Where do you begin when the time is short and the subjects run the gamut from Kingman tourism, from the legendary GTO to ghost towns, from Route 66 to Harley Davidson motorcycles? Lets start with Harley Davidson. Several years ago the company wisely began linking the legendary motorcycle with iconic Route 66 in its advertising. Now, a new promotional campaign expands on that theme but this is only one example of the international appeal of Route 66 as evidenced by the wide array of companies looking to promote their products by utilizing the most famous highway in America.I recently read an article pertaining to marketing and it was stated that of the top five locations used as backdrops for advertising campaigns three were on Route 66. In fact, the number two location was Roy’s Cafe in Amboy and this was for products being marketed throughout the world.
This leads me to the second topic, destination Kingman. After decades of false starts and even a few successes such as the refurbishment of the old power house into a world class attraction and the Route 66 Fun Run, it appears that efforts to transform Kingman from a stop into a destination are well underway.
With the Kingman Route 66 Association as ring leader, a number of diverse groups and entities are being brought together to pool resources and avoid duplicated efforts that waste precious resources of time and money. As an example consider this past Saturday; the Kingman Area Books Are magic Festival filled shade dappled Metcalf Park with authors, artists and music, Martin Swanty Chrysler provided trucks to pull the trams donated by the Kingman Army Airfield Museum and other groups providing transportation to the Kingman Downtown Merchants Spring Fair with the Beale Street Brews & Gallery, and the Bob Waldmire Memorial exhibit as the center piece. That evening the vendors from the spring fair were replaced by rows of vintage vehicles and garishly painted hot rods as the second Chillin’ on Beale Street unfolded. Visitors to Kingman are encouraged to escape the confines of the motel and unwind after a long day on the road by joining in on the festivities. To keep visitors informed, or to aid in their trip planning, a group, Destination Kingman, has been established on Facebook, and a calendar of events heads the opening page of Route 66 Info Center. Long delayed projects that are now on the fast track toward completion include restoration and refurbishment of the City Cafe sign and its placement in the parking lot at the Mohave Museum of History & Arts. If all goes well the soft neon glow from this sign will again shine on Route 66 by the end of summer. On the new project front a radical and ambitious idea is being pitched to transform Andy Devine Avenue, from the Mohave Museum of History & Arts to a point half way up El Trovatore Hill, into a one way east bound corridor and Beale Street to Grandview at Metcalf park being converted to one way west bound lanes. The idea was sparked by the success Williams, Arizona has had in spurring revitalization of its historic business district. Another component in the effort to transform Kingman into a destination are promotion of its proximity to a number of fascinating and easily accessed ghost towns. In addition to Oatman and Chloride, two of the more famous locales, there is also Hackberry, a former frontier era mining boom town and service center for travelers on Route 66, and Cerbat, a former county seat nestled in a beautiful canyon.http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0760332215&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrOn a personal note, I have tangible evidence that indicates the subjects of ghost towns are extremely popular. As noted previously, my most recent book, Ghost Towns of the Southwest, sold the first printing in less than sixty days! To put that in perspective, two previous titles sold the first printings in just under two years. Another title took five years to reach this milestone. My book delved into the towns found in Arizona and new Mexico, including those built by the Spanish as frontier outposts and Native American’s as trade centers. People associate the desert southwest with ghost towns, but how about Nebraska, the Midwest, or the northwesthttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0896585921&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr?With that lead in, I suggest you consider these titles if you are interested in ghost towns or travel to forgotten places not often considered vacation destinations. That segway takes to the next order of business. Several months ago I launched a series of limited edition, signed and numbered, prints on ghost towns of the southwest that are being sold through the Lile Fine Art Gallery in Amarillo. For the budget minded collector who is looking more for ambiance or color than investment potential, we have a new series of 11×14 inch prints, and note cards, profiling ghost towns as well as select Route 66 and southwestern sites that will be available after June 1. The prints retail for $19.95 and are also offered at wholesale prices in quantities of 12. A percentage of each sale will be donated to the Kingman Route 66 Association.
Here is an example. This photo is of an old mill in Cerbat. The next item of interest are books, in particular highly recommended titles for vintage automobile fans. Each of these books are more than shelf filler or color for the coffee table. The first is the definitive work on GTO. Through concise, well researched text, and museum quality photography the legendary “Goat”, the car that kicked the muscle car movement into high gear, David Holstrom and David Newhardt build a veritable shrine to one of America’s most famous post war http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=076033515X&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrclassics. The next title on the list is for those who manifest their love for vintage automobiles with skinned knuckles and grease under the fingernails. This well written, easily understood, and heavily illustrated book on http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1932494960&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrMustang restoration is the latest in a long series of specific titles from this publisher. Each covers a particular model or skill such as body work. The last item of the day pertains to the forthcoming road trip. Final dates and arrangements are still pending but chances are there will be no posts for seven days. I do not have a lap top as of yet and still prefer the simple, hand written journal for road notes. I sell the blank journals, with a Route 66 themed cover, through our gift shop accessed via the link at the top of the post column. Among the items to be resolved are my sons schedule that will allow him to assume the role of guardian and caretaker of the homestead, a caregiver for mother, and Jeep repairs. I have decided to avoid reservations or a set schedule where applicable so that is a nonissue.This is to be a vacation, something that is not feasible when trying to keep a schedule. The exceptions will be for appearances, book signings, or to meet with friends along the way which will be listed on the schedule tab above. The target destination is Springfield in Missouri as we will have only seven days. The loose plan is Route 66 east with a return through Kansas to U.S. 56, south to Las Vegas, New Mexico, and then follow the pre 1937 alignment to Albuquerque. Again, dependant on promotional scheduling, we will allow the road to dictate which might mean we make it no further than Amarillo. See you on the road soon!