BACK ROADS, FESTIVALS, AND GUM BEATING

As the title for today’s posts suggests, this will be an eclectic entry. However, I can assure you that these items are linked in a somewhat circular manner.
Lets start with item one, back roads. In recent posts I noted a planned adventure to Crown King on the weekend of the 15th or the weekend of the 22nd (long story on the possible change of plans).
For this adventure plan “A” is to follow the Senator Highway, an 1860’s toll road that connected the territorial capital of Prescott with the mining boom towns of the Bradshaw Mountains. Plan “B” is only a bit less adventuresome since the road from Mayer to Crown Kingman follows the old rail bed and is passable by automobile.   
In either case a trip to Crown King is an adventure as this old town may not be in the middle of nowhere but I bet you can spot that famous point from the historic saloon. This link is for Google maps (try the 3d view). 
Back roads have been an integral component of my adult life, as well as most of my childhood. For reasons unknown, it seems that I am always choosing the dusty trail over the paved one, and the two-lane over the four lane. I have even penned a few books for Voyageur Press in their back roads series. 
Fortunately I married a good friend who just happens to posses a similar slant in life. In her the generational pioneering Arizona spirit is alive and well.
Now, for the festival explanation. Even though the planning for the annual Route 66 International Festival has often reminded me of adventures down a dusty unmarked trail without a map, it is starting to come together.
I should be able to provide more details after the organizational meeting next week. However, an interesting twist has been discussions pertaining to how we can encourage exploration of the various alignments of Route 66 in the area, as well as the course for the National Old Trails Highway, the Beale Wagon Road, and a few early wagon roads such as the one that connected Kingman with Stockton Hill.
Suffice to say, I think that this will add an interesting dynamic to the festival. If nothing else, I think organizers are planning on me being on hand to tell folks where to go, something I seem to have a talent for. 
Now, that takes us full circle with an explanation of gum beating. It would appear that the recent spate of interviews and speaking engagements has sparked a bit of interest. 
As a result, the Jim Hinckley’s America lecture series has morphed into Jim Hinckley’s Back Roads of America series. The primary topics will still center on Route 66 and the predecessor trails between Chicago and Santa Monica.
However, this will now be expanded to include other overlooked back roads, specifically in the southwest. This would include roads such as the Senator Highway and the Honeymoon Trail.
Of course each engagement will be amply peppered with colorful tidbits, a bit of the macabre, and interesting characters. What will not be included is boredom or a lack of opportunities for a smile. 
See, I told you the title items were linked.         

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