature to find good in all situations. In this instance I am quite sure that when we return home, Kingman and its traffic will seem like a very minor irritation.
Even better is the fact that the return trip is only constrained by the expense of gasoline versus the allocated budget and the need to be back to work by some point on Monday morning. So, these two old desert rats are headed for the beach for a drive along the coast from Malibut to Oxnard.
From there it is mostly an open ended question. If time is short we catch the main highway in Bakersfield or Barstow and roll with the traffic east toward Arizona. However, if at all possible we will explore Daggett and the follow lonely old Route 66 across the Mojave Desert to Essex.
Well, for those enjoying the Route 66 Fun Run, I hope your stay is a pleasant one. Moreover, I hope that you will return again soon to discover other little gems that make Kingman a really unique place.


This is funny stuff. Okay, I am off to a California book signing at Auto Books – Aero Books in Burbank but the book is sold out, a second printing won’t be available until June, and as a result the store does not have copies available and it is to late to change the circulated press releases. I also have a signing next week and the week after as well with promotion well under way.
In a valiant effort to keep orders flowing, the publisher provided a beautiful promotional post card for Ghost Towns of the Southwest I can use at these signings where two previous titles, Backroads of Arizona and Route 66 Backroads, are being substituted. My name is misspelled on the front of the post card even though I just finished my sixth book for this publishing house.
The book signing in Burbank was initially set for April 24th but a conflicting schedule resulted in a change to May 1st. The opening of the Bob Waldmire Memorial Exhibit in Kingman that features our photography as background opens May 1st.
Jay Leno called two weeks ago as I had notified him, as per a previous conversation, that we would be in Burbank. He was planning on visiting the book store – on the 24th. The weekend of May 1st he will be out of town.
Next Friday, I will be signing books at the gallery as the featured author for the monthly First Friday event. The book being promoted in press releases is Ghost Towns of the Southwest.
Om May 3rd, I am scheduled to talk with a reporter with BBC America. The topic will be ghost towns and my new book on this topic.
Jay Leno called on February 1st to discuss the possibility of an interview about The Big Book of Car Culture for the book club section of his website. As the book has had lackluster sales in spite of being awarded the bronze medal at the International Media Awards, the publisher decided to forgo a second printing – on January 31st.
For most folks this would be a maddening turn of events. In the world of Jim Hinckley it is situation normal.
Recent events in Arizona and our nation further enhance my sense that I have walked in during the middle of a French movie with Japanese subtitles. I have some serious reservations about the new Arizona immigration law but am I the only one that finds it surreal to see iillegal aliens protesting an immigration bill with support from elected officials that swore to uphold the constitution?  
Long ago I learned that a sense of humor is key to growing old without growing bitter. It would seem that in the coming months I will have ample opportunity for seeing just how well the lesson was learned.


I have a number of exciting items to share this afternoon. We have some Kingman notes of interest, Route 66 updates, event information that will have you setting your GPS on Kingman coordinates, updates, and Ghost Towns of the Southwest
If your in search of adventure and fun in the next few weeks all roads, including Route 66, lead to Kingman, Arizona. First, we have the legendary Route 66 Fun Run and indications are this may be the biggest and best yet.
Enhancing the festivities this year will be a number of events to round out the weekend. Topping the list has to be the Bob Waldmire Memorial exhibit, an amazing display of this iconic artist work ranging from Route 66 post cards to maps and drawings of coffee roasters.
The exhibit opens at the gallery, inside Beale Street Brews Coffee House, located at 418 E. Beale St. in the heart of the Kingman historic district one block north of Route 66, in conjunction with the annual Route 66 Fun Run on April 30th. The exhibition will run through May 25th with a special First Friday Reception on the evening of May 7th.
The hours for viewing are Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM and on Sundays from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. During the First Friday Reception the gallery will remain open until 100:00 PM.
After a day of cruising the old double six, on Friday or Saturday evening, stretch the legs in the historic district of Kingman. As added incentive consider this event, just a few blocks from Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner.
Looking for a FUN way to RUN off the rest of the night? Check out the Kingman Cruisers Sock-Hop! DJ, Dancing, and open Cruise In, everyone is welcome! 6pm Friday, 7pm Saturday! Beale Street, Downtown Kingman!
On Sunday morning, before setting out on the road to Oatman stock up for the day with an old fashioned pancake breakfast sponsored by the Kingman chapter of the VFW. What could be better than an old fashioned breakfast with a front row seat to some of Detroit’s finest.
ONLY $6 gets you a Plate Full of Pancakes, Sausage, Juice & Coffee ! ! !

Enjoy the music of Buffalo Nickel & watch Classic Cars gather for the trip to Oatman!

This great event supports your local Veterans at VFW Post 10386
The following Friday evening, May 7th, I will be signing books at the Beale Street Brews Gallery as part of the monthly First Friday celebration. Redneck’s Bar-b-Que is next dooor as is the Wine Cellar with sidewalk seating so plan on a full evening of fun, friends, music, and good food.
Saturday, May 15th, is the sixth annual KABAM fest. A literary festival that features yours truly and other award winning artist as well crafters and music in the park. That evening is the Downtown Spring Fair and second Chillin’ on Beale Street of the season.
Now, lets expand the scope a bit as there are a number of other events along Route 66 in the next few weeks that should be noted.
May 1-2 — Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival, from Joliet to Towanda, Ill.
May 7-8 – Tabouleh Fest, Bristow, Okla.
May 19-22 — Route 66 Rally, from Chicago to Los Angeles.
For more information about these events, and the latest news on Route 66, check out Route 66 News.
Okay, now for an update on Ghost Towns of the Southwest. I received notice this afternoon that the second printing is underway and books should be available by the first week of June. and some book stores, including a few Barnes & Noble locations, have them in stock.
Orders for signed copies of Ghost Towns of the Southwest, or Backroads of Arizona and Route 66 Backroads that are currently available, can be sent to the Kingman Route 66 Association. Prints and note cards are also available. A display of scenes availabe will be posted on Route 66 Info Center later next week.
For a truly unique Route 66 souvenir check out these one of a kind items. These are also excellent gift ideas for that fan of the double six in your life.


Well, it is official. I received notice today from the marketing manager that Ghost Towns of the Southwest is sold out and a second printing is under way to meet current as well as future orders. Wow!
This may sound like a bit of shameless self promotion and perhaps it is. However, the primary reason for noting this is astonishment.
As noted previously, few books sell more than 500 copies per year. The marketing manager noted the publisher figures it a success if a first printing sells within three years. This book was released in March of this year!
Now, if I can just figure out what we (the publisher, me, those who helped transform the idea into a book, the layout and editorial people, and the marketing team) did. I am not sure if I would use that secret formula to write another book that sells out in record time or take the easy road and sell the formula.
As you may have noticed posting has been rather sporadic in the past few days. I am sorry to say that this trend will continue until next Monday but rest assured I will have tales to tell. With that said, I would like to thank you for the patience and for making this book a success.
What a wild ride this has become. It is just like old times – cinch it down tight, say a quick prayer, and open the chute!
Tonight my dearest friend and will organize our new series of Route 66 prints and note cards that the Kingman Route 66 Association will be making available at the Bob Waldmire Memorial Exhibit at Beale Street Brews & Gallery during the month of May and on line after May 7.
These prints and cards in the first series are of western Arizona and will make excellent souvenirs as well as be a welcome edition to any office or den for a price that will fit the most modest budget. I should also note that the limited edition, signed and numbered prints, are still being sold through the Lile Fine Art Gallery in Amarillo.
Wednesday evenings dance card is already full. After work I will be having dinner with Bob Stevens of Cars & Parts magazine who is here for the Route 66 Fun Run in his very rare 1960 Edsel. Then its down to the gallery to assist in set up of the Bob Waldmire exhibit.
This will be the first Fun Run I have missed. As noted, I have a book signing in Burbank at Auto Books – Aero Books this Saturday. I should add that it might be a book signing for Route 66 Backroads and Backroads of Arizona only instead of the planned for three title show.
As this post seems to be digressing into shameless self promotion I might as well add another plug. If you are interested in scheduling a book signing drop me a note or contact Maurrie Salenger, the marketing manager at Voyageur Press at 612-344-8154.
Since it is the full time job that puts on the table I should also note that my schedule is currently full for every weekend in May with the exception of Memorial Day. However, as we are planning to motor east on Route 66 the last week of the month there is a possibility something could be coordinated.
Now, on May 1st a drawing from among those on Facebook registered as followers of Route 66 Chronicles will be held for a signed copy of Ghost Towns of the Southwest. I will notify the winner on Monday, May 3rd, and send the book as soon as it becomes available.
That takes us to the next item in the Hinckley promotional tour. If you would like a signed copy of this book, or other titles written, please let me know.  We are finalizing an arrangement with the Kingman Route 66 Association that will include this group responding to all requests and a percentage of each sale being donated to the association for use in their ongoing efforts to add some luster to the tarnished Route 66 gem that is Kingman.
Now, a couple of Route 66 items of note. The next Chillin’ on Beale Street is scheduled for May 15th and will coincide with the Downtown Spring Fair. So, if you are in the neighborhood my suggestion is you plan on spending the weekend in Kingman as a good time willbe had by one and all.
Again, thank you so very much for the support and patience.


You have to laugh. Without a sense of humor I really can not imagine how it would be possible to make it through this life. As an example, consider the past week in the life of a starving artist on Route 66.
Last Saturday, I started the day with the usual morning routine, worked until noon, ran home for a bite to eat, and rushed to a book signing scheduled for 12:30. In general a signing is more of an opportunity to meet and greet as sales at these events, at least in my experience, seldom exceed twelve copies.
Still, I enjoy them as it gives me an opportunity to meet the people buying my books and find out what they like and don’t like. As an added bonus I often meet interesting people that run the gamut from a World War II veteran who spent years running trucks on Route 66 to Jay Leno.
This signing started out with a surprise. I arrived about five minutes late and there was a line of people waiting with books in hand. Surprise two came when the store sold out of Ghost Towns of the Southwest in about twenty minutes.
I generally carry a case of books in the hope they would be needed for an emergency such as this. In more than six years of formal book signings this was the first time I did not have spare copies as there was a delay in filling my order. More on that in a moment.
The manager suggested I take names and phone numbers with a promise that signed copies would be available in seven days. As far as signing the books that would not be a problem as I pass the store on the way home every evening.
Well, I compiled a list of seventeen customers, some ordering two or more copies. It was not an ideal situation as some customers were purchasing the books as gifts and for that I was quite sorry that these needs could not be met. So, the best I could do was promise and provide a promotional post card.
Additionally, the store was well stocked with a previous book written, Route 66 Backroads I signed a dozen of these as well as copies of Cars & Parts magazine, a publication I write a monthly column for.
After the signing I went home to find a disc of photos from Jane Lee at the Missouri Department of Transportation had arrived so I correlated these and wrote captions. These are for the next book, Ghost Towns of Route 66.
I also took the opportunity to again edit the text. I have a tendency to worry over these projects like a dog with a bone and if it were not for deadlines they would most likely never evolve beyond a constantly edited file on the computer.
That evening we went down town for the first Chillin’ on Beale Street of the season and to meet Dale Butel and his Australian tour group. With near perfect temperatures a good time was had by one and all.
Then, early the next morning, I receive a call from an upset Dale. As it turns out the tour group encountered the bane of every small town, an absolute jerk that has zero tolerance for customers of any kind regardless of how much money they spend.
In this case it was an irate gas jockey and the incident was heated enough to almost come to blows. Rest assured, we are taking this complaint seriously and will rectify this problem before the next tour group comes to Kingman.
The rest of the week was a blur with a number of highlights, many of which led to the opening of this mornings post. The promised Bod Waldmire exhibit scheduled for May hit a snag that may have resulted in postponement so we, Chris Durkin and I, of the Kingman Route 66 Association, began initiating a plan “B” – some of our photography (my dearest friend and I) with some automobilia.
Then the material graciously provided by the Waldmire family arrived and the snags vanished, with the exception of the usual shortage of assistance. Complicating issues were the rescheduling of the Burbank signing from the 24th of April to the first of May a couple of weeks ago, which meant I would not be here for the opening or be available for set up.
The next item to push the hysterical laughter switch up another notch was an email from the book store owner in Burbank pertaining to an inability to obtain copies of Ghost Towns of the Southwest. Her order was returned with a note indicating the book was sold out and that there would be notification when it was available!
An overwhelming number of books sell only 500 copies per year. The Big Book of Car Culture took five years to sell the first printing of 5,000 copies and that was after being awarded the bronze medal at the International Automotive Media Awards. Backroads of Arizona required 18 months to go into a second printing. The ghost town book was released the first of March 2010!
This was really good news but it was also really bad news. Now we are less than two weeks from a major signing and the customers in Kingman were expecting books by the end of the week.
On the same day, I receive another call from Jay Leno. We talked a bit about steam powered automobiles and the proposed interview for his website. I should note that at a book signing in 2009 at the Burbank store we missed him by twenty minutes but received a call from him thanking me for a signed magazine. We have yet to meet in person.
With that in mind the joke got even funnier. He would be available on the 24th, the original date scheduled for the signing, but not the week after, the week that I would be there.
Then, last evening, my wife and I stop by the book store to pick up a birthday gift. I thought it would a great time to check and see, if by chance, the store had received the copies promised to customers last Saturday.
I asked the book department clerk about them. She had no clue what I was talking about. The assistant store manager gave me a blank look even though the books were stacked in plain sight on the special order shelf.
So, I offered to sign the books and even call the customers for the store. You will like this – I was told that it would be best to wait until Saturday evening when the manager was in because, “You might be a random book defiler.”
This in spite of my name being on the cover, a name that matched my license and credit card and store card. So, today we will try that again.
In the mean time there is a scramble to get books for next week in Burbank with the back up plan being signing Backroads of Arizona and Route 66 Backroads. In the mean time I am a scheduled author, with copies of Ghost Towns of the Southwest promised at the KABAM festival on May 15, and possibly at another signing at the First Friday event held in conjunction with the Bob Waldmire exhibit at the Beale Street Gallery.
So, the next week looks like this. In addition to the job that actually pays the bills- one more edit, more captions, package the whole thing for shipping to the publisher on Monday, having prints made to serve as a background for the Bob Walmire exhibit, press releases, a couple of interviews, and getting the Jeep ready for an 800 plus mile, two day trip.
Friday, I work until six, will go home and grab a few hours sleep to hit the road for Burbank at 3:00 AM. Then its the book signing, with another informal signing at Barnes & Noble in Calabasas.
Sunday, its two informal signings – one in Malibu and one in Oxnard, a couple of photo stops along Route 66, and home. Monday, its a part day at the office, get things together for the First Friday exhibit and for the visit with a Czech group touring Route 66 that will be in Kingman on the 4th of May as well as play catch up on correspondence.
Now, in answer to questions about why I do this. It is the most fun a person can ever have and it would seem that I have been blessed with a gift that it would be shame not to develop and use.
The second reason is a childhood quest to become a writer when I grow up. This is now coupled to an all consuming passion to avoid spending my senior years as a greeter at Walmart.
Last, but not least, sharing my adventures as a starving artist on Route 66 seems to help brighten folks day. It also can be used by parents trying to encourage their kids to get an education and a real job.