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 Australiantour 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…