ARE YOU WAITING AT THE TRAIN DEPOT FOR YOUR SHIP TO COME IN?

On Route 66 News recently, evaluation of a newspaper article pertaining to Springfield, Missouri captured my attention. This feature could have easily been written about Kingman and countless other communities along the Route 66 corridor between Santa Monica and Chicago.
More often than not, communities as well as individuals pursue all manner of perceived opportunities with such an intent focus that they don’t hear opportunity knocking at the door with a battering ram. Such is the case with many of the villages, cities, and towns located along the old double six. 
Yes, tourism in any guise is a very poor foundation for the building of a strong economy in any community. If, however, you can utilize the unique attributes of a community to transform it into a destination, in the process you create a community where people want to live, to open businesses, and to raise families.
Time and again I have had opportunity to address this topic in lectures and presentations. In each instance I make it quite clear that that is not to be confused with using Disneyland as a template for development or renovation. 
The two fold key to successfully transforming a community into a destination where people want to live is to create opportunity for authentic experiences and to highlight the natural as well as historic attributes that make it different from any other place. This is especially true in regard to harnessing the Route 66 renaissance as a catalyst for development.
Now, lets expand on this concept. Acclaimed author and historian Michael Wallis aptly describes Route 66 as a linear community. From that perspective the towns and cities, large and small, along the Route 66 corridor are merely unique, and often quirky neighborhoods in that community. 
Okay, nothing new in this concept. On numerous occasions I have used this analogy as have numerous Route 66 aficionados.
However, the fact that in recent months, for the first time since the U.S. Highway 66 Association closed its doors and the Route 66 renaissance began, this perception is beginning to sweep through the Route 66 community at all levels is both exciting and new. 
Manifestations of this developing perception occurred at the conference last November in Anaheim. It is happening at the Route 66 International Festival in Kingman where representatives from state and international Route 66 associations, and various organizations representing the Route 66 community are coming together to share ideas and to develop cooperative partnerships. 
The stage is being set. Soon the pageant that will be the storied old roads centennial will begin to unfold.        
   
    
  

THE CLOCK IS TICKING

The clock is ticking. It is now less than three weeks until the 2014 Route 66 International Festival kicks off.
As excited as I am about this fun filled, historic event and an opportunity to visit with friends from Europe and along the Route 66 corridor, as well as an opportunity to listen to the music of the Road Crew on two evenings, there will be a huge sigh of relief when it is over. In recent months my initial role as a consultant morphed into a position where I served as press agent, disaster control assistant, and information bureau manager.
Along the way I learned a great deal about things I never want to experience again. I also learned that a great deal of time, money, and other precious resources are squandered as communities reinvent the wheel with the development of each festival or special event. I also received confirmation that a minimum of eighteen months lead time is needed if an event wants to include our friends from distant shores. 
In a more perfect world, the festival location and dates for 2015 would have been announced last year in Joplin, and at this festival we would be announcing the 2016 event. Unfortunately that didn’t and won’t happen for a litany of reasons, but that is about to change.
Meanwhile, after a relatively relaxing weekend spent cleaning up the rest of the storm damage and some progress on the next book, and enjoying a pleasant dinner with my brother in law and his wife, and a movie shared with my dearest friend, it is now time to tackle what promises to be another intense week.
David Knudson of the National Historic Route 66 Federation has offered to run another advertisement for the festival provided materials are provided today. That is one project.
The Federation is an organization that often flies just under the radar with its quiet, low profile. However, as I have experienced with the development of this festival, they are an organization that is intently focused on providing service and assistance to the Route 66 community.  
In the morning its a radio interview. Tomorrow evening its an enlistment drive for volunteers to assist with the festival. Next is the writing and distribution of press releases for various aspects of the festival (dedication of the Route 66 Walk of Fame with special presentation by Kaisa Barthuli of the National Park Service, the unprecedented conference, profiles of attending authors, film festival, etc.).
It looks as though conference speakers are confirmed. That schedule will be posted soon. I will also be sharing film festival details. So, stay tuned for details.
  

ADVENTURE OF AN INTERNATIONAL NATURE

We reside on Route 66. I write books about that highway. I derive a great deal of enjoyment from talking about the road, its history, its culture, and the people who make it special. We make ourselves readily available to talk about those things.
Becky and Nick Gerlich, just two of the folks that make
Route 66 a very special place.
As a result, we increasingly find ourselves meeting with folks traveling Route 66 or meeting with tour groups from every corner of the earth, providing assistance to tour groups, speaking before an array of groups interested in Route 66, or simply providing assistance in the development of cooperative partnerships that foster development of a unified sense of community and community purpose along the Route 66 corridor. This has led to the development of some delightful friendships, and in a few instances, finding my diplomacy skills sorely tested.
Intertwined with this are the mundane things that dominate daily life; family issues, employment problems, deadlines, meetings, age related issues, etc. 
In the grand scheme of things my dearest friend and I are blessed. The mundane things and the frustrations of life are adequately balanced with the joy of dinners shared with friends, friendships made, and ample opportunity to indulge in the things we enjoy.
The past seven days are a near perfect microcosm of a living life intertwined with the wonder and allure of the legendary double six.
Last weekend was dominated with storm damage clean up, a trip to the library, an afternoon barbecue with my dearest friend, dinner with friends at Chilli’ on Beale, assistance with the development of the fast approaching Route 66 International Festival, and assorted tasks associated with what promised to be a very busy weekend.
Monday morning at the office was, as usual, rather chaotic. Respite came in the form of Dale Butel’s summer tour from the land down under.
Tuesday was a veritable whirlwind of activity that began with an interview on the Ray Carr program in Cleveland. A change in schedule initially created a few issues but the interview went off without a hitch but at 5:30, not 4:15.
The ongoing issues at the office escalated when my son announced he had accepted a position with another company. Even though he only worked in my division of the company three hours a day, his departure means that as of the 31st, my staff consists of one – me, with a young lady to operate the office from 8:00 to noon on Saturday.
That evening, immediately after work, Dora Manley hosted a meeting pertaining to the Route 66 International Festival. My dearest friend and I followed this with a most wonderful dinner and an evening of conversation shared with Hanneke Wiersma and Karl Kuperus, and their U.S. Biker tour from the Netherlands.
The Chinese tour of Route 66 organized by
Open Road Productions
Wednesday was another early start as I had promised to meet with Karl’s tour before they departed. A young lady had requested one of my books the evening before, and a number of the travelers had an array of questions pertaining to the groups forthcoming adventure east along Route 66, and then to Jerome. 
Amply sprinkled throughout the entire week were a litany of festival related issues and problems to resolve. The most maddening of these was the need to diplomatically attempt to placate people demanding preferential treatment, or promised assistance that never materialized.
Friday was quite interesting. I had facilitated a lunch at the Powerhouse Visitor Center organized by Dora Manley for Rick Thomas of Open Road Productions who had developed a Route 66 tour for a group from China.
Language barriers made my presentation before the group a bit of a challenge. One or two carefully chosen lines, the interpreter with the bullhorn would translate, then I would speak another couple of lines. 
Still, it was a most fascinating venture. The people were most cordial, and they posed questions that indicated a serious interest in Route 66 and reflected their fascination with all they had experienced on their American adventure.
I signed books, posed for pictures, signed hats, arranged for our visitors to have their picture taken with vintage cars, and in general had a good time. There is an infectious enthusiasm among travelers on Route 66 that is an invigorating tonic.    
A replay will take place on August 4. Open Road Productions will be leading another Chinese tour through Kingman, this time from west to east.
The week will close out, I hope, on a relaxing and productive note. On the list is a few thousand words written for the new book, a few festival related items, barbecue with my brother in law, finish cleaning the site of my former workshop, and, perhaps, just a bit of relaxation. 
Next week I will post a number of festival details. I hope that you will be able to attend as it is shaping up to be a fun filled weekend.
For me the most exciting aspect of the festival is the unprecedented Route 66 Crossroads of the Past and Future. To the best of my knowledge there hasn’t been a conference with representatives from almost all of the state associations along the Route 66 corridor in decades.
I do know that this is the first time representatives from the international community have been given an opportunity to share and provide input about the future of Route 66. I also know it will be the first time that representatives from the electric vehicle community will be making similar contributions.       
    
        

ROUTE 66 INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Okay, there may a few tweaks and adjustments in the days to come but as of last evening, this is the schedule of events for the Route 66 International Festival. At the bottom is the current schedule for presentations during the Route 66 Crossroads of the Past and Future conference at the festival.
In my humble opinion the conference represents an unprecedented opportunity to share information, and to build cooperative partnerships. I hope it is not used as a forum for casting blame or to foster divisions. 
EVENTS
Thursday, August 14
Bob Waldmire Exhibition, 8:00 to 5:00, TNT Auto Center located at 535 E. Andy Devine Avenue(Route 66) –
Walk of Fame “Bricks on 66” Dedication, 5:00 PM, in front of Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner – Cine 66 Kingman Film Festival, historic Elks Lodge on the corner of Fourth Street and Oak Street, 9:00 AM to 9:30 PM –
Historic electric vehicle exhibition, Powerhouse Visitor Center, 8:00 to 5:00 PM –
Friday
Route 66 Crossroads of the Past & Future conference, Mohave County Board of Supervisors Auditorium, 700 W. Beale St., 8:00 to 5:00 –
Bob Waldmire Exhibition, 8:00 to 5:00, TNT Auto Center located at 535 E. Andy Devine Avenue(Route 66) –
Beale Celebrations Event Center(corner of Fourth Street & Beale Street) – exhibition of authors, artists, collectors, and Route 66 associations, 11:00 to 6:00 PM –
Cine 66 Kingman Film Festival, historic Elks Lodge on the corner of Fourth Street and Oak Street, 9:30 AM to 10:00 PM –
Historic electric vehicle exhibition, Powerhouse Visitor Center, 8:00 to 5:00 PM –
Saturday
Route 66 Crossroads of the Past & Future, Mohave County Board of Supervisors Auditorium, 700 W. Beale St., 8:00 to 5:00 –
Bob Waldmire Exhibition, 8:00 to 5:00, TNT Auto Center located at 535 E. Andy Devine Avenue(Route 66) – 
Beale Celebrations Event Center(corner of Fourth Street & Beale Street) – exhibition of authors, artists, collectors, and Route 66 associations, 11:00 to 6:00 PM –
Reunion, formerly The Letterman, concert at Lee Williams High School Auditorium on Grandview Avenue, 7:30 PM –
Historic electric vehicle exhibition, Powerhouse Visitor Center, 8:00 to 5:00 PM –
Cine 66 Kingman Film Festival, historic Elks Lodge on the corner of Fourth Street and Oak Street, 9:00 AM to 10:30 PM –
SPECIAL EVENTS
Thursday
Bob Boze Bell signing copies of his latest book, The 66 Kid, at the Powerhouse Visitor Center located at 120 W. Andy Devine Avenue(Route 66) from 2:00 to 4:00 –
Bob Boze Bell exhibition, 9:00 to 5:00 PM, free, Powerhouse Visitor Center-
Railroad Museumoperated by the Whistle Stop Railroad Club in the historic Santa Fe depot located at the corner of Fourth Street and Andy Devine Avenue(Route 66), 9:00 to 5:00 –
Distillers Choice tours at Desert Diamond Distillery, 4875 Olympic in the Kingman Airport industrial park complex, 1:00 PM, $30.00 –
Meet John Holod and get a sneak preview of his award winning video, RV Adventure Route 66 at 7:00 PM in the Canyon Route 66 Bar & Grill in the Ramada Inn located at 3100 E. Andy Devine Avenue (Route 66) –
Chicago Title sponsored concert in Locomotive Park, 8:00 to 9:30 PM, free
Friday
Bob Boze Bell signing copies of his latest book, The 66 Kid, at the Mohave Museum of History & Arts located at 400 W. Beale Street from 2:00to 4:00 –
Bob Boze Bell exhibition, 9:00 to 5:00 PM, free, Powerhouse Visitor Center-
Railroad Museumoperated by the Whistle Stop Railroad Club in the historic Santa Fe depot located at the corner of Fourth Street and Andy Devine Avenue(Route 66), 9:00 to 5:00 –
Distillers Choice tours at Desert Diamond Distillery, 4875 Olympic in the Kingman Airport industrial park complex, 1:00 PM, $30.00 –
Drive-In Movie (Despicable Me II) & Sock Hop, Mohave County Fairgrounds, 2600 Fairgrounds Boulevard, 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM, movie starts at 8:30, $5.00 per car load –
Performance by the Road Crew, 6:30 to 8:30, Locomotive Park –
Sky Duey Memorial Roping Contest, 6:00 PM, Sky Duey Arena at Castle Rock Bar & Grille, 3743 N. Highway 93 (10 minutes north of Kingman, free –
Saturday
Pancake Breakfast, Mohave County Fairgrounds, 2600 Fairgrounds Boulevard, 7:00 to 9:00 AM –
Kingman Disc Club sponsored 66 Holes of Havoc disc golf tournament, $25.00, 8:00 AM, Fireman’s Memorial Park located at the corner of Detroit Street and Fairgrounds Avenue –
VW Crossroads Car Show & Raffle at TNT Auto Center, 535 E. Andy Devine Avenue, 8:00 to 3:00 –
Annie Mouse Party with children’s author Anne Slanina in Metcalf Parklocated at the corner of Beale Street and Grandview Avenue from 10:00 to 2:00 –
Bob Boze Bell exhibition, 9:00 to 5:00 PM, free, Powerhouse Visitor Center-
Marshal Stone, Our Time, Our History Arizona Kicks on Route 66 presentation at the Mohave Museumof History & Arts (northwest side of Locomotive Park), 1:00 – 2:00 PM, free, sponsored by Sounds of Kingman and the Arizona Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts –  
Railroad Museumoperated by the Whistle Stop Railroad Club in the historic Santa Fe depot located at the corner of Fourth Street and Andy Devine Avenue(Route 66), special hours 9:00 to 8:00 PM –
Distillers Choice tours at Desert Diamond Distillery, 4875 Olympic in the Kingman Airport industrial park complex, 1:00 PM, $30.00 –
Mud Drags, Tuff Trucks, and Scramble Cars sponsored by Cerbat Motosports, Mohave County Fairgrounds, 2600 Fairgrounds Boulevard, 1:00 to 6:00 PM, Adults, $8.00, children, age 6 to 11, $5.00 –
Sky Duey Memorial Roping Contest, 6:00 PM, Sky Duey Arena at Castle Rock Bar & Grille, 3743 N. Highway 93 (10 minutes north of Kingman), live music and entertainment, free –
Chillin’ On Beale car show, Andy Devine Avenuebetween First and Sixth Street, 4:00 to ? PM –
Sounds of Kingman, concert in the park with the Garlin Hackney Band (inductee into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 2000), MetcalfPark (across from Locomotive Park), 5:00 to 7:00 PM, free –
Performance by the Road Crew in Locomotive Park, 8:00 to 9:30 PM, free –
Author Cheryl Eichar Jett closes out the festival with exciting news from Edwardsville, 9:30 PM – 

Route 66 Crossroads of the Past & Future Conference 
Friday
Time
Speaker
Organization
8:00
Welcome
8:30
Michael Wallis
Route 66 Alliance
9:00
Ron Hart
Route 66 Chamber of Commerce
9:30
Sharlene Fouser 
Route 66 Association of Arizona
10:00
Kaisa Barthuli
National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Program Director
10:30
Sean Evans
NAU Archivist, state historian
11:00
Ed Klein
Route 66 World
11:30
Lunch
12:00
12:30
1:00
Richard Mouer
Bicycle corridor development Route 66
1:30
Professor Nick Gerlich 
Bicycle Tourism  
2:00
Robert Gehl
Missouri Route 66 Association
2:30
Larry Clounts
Texas Route 66 Association
3:00
Glen Duncan
California Route 66 Association
3:30
Vickie Ashcraft
New Mexico Route 66 Association
4:00
Renee Charles
Kansas Route 66 Association
4:30
Dries Bessels
Dutch Route 66 Association
Saturday
Time
Speaker
Organization
8:00
Welcome
8:30
Roderick Wilde
Historic Electric Vehicle Association
9:00
Tudor Melville
Tesla Owners Group
9:30
Jerry Asher
Plugshare
10:00
Rudy Garcia
EV Station Solutions
10:30
Jim Ross
Historian
11:00
Kathleen Smith
Holbrook Chamber of Commerce
11:30
Lunch
12:00
12:30
1:00
Kumar Patel
Wigwam Motel
1:30
Scott Piotrowski
Route 66 Los Angles
2:00
Roger Naylor
2:30
Bob Boze Bell
3:00
Wolfgang Werz
German Route 66 Association
3:30
Zdnek Jurasek
Czech Route 66 Association
4:00
John Holod
Exploring Route 66 by RV
4:30
 Jim Farber
Autry Exhibit  

PORKY WILLIAMS, A VISIT WITH THE AUSSIES, AND ANOTHER FUN FILLED DAY ON THE DOUBLE SIX

Author Jim Hinckley signing books for an
Australian tour group.

A life lived on Route 66 during that highways renaissance is a life filled with blessings, laughter, friends, and an almost endless opportunity for experiencing all three. As a result, the daily frustrations, trials, and tribulations of life seem just a bit less stressful.

Monday’s adventure on the double six included a first. In more than a dozen years of signing books, this is the first time I received a request to dedicate one to Porky Williams.
The auspicious milestone took place during our afternoon visit with Dale Butel’s summer tour from the land down under. Meeting with the various tour groups that roll through Kingman on Route 66 is, perhaps, the best of the perks associated with being an author.
Today kicked off early but apparently not early enough. I was scheduled for a 5:15 interview on the Ray Carr Show. However, the interview was actually rescheduled for 4:15. Obviously this created a few issues for me as well as Ray Carr and his producer.
As I enjoy encouraging adventures on the back roads, with an emphasis on Route 66, and have been told that I posses a gift for telling folks where to go, interviews are something else that is often quite enjoyable. With that said they are often a source of frustration.
This morning was a prime example. My role in the near debacle was in not following up to confirm.
Fortunately we were able to adjust things, an indication of Ray Carr’s professionalism. The rest of the interview went without a hitch.

Author Jim Hinckley, left, and Daniel Azzopardi, Dale
Butel’s tour assistant.

The rest of the week promises to be a most exciting adventure with a decidedly international flavor. This evening, after a busy day at the office, there is a meeting with the organizers of the Route 66 International Festival that should allow me to be able to post a full schedule of events either Wednesday or Thursday. 
I guarantee that there will be something for everyone – the Road Crew (two performances), the Reunion, ample opportunity for cruising and exploring Route 66 in western Arizona, mud bog competitions with four wheel drive trucks, calf roping competition featuring local cowboys, not one but two car shows, electric vehicles spanning more than a century of automotive history, Route 66 authors, artists, and collectors exhibition, a film festival, an Annie Mouse Party, drive in movie and sock hop at the Mohave County Fairgrounds, Bob Boze Bell art exhibition and the debut of a new book, a two day conference featuring historians, leaders in the electric vehicle community, and representatives from Route 66 associations, and lots of good food.
We will follow the meeting with an eagerly anticipated dinner shared with Hanneke Wiersma and Karel Kuperus, friends from the Netherlands with U.S. Bikers, and their tour group. On Friday its lunch with a Chinese tour organized by Open Road Productions. This will be the first of two Chinese tours this summer.
Also on the list of activities scheduled for this week, discussions pertaining to the development of an actual Route 66 convention in 2015. As enthusiasts enjoy the annual festivals, and as there hasn’t been any indication of a festival being developed for 2015, initial plans are for a few of the key components of the festival to be incorporated into the convention (the Yahoo Route 66 e-group breakfast, exhibition of authors, artists, and collectors, etc.).
As envisioned, the convention would also include a conference, a series of workshops (grant applications, social media for marketing, website development and promotion, etc.) and an expanded exhibition that includes chambers of commerce, tour companies, Route 66 associations, etc. Currently the idea is in the embryonic stages of development but I am excited about the possibilities and am rather confident that it will take place as the initial discussions have been filled with enthusiasm, and the proposed host city has expressed interest in seeing this idea become a reality.
Another twist from the festival is in that initial plans are being made for it to take place in the late fall instead of summer. This would allow Route 66 business owners to participate and contribute.
As the needs of the modern Route 66 community, and the challenges faced are quite similar to those encountered in 1927 when the U.S. Highway 66 Association was formed, I am rather surprised that an actual convention was not organized sooner. Indicative of interest in this convention is the fact that as word of its initial development spread, I was approached with the request to provide assistance with development of a similar event in 2016, and a series of conferences. These too are in the embryonic stage of discussion. 
Your ideas, thoughts, and suggestions would be most appreciated. Events such as these can not be built on or around a personality, or be restrained by the confines of myopic self interests. For something of this magnitude to succeed, for it to benefit the entire Route 66 community, contributions that foster a sense of unified community and purpose are crucial. 
Until tomorrow (I hope) –