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UNDER THE BIG TOP

I apologize for the delay in posting updates. As is often the case in my world things have been just a tad bit hectic.First, there was the holiday. For as long as I can remember Memorial Day was a finely blended mix of flag waving patriotism, lip service to those who wave those flags with sincere gratitude from those who hope the lip service will translate into votes, and those who see the holiday as a solemn occasion to remember those who have fallen to preserve American imperialism. I am inspired by the first group, disgusted by the second, and saddened by the latter.In our home one aspect of our celebration is to inspire a little meditation on something aside from our daily spin on the treadmill by watching a solid portrayal of what it means to be a veteran. An excellent example of this type of film would be Private Ryan. This year we tried the new film, Red Tails. The acting was somewhat flat but overall it presents a fairly inspirational look at the prejudices that stained America during the second world war and how an illustrious group of men rose above that to do their part in stemming the tide of tyranny in Europe during this period. It was unplanned but on Monday morning I finished reading Hitler and His Secret Partners by James Pool. For those with a strong stomach and an open mind, I highly recommend this book. It presents a very disturbing behind the scenes picture of Nazi Germany. But the most troubling aspect is how much of the behind the scenes manipulations seem relevant and as fresh as this mornings news. Now, lets talk Route 66. Sam and Monica, the inspirational and visionary proprietors of the historic El Trovatore Motel in Kingman are kicking off a grand reopening as well as introducing a new service. Lets start with the special introductory rates.From June 7Th through June 10Th, they are doubling room rates which makes them $7.66 per night plus tax. Did I forget to mention that during this special they are doubling the original room rate from 1939? Imagine following asleep under the watchful gaze of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, or Andy Devine with the soft, soothing glow of colorful neon to accentuate your dreams for less than the price of a good meal. Now that is a bargain!Reservations will not be accepted for this special rate. Availability is based on a first come, first served basis and a major credit card is required. The new service they are introducing is a Kingman (El Trovatore Motel) to Laughlin, Nevada shuttle service. Today through the 10th of June the introductory rate is $7.66 per person each way.This takes me to the next topic of discussion. Last evening I spoke to a group of community and business leaders about Route 66, how communities on that highway are using the resurgent interest as a catalyst for development and improvement, and the assets Kingman has for harnessing this wave of interest. I was unsure about what the response would be but was still surprised by the turnout. Steve Wagner, the organizer for the event, had asked that reservations be made as seating was limited to fifty but we ended up with that number plus a few walk ins.It would seem there has been a bit of confusion about the Jim Hinckley Studio (see link above). This is not a brick and mortar gallery in Kingman but an on line gallery for the sale of our photographic work. We chose this path to resolve issues with international orders. 

The legendary Blue Swallow Motel, our home awayfrom home during our stay in Tucumcari. 

This isn’t to say that a physical gallery isn’t in the planning stages or that we haven’t even entertained the idea of trying to establish a shop in Europe or Australia. The problem here is finding a suitable location, ideally somewhere on Route 66, and a location that would have low enough overhead to make the venture somewhat profitable. Perhaps it would be easier to pony up and find someone with an established business that would like to add an additional opportunity for revenue as well as marketing. Is there anyone interested in adding a Jim Hinckley Studio and or a Jim Hinckley Studio and book store to their shop or museum? Meanwhile, there will most likely be a gap in postings next week as we take to the road for the Wheels on 66 event in Tucumcari, the kick off for the New Mexico Motor Tour, and leave our son and his family in charge of the circus. As always, I promise lots of details and photos upon our return. Please keep the emails and comments coming. As has been my custom since launching this blog, each will receive a personal response. 

  

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EXCITEMENT AT EVERY TURN ON ROUTE 66

If your a fan of the double six, I have a wide array of very exciting information to share. If your not a fan as of yet, perhaps a few of these items with help jump start that transition. First, we have some announcements from the management of 66 The Mother Road, an e-zine that is kicking off its second year in a very big way. An incredible contest that provides an awesome advertising opportunity as well as a little something for every fan of the double six that registers, and advertising specials that are sure to benefit the Route 66 community are the big headliners.

Anything as internationally popular as Route 66 is bound to attract a few charlatans, snake oil salesman, and medicine shows, those fast talkers who promise the moon but vanish like snow in Amboy in July once they have your money in their pocket. Well, with that in mind John and Judy Springs decided that the best way to serve the Route 66 community was to publish your advertisement before sending an invoice, a policy they initiated with issue number one and that continues as they kick off year number two. To celebrate their second year the Spring’s cooked up “The Big Palooza”, a contest designed to offer businesses, museums, and attractions along Route 66 an opportunity for some budget promotion, to put Cuba, Missouri in the spotlight, and to provide fans of the highway with some quality prizes is in full swing. Details and free, no strings attached registration are available on the website and the magazine itself (to open, click on the cover image).The next item on the list is a formal grand opening for the Jim Hinckley Studio with an Arizona and Route 66 gallery to select images from. Now through June 1, there is a discount of 10% on all orders. The promo code is “Route 66.”If you plan on motoring west, or east, on the double six in the first weeks of June, and those travels take you to New Mexico may I suggest Wheels on 66 in Tucucmcari, the kick off for the New Mexico Motor Tour? The event is shaping up to be a major one as numerous Route 66 celebrities will be in attendance – Joe Sonderman, Jim Ross, Jerry McClanahan, and Shellee Graham – to name but a few.

Author Jim Hinckley with the Route 66 Tour spring tour at Cadiz Summit in California along old Route 66.

Dale Butel of Brisbaine, Australia based Route 66 Tours is adding a new twist to the classic Route 66 tour in 2013. Blending golf at some of the most beautiful courses in America and the adventure of Route 66 is bound to be a winning combination for the folks in the land down under.One more? On Wednesday evening at 6:00, at Buccillis in Kingman (1921 Club), I will be addressing a group about the resurgent interest in Route 66, how communities are utilizing that interest as a catalyst for development, and the potential for Kingman. Seating is limited to fifty so an RSVP is required. For more information contact Steve Wagner, Eagle Realty (928-377-2239 or swrealtyaz@gmail.com).

A BLUSTERY DAY

Kingman is the only place I know where the weatherman calls thirty mile per hour winds “breezy.” Today was one of those breezy days. Even though I am not trained in the meteorological arts my bet would be that it may have even been a blustery day as the winds often topped forty miles per hour. Blowing sands and the occasional tumble weeds were but a few of the obstacles encountered during my drive home along Route 66. I can’t be positive because visibility was limited but on one occasion it looked as though a house went by, as well as some older lady on a bicycle. As an additional area weather update, if your planning on a little desert exploration in the Kingman area before next fall, this may be your last opportunity. Temperatures on Saturday will hover around seventy degrees. Todays (actually tonights) post is a bit abreviated resultant of a very long week, the need to button up a few projects, and an overwhelming desire to do little more than enjoy the grandkids. Speaking of grandkids, I was quite pleased to learn that Emily Priddy has released a Route 66 book for kids. Two more quick items. In looking through the guest book for the Jim Hinckley Studio where prints of images as well as illustrations from various projects are now availableI learned it is garnering some international attention. I hope that these visits will inspire a few adventures along America’s most famous highway. This item was to have appeared in a previous post but as a result of technical difficulties there was a delay. Will I see you there on Wednesday?

You Are Cordially Invited
To Attend The Premier Presentation Of
Route 66: International Destination
A brief report and discussion on the resurgent interest in Route 66;
How communities are utilizing that interest as a catalyst for development, and
How this interest can be transformed into an asset for our business community.
Presented by Local Route 66 Historian, Author, and Photographer Jim Hinckley
Followed by a Question& Answer Session
This All Takes Place at the Newly Opened
Buccilli’s Pizza
1921 Club
(formerly Cappello’s Restaurant)
Wednesday Evening, May 30th at 6pm
Consider this a terrific opportunity to learn more
About how Historic Route 66 can positively
Impact our Local Economy and your Business.
Also, it’s a chance to visit our newest Restaurant
And Taste a Variety of Foods from their extensive Menu
Complimentary Hors D’oeuvres
seating limited to the first fifty
Répondez S’il Vous Plaît
To
swrealtyaz@gmail.com or 928-377-2239

IF ITS WEDNESDAY THIS MUST BE KINGMAN

Aside from that urge to eat, as well as enjoy the luxury of electricity and the things associated with that and the pleasure derived from sleeping in a warm house rather than a tent in the months of winter, what is it that keeps us so intently focused on making the wheel in our cage go round and round. As I close in on the milestone that is the 60Th birthday, and the quest to become a writer continues to be a task akin to trying to nail Jello to the wall, this is a thought that creeps into my mind with ever greater frequency.

Chain of Rocks Bridge, an example of the imagesavailable through Jim Hinckley Studio.

I know the answer but allow frustrations and setbacks to make me wonder if there is something being overlooked. The simplistic answer for my string of twelve and fourteen hour days is that I love to work. To be more specific, I love labor that provides the opportunity to craft things people enjoy be it photographs, a book, or a speaking engagement where it is possible to inspire imagination and flights of fancy. The day job, and the occasional night job, are what fund those endeavors. And even though I complain often, occasionally in a joking manner, I am quite grateful to have a job to complain about.I often lament the fact that writing has yet to replace the day job. But in all honesty, the reward in writing is seldom measured in dollars. The prize, the treasure in this endeavor is in the dreams inspired, the people met, and the doors to grand adventures it has opened. Without writing would I have ever had the opportunity to explore the Beacon Hill Motel with Joe Sonderman, Rich Dinkella, and Dean Kennedy or meet Cort Stevens on my home turf? If it were not for books what are the odds of Jim Hinckley being invited to Jay Leno’s Garage?Satisfaction is seldom measured by a pay check, especially in the world of the author. It is measured in a thank you note from a family in Germany that was inspired to travel Route 66 because of something I wrote or the smile on an inquisitive youngsters face when you give him a book. And so the quest continues. Sure, it would be a true delight if the bills were paid through such an enjoyable pursuit. But in the mean time I will simply enjoy the adventures. As a final note today, the information about my address to community and business leaders that was promised for the Tuesday post. I hope you will be able to attend. 

ONE OF THOSE DAYS

It hasn’t been a bad day. On the other hand it hasn’t been a particularly good day. It was simply one of those days where it seemed difficult, and on occasion impossible, to accomplish anything. Self diagnosis can be a fools errand but in this case I would prescribe a road trip with relaxation to clear the weariness induced cobwebs.

The Black Mountains under winterskies.

I am not talking a busman’s holiday with scheduled appearances and book signings even though this is something that provides an immense sense of satisfaction. I am talking a couple of days with no schedule or deadlines, sleeping in until 6:00 or even 6:30 in the morning, and just basking in the company of my dearest friend.In reviewing my schedule for the past five months I was a bit shocked to find that with the exception of a weekend getaway to Prescott and a stay at the Hassayampa Inn for my dearest friends birthday in March, and a hike to Johnson Canyon and its historic railroad tunnel in April, I have not taken a full day off from work in one form or another since December. That just might explain that sense of having a head filled with cobwebs. That also might explain my dearest friends thinly veiled concerns. Even though my extra curricular work is of the type I enjoy there comes a need for some very serious rest and relaxation. So, I evaluated the calendar and discovered that it would be possible to squeeze a few empty days in between Wheels on 66 in Tucumcari in June and the return trip. That should be just about perfect. A warm up for the vacation with a cruise along Route 66 to set the mood, meeting with friends and acquaintances in Tucumcari, recharging the batteries by immersing myself in the unbridled enthusiasm and excitement of an event that centers around legendary Route 66, and then a couple of days with my dearest friend.

Las Vegas, New Mexico

A lot of folks in our position with a few days to spare would most likely select Santa Fe for their vacation stop on the way home. Now, I have nothing against that ancient city but as we prefer someplace a bit quieter the sights are set on Las Vegas, the one in New Mexico, with its historic Plaza Hotel, delightful little book store, Tome on the Range, and a wide array of shops including a farm and ranch store managed by the same family for more than a half century. Meanwhile I will need to clear the head and focus on the business at hand. That includes meeting with community and business leaders next week to speak on Route 66, the resurgent interest in that highway, how places like Cuba and Pontiac are capitalizing on that interest, and how to apply that success to Kingman. I will post the promotional flyer for this event on Tuesday. If you are able to attend please RSVP as seating is limited.

THE PEOPLE AND PLACES I HAVE BEEN

What a delightful weekend! The weather was perfect, and Kingman was a veritable beehive of activities with the KABAM festival in one park, a wine and food festival in another, a craft fair in yet another, and a display of Big Boys Toys downtown capped off by an evening of Chillin’ on Beale Street.

Author Jim Turner and Jim Hinckley at the KABAM festival in Kingman, Arizona.

Counted among the many highlights was sharing my table in the authors tent with Jim Turner, historian and author of the stunning new book with a simplistic title, Arizona. A history book that reads like a novel accentuated with dozens of original color photographs, and a number of historic images, many never before published, make this a welcome addition to our library.The KABAM festival continues to grow in scope and popularity placing it as the centerpiece of the spring arts scene in Kingman. In addition to the authors, poets, and musicians that gather in Metcalf Park for the main event on Saturday, other activities  include several evenings with artist and photographer exhibitions at local galleries. This years event was particularly note worthy from a personal standpoint. I was quite honored to be included as one of the featured authors this year, and to have our photographic work displayed at Beale Street Brews and Gallery. Today was framed by two delightful excursions, the first with my dearest friend and the second with two of the most wonderful ladies, my dearest friend and my granddaughter. The first outing was among the towering pines in the Hualapai Mountains and the second was around the block to look at flowers in the expansive gardens at the care center.

Miles of shade dappled hiking trails twist and turn through the Hualapai Mountainsnear Kingman, Arizona.

The Hualapai Mountains with its miles of hiking trails, a beautiful park, rustic cabins, lodge, and stunning views is a true desert oasis. As it is less than 20 miles south of Route 66 and Kingman, it is a perfect summer detours for travelers on the double six looking for a little relief from the desert heat.We love long morning walks but during the months of summer it is tough to beat the heat, and avoid snakes, even with an early start. So, we retreat to the oasis of the Hualapai Mountains.As is often the case, I have a very full week ahead. First there is the day job that supports the writing/photography/travel/eating habit. Next will be new assignments from Auction America. Then there is the prep for a meeting scheduled for May 30th in which I will address a wide array of community and business leaders to discuss how communities are using the resurgent interest in Route 66 to add vigor, vitality, and charm. Next, is focus on developing Jim Hinckley Studio, our on line photo gallery for the display and sale of photos. The goal is one hundred carefully selected images in two galleries (Route 66 and Arizona) by the first of the month. With the addition of today’s selections we brought the total to a very appropriate 66.  In my spare time there is the ongoing quest to interest the publisher in the next book as well as promotional work on the currently available titles that now number six. After the adventure to Tucumcari in June, a great deal of attention will be devoted to development of promotion for the Route 66 Encyclopedia scheduled for a debut at Cuba Fest in Cuba, Missouri.

Jim Hinckley in the Hualapai Mountains.

All of this leaves me with the occasional cause for reflection on the people and places I have been. In my wildest dreams it would have been impossible to imagination living this life thirty-five years ago when my pay was earned by polishing saddles with the seat of my pants, or when it was earned by polishing shovel handles or grinding gears.

    

IS THAT CIRCUS MUSIC? DO YOU SMELL PEANUTS?

It has been a very unusual week, even for me. On Monday, to ensure everything was on track I spoke with the manager of a book store where a signing was scheduled for later in the week. Our conversation was the culmination of an almost two week game of phone tag. Imagine my surprise to learn that books hadn’t been ordered for the event. Would you care to guess why? He had two copies on hand and limited shelf space. However, he did agree to take two more copies on consignment.Meanwhile the brake saga continues. Have I shared this story? It began with an oil change but as everyone knows, the oil filter is connected to the rear brakes.

Author Jim Hinckley with the Route 66 Tours spring groupat Cadiz Summit in California.

Okay, that may be a stretch but this story begins with an oil change as I was just shy of 3,000 miles since the last one, and we were to meet with Dale Butel’s spring tour at Cadiz Summit in California on Route 66 that Saturday. I keep Barney the Wonder Truck on the road (our 1968 Adventurer) but the schedule isn’t conducive to working on the Jeep and to be honest, my limited mechanical skills seem to have peaked with the advent of the alternator. So the Jeep goes to a local garage managed by a friend of ours.With the exception of rear brakes the Jeep was given a clean bill of health. In light of our numerous adventures, the vehicles age, and its mileage I was impressed – again. So, on Sunday morning we set out for Oatman to meet up with Dale, his group, and our friends from England, Mark and Jo. We made it to Cool Springs.An extensive inspection to find a reason for the overheating brakes provided no clues. So, our friend at the garage flushed the system, replaced springs and the burned shoes, and turned the drums. I made it home. For two days they kept the Jeep, drove the Jeep, replaced parts, drove the Jeep, inspected the brake system, pulled everything apart, drove the Jeep, and scratched their heads. I am unsure of who came up with the idea but during our conversation a suggestion was made to check the rear wheel bearings. 

Route 66 near Seligman, Arizona during a snow storm.

Well, the Jeep goes back in the shop Tuesday. I am hoping bearings and seals will be the only problem but experience has me a bit concerned about the axles. In either case I have no complaints. We paid $3,000 for the Jeep and have driven it more than 23,000 miles in conditions ranging from blizzards to sand storms, Los Angeles freeways and Ozark Mountain highways, trails that may have once been roads and abandoned railroad beds. To date repairs have consisted of belts, tires, oil and grease, a water pump, battery, and a power window switch.As long as the cost of repairs don’t require a second mortgage on the homestead, and as long as it is road ready in time for the June trip to New Mexico for the Wheels on 66 event in Tucumcari, everything will be fine and dandy. For the October trip to Cuba Fest we will reluctantly turn to a rental car as the savings derived from the cost of fuel will offset the cost of the car for a week. I am still obssesing over the idea that a vintage car is needed for our promotional endeavors on Route 66. I can’t think of a better way to kill three or four birds with the same stone – promote the people and places that make Route 66 special, promote the books and photographs, promote vintage vehicles as something more than mere investments or fodder for hot rods and Route 66 as the ideal highway for enjoying them, and, of course the sponsor for the crazy endeavor.Meanwhile there are more pressing matters at hand. Today is the big event in the series that make up KABAM (Kingman Area Books Are Magic Festival).

Just one of the raw gems that line Beale Street one blocknorth of Route 66 in KIngman, Arizona.

In addition to the authors, poets, and artists gathering in Metcalf Park, there will be a wide array of activites along Beale Street including a display of “Big Boy Toys.” Capping the days festivities will be the May edition of Chillin’ on Beale Street, an informal gathering of cars, and people who just come to hang out.I am hoping that Roger Naylor will be in attendance as he has an excellent new book to promote, Arizona Kicks on Route 66Roger is one of those prolific under the radar authors whose byline seems to appear in every publication with an article about the southwest, food in the southwest, or exploring obscure areas of the southwest.I was privileged to meet Roger at the Route 66 Fun Run. To say the very least, I am looking forward toward the next opportunity for some stimulating conversation. You can follow his fascinating exploits through Facebook postings. Well, it is almost 6:00 and as I have a very full day ahead, I had best get back to the circus. Okay, that may be a bit of an exageration. After all, I am missing the peanut vendor, Calliope, and, of course, an elephant.

HOT OFF THE PRESS! EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!

When news breaks about developments on Route 66 it often does so in a very big way. So, today we have a wide array of stories and announcements including an update on the Painted Desert Trading Post provided by Roamin’ Rich Dinkella, a fantastic new book by Stefan U. Joppich, the opening of the long anticipated gallery, and a few dozen other items of interest to fans of the double six. 

Fall in Dwight, Illinois.

From the initiation of this blog more than 1,000 posts ago, I have received numerous requests for prints of photos that appear here. Time constrains, international shipping issues, and attempts to ensure some form of quality control have resulted in a number of fit and jerk false starts. Well, I think we have the issues resolved. Kathy Alexander and her computer guru husband David, the proprietors of the amazing Legends of America website, suggested I try Zenfolio. The Jim Hinckley Studio with an Arizona gallery and a Route 66 gallery is the result. Currently both galleries only contain a dozen images. However, work is progressing with a goal of at least one hundred photographs available to order in various sizes by the end of the month. In addition, we are now offering a limited use license for publication of our images. For several years I have depended on two sources to help me decipher the twisted course of Route 66 over the years: the EZ 66 guide by Jerry McClanahan and the Route 66 Atlas website created by Stefan Joppich. However, in our travels we usually end up using only the guide by Jerry McClanahan as the website is not always convenient or even available in some of the more remote locations. Well, that is about to change. Stefan has released the first installment (Old Old Route 66 Across New Mexico) in a series of publications based on that atlas and it is wonder to behold. As a bonus, Stefan also documents the course of other early highways in the Land of Enchantment. The size of the publication belies the stunning amount of research that went into this project. To be counted among the many passionate guardians of Route 66, its landmarks, and its history is Rich Dinkella. Rich is an adventurer cut from the cloth of De Soto, Livingstone, and Perry with an almost obsessive focus on deciphering, discovering, and preserving all things Route 66.Last year we were honored to have him as our guide to the Beacon Hill Motel in Missouri, an amazing time capsule where the remnants of Magic Fingers Beds were still in place in the rooms that now sheltered wildlife instead of weary motorists. Unfortunately that time capsule was recently to lost to wildfires. 

The remains of John’s Modern Cabins in Missouri.

Rich has been documenting the loss of a Route 66 treasure through videos posted on Youtube (the Painted Desert Trading Post),  whose imminent demise is being hastened by cattle and vandals. This forlorn outpost in a sea of vast western landscapes exemplifies the almost magical power of Route 66 to captivate as I know a fellow in Holland that after seeing pictures of these ruins was inspired to make his first trip along Route 66, to begin leading tours, to establish a website, and to get a tattoo of the place on his arm.The slow motion demise of the Painted Desert Painted Trading Post presents a fascinating dilemma for enthusiasts. How do you save a treasure such as this? Does the effort even warrant the effort or expense? Would the Route 66 community be better served by pooling resources to preserve the Indian school in Valentine, the fast fading remnants of Chambless, or the Richardson store in Montoya, New Mexico?The forlorn ruins are marooned on a segment of the old road that is almost impossible to reach without a four-wheel drive truck. Additionally, like John’s Modern Cabins in Missouri, the Painted Desert Trading Post can only be preserved in an arrested state of decay and then only with great expenditures of time and money. The loss of this treasure would do more than tinge the excitement about the resurgent interest in Route 66 with somber tones. On a personal note, the loss would leave a very large hole as this is one of our favorite places on Route 66 and I often use a photo with it as a backdrop for my authors promotional pieces. Moving forward, this weekend in Kingman we have the KABAM activities, as well as another installment of Chillin on Beale Street Saturday evening. It will kick off this evening with a special gallery showing at Beale Street Brews & Gallery. It is still in the planning stages but a date (May 30) has been set for the first in a series of short, informative seminars about how to emulate the success of Cuba, Tucumcari, and Pontiac in Kingman. My hope is to create a sense of excitement about what Kingman has to offer, and to enthuse a unified vision for making Kingman a destination for travelers as well as those looking for a pretty damn nice place to relocate. Stay tuned for details.Oh, while we are on the subject of seminars and related things like interviews, I have decided to address the requests received for speaking engagements at events. If you have need of this service please drop me a note and lets if we can work out details including my already conflicted schedule. Last but not least, the Route 66 Encyclopedia. I was given a sneak peek at the first nine pages (the galley proof will not be available until the end of the month) and am quite excited to see the finished, 288-page product with more than 1,000 illustrations (thank you Mike Ward, Steve Rider, and Joe Sonderman). The official debut is scheduled for Cuba Fest in Cuba, Missouri on October 20. However, by following this link to the publisher you can get a few more details, a teaser if you will. 

VANISHING ROUTE 66 AND OTHER NOTES

I kicked off the morning with the making of a waffle for the grandson, and cereal with strawberries for the granddaughter. Next, I spent an hour carefully selecting photos for this mornings presentation with Josh Noble, the area tourism director who has selected us (my wife and I) as the photographers for a state centennial exhibit being developed for the Powerhouse Visitor Center. Needless to say, we are honored to have been selected for this prestigious project.

The Powerhouse Visitor Center in Kingman, Arizona.

Initially the scheduled date for the opening of this Route 66 in Mohave County exhibit was early July but that may be moved forward a week or so as there are some renovations to the mezzanine gallery to be made first. That will allow us time to acquire a couple of specific images that have been requested.The meeting with Josh was followed by a stop at the Beale Street Brews & Gallery to evaluate the needs for the Your Community in Photography exhibit scheduled for the evening of May 16, a part of this weeks KABAM activities. Then it was off for the taping of an interview about Route 66 and the forthcoming Route 66 Encyclopedia with Carol Young that will appear on the local cable channel Community Chest program. I rounded out the busy and productive morning by basking in the company of my dearest friend over lunch at Dora’s Beale Street Deli. If you cruise through Kingman on Route 66, I strongly suggest a one block detour for a little exploration of Beale Street with its galleries, shops, and restaurants.

The ruins of John’s Modern Cabins in Missouri.

Based on the discussion of my book, Ghost Towns of Route 66, Carol deftly turned the conversation toward the vanishing remnants of Route 66 in spite of the swelling resurgent interest in that highway. An excellent example of this would be the fast vanishing remains of John’s Modern Cabins in Missouri.We explored these colorful ruins during our adventure last October. With Rich Dinkella, Dean Kennedy, and Joe Sonderman, we also explored the incredibly well preserved remains of the Beacon Hill Motel that has sense been erased resultant of a wildfire.

The primary concept behind Ghost Towns of Route 66 was to add depth and context to the overall Route 66 experience. A secondary goal was to preserve the history, in text and photos, of communities where the resurgent interest in this highway came to late. With the Route 66 Encyclopedia, I wanted to expand on these goals. These are also the reasons I strive to utilize the books and the photography, and their promotion, to shine the light on the communities, the people, and the special places that make the Route 66 community so delightful, so colorful. And that is why the debut, the kick off for the encyclopedia will be at Cuba Fest in Cuba, Missouri. It may seem as though I have a myopic obsession with the legendary double six and, perhaps, I do. Even though I know that this is not the most scenic, the most historic, or even the most colorful drive in America, I also know that this now iconic highway is an absolutely incredible living time capsule that chronicles more than a century of American societal evolution. That is the magic, that is what makes the Route 66 experience truly unique. With that said, I will wrap this up for the day.

ROUTE 66 FUN RUN, AUSTRALIANS, AND AUTHORS

Good intentions are funny things. The primary difference between them and the politicians promise is that one stems from the desire to enhance someones life. Still, both often end up being rather hollow.

Beale Street during the 2012 Route 66 Fun Run.

As I had good intentions when promising to post readers letters about their most memorable Route 66 experience, as well as photos of the recent Route 66 Fun Run and a few other items but have yet to fully follow through there are but two options. One is to apologize and two is to rectify the short coming.I spoke with Jan of the Route 66 Association of Arizona briefly yesterday and was informed that registered entries for this years fun (803) was almost a record. Toss into the mix several dozen folks who drove their cars as tag alongs, and a few hundred who just showed up for the festivities and you have one heck of a celebration.In that vast sea of automotive history and colorful hot rods with gleaming chrome, there were a few vehicles that stood out like a prom queen in a stockyard. Topping my list were a beautiful 1953 Packard convertible, 1910 Cadillac, 1970 GTO Judge convertible, a Kaiser Manhattan, a 1951 Ford station wagon with trailer of similar vintage in tow, a very rare Corvair powered Ultracoach, a clean little 1938 pick up truck, and a pair of vintage Dodge cars (1933 and 1935) in bone stock, unrestored condition.I prefer my vintage vehicles stock but can admire the workmanship and craftmanship of something other than a check book crafted custom car or those built to conform with the nonconformist (’57 Chevy, chrome wheels, 350-cid V8, etc.). Ernie Adams of Phoenix, Arizona, a Fun Run regular, is truly a craftsman.

An Ernie Adams created dwarf car.

His custom cars are truly custom in every sense of the word as little more than the engine, transmission, and differential existed before he created the chassis, body, electrical system, and grafted in ancillary components such as a stereo. They are also a unique blending of recycling (some body panels are derived from discarded refrigerator sheet metal). The resultant dwarf cars, often raced on the track, are truly a sight to behold.In my humble opinion this, the 25th annual Route 66 Fun Run, was the best ever. The weather was chamber of commerce perfect, there were participants from throughout the United States and even Canada, and visitors from the four corners of the world.

Author Roger Naylor and Jim Hinckley at the Powerhouse Visitor Center during the Route 66Fun Run.

For us the weekend kicked off with the First Friday event that included a gallery showing of our work, as well as that of J.C. Amberlyn, at Beale Street Brews & Gallery. Saturday kicked off with a morning at the office, and then a book signing at the Powerhouse Visitor Center where I met the illustrious Mr. Naylor who was signing copies of his new book, Arizona Kicks on Route 66 with photography by Larry Lindahl.Aside from Dale Butel of Australian based Route 66 Tours and his spring tour group, and Jo and Mark, friends from England, I spoke with people from Germany, France, and Japan proving that the appeal of Route 66 is truly universal in nature. The annual Route 66 Fun Run simply distills that international enthusiasm and excitement and wraps it in some of the most spectacular landscapes found anywhere along that highway. The Fun Run, the vintage cars, and the distances that some of these cars were driven for the event (the 1953 Packard came from Colorado) reignited my passionate quest to create a vintage product mobile to promote the highway as well as the people and places that make it special. So, once KABAM and Wheels on 66 in Tucumcari is over, I will again initiate the search for a corporate sponsor who might be interested in a very unique, and possibly lucrative, promotional opportunity.

Diveristy is the word of the day at the Route 66 Fun Run

Last but not least today, I would like to share a short but beautiful letter from a reader. I have refrained from editing or correcting. “My most special memory of Route 66 dates to September of 1964. We (Ron and I) married in March of 1963 but did not have the money for much of a honeymoon. Besides, his car (a hand me down Chevy his dad bought after the war) was fine for shopping and trips to work but for making our dream trip to California it left something to be desired.Ron and I had lived in St. Louis our entire lives. Ron had some family vacations to Oklahoma and even as far as Texas. Our summer trips were alwasy to Chicago to my mother’s family. So the thought of a trip to California was as excitng as a cruise or trip to Paris.So we were quite excited when in August of 1964, Ron received notice that he had gotten the job (he had applied for a job as a mechanic at an AMC dealership in San Bernardino through a cousin who worked there). We had just purchased a new Rambler American station wagon a few months before this. The trip was everything we dreamed of but there was one stop that was our favorite. We stopped at the most amazing shop, a trading post I think, in Albuquerque (I don’t remember the name but it was downtown) and Ron bought me a beautiful ring. Everything was so different, it was the first time we really realized that our lives were really changing, we talked about that at a cafe nearby. When we stepped outside there was a Route 66 sign and every since then I have to smile when I see something with a Route 66 shield.”

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