As I watched excerpts from the presidential inaugural speech this morning (I will refrain from comment), and read a wide array of bleak reports about the ongoing economic morass, the drought and what it could mean to the price and availability of food staples this spring, and the concerns pertaining to Mississippi River traffic, it came to mind that all of this upheaval and uncertainty is another reason Route 66 is so popular. In the linear community that is Route 66 there is a sense of normalcy, of stability, and warmth. Barriers of culture, language, and even political affiliation fade from importance on the double six. It is almost as though the old road is a magic elixir, a restorative tonic for the soul. Route 66 may justifiably hog the spot light but scattered throughout the country are similar places where up is up, down is down, and the pie fresh from the oven is served with a smile. Scattered like pearls from a broken string these little gems are havens from an upside down, sterile world. Over the years it has been my pleasure to discover many of these treasures and to share them with folks who appreciate the simple joys only found on the road less traveled. Well, if all goes as planned, this year I will have an additional venue for sharing these special places, a video series entitled Jim Hinckley’s America. The link is for a rough promo of the intro. The producer is Norm Fisk. His two most recent DVD’s, Route 66 Arizona and Gold King Mine, have received critical acclaim as well as several awards. Needless to say, I am rather excited about this project. Last Saturday we shot footage along the pre 1952 alignment of Route 66 in the Black Mountains and in Oatman. Next on the list is Kingman and Hackberry with the focus on obscure alignments and often overlooked historic sites. I have one more exciting development to report. Laurel Kane of Afton Station is back in the saddle and that means her most interesting postings are again available.