NOTES FROM THE ROAD

This evenings update is from Santa Rosa, New Mexico, the end of a 590 mile drive from Kingman. Even though we have not encountered problems, it has not quite gone exactly as envisioned. Of course that is often what adds a touch of spice as well adventure to the road trip.
A few minor delays kept us from taking to the road as early as scheduled. Still, we were on the road in time to watch the daylight push the shadows from the hillsides and canyons.
As we needed to cover ground the luxury of Route 66 was postponed until the Wednesday leg of the trip. That will include a visit with Nancy and Kevin at the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, coffee and pie at the Midpoint Café, a search for Croc in Amarillo, and checking on Harley and Annabelle.
Today we endured the mind numbing sterility of the interstate highway with the exception of a few detours for food and photos. The plan had called for a brunch or lunch at Joe and Aggies in Holbrook.
For reasons unknown they were closed. So, instead, we photographed various locations downtown, including the old courthouse, and settled for lunch at Denny’s (cranberry, apple, and chicken salad)with some stout coffee.
After topping off the tank, it was back on the road. The next stop was the trading posts shadowed by the towering red rock bluffs at Lupton as we couldn’t resist the opportunities for photographs presented by towering thunderheads that added dramatic contrast.
Aside from absolutely frustrating road construction that slowed traffic to a crawl time after time, we rolled across New Mexico, and even Albuquerque, making pretty good time.
As only the days final destination is set in stone, we decided on Clines Corners for dinner rather than Joseph’s since the construction delays had resulted in being about two hours behind schedule. Again our plan was thwarted as the restaurant was closed. So, we opted for a Subway selection.
In Santa Rosa we stopped at the market and picked up a few snack items and headed straight for the motel. It was time to unwind.
Wednesday will be a Route 66 day and the destination is Edmond. Stay tuned for updates.
 
 

ROAD TRIP

Road trip! I did it. I survived, now we are mere hours away from a grand adventure, another epic odyssey along America’s most famous highway.
This time the destination is Joplin and the Route 66 International Festival. Even though the schedule is tight (2.5 days each way)I am quite confident we will have ample time to visit with a few friends along the way, time to savor some pie and coffee, and time to simply enjoy the journey.
As often happens on the day before vacation begins, chaos reigned supreme at the office, and the schedule was figured almost to the minute with a military precision time table, a recipe for disaster and frustration. From zero-five hundred hours to zero-seven hundred hours it was breakfast, correspondence, packing, shower, shave, finalizing arrangements with the caretaker (our son), and a planning session with my dearest friend.
Last Friday we picked up the Jeep after having a MAP sensor replaced that was tripping a check engine light, and a rear bearing replaced for the second time in less than two years. The joy of defective and shoddy parts (insert rant here, I have worked on fifty year old trucks with original bearings).
This morning I took the Jeep back to the shop before work as the check engine light was on. The code tripped indicated a faulty MAP sensor. So, the shop owner, a friend of mine, replaced it. Same problem. At three o’clock he called to inform me that both sensors tested as good, never a good sign.
At the office the customer with a four o’clock reservation was waiting for me when I arrived. As it turned out this was fins as the customer with an eight o’clock reservation showed up ten minutes before closing time, and had me make alterations to the contract (void and start over) three times.
In between I met with Dale Butel’s tour group, signed books, talked on the history of Kingman and Route 66, and answered questions. I also squeezed out to pick up a rental car for the trip, a Hyundai Sonata.
Now, all that stands between us and adventure is the need to unwind for just a bit (a cold beer and the last installment in the Band of Brothers series)and about six hours of good sleep. If all goes as planned, tomorrow night at this time we should be unwinding in Santa Rosa after a wonderful dinner at Joseph’s. 

TIME TO STIR THINGS UP AND A REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE

Okay, this will be a bit controversial. However, it is not my intent to cause upset.
The following is a letter I submitted to the Kingman Daily Miner in response to a collision of ideas about the course of direction being followed in the Kingman historic district. In a nut shell, we have investors purchasing buildings and initiating restoration. We also have international visitors discovering the charms of the district, including Beale Street one block north of Route 66, new restaurants and shops opening, and even an event center that is about to open.
At the same time there is a push to open a soup kitchen and recreation center for veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder in the very center of this redevelopment. Meanwhile, the city is worried about revenue and the possibility of having to trim expenses.
Both of these services are needed in the community and both are an important part of or social obligation. However, there is a need to ask if this is the best possible location.
Here is my letter to the editor. Feel free to share your thoughts here or with the Kingman Daily Miner. However, if you do feel led to contribute to the discussion please do so with respect.  
 
Jim Hinckley
1308 Stockton Hill Rd.
Suite A, PMB 228
Kingman, AZ 86401-5190
 
July 25, 2013
To the Editor:
International investors see value in the Kingman historic district as evidenced by recent purchases and ongoing renovations. A number of local business owners see value in the historic district as evidenced by their investment and hard work. An incredible number of international travelers see value in the historic district as evidenced by their postings on social media sites, websites, and blogs, and in tour company promotional material.
This perceived value is not entirely monetary. If a community is a destination for visitors, it is a destination for families, for business owners, and for those who are looking for that special place to spend the golden years. It is also a place where the citizens enjoy an improved quality of life, a sense of community, and a sense of pride.
With this in mind may I ask why we find it necessary to ensure the historic district remains a blighted point of contention with the establishment of soup kitchens and similar projects? From this perspective may I respectively ask where is the leadership that inspires a sense of community, and imparts a vision for the future?
We have a moral responsibility to care for the poor, the needy and the veteran. However, is the historic heart of the city that is on the cusp of rebirth the best place for services that fill this need?
On numerous occasions in recent years we have witnessed discussions pertaining to city revenue concerns. Why then would we apathetically allow the stifling of investment, of business creation, and subsequently, job creation?
Tourism may be a very fickle foundation to support an economy but with the international popularity of Route 66, it can be an incredible catalyst for transformation and development. It has worked miracles in Atlanta, Illinois, Galena, Kansas, and Cuba, Missouri so why not Kingman?

THE SIGN POST JUST AHEAD

THE SIGN POST JUST AHEAD

According to the sign post just ahead, the next few weeks should be filled with friends, fun, adventure, and an absolutely grueling schedule. In other words, situation normal in the world of Jim Hinckley.
Monday, during my lunch hour, I will meet with another of Dale Butel’s tour groups from the land down under. This is never really much of a chore as I greatly enjoy visiting with everyone, sharing a bit of the areas history, answering questions, signing books, and having an opportunity to visit with Dale, and Steve Brewer.

Author Jim Hinckley signing books for
folks traveling with an Australian
tour on Route 66.

This will be the highlight for Monday as the rest of the day will be consumed with mundane tasks such as picking up the rental car, making sure the caretaker has everything they will need during our absence, and of course, the daily tasks at the office. If all goes as planned, a possible first, the rental car will be loaded that evening to ensure a pre sunrise start for the trip to Joplin on Tuesday.
This Route 66 International Festival in Joplin, as with the previous events in Victorville, California, and  Amarillo, Texas, will be two thirds work and one third fun and games. Still, this is Route 66 so even the work will be enjoyable.
For us the highlight of each festival is the opportunity to meet with old friends, to talk about Route 66, and to make new friends. As a bonus this year we will have another opportunity for a Road Crew concert, this time in Galena.
Last years concert at the winery was a highlight of our trip to Cuba Fest in Cuba, Missouri. A visit to charming Cuba is always a pleasure but if you have the opportunity to include this wonderful festival in your travels I highly recommend it.
The “work” at the festival in Joplin includes representing Kingman at the Route 66 economic summit, a few meetings of importance, and selling books as well as distributing promotional materials from all along the road as I seem to be an unofficial information center at the festival. The fun includes most of the above, the concert, and a little exploration in the Joplin/Carthage area.
Included in our list of must see attractions is the 1919 Packard truck/motorhome at Afton Station, in Afton, Oklahoma, and a visit with Laurel Kane. On the past few trips we also arrived in Afton well after closing time. 
We are also eager to see, and photograph the Boots Motel with its refurbished neon signage. The new murals in Galena are also on our list. 
Galena is on the fast track to becoming a shining example of how a faded community can be transformed by harnessing the international interest in Route 66. I am really hoping that my fact finding mission will ignite a similar transformation in Kingman. 
There are occasions that leave me wondering if anyone is at the helm in my adopted hometown. The latest one two punch in regard to ensuring the historic district in Kingman remains a blighted point of contention is the push to add a soup kitchen for the homeless and poor, and a recreation center for veterans suffering from post traumatic stress order. 
These are both very worthy objectives that are needed in the community. However, is the historic district the best place for them, especially when international investors are buying and renovating properties, numerous businesses are opening, business owners are working to attract visitors, and a wide array of festivals are being developed for the area? 
Feel free to chime in here, or in the debate that will be taking place through letters to the editor in the Kingman Daily Miner. You may not be overly familiar with Kingman but as fans of Route 66, I am quite confident there is knowledge of what can happen in a community that embraces the power of Route 66 for transformation and improvement. 
Well, I had best get it into gear. There is the dire need for a long overdue haircut, banking, home repair, packing, work on the Route 66 historic atlas, phone conference regarding the radio program (Jim Hinckley’s America), a few details pertaining to the soon be announced big festival in Kingman to be resolved, discussions with three tour companies (two from New Zealand and one from China) that are looking for assistance, notes for Michael Wallis, issues pertaining to my application to sell in Joplin…        
ROUTE 66 FROM A TO Z AND FROM CHICAGO TO SANTA MONICA

ROUTE 66 FROM A TO Z AND FROM CHICAGO TO SANTA MONICA

Well, if I had time to spit or pay attention, chances are that I would be counting down the hours with eager anticipation of our next grand adventure on legendary Route 66. After all, this is more than just another rod trip, this a road trip with a purpose – the 2013 Route 66 International Festival. 
What, you may ask, is the Route 66 International Festival? Well, it is a family reunion and a celebration of America’s most famous highway, its culture,its history, and the people that make it a national treasure. It is an absolutely delightful, fun filled weekend.
Several years ago I began offering business owners, associations, and museums along Route 66 my services in the form of promotional material distribution at the festival on their behalf. I am quite honored to say that a number of owners and directors are entrusting me to serve as their representative in Joplin this year.

A well used copy of The Route
66 Encyclopedia, courtesy of
Oscar Stronk of the
Netherlands

 

As a result, in addition to being able to offer autographed copies of my books (including the very popular Ghost Towns of Route 66 and The Route 66 Encyclopedia), and a selection of our photographic prints, I will also have a wide array of materials from all along Route 66 (Wagon Wheel Motel, Hilltop Motel, Wigwam Motel, El Trovatore Motel, Grand Canyon West Resort, California Route 66 Museum, Arizona Route 66 passports etc.) to assist in your travel planning. Moreover, as this festival features many of the most learned Route 66 scholars, authors, collectors, and photographers, (Jim Ross, Joe Sonderman, and Jerry McClanahan to name but a few)if I can’t answer a Route 66 related travel question, there is a pretty good chance of finding someone who can.
However, between now and Tuesday around 5:00 AM when we take to the road, there are a wide array of things obligations and things that require my attention. A few, such as another opportunity to share the colorful history of Route 66 with one of Dale Butel’s tour groups, and to have an opportunity to visit with Dale and Steve Brewer, are more fun than work. 
Others, such as swamp cooler maintenance, an almost overwhelming list of office issues and problems in addition to the regular daily tasks, the radio program, Jim Hinckley’s America, on Friday morning, picking up the Jeep from the garage (a wheel bearing, again), compiling a check list to ensure nothing of importance is left behind, and the need to pack everything so that it fits into a rental car in a manner that makes items accessible, may not be quite as enjoyable but they are simply manifestations of the primary components of this thing we call life.
In light of what is looming on the horizon in my corner of Route 66, the big road trip seems an appropriate way to start the month of August. Still, as exciting as all of this, it pales in comparison to September when I will have an opportunity to celebrate an anniversary milestone with my dearest friend.
I am unsure of if or when there will be posts from the road. However, as we have a few days to go before casting off, I am quite sure a few more postings are possible.