The only thing better than traveling Route 66 is living on Route 66. The only thing better than living on Route 66 is being a writer about that storied highway and having endless opportunities to share its history with travelers. And the only thing better than that is the people met traveling on Route 66, the people met because I live on that highway, and the people met because I write about it.
Author Jim Hinckley talking Route 66with a tour group from Australia.
The month of August has presented almost endless opportunities for all of the above and it is only half over.
Yesterday was a near perfect day for getting together with one of Dale Butel’s tours from Australia at Locomotive Park in Kingman, sharing a bit of the highways colorful history, as well as pre history and a little personal association, in western Arizona, and signing a few books. That was followed with lunch at Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner (originally the Kimo Café) where the folks from the land down under discovered the pleasure of chicken fried steak.
Last Sunday was an opportunity to introduce Wolfgang Werz, and his most delightful wife Anja, and their group from Germany to the old mining town of Chloride, and Yesterday’s Restaurant. As it turned out I also, inadvertently, was able to introduce them to some absolutely terrible karaoke.
I know that these things are often taken in stride by travelers but the hope is that it won’t deter other visitors from taking the time to discover Chloride. After all, if they are on the road to Las Vegas this is but a five mile detour.
Left to right, Wolfgang Werz, Jim Hinckley, Anja Werz.
Next week, at Mother Road Harley Davidson, I will be meeting with a large group from China. Travelers from this country on Route 66 are a relatively recent phenomena but my sense is that this is about to become a tourism tsunami as evidenced by Cadillac filming a series of commercials for the Chinese market on Route 66.
Of course the chart topper for the month was our recent trip to Joplin for the annual Route 66 International Festival. This combined a number of favorite things – a road trip, a road trip on Route 66, new discoveries on Route 66, a veritable sea of Route 66 fans, the live music of Joe Loesch and the Road Crew , and an opportunity to visit with a number of old friends such as Steve Rider, Joe Sonderman, Kevin and Nancy Mueller, Mike and Sharon Ward, George and Bonnie Game and so many others.
Even though the initial work on the 2014 Route 66 International Festival that will be held in Kingman actually commenced months ago, with the official announcement last week in Joplin, it kicked into high gear. Details, as they become available will be posted on the Kingman 66 Fest site.
Tomorrow night it is another edition of Chillin on Beale on Beale Street (one block north of Route 66)in Kingman. Our special guest will be Kumar Patel of the Wigwam Motel in Rialto, California.
Usually the fun and excitement associated with Route 66 wanes a bit in the fall. Indications are that this will not be an issue this year!
A new book debuts next month and that means weeks of promotion. The publisher informed me that resultant of a scheduling change, if I want to kick off the introduction of the Route 66 atlas at Cuba Fest in Cuba, Missouri in 2014 as planned, the deadline for completion will be pushed back to December 1 instead of December 31.
That means I will have to initiate the quest for historic images (a polite way of saying that I will be bugging Mike Ward, Steve Rider, and Joe Sonderman a lot in the coming weeks)immediately, and add at least one hour each night to the writing schedule. In turn that means the rest of the schedule will need to be adjusted as I have the final edit and captions to write for the Route 66 travel guide due for publication next spring, two speaking engagements for the Westerners (one in Flagstaff and one in Prescott), and one engagement to speak at a Smithsonian sponsored event.
Then, if by chance, I find time for boredom, there is the need to pen a couple of features for Legends of America, a tractor magazine, a truck magazine, assist in the development of next years festival, meet with several tour groups, and ….