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 group
at 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 block
north 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.

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