|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.
|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) –