ROUTE 66 NOTES AND UPDATES

This will be another short post but there should be a tid bit or two of interest that will spark discussion. 

  • I will run the photo contest through Christmas. I am upping the ante, the first correct answer will receive an autographed copy of Backroads of Arizona AND Route 66 Backroads – 
  • I have been asked to put the word out that we have art for three of the five window murals for the Old Trails Garage funded. So, if you or your organization is interested in contributing t this endeavor, please drop me a note and I will provide additional information – 
  • Oklahoma is raising the bar in regard to Route 66 promotion. Check out this story on Route 66 News – 
  • I will be the featured guest on AM Arizona on January 3rd and the topic of discussion (surprise!) is the resurgent interest in Route 66 and what it means to communities – 
  • Thank you to all who have purchased a copy of The Route 66 Encyclopedia. You have put Route 66 at center stage with the publisher as the book is up for a second printing even though it made its debut in October – 
  • If you haven’t ordered a copy, I can’t promise a Christmas delivery but can offer a bonus. With each purchase of the book, or any other title ordered through Route 66 Chronicles, I will include a signed limited edition, first printing promotional post card from the publisher. These make excellent book marks – 
  • While supplies last, I will also provide one in exchange for the copy of a receipt showing that one of my books was purchased from a store, museum, or gift shop on Route 66 – 
  • Will you or your group be motoring through Kingman on Route 66 next year? If so, please drop me a note with the dates and I might be able to make you stop here quite memorable –
  • I received a note from a reader in Britain that has left me a bit speechless. Attached was this excerpt from the Amazon.com UK page for The Route 66 Encyclopedia (emphasis mine). 

    About the Author

    Author Jim Hinckley (Kingman, AZ) is Mr. Route 66. He has written several books on the subject, including Ghost Towns of Route 66 and Route 66 Backroads. He writes a feature column for Cars & Parts magazine and maintains a daily blog called Route 66 Chronicles (www.route66chronicles.blogspot.com). 
DEEP THOUGHTS AND WINDOWS ON THE PAST

DEEP THOUGHTS AND WINDOWS ON THE PAST

The recent tragedy in Connecticut, and the now all to common political use of it to foster further division, has sucked the marrow out of the inspiration. That and the grueling schedule of six day work weeks, a pending deadline, and all that goes with keeping the homestead from falling down around our ears has made it difficult to post this past couple of days.
To brighten the mood a bit, and to say thank you for the patience and support, I thought another contest might be in order. So, here are some Route 66 related photos. A couple were taken just off of the highway.
The first individual to provide correct answers will receive a signed copy of …

 

A FORD EVERY DAY

Okay, I have found evidence that clearly indicates the long held dream of driving a Model A Ford, circa 1928 to 1931, from Chicago to Santa Monica on Route 66 is more than feasible. This evidence also indicates that it would be a most exciting adventure.
Jonathan Klinger who drove a Model A Ford as his only transportation for one full year including through a Michigan winter may have beaten me to the draw but instead of seeing this as an affront, I instead choose to see it as inspiration to fulfill a dream. I also see a template that will enable me to learn from the mistakes of others, which in turn frees me up to make mistakes of my own.

However, before we make this dream a reality there are a few details to attend to. Counted among the minor obstacles that stand between me and a bit of time travel are the day job, the fact that I don’t own a Model A, the fact that at this time the budget does not allow for the purchase of a Model A, the fact that I am not familiar with this vehicles mechanical attributes (something easily rectified with a 4,000 mile drive), and the fact that I do not have a garage.
Meanwhile, while I whittle away at these ever so minor issues, there are more pressing matters at hand. I am sprinting to the finish line on a book that chronicles the transition of Route 66 from highway to icon through the evolution of promotional materials.
I am also diligently working to craft a truly unique Route 66 travel guide, a companion for the EZ 66 Guide by Jerry McClanahan that we always carry on our adventures along the double six. In essence my goal is to broaden the focus a bit by including interesting history, details about bicycling the road (or driving it in a Model A), and fascinating little side trips such as to the Cave Restaurant or Hualapai Mountain Park, both less than 20 miles off the highway.
A deadline of December 31, and the continuation of six day work weeks, will explain the erratic blog posts this past week or so. I think it might also give a hint as to what activities I will be engaged in on New Years Eve.
Still, no complaints. Life is good. Life is an adventure. But like with all adventures there are those frustrations that come with sixty mile detours resultant of bridge closures or flat tires or unexpected rains that turn the road into pudding or …
Counted among the many pleasures derived my quest to become a writer when I grow up is the opportunity to meet fine folks from throughout the world, and the opportunity to share like minded passions for Route 66, America, and the road less traveled. The latest manifestation is the opening of a photographic exhibit in the Czech Republic where our work is featured alongside the artistry of masters such as Chris Robleski (great gift idea) and Jerry McClanahan.
Next on the list, developing our gallery for a spring opening in the refurbished Brunswick Hotel. This does not mean you have to wait months to dress up the office or den, inspire a road trip, and rekindle a memory as a large array of our photographs are available at Jim Hinckley Studios.
If all goes according to plan, I should be back to the normal chaotic schedule after the first of the year. IN the meantime, stay tuned for erratic but regular updates.

SOMEWHERE EAST OF LA AND WEST OF AMARILLO

If I were limited in my choice of what section of Route 66 to explore it would have to be the segment east of Los Angeles but west of Amarillo. This is not say the alignments in Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, or Oklahoma, or even in Los Angeles itself, are without charm. 
On our recent excursion along the old double six the vibrant fall colors that framed every view of the Ozark country in Missouri was absolutely breathtaking. Still there was a sense of something missing and that something was the vast landscapes of the American southwest punctuated by weathered spires of stone, Technicolor sunsets casting a surreal glow over ancient adobes that predate certification of Route 66 by centuries, and endless seas of multicolored stone that stretch to the far horizon. 
In Illinois the course of Route 66 is through more than two centuries of American history. Its course in Missouri is tinged with the sorrows and blood of a nation divided. Through Kansas it is a road of faded glories. As it sweeps onto the plains of Oklahoma the imagination is stirred to a feverish pitch as thoughts of the tragic clash of cultures that unfolded here in the 19th century. 
Then, shortly after coursing through the empty streets of Texola, and passing the Will Rogers memorial and little sign that proclaims you have crossed into Texas, an eager sense of anticipation that is difficult to describe stirs the spirit. At the west end of the state, after a stop for pie and coffee at the Midpoint Cafe, and a quick cruise through the fast fading vestiges of Glenrio and Endee, the highway drops into the broken cap rock country of New Mexico.
With each trip east along the old double six we savor the adventure, the opportunity to visit with old friends, and the ever changing landscapes of the American heartland. Still it is only on the return trip, when we drop from Texas into New Mexico, it is only when we feel the embrace of the desert breeze, that there is the comforting sense of being welcomed home after a long absence. 
Only in this country do I feel a sense of timelessness as the old road twists and turns its way westward over the weathered stone, through forests of wind gnarled trees, and villages where the dawn of America is considered a current event. To detour into old Las Vegas, stroll the historic plaza, and, after a long day on the road, savor a cold one in the in the saloon at the Plaza Hotel once frequented by Doc Holiday is to feel at home once more. 
In looking back over the years toward the time when these raw and wild lands filled a scrawny kid from the woodlands of the Midwest with a sense of foreboding, of dread,  I am often surprised by the depth of my passion for it now. Now, I find it difficult to imagine a life lived in a land without snow covered peaks framed by a sky of piercing blue, a landscape where the accomplishments of man are dwarfed, a place where each day is played out against the awe inspiring wonders of God’s finest handiwork. 
The time is at hand for a road trip, for an excursion into the wild places. There is a need for the empty places where the soul can be replenished and renewed. And so, it is with eager anticipation that I look toward the new year and our annual tradition of new beginnings from a vantage point on high that allows us to look back over the year, and across the desert wilderness toward the future that looms on the horizon.  

AN AMERICAN IMPORTED CHRISTMAS, AND OTHER ODD NOTES FROM ROUTE 66

AN AMERICAN IMPORTED CHRISTMAS, AND OTHER ODD NOTES FROM ROUTE 66

Well, another Christmas season is upon us and once again those who suffer from acute and debilitating hypersensitivity are declaring war on tradition. Meanwhile, here on Route 66, we are happy to report that the season with its odd blending of kitch, solemnity, fun, and cultural traditions that make an American celebration of Christmas quite unique is in full swing.
In Tucumcari, the Christmas village display tinged with the neon of the Blue Swallow Motel provides ideal incentive for a delightful winter weekend getaway. As the city has numerous motels, including two roadside treasures (Motel Safari and the Blue Swallow Motel) you are assured there will be room at the inn.
If Tucumcari is to far from home then perhaps Joplin is a bit closer. This city is also embracing the holiday season with colorful window displays.

Another idea is to combine gift shopping with your winter weekend excursion on Route 66. For those who reside in the area of St. Louis or its enviorns my suggestion would be a visit to Connie’s Shoppe coupled to a stay at the Wagon Wheel Motel and dinner and Missouri Hicks.
Rich Henry’s Rabbit Ranch in Staunton, Illinois could easily serve as an excuse for a weekend getaway. Or you could just peruse Rich’s unique gift shop on line.
For those who reside on the west side of the community that is Route 66 you have at least three great options for a weekend getaway as well as some unique gift ideas, the Wigwam Motel in Rialto, the Route 66 museum in Barstow (with an excellent on line gift shop), or 66 to Cali on Santa Monica Pier where the specialty is American made products.
Here in Kingman the season is celebrated with a Christmas parade through the historic district. There are also some rather unique light displays including one that transforms our historic locomotive into a polar express. And here too we have a wide array of motels and hotels including two neon trimmed treasures; the venerable Hilltop Motel and the recently refurbished El Trovatore Motel.
For those who insist on transforming the holiday into an all inclusive, secular, sterile celebration as cold as the front bumper on a ’67 Chevy on a frosty December morning in Chicago, there is still reason to celebrate.  On Christmas day, 1873, Louis Joseph Chevrolet was born in Switzerland, an event that adds credence to the argument that Chevrolet is an import.
On a more serious note, the Christmas season provides an excellent opportunity for supporting the mom and pop shops that are the life blood of Route 66. What better gift can you get for the fan of the double six in your life than a souvenir that will keep them warm, help them plan the next road trip, transform their office, or keep the memory of the last trip alive?
The Blue Swallow Motel gift shop has a wide array of gift ideas from books to sweat shirts. Even better, they are offering free shipping until December 22.
There are two books we never travel without. These would be the dining and lodging guide, and the wonderful EZ 66 Guide for Travelers penned by Jerry McClanahan that ensures you will be able to decipher that often confusing course of Route 66 between Chicago and Santa Monica. As both are available through the National Historic Route 66 Federation, here is an opportunity to support to a wonderful organization and inspire thoughts of an adventure on legendary Route 66.
The Rocky Mountain General Store at Legends of America is a veritable treasure trove of gift ideas. Barbecue branding iron kit anyone?
Then there are books penned by Jim Hinckley (The Route 66 Encyclopedia, Ghost Towns of Route 66, Ghost Towns of the Southwest, Backroads of Arizona, Route 66 Backroads) that are available through this blog. We also have some unique and colorful Route 66 souvenirs, and a wide array of our award winning photography to dress up the office, den, or man cave.
Whether you choose on line shopping or braving the crowds, a weekend getaway to restore some sanity or extreme trip planning to fuel the dream of adventure in 2013, savor each day of the holiday season. Let the magic fill your spirit and unleash the inner child. In short, take a deep breath, lighten up a bit, and have some fun.