On more than one occasion I have noted that in my world there is a certain disconnect between Jim Hinckley, the writer, and Jim Hinckley, the former rounder turned respectable citizen and hardworking family man. Simply put, I find it difficult to see myself in the individual on stage and in the spotlight.
After more than twenty years of sharing my adventures on the road less traveled by trading the written word for cash, or a wiring harness for the truck, or two tickets to San Francisco or … I have become accustomed to seeing my name in a byline even in somewhat prestigious publications. But in the past year or so those occasions when the flash of the spotlight leaves me standing like a deer staring into headlights are becoming more common but this has not made it any easier to merge the two Jim’s.
Last year it was interviews with Jay Leno, with Tonya Mock on AM Arizona, with National Public Radio, and the BBC. This year it is Michael Wallis asking for an autographed copy of my book, Ghost Towns of Route 66, and people from Switzerland stopping by the office to have me sign their book as well as t-shirt.
Then, today, I picked up the August issue of True West magazine. Yes, I had advance knowledge that they were going to excerpt selections from Ghost Towns of Route 66, my fourth project with Kerrick James, photographic artist as partner, and yes, I saw the PDF proofs upon my return from Amarillo. 
Still, nothing prepared me for the superb layout featuring text from the introduction of the book and select images, as well as a slick map of Route 66 highlighting points of interest such as the museum in Clinton, Oklahoma, and the museum in Pontiac, Illinois, and a time line of key events in the highways history. Giving this an even more dreamlike feel is the fact that I used to buy this magazine withhard earned allowance money at Desert Drug, the same place Bob Bell, Executive Editor of True West, purchased his copies as a kid.
Another delightful surprise was the discovery that I was not alone in representing Route 66 in this issue of that publication. On page 82, was a very favorable review of Joe Sonderman’s book, Route 66 Missourihttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0764334131&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr.
For those who are unfamiliar with Joe or his work, he is the author of several excellent books as well as the gate keeper for a vast repository of Route 66 time capsules in the form of post cards. His generosity in allowing authors to access his collection, including me, have meant the difference between bland, dead books, and books that grab the attention and entice the reader to turn pages.
However, what truly left me speechless wasn’t the fact I had received such accolades from a publication admired since childhood, or to find I was in very good company, it was the caption that accompanied a thumb nail image of the books cover. “This article is excerpted from Ghost Towns of Route 66, written by Jim Hinckley with photography by Kerrick James. Both are recipients of True West’s 2011 Best Photographers of the Year honor.”
This was not something I had prior knowledge of. I was learning this along with everyone else who picked up a copy.
Over the years I have managed, with a certain degree of success, to imitate a mechanic, powder man, jack leg operator, cowboy, manager, repossessor, truck driver, preacher, and writer without being caught or causing undue injury to myself or anyone else. Now I am being called out for imitating a photographer! Wow!

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