The title for this post is derived from a time in my life that I now refer to as my “John Wayne” period, a scant couple of years where the romanticism of the American southwest, fueled by countless cinematic epics and long hours spent with vintage fiction as well as biographies, compelled me to cast aside good sense and earn my pay polishing saddles with my back side under a blazing sun. Suffice to say these were truly the best and worst of times – long hours, $8.00 per day plus board and use of a truck, grueling, injury plagued work with some of the most colorful characters on earth amidst some of the most stunning scenery on the planet.
Those days, in particular those crazy times when I actually thought rodeo was a good idea, and the exhilaration that came from what I hoped would be an eight second ride come rushing back on days like the ones of the past few week. Everything around you seems a blur, the focus narrows to a very fine point, the breath catches in your chest, a short prayer is whispered, the chute opens, and the ride begins!
Within the past seven days I have finalized plans for the long awaited Route 66 odyssey (postings may be spotty for the next week), negotiated a thrilling new book contract, had family issues that included my mother going to the hospital, prepared the Jeep for the journey, and had a non stop week of trial and tribulation at the office. The latter included a day where circumstances resulted in running the office as well as handling the prerequisite truck preparations before rental.
As an added bonus, the pastor in Peach Springs has requested I take the church on the first Sunday in June, project Destination Kingman (see this group page on Facebook) is nearing the point of official debut, the Kingman Route 66 Association has charted the first victory in the ongoing battle to restore the glow of vintage neon to Route 66 in Kingman, and the initial preparation for promotion of Ghost Towns of Route 66 is gearing up.
With the second printing of Ghost Towns of the Southwest the positive reviews are pouring in. The resultant excitement and anticipation is almost unbearable.
ACTIVITY #1: Review Escapees, May/June 2010 (circulation 38,000)
“This latest book is another fabulous work of Jim Hinckley, who recently gave us those wonderful Route 66 books…The photos by Kerrick James are simply fabulous and give a tangible flavor to the dramatic landscapes. Even if you never travel to these places, the photos are worth the price of the book.”
ACTIVITY #2: Excerpt RV Life, May 2010 (circulation 55,000)
RV Life ran a full page excerpt from the chapter on Hackberry, Arizona including tag line on the cover and 2 Kerrick James photos from the book

ACTIVITY #3: AAA Arizona Highroads, May/June (circulation 450,000)
In the “Looking Back” section, there is a profile of Jerome , Arizona with excerpted material from the book including the author’s photo of Jerome from a 1922 postcard with the book’s cover, credits and ordering information. is always a sigh of relief when a book is finished. This is soon followed by a gnawing sense of worry about how well it will be recieved, the possibility that a mileage or highway number was transposed and not caught during the editorial process, or that the books release will be heralded by a plethora of very, very bad press reviews.
It would seem concerns about this book, as with previous ones written, were unfounded. Now, I can take a deep breath and bask in the satisfaction that my gift for telling folks where to go in such a manner they look forward to the trip has manifested in another appreciated book that encourages people to explore.
This leads us to the next order of business, the new book. Details are being finalized and as a result I can only offer a few teasers.
It will be Route 66 related. It will be the largest work yet undertaken (100,000 plus words and more than 500 illustrations), it will be far more than mere shelf filler or rehased material, and, I hope, it will add fuel to the fires of passion that are igniting a new era on this iconic
The great Route 66 odyssey is mere hours away (23 hours, 46 minutes). For us it means the thrice postponed adventure is finally at hand. For my son it is also a vacation of sorts as he has free reign of HInckley Manor with all its amenities.
Giving the neighbors the impression we are about to embark on a very long safari is the wide array of gear being loaded into the Jeep including a shovel (we are going to look for early alignments of the highway in Arizona and New Mexico), jack, tools, an oversized ice chest, first aid kit, compass (no GPS for the Hinckley hillbillies), a new book, Crosley, to unwind with in the evenings, the 1946 guide book by Jack Rittenhouse, and Jerry McCalanahans “can’t travel without” EZ 66 Guide.
The overkill on gear is more than a Boy Scout themed “be prepared” way of thinking about all contingencies that may arise. It is based on previous adventures that we seem to get into now that we own a Jeep.
Consider the first voyage of the Jeep, the subject of a post from last year about lost highways. Suffice to say it was a cross between Mr. Toad’s wild ride, a mid life crisis gone awry, and general good old fashioned fun.
That adventure left me wondering why we waited so long to purchase a Jeep. It also left me very grateful for being blessed with such a good friend to share a midlife crisis with.

As this is to be a vacation, the first that wasn’t a drive worthy of a long haul trucker, and a whirlwind weekend getaway/business trip in more than a year my marching orders (from a very dear friend whom I seem to have given cause for worry in recent weeks) is to relax. With that front and center of the game plan, and Route 66 the overall theme, this is largely a let the chips fall where they may, no clocks, limited schedule, reservation free, adventure on America’s most fanmous highway.
There are two exceptions. Room reservations were made for one night at an iconic Holbrook institution and another in Springfield.
As noted, postings may be a bit scarce or even nonexistent for the next week. Say tuned as we will have a great deal to share with you on our return including motel and restaurant information, updates on must see attractions, and some great photos that I hope will inspire you to take to the road.
Before you go, don’t forget your journal!

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