An interesting milestone is fast approaching. At the current pace of blog posting (five or six a week), in about fourteen days I will hit 1,500 posts.
When I reflect on the fact that this initially started as an educational experiment, an endeavor to move from the world of rotary dial phones and eight track tape players into the modern era, that is rather amazing. Even more incredible is the international audience of regular readers that has developed over the years.
As with any such endeavor the embryonic stages were to say the very least, a bit rough around the edges. With the passing of time the blog transformed into a blending of a public version of my daily journal entries, a small town weekly newspaper, a bit of shameless self promotion, and a voyeuristic look into life lived on legendary Route 66.
I suppose waiting until the milestone post would be in order before sharing a few of my personal highlights. However, waiting until the morning of Christmas to open packages isn’t something I was ever very good at.
So, I will share a few of my favorite moments over the course of the next couple of weeks. If you would be so kind as to share some of your favorites, I will include these as well.
We transformed this view of Angel’s barbershop in Seligman into a post card, and shared it with a number of friends as well as followers of this blog. Much to our surprise it remains one of the most popular photos yet posted.
For those who missed it, on one occasion I posted the story behind this shot.
My dearest friend and I had spent the evening in Prescott in early December as my appearance on AM Arizona with Tonya Mock (an Arizona cable television program) required being at the studio by 7:00 AM.
We awoke to heavy pewter skies and intermittent snow flurries. As we were also scheduled for an appearance in Flagstaff that morning, there was a bit of apprehension even though we were driving the Jeep.
Route 66 near Crookton Road exit on a grand adventure.
Surprisingly the weather held, at least until we hit the Crookton Road exit. Then it began to snow, and soon the road vanished.
We weren’t breaking any speed records but on the grade before the overpass we were slowed to a crawl as a battered old Oldsmobile slid and fishtailed to the top of the hill.
Even with four wheel drive we did a bit of sliding as well. It was a most memorable Route 66 adventure.
As the title for the blog implies, the primary focus is on Route 66, our adventures on that storied old road, and the people we meet along the way. However, on occasion we shared a few of the detours.
One of these was to the Johnson Canyon Railroad Tunnel. In regard to popularity this photo is probably the second most popular. Within two weeks I lost count of how many people asked for information or directions.
Author Jim Hinckley at the historic Johnson Canyon Railroad Tunnel.
The historic tunnel that dates to the early 1880s remains one our favorite discoveries. It was an incredible tangible time capsule with craftsmanship that bordered on the artistic.
Our journey to the tunnel was a grand adventure that we were pleased to share with you. On my to do list is a return trip. This time, however, I envision watching a snowfall from a campsite in the tunnel. Rest assured, when that takes place photos will be shared.
Route 66 is and has always been about the people. That is what truly makes this amazing old road so special. That is what gives it a vibrancy, a sense of palpable excitement, and fills the visitor with inspiration.
Left to right, Dean Kennedy, Rich Dinkela, authorJim Hinckley, and author Joe Sonderman at Zeno’s, a Route 66 landmark erased from the roadside several years ago.
Over the years, as a result of our travels, books written, and speaking engagements, we have been privileged with countless opportunities to meet Route 66 celebrities as well as fellow travelers that inspired us. I am quite pleased to say that more than a few of these folks we now count as friends.
This photo of a breakfast at Zeno’s proved to be quite popular. It is also one of our favorites.
Zeno’s closed and was razed shortly after this photo was taken. That tragedy taints the happy memories of Cuba Fest, an adventure led by Rich Dinkela, and delightful conversation with friends of the double six.
Here is another photo that proved to be quite popular. It too stirs some very happy memories.
Do you recognize any of these characters?
Book sales were less than anemic at this event in Tucumcari. I actually gave away or traded more books than I signed!
This, however, didn’t really matter as it was a weekend filled with laughter, memory making Route 66 adventures shared with legends of the road, good food, and new found friends Christopher Robleski and Katie Nelson. It was also our first evening at the legendary Blue Swallow Motel with Kevin and Nancy Mueller as proprietors.
Lets see what I can dig up from the archive tomorrow.
Jim Hinckley's America is a grand adventure on the back roads and two lane highways. It is an odyssey seasoned with fascinating people, and memory making discoveries. As made evident by the publication of fourteen books on subjects as diverse as diverse as Ghost Towns of the Southwest, The Illustrated History of the Checker Cab Manufacturing Company, Travel Route 66, Backroads of Arizona, and The Route 66 Encyclopedia, I enjoy sharing adventures and helping people plan for their own memory making journeys.