Its time once again for the annual Route 66 Fun Run weekend, a 200 mile block party that transforms the longest unbroken segment of that iconic highway into a virtual time capsule. For a brief moment in time it will be difficult to find a parking place at Grand Canyon Caverns or the restaurant in Peach Springs, there will be traffic congestion problems in Kingman, Oatman, and Seligman, people will have trouble getting back on the road from the Hackberry General Store as a result on the endless stream of traffic flowing past, and Corvette owners will be frustrated by the slow pace of Model A Ford’s and ancient busses.
For us the highlight of the weekend isn’t the sea of cars, trucks, or motorcycles, or even seeing Route 66 as it was in our youth. No, for us its the opportunity to visit with friends and acquaintances.
Author Jim Hinckley signing books for Dale Butel’s spring Route 66 tour.
On Saturday morning, the plans are for my son and I to drive to Seligman, and back to Kingman with Sam Murray of New Zealand. Sam is the new owner of the Frontier Motel and restaurant in Truxton.
This year we will be joined in our traditional Saturday evening dinner at Redneck’s Southern Barbecue by Bonnie and George Game of the Canadian Route 66 Association, Mike and Sharon Ward, John and Judy Springs, and Sean Evans, archivist at Northern Arizona University. This should ensure some interesting dinner conversation.
On Sunday morning it is an opportunity to visit with our friend from the land down under, Dale Butel. Another Fun Run tradition is meeting with his spring tour, speak about Route 66, and sign a few books.
That will close out what has been a very busy week, and kick off one that should be just as busy. Dominating the schedule for both is the ongoing battle to ensure the Route 66 International Festival in Kingman emulates the one in Joplin rather than the one in Victorville. That, however, is a story to be written after the fact, not before.
Suffice to say, this festival is going to be a fun filled and historic Route 66 centric event. To ensure that, I am in need of some assistance.
First, if your planning on attendance, can you drop me a note. Next, please contact the tourism office or chamber of commerce and request information about the festival.
Last but not least, the city of Kingman like many communities along Route 66 has yet to fully grasp the passion, the enthusiasm, and the potential wrapped up in this storied old road. So, letters to the editor for the Kingman Daily Miner might help enlighten the leadership.
Last but not least, working as a consultant in the development of this festival has solidified my long held belief that the next hurdle to overcome in the Route 66 renaissance is awakening community leadership to the possibilities that are only limited by the imagination. They need to see that, yes, tourism is a poor foundation to build a local economy on but in the process of making a community a destination, they make it a place people want to live and open businesses. And if Route 66 is that communities main street, the possibilities are limitless.
Now, with that said, how may I be of assistance in regard to awakening your community to the possibilities?