The first item on the docket is the unfolding story of a recent discovery in Foss Lake near Foss, Oklahoma. It appears as though a very gruesome mystery has been unearthed.
My heart goes out to the families involved as situations such as this bring a sense of closure but it also reopens old wounds. Even worse are the questions raised and the questions that are yet to be answered. 
Resultant of work on the Route 66 historic atlas that will include a section on crime scenes and disasters, I have been exploring the dark side of this legendary highway for several months and have become accustomed to finding disturbing things in the shadows. Still, there is something about this story that seems particularly unnerving and haunting.
An example of the dark recesses visited in recent months would include the court transcripts from the trial that followed an infamous murder at Two Guns, Arizona. Thank you Libby Conyer at the state archives.
Not all of my recent work or Route 66 related endeavors have been cloaked in such darkness. On Tuesday evening my dearest friend and I enjoyed a most delightful dinner at the Dambar with Dries Bessels and his tour group from Holland. The only thing that kept the evening from perfection was the absence of his charming wife, Marion, Karel Kuperus, and Hanneke Wiersma who often accompany the tours.
I am also deeply involved with the promotional development of the 2014 Route 66 International Festival scheduled to take place on the weekend of August 16 in Kingman, Arizona. As I have long held the opinion that this city is at the heart of the most overlooked destination on Route 66, there is an eagerness to introduce it to the world. 
The exhibition of Route 66 authors, artist, collectors, and state associations is always a center piece of the event. Fortuitously a new event center will be open this October and as it is located at ground zero for the festivals main activities this will serve as the venue. 
Details pertaining to the number of available spaces, the possible need for a city license ($11.00), and a few other items are still being resolved. However, I should note that a number of authors, artists, and collectors have already committed to attend. So, if you have plans on participating in this portion of the event drop me a note or contact the Kingman tourism office
The car show will be an expanded version of Chillin’ on Beale, a nifty little event held on the third Saturday evening of every month, April through October. If you have interest in participating during the festival, or any time between April and October keep in mind that it is always free to enter a vehicle, it is always free to attend, and it is open to anything and everything with wheels. 
For more information contact Ron Giesbrecht at 928-897-6039 or Ralph Bowman at 928-681-2361.
As the theme for the festival is Kingman Crossroads of the Past and Future, and as there is a concerted effort to make Route 66 the nations first electric highway, alternative energy vehicles of the past, present, and future will be featured at center stage. The hope is that we will a full spectrum of these type of vehicles from electric and steam powered to solar and experimental models. 
So, it should be an interesting auto show and cruise night, even for those who want to show off their rental car. A collector has committed to bringing the oldest operational Studebakler electric, a 1902 model designed by Thomas Edison, the Studebaker Drivers Club of Southern Nevada has shown interest in participation, and Sam Jackson, editor of the White Triangle will be keeping owners of Hudson, Essex, and Terraplane vehicles apprised of updates. 
The next item to discuss is sponsorship opportunities, ideas, and advertising possibilities. Here too details are currently being hammered out event though the sponsorship package is finalized and is currently being distributed. This festival will provide tremendous exposure for a business or company as well as name recognition in the Route 66 community (especially if you sponsor Joe Loesch and the Road Crew). For more information, to request a sponsorship packaging, or to discuss advertising, contact Mike Wagner at 928-275-1215. 
After the organizational meeting on Friday evening I should be able to provide more details. In the meantime, if you have questions drop a note and I will find the answer or somebody who can provide one.
The last item of the day pertains to my schedule and availability for tours, meeting with tours, or speaking engagements. October is quite full (a tour from Chicago to Santa Monica for a New Zealand based publisher, meeting with Dale Butel’s fall tour, a speaking engagement in Flagstaff for the Westerners, another for the Smithsonian Journeys program, and the pressing deadline for the atlas). 
November is a big question mark. I received notification that my services may be required for federal jury duty in Prescott, and I need to focus on the completion of the atlas. 
Next year is still open with a few exceptions. On the third weekend in October plans are to introduce the Route 66 Historic Atlas in Cuba, Missouri at Cuba Fest. On the weekend of August 16, I will be attending the 2014 Route 66 International Festival in Kingman. 
The first weekend of May is the annual Route 66 Fun Run. I am also scheduled to meet with eight tour groups in Kingman between May and October. 
With that said, if I may be of service in regard to your tour, your tour group, or an event you may be developing, please let me know. You may also contact Steve Roth, the publicist (see the tab at the top of the page). 
Until next time, safe travels to one and all. 


It seemed odd in a way. My dearest friend and I were on the road again but this time the great adventure wasn’t linked to work of any kind, or Route 66.
Even though we derive tremendous enjoyment from the various facets of the business of writing books and photography resultant of the wonderful people we meet along the way, this was an adventure to celebrate a milestone. This was a weekend with one simple goal, to show my appreciation for thirty delightful and exciting years.
In typical Hinckley fashion the schedule, as well as budget, that allowed for only two days did not deter us. In that brief window of time we managed an almost eight hundred mile drive (787 to be exact), savored the simple pleasure of watching the waves crash on the beach while waiting for a beautiful sunset to unfold, discovered a new restaurant to avoid in the future, and a most enchanting authentic Armenian restaurant (with live traditional music and belly dancers), as well as a wonderful place for breakfast, and found a new favorite drive to add to the lengthy list.
As playing hooky derailed an already chaotic schedule it may be a few days before photos will be posted. Suffice to say, however, that I have a few to share that just might encourage a road trip – or two.
After a bit of quick calculation we determined that with the cost of fuel, especially in California, a rental car could pay for itself as the Jeep isn’t exactly an economy car. So, after work on Friday, I paid a visit to Gwen at the local Budget office and decided that the trip would provide an excellent opportunity to review the latest offering from Mazda.
On Saturday morning, just as the sun cleared the eastern horizon, we headed west into the desert. With a focus on destination we made good time even though I avoided the interstate highways as much as possible (surprise!), and made it to Carlsbad by early afternoon. 
I am confident that an hour or so could be shaved from my time for the trip as a result of new found knowledge. That, however, is dependent on the crush of traffic that turns some highways into vast parking lots in southern California.
As this was a milestone celebration, I splurged and surprised my dearest friend by having reservations at the Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort a mere block from the beach on highway 101. If your looking for some place very special, and the budget allows for a bit of self indulgence, this should be your destination.
The staff is professionally polished and personable, there is attention to detail in regard to meeting the needs of guests, the grounds are stunning, and the location is ideal. In addition to being close to the beach there are a wide array of fascinating restaurants within walking distance so once you have set up camp there is no need to battle traffic or search for parking, always a source of frustration in southern California, especially along the coast.
After getting settled into the motel we headed for the beach with our trusty folding chairs. My dearest friend and I are desert people but there is something very therapeutic and relaxing in watching the waves break on a beach as a late afternoon sun baths the clouds in ever changing shades of red, the grey waters with streaks of silver, and the sands with gold.
By the time we returned to the motel, and prepared for dinner, dusk had given way to dark but the pulsing sense of vitality, of life, made manifest in the ebb and flow of the crowds on the sidewalk, the bicyclists racing to and fro, and the traffic set against a backdrop of lively cafes, flowers, and lush landscapes, was most invigorating. So, armed with adequately stimulated appetites we set out to find something unique for dinner. 
That something unique was the delightful Armenian Cafe. The music (a hint of which is on the website), the food, dining under the palm trees as an ocean scented breeze danced across the patio, and the company of my dearest friend all combined to ensure this was a most memorable evening.
Even though we knew our adventurous celebration was a short one, we refused to let it dampen the mood on Sunday morning. We took a walk in the morning mist and discovered the Daily News Cafe for a most wonderful patio served breakfast.
Again we scored a winner. The food was superb, the service excellent, the price moderate, and the ambiance was memorable. 
After breakfast we set our sights on home and headed out for more exploration on our new favorite highway, California 78. From Carlsbad to Escondido it was pure California freeway – a race track carved from stunning landscapes.
However, from Escondido to Brawley this highway, though heavy with traffic in places, was a true delight. Beautiful rolling hills laced with vineyards, a roadside amply sprinkled with produce stands, valleys where orchards mingled with native grass and scrub oaks, a highway that flowed with the contours of the land, stunning vistas, and then a breathtaking sweep from pine shaded hills to the stark deserts that border the Salton Sea were but the highlights of the drive. 
The bonus was the charming little villages where the past and present seemed to flow together seamlessly. As an example, in historic Santa Ysabel the century old mercantile building and the relatively modern supermarket with electric vehicle charging station, as well as the Julian Pie Company store, presented a rich tapestry that incorporated the present, as well as future, without one infringing upon the other. 
Then there was historic and colorful Julian. That, however,is a story for another day.         


Now, things are really starting to get very interesting, as if they weren’t already. Lets see, I installed an electric motor in the “swamp” cooler last Saturday even though temperatures were stuck somewhere around eighty degrees. My best guess at this point is that a bearing went out in the squirrel cage on Sunday evening, just in time to enjoy some late summer days in the mid nineties.
I refuse to allow this or the fact that the undergrowth in the back yard and around the side gate is now near chest high or pressing deadlines or work on the ultimate Route 66 celebration in 2014 before next Fridays organizational meeting (more on that in a moment) to deter me from something of great importance. That, of course, is something a little special for my dearest friend, a celebration as well as a token of my appreciation for thirty amazing and wonderful years. 
So, tonight we turn the care of the homestead over to an able caretaker (aka our son), and in the morning we will take to the open road. The secret destination can not be disclosed at this time.

I just received an advance copy of the latest endeavor from the Jim Hinckley writing academy, Route 66 Treasures. In a nutshell this book is a bit different in that it chronicles the evolution of Route 66 from highway to icon through the materials developed to promote it. I won’t spoil the surprise but suffice to say there is a treasure inside the back cover. 
Now the focus can turn toward finishing the Route 66 Historic Atlas, and the final touches on the Route 66 travel guide that is scheduled for release next spring. For your convenience I am adding an carousel at the top of this post that features the entire Jim Hinckley collection, including the travel guide now available for pre order.
Meanwhile work to ensure the 2014 Route 66 International Festival in Kingman, under the auspices of the Route 66 Alliance, the sanctioning body for the event, is enjoyed by all who attend is well underway. With a goal of showcasing the wide array of attractions in the Kingman area, and to foster a sense of community along the entire Route 66 corridor, development is moving beyond the host city and the Grand Canyon State. 
Discussions are underway to organize a classic car and classic sports car cruise to Kingman from the Los Angeles area. Likewise with the Chicago, Phoenix  and Las Vegas area. 
Even though the spotlight will be turned on a century of alternative energy vehicles at the auto show segment of the event on Saturday evening, the hope is that there will be a full display of automobile history on Beale Street during this special edition of Chillin’ on Beale. As we have a full nine blocks to fill with cars, and more if need be, there should be room for everyone.
So, bring your rental car, classic car, vintage tractor, motorcycle, steamer (please), or bicycle and join the fun. More information is available through the tourism office at 928-753-6106.
As the event schedule includes a film festival, arts and crafts fair, barbecue, car show, two cruise nights, a concert, a Native American and western art exhibition, an exhibition of Route 66 authors, photographers, and collectors, spirit tours to the wineries and distillery, a model car contest, and special events all along the 180 mile Route 66 corridor in western Arizona, concerns about lodging have been expressed. So, I would be remiss if it were not noted that Kingman has more than 1,500 motel rooms, several excellent camp grounds, and even cabin rentals at Hualapai Mountain Park. However, within a forty mile radius there are literally thousands of motel and hotel rooms available, as well as a few very unique bed and breakfast locations.
So, you are cordially invited to …       


The recent Facebook posting pertaining to my untimely demise, and the subsequent outpouring of sincere concern, drove home a point of recent meditations. In short, I am one of the fortunate ones.
First, I am not deceased, and there is no indication that I will be in the immediate future. Second, I have real, honest to goodness friends from every corner of the planet. 
As an author and photographer, international name recognition is another indication of just how fortunate I am. Even better, this name recognition is manifesting into a base of fans for my work.
Even though it appears I am quite allergic to IT, a recent resident of the backyard resultant of the nearly epic rainfall of the past few weeks, I live in the desert and so it is difficult to really complain about rain in any amount. Feel free to remind me of this missive if complaints begin to flow when it comes time to eliminate the jungle from the yard.
I have steady employment, another sign of how fortunate I am. Even better, some of that employment is down right enjoyable,is moving me closer, and closer to the childhood dream of being a writer when I grow up, and is an almost never ending opportunity to meet with people from throughout the world. 
Even though the homestead is feeling more and more like the setting for a never ending disaster movie, it has remained dry even with the recent rains that have given rise to thoughts of building an ark. The pantry is full, another indication that I am a fortunate one, especially as my dearest friend enjoys cooking and I enjoy eating. 
I live on Route 66 and in Arizona. Even better, I live in Arizona along what is, in my humble opinion, the most beautiful segment of Route 66 anywhere between Chicago and Santa Monica. As a bonus, thanks to Dale Butel, Dries Bessels, Wolfgang Werz, and a few dozen others, I get to share the history, the color, and the allure of the old road with people from most every country on the planet. All of this means that I am one of the fortunate ones.
Still, in spite of all of this, it is easy to forget that I am one of the fortunate ones, especially when a different appliance seems to break every day, when the customers are particularly frustrating, or when an allergy threatens to derail a productive day. When something happens that snaps me back into a proper perspective I am always amazed by how an issue as minor as a broken television or an allergy or a customer that cannot be pleased can lead me to forget that simple fact. 
In the past week the notes from those who heard of my demise, a special request from Dale Butel, a note reminding me of a forthcoming dinner with Dries and a group from Holland, a pending visit from Mike and Sharon Ward, and a few other items served as that gentle snap needed to adjust the focus. However, the event that really sharpened my focus on just how fortunate I am was a most simple and quiet celebration. 
Last evening, at a table piled high with correspondence awaiting a response, the galley proof for the new book, owners manuals and warranty cards for the items replaced in the past week, and assorted items that haven’t been added to the growing piles in the office, my dearest friend and I enjoyed the most delightful dinner of grilled salmon, and Mediterranean couscous with garlic and mushrooms. Last evening we turned a corner and looked back on thirty years of tears, trials, tribulation, laughter, friends, travels, and good times.
Then, with eager anticipation we turned our sights on the adventure that awaits us in the next thirty years as we enjoyed a desert of pound cake and strawberries. I am truly counted among the fortunate ones.                  


What a fascinating week! There is a sense of having been assigned the task of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Enhancing this odd, surreal sense of futility and dark comedy is the growing list of broken things, crushing deadlines that leave me meditating on the seven labors of Hercules, and being informed this morning that I died yesterday in a one vehicle automobile accident. 
First, I may be a dedicated employee but not enough so to come to work on a rainy day if there was an opportunity to call in dead. Even though I found a bit of morbid humor in this, there was also a sense of anger as the careless announcement of my demise on Facebook caused serious consternation with several people. 
To compound the carelessness of the posting, numerous people are offering condolences to the person who posted the note indicating that they had lost a good friend. This is in spite of the fact that I responded on two separate occasions that the rumors of my demise were greatly exaggerated.
So, I am left with one obvious conclusion, and one theory. The conclusion is that those who are offering condolences don’t read what they respond to. The theory is that the person who lost a good friend did not notice they had inadvertently input a wrong name, an easy thing to do on Facebook if one is not paying attention. 
Meanwhile, the rains continue. I learned long ago never to complain about rain in the desert. 
With that said, however, I must note that the never ending cycle of rain this monsoon season is nearing Biblical proportions. The desert is green as in Emerald Isle green, the streets are rivers, and the back yard is filled with vegetation to such a degree that we could easily hide an elephant or least a very large dog. 
Yet, it is never dry enough to cut it. And so IT grows. I am unsure what IT is but in wading through the underbrush to retrieve a ladder this weekend IT sparked an unprecedented allergy attack. 
Uncontrollable sneezing, watery eyes, scratchy throat, dominated Saturday afternoon, the evening, and Sunday morning. This was joined by an epic sinus headache that blurred my vision and made my head throb violently with every movement by late Sunday evening. This sort of took the fun out of the weekend. Still, amazingly, I was able to persevere. 
Friday night I worked on the galley proof for the Route 66 travel guide as there was a request from the publisher to submit the final edit, as well as suggested photo substitutions by Monday morning. I also initiated the selection of twenty photos, and the writing of captions, for the Arizona segment of the Route 66 Atlas so the publisher could begin development of a rough layout. This project also came with a request for completion by Monday morning.
I continued working on these tasks for several hours on Saturday morning. Then I went hunting for a new cooler motor ($99.00), which I installed before lunch. On Sunday evening something else broke in the cooler (tonight’s project).
Saturday evening was spent discussing possible involvement in the development of Route 66 tours in conjunction with New Zealand Today magazine with Sam Murray over dinner at Redneck’s Barbecue on Beale Street. It was an interesting and possibly productive evening that left me with a great deal to ponder.
On Sunday morning I resumed work on the book projects. A brief respite in the form of delivering a ladder to my son’s house and providing a lesson on the laying of shingles as a temporary fix for a roof leak came before lunch.  
By this morning the sneezing had abated but the throbbing in my face, and subsequent headache, was almost unbearable. For reasons unknown this made the report of my demise delivered by a concerned friend quite funny. 
Before reports are circulated of my impending death, or before I cause undue concern, it should be noted that as this evening there is a dramatic sense of improvement with only an occasionally runny nose and slight headache remaining.
Needless to say with such a very full weekend, I fell behind on other pressing projects. Perhaps the most exciting of these is an idea to utilize the 2014 Route 66 Festival as a means to provide a promotional venue for the entire Route 66 community and at the same time give someone an opportunity for an unprecedented Route 66 adventure. 
In a nutshell, businesses on Route 66 can have their name, contact information, and website included in the official website and promotional material for the contest in exchange for a small one time fee, and a certificate offering a free room, dinner, t-shirt, etc. from that business. Museums and non profits will receive free advertisement in exchange for a certificate for free admission, a t-shirt or …
All of these items will be used to create an ultimate Route 66 adventure package. This will be given away on Saturday night during the festival (winner must be present). 
If you would like more details about how your business can participate please drop me a note. 
In the meantime, back at disaster central…