If todays post title caught your attention I hope you won’t be disappointed to learn that the reference is to convertibles, not spring break type activities. Initial plans for the August edition of Chillin’ on Beale Street, scheduled for the evening of the 21st, called for a salute to Mopar.
Now, as plans gel, it looks like the sponsoring Kingman Route 66 Association is going for something a bit more daring, hence the topless on Route 66 theme. In addition, the evenings activities are being expanded to include a cruise in the historic district coupled with special evening hours at the Power House Visitor Center and Route 66 Museum.
It would seem this group of independent thinking individuals is unleashing the collective imagination, or setting themselves up for an insanity plea. The tentative plans for the September event are a salute to the American road trip that includes the world premier of a new book, Greetings from Route 66http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=076033885X&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr, a road trip film festival, and, of course, the usual anything with wheels auto show on Beale Street that in the past has resulted in displays of everything from vintage Fords and Hudsons to motorcycles, bicycles, hot rods, and even motor homes.
Proposed themes for these events have been, at the very least, different. “The wildlife comes out at night on Route 66” with the focus on the Impala, Cougar, Bobcat, etc.
“An evening with dead presidents on Route 66.” Lincoln and Ford would be the primary focus but what about representatives of automobiles bearing the Roosevelt, Wilson, Adams, or Washington nameplate?
Once you start down this strange path there is no telling where it will end. A Mike on Bike night with special prizes to anyone named Mike on a bike – motorcycle, bicycle, unicycle, tricycle, etc.? The running of the ponies to celebrate the Kentucky Derby with the spot light being on the Mustang, Bronco, Pinto, etc.? A mother trucker themed event for mothers day with gals and their trucks being the centerpiece?
Stay tuned for details and mark your calendars for the third Saturday of the month. It looks as though things are about to get very interesting on Route 66 in Kingman, Arizona.



In previous posts I utilized the experiences during the “John Wayne” phase of my life to construct a rodeo analogy to describe the whirlwind that is my life. Well, that descriptor is no longer adequate unless we expand on the rodeo theme to something similar to the story of Pecos Bill riding the tornado.

The week began with a heavy hearted drive east along Route 66 to Peach Springs on Sunday morning. The pastor at the church there that has served as my mentor for a number of years is stepping down and moving into missionary work so the service was tinged with sadness even though it was a rather exuberant outpouring of appreciation from the community as well as from churches as far away as Gallup, New Mexico, and Peru.

The afternoon was consumed with organization of the office and composition of a quasi press release soliciting information as well as assistance in regards to the current project, a Route 66 encyclopedia and atlas (a copy was attached to yesterdays post). Monday morning, a day off from the job that supports the writing habit, was spent sending this out to Route 66 related organizations, businesses, museums, and historic societies.
Ron Warnick picked up on this and posted it on his news site, one of the best clearing houses for Route 66 information on the web, Route 66 News. I was unaware of just how much this project was weighing on me until the responses began pouring in.
Monday afternoon was devoted to writing and by 5:00, I had pushed the word count to almost 15,000 words. That interprets out to about 1% and I still have seventeen months to go!

My dearest friend and patient partner spent several hours of the evening working with me as I evaluated photos on hand, post cards in the collection that were suitable for illustrations, and initial compilation of a list of sites that we would like to photograph. This left us with just enough time to spend a quiet hour with the Sopranos.

Here are two that will have to find their way into the new book. The photo of Endee with its modern restrooms has nice comedic overtones and the emptiness of the road in the California desert has a forlorn beauty that is difficult to describe.
From the moment my key turned in the door at the office on Tuesday, I knew it was going to be one of those days. It was as though someone had kicked over an ant hill from beginning to end.
Focus on a long anticipated evening kept me from doing something rash like screaming as I ran down the street naked or sitting in a mud puddle, farting, and laughing like a loon. Before I knew it the exhausting day was at an end, and it was off to Rednecks Southern Pit BBQ on Beale Street one block north of Route 66 in the historic district.
This place rates very high on my list of overlooked treasures in Kingman. Excellent food, a very reasonable price, and simple atmosphere always ensure a delightful evening.
Last night the dinner was merely the backdrop for a memorable evening shared with friends new and old. There was Dries Bessels, a friend from Holland and member of the Dutch Route 66 Association, Chris Durkin of the Kingman Downtown Merchants Association and the Kingman Route 66 Association with his lovely wife, Daylene, my son and his fiance, my dearest friend, and John Patt and his son from the Desert Diamond Distillery. As an added bonus we had a surprise guest, Hansen, the grandson of my pastor in Peach Springs. Have you ever seen a more motley crew?
And now the rest of the week … The day job, writing at night, dinner with Dale Butel from Australia on Saturday afternoon, truck repair, a possible article for the Arizona Republic, and the mundane things of life that add seasoning and spice. Isn’t life grand!



If all goes well I should be back on track for daily posts. In the past week or so the schedule got just a little out of hand – dental issues, full time job, care of an elderly parent, chasing photos for us as illustrations for the monthly column The Independent Thinker published by Cars & Parts magazine, and a situation with the church in Peach Springs would be the highlights. Woven into this somewhat chaotic routine were the more mundane, time consuming tasks that consume most of our days. 
Meanwhile, I have been promoting Ghost Towns of the Southwesthttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0760332215&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr, that in less than three months seems to be selling in numbers that exceed those of previous books written after two years of availability! At this rate the childhood dream of becoming a writer when I grow up may come to fruition.
As I await the release of Greetings from Route 66, and the final edit for Ghost Towns of Route 66, the attention has centered on the new project – a Route 66 encyclopedia and atlas. My hope is this will be far more than a mere reference book.
I want it to be historically accurate as well as relevant. I also want it to fuel the resurgent interest in the highway and be useful as a promotional tool for businesses along the highway such as Afton Station, the Wagon Wheel Motel, and Henry’s Rabbit Ranch.
So, I composed this summary and am distributing it to businesses, associations, museums, and historic socieities along the highway. I am also sending it to international Route 66 associations to ensure a relevancy that can only be accomplished by including the perspective of the tourist from Europe, Australia, and Asia.
Here is your chance to really contribute to the history of Route 66:
Voyageur Press/Quayside Publishing – publisher

Text and photography by Jim Hinckley, author of Ghost Towns of the Southwest, Backroads of Arizona, Route 66 Backroads, The Big Book of Car Culture, Ghost Towns of Route 66 (fall 2010), and contributor for the compilation Greetings from Route 66 (fall 2010).

To ensure this work is historically correct, provides a comprehensive overview of Route 66, and is as current as possible, I am petitioning historic societies, museums, businesses, and Route 66 organizations for assistance in the form of suggestions for material to be included, contact information, historic information, and information pertaining to the acquisition of material to be used as illustrations.

General topics for inclusion:

Community profile – a profile of each community on all alignments of Route 66. (This would include the forgotten and often overlooked places such as Endee, Goffs, and Jericho.)

Biographies – concise biographical sketches of individuals that have played key roles in the roads history. Examples; Bob Waldmire, Cyrus Avery, Micahel Wallis, etc.
Notable events that are directly associated with Route 66 or its predecessor auto trails such as the National Old Trails Highway or Ozark Trail. Examples; the Desert Classic automobile races 1908 – 1914, the Bunion Derby, etc.

Predecessor highway history – the National Old Trails Highway, Ozark Trail, etc.

Current businesses and their history – this category would be historic or new businesses such as Pops in Arcadia and Afton Station in Afton.

Historic businesses now closed – examples for this category would include the Painted Desert Trading Post and Coral Court Motel.

Route 66 entertainment – television shows and movies filmed on Route 66 or locations that were used in these films.

Personal stories – short stories of personal experiences on Route 66 that will serve to illustrate its evolution.

My goal with this project is to chronicle the first 85 years of Route 66 history, to preserve it for future generations, and to further fuel the resurgent interest in the highway. Thank you for the assistance –
Jim Hinckley
1308 Stockton Hill Rd.
Suite A, PMB 228
Kingman, AZ 86401-5190



Wow! Time flies when your having fun, or working the behind off to keep your head above water.
On a daily basis I receive at least half a ton of interesting stuff in the snail mail as well as email box. Much of it pertains to suggestions, compliments on work written, invitations to donate or speak in support of a cause, or complaints about something written.
I enjoy it all. It allows me to feel as though the work is not all fluff, that I am actually making a contribution to the world in general.
Well, in recent days there has been a general theme to much of the mail received. It would seem that lists of recommended attractions, restaurants, sites, museums, etc. are being written by numerous publications.
This served as a reminder that I have been delinquent in compiling my annual destination list. So, without further fanfare here is my top ten list of places to see in 2010.

1) Afton Station – Afton Oklahoma – there is something really special about Afton Station. There is an atmosphere of friendliness and charm that invites lingering visits, long talks, and simply slowing the pace.
I also found it fascinating to see how well the past and present blend seamlessly here. To stand in front and look across the street (Route 66) is to stare into small town America shortly after the highways that served as Main Street were abandoned for the hustle and bustle of the interstate and corporate box stores made it impossible for mom and pop shops to compete.

On the inside are a sampling of the crown jewels of the American automobile industry. Packards, Studebakers, and even a Hupmobile draw the eye with their fine art curves, gleaming chrome, and the faintest hint of raw power.
2) Pops – Arcadia – Oklahoma – this is the ghost of Christmas future on Route 66. The new, the modern, and the facade of the past is encapsulated here as a snap shot of Route 66 for a new generation.
The spirit of the old roadside business and the pulsating excitement of the new presented against a backdrop of hundreds of colorful soda bottles quicken the spirit. This is a stop not to be missed.

3) Painted Desert Trading Post – Arizona – it takes an explorers heart and a pilgrims soul to find this forgotten roadside oasis. Haunting, forlorn, and meditative are three descriptors that come to mind.
The setting is one of timeless beauty on the very edge of the Painted Desert. The old bridge across the Dead River and the empty shell of the Painted Desert Trading Post appear as remnants from a lost civilization.
If you visit be respectful of this fragile time capsule. Help ensure it is here for another generation of explorers.
4) Sitgreaves Pass – Arizona – the views from this summit on the pre 1952 alignment of Route 66 are truly breathtaking. To the east loom the towering Hualapai Mountains. To the west, the Colorado River Valley and the vast moonscapes of the Mojave Desert.

If your fortunate enough to be here at sunset do not rush the experience. Savor it as you would the rarest treat on earth.
5) Midpoint Cafe – Adrian – Texas – in Adrian time has stood still and Route 66 is still the  Main Street of America. In the Midpoint Cafe the theme continues as you step through the door from the modern era into the world of the 1950s.

Fresh pie, good coffee, and even better conversation are always the order of the day here. Time slows to a crawl and with each bite of pie the tension and stress of the day slip further and further away.
6) Wigwam Motel – Holbrook – Arizona – this is a truly rare treat, a roadside business that has not been recreated but that has survived intact. It is almost as though this delightful treasure was transported in its entirety from 1960 to 2010.

The furnishings, the lobby, the atmosphere, the proprietor, and the guests exude this lost world. Only the intrusion of the modern automobile shatters the illusion.
7) Hassayampa Inn – Prescott – Arizona – here is an opportunity to step into the world of the Great Gatsby. With an attention to detail this hotel, as well as accompanying bar and restaurant, was restored to its 1920s splendor providing a rare opportunity to experience the world before the advent of the chain motel or airline travel.

The genteel opulence of the lobby, the simplistic decor of the rooms, and the opportunity to dine surrounded by almost a century of history make this a great destination. As an added bonus it is mere blocks to the heart of the Prescott historic district including legendary Whiskey Row.
8) Crown King – Arizona – this frontier era mining camp high in the Bradshaw Mountains may not be a ghost town in the traditional since but it is a mere shadow of what once was. Highlights included the saloon relocated from Bradshaw City in about 1880 and a new restaurant opened in the old stamp mill.
Getting there is more than half the fun. For the adventuresome with a sturdy vehicle that provides ground clearance there is the territorial era Senator Highway, a 35 mile, four hour drive through some of the most spectacular back country in Arizona and through more than a century of history. 
Plan “B” is for those who prefer their adventure a bit more refined. Still, this drive along the old rail bed as it twists higher and higher into the mountains on a series of switchbacks is not for the faint of heart.

9) Hualapai Mountain Park – Arizona – located less than a dozen miles south of Kingman, Arizona this is truly an oasis, a pine covered, shade dapple island in a sea of desert. Fine dining at the lodge, miles of hiking trails, and lost mines are just a few of the treasures found here.
If your travels take you to this part of Arizona during the months of winter, come play in the snow and watch majestic elk framed against stunning mountain backdrops.

10) Bisbee- Arizona – imagine an entire mining town, a modern metropolis with the most modern conveniences of 1910, suspended in time. Now set it in a stunning landscape of towering mountains and colorful, narrow canyons. This is Bisbee.
To stroll its twisted, narrow, steep streets, to spend an evening at the historic Copper Queen Hotel, and to savor a quiet evening on the porch at the hotel is to experience a world more than a century past. Bisbee is more than a stop, it is a destination for the vacation of a life time.
If you would like to know more about my favorite vacation destinations I suggest these two books. If you need more ideas, or would like more information about the places in these books, drop me a note. http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0760326894&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrhttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=076032817X&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr
Happy Trails!



In reviewing the posts of the last few weeks, number 600 through 617, there seems to be a recurrent theme of odd ball titles. This cursory exploration left me with the impression that I am well on the road to becoming one of those eccentric old folks with a right of center, southwest of left world view that derives a great deal of pleasure from sharing their version of reality whether anyone is interested in hearing it or not. 

Today’s title was derived from this photo taken last year in the Hualapai Mountains, yesterday’s return visit to the dentist, an inability to find reasonable health care coverage due to my advanced age, the realization that fifty is fast fading from view in the mirror, the awakening that if something doesn’t change soon I will be paying off the mortgage about the time social security checks start rolling in, and a face to face encounter with a cold, hard fact of life – I really can’t afford to die. Nor do I have time for that.
Simply put, in recent weeks an uncomfortable feeling that I am suspended somewhere between youth and that magical point in time where we become the aged wise man which in turn sparks equal waves of depression and euphoria has developed. Its a very odd place to be.

On Saturday evening we were at Chillin’ on Beale Street when a realization of age belied the fact that in my mind I am still twenty, plus a year or two. It was sparked by the adoration being lavished on a light blue Ford identical to the one my dad purchased as a year end close out new car, the first car I ever drove on the streets.
This cold dash of reality gave me a clarity of vision that was almost startling in nature. In an instant I noticed how youthful the face of the police officers were and with a jolt realized these men were young enough to be my son!
This journey into reality continued on Monday, first at the dentist office and then when working on the Route 66 encyclopedia.
It would seem age, a misspent youth that included a bit of pugilistic activity, and a skipped appointment or two with the dentist, coupled to a recent accident involving a chain and my face has culminated in the need for dental surgery with a price tag that should consume my Model A Ford truck fund and then some.
Then, later that afternoon, I was working on the encyclopedia when it came me – I was writing about an event now considered historical and was only marginally referring to notes. I was writing from memory as a witness to that event!
With giddiness it hit me, my physical age has almost caught up with my philosophical age. Even as a kid it was often said I was the youngest little old man in the neighborhood. My ma used to tell me it was as though I was born ninety and never got any older.
The advantage here should be obvious. There is no mid life crisis. There are no senior years. I can get the senior discounts that in all honesty should have been given to me on my 19th birthday. There is simply business as usual with only the body to pay the price.
So, the euphoria comes with the realization the golden years will be just like my young adult years. The waves of depression come with the realization the body is not always going to go along.
Well, there is no cure for life so it is best to earn those laugh lines rather than worry lines.