Okay, lets get right down to business as there is a great to deal to share with you resultant of last evenings meeting with the organizers of the Route 66 International Festival in Kingman scheduled for August 14 to August 17.
The Thursday schedule is going to be loose to allow for folks to mingle, to explore, and to share stories of their adventures on the road to Kingman. A formal reception is in the works but this is still in development.
The Film Festival will begin on Wednesday with select films being shown between 1:00 and 5:00. On Thursday, theater doors open at 9:00 AM
The tentative schedule is:
Kingman’s Aviation History with presentation at 9:30 –
Roadhouse 66 (a special 30th anniversary of release presentation) at 7:00 –
Unfortunately a suitable venue in the historic district was not available. So, the films will be shown at Brendan Theater located at 4055 Stockton Hill Road, about a five mile drive.
Kingman is an easy town to navigate. The intersection of Andy Devine Avenue (Route 66) and Stockton Hill Road is marked by Big O Tire on the west corner, Dambar on the east corner, Walgreens on the northwest corner, and 66 Auto Sales on the northeast corner. Drive north past the cemetery, the I-40 interchange, hospital, Walmart, Cracker Barrel, and bowling alley. The theater will be on the left side of the road.
Friday morning the Cross Roads of the Past and Future commences with a coffee and mingle half hour at 8:00. This will be held at the Mohave County Board of Supervisors auditorium located at 700 West Beale Street, about three blocks from the Mohave Museum of History and Arts and Locomotive Park.
It should be noted that regulations prohibit the use of the facility for commercial purposes. So, presentations will focus on Route 66 developments, and the roads future including the role of electric vehicles as well as ways that businesses along the road can tap into the burgeoning electric vehicle community.
A representative from the Arizona Route 66 Association, 4:30 –
Friday evening there will be a performance by the Road Crew at 7:00 in Locomotive Park. Please note, there may still be some adjustment to this schedule.
The authors, artists, Route 66 association, and collectors exhibition will open about 10:00 and run to 5:00 on Friday. This will take place in the Beale Celebrations Event Center located at 201 North 4th Street (corner of 4th Street and Beale Street one block north of Andy Devine Avenue, Route 66).
Additional activities for Friday and Saturday include exhibits at the Mohave Museum of History and Arts, events at Stetson Winery and the award winning Desert Diamond Distillery, the historic electric vehicle exhibition in the Powerhouse Visitor Center, the Route 66 museum at that location, which is where Bob Boze Bell will be signing copies of his latest book, and the Whistle Stop Railroad Museum in the historic depot, open until 8:00 PM on Saturday.
Plans are in the works for a hosted reception for the Reunion at the Ramada (formerly the Magnuson Motel), 3100 East Andy Devine Avenue for Friday evening but his has not been confirmed.
The film festival resumes at 10:00 AM with a showing of the award winning Route 66 – Mainstreet USA (in English) by Zdnek Jurasek of the Czech Route 66 Association. This is the tentative schedule.
Jerry Asher, Plug Share, 9:30. I will discuss the importance of Plug Share to the Route 66 community in a moment.
Rudy Garcia, EV Station Solutions, 10:00 –
Historian and author Jim Ross will talk on the endangered Route 66 bridges and how to save them at 10:30 –
Kathleen Smith, Holbrook Chamber of Commerce, 11:00. It should be noted that this city is hosting an event the weekend before the festival and that includes a rare opportunity to explore Route 66 through the Painted desert/Petrified Forest Park to the Painted Desert Trading Post. More on that in a minute as well.
Kumar Patel, Wigwam Motel, 1:00 –
Professor Nick Gerlich on bicycle tourism, 1:30 –
Bob Boze Bell, 2:00 –
Zdnek Jurasek, Czech Route 66 Association, 2:30 –
Wolfgang Werz, German Route 66 Association, 3:00 –
I will need to check on the Illinois Route 66 association, and make sure they received an invitation, and, if they will be attending and making a presentation.
The authors, artists, collectors, and Route 66 association exhibition will be running from 10:00 to 6:00. Joe Sonderman will be in attendance with a portion of his wonderful collection that served as a basis for his new book. Signed copies will be available.
TNT Auto Center, 535 East Andy Devine Avenue is hosting a “Bugfest” until 3:00 on Saturday afternoon. There will also be vendors and music.
At the same location, beginning at 4:00 PM, its Chillin on Beale. As more than three hundred vehicles for both events are already confirmed, the street closure is being extended to 1st Street in front of Mr. D’z. This is also the tentative location for the NASCAR simulator being brought in by Napa auto parts, a festival sponsor.
I should note that TNT is also the location for the Bob Waldmire exhibition. It should also be noted that Andy Devine Avenue will be closed most of Saturday and into the evening. Beale Street runs parallel and as 4th Street will remain open, you may also consider crossing under the railroad at 8th Street and entering downtown along Topeka Street, the earliest alignment of the National Old Trails Highway.
There will be an Annie Mouse Party in Metcalf Park at 10:00 (across from Locomotive Park) designed by award winning author Anne Slanina in conjunction with Betsy Parker. Both parks will also have vendors as well as music throughout the day including another performance by the Road Crew and Sounds of Kingman.
Details are not available at this time but organizers are working with Jess McEntire to secure additional entertainment.
The tentative schedule for the film festival on Saturday looks like this.
First, Arizona Route 66, Kirk Slack, 9:30 AM –
Aliens in Kingman, Joe and Greta, 10:30 –
Brian Brown Projects, 11:30
Reluctant Groom, Chris Commiso, 1:30 –
66 Days on Route 66, 3:30 –
Kingman UFO Crash documentary, Harry Drew –
(there are plans for the creation of a special, reservation only tour to Grand Canyon West Resort to accompany the showing of these two films)
US Guano Corporation, professional commercial documentary about the opening of the mining operation that included a cable car across the Grand Canyon in the early 1950’s at the site of Grand Canyon West, 7:00 –
Edge of Eternity, a 1959 CinemaScope feature film featuring an all star cast that was filmed at the mining cable car, in Kingman, and along Route 66, 8:30 –
Go West, a Buster Keaton film shot in 1925. This silent feature includes scenes filmed at a ranch near Kingman and a climatic closing sequence filmed at Seventh and Broadway in Los Angles, the original western terminus for Route 66, 10:30 –
On Saturday evening there is a performance by the Reunion. Tickets are $20.00. For more information and details here is a link.
I noted that more detail would be provided about Plug Share and planned events in Holbrook. Lets start with Plug Share.
This website that allows businesses to list availability of facilities for the charging of electric vehicles (simple outlets, 220 volt outlets, etc.), for free, is an incredible promotional opportunity.
As this site is fast becoming the go to site for electric vehicle owners, and as there will be a large contingent of electric vehicle owners driving to Kingman for this festival here is an opportunity to put your business on the map, literally. However, the possibilities extend far beyond this event as this website represents an opportunity to pave the way for the future of Route 66.
Lets close this out. This posting about the list activities scheduled for the festival is far from complete. As an example, I did not have time to mention the dedication of the walk of fame, activities at Grand Canyon Caverns, or historic district walking tours.
I am also rather confident that something has been forgotten, like noting that KART, the local city bus service, will be offering special rates and schedules from key parking areas in the city to alleviate congestion. Additionally, some of this schedule is tentative.
Checker Model M from a book I wrote several years ago.
Death and mayhem, now that is an attention grabbing headline. Actually it is also a rather fitting descriptor for most of my holiday weekend as I spent the lions share of it engaged in writing about mayhem in the boardroom and blood in the streets. The current project will be a book for History Press that delves into the often violent world of the taxicab business, especially in the years before World War II.
It may not have been as violent as the battle for control of booze import and distribution during prohibition but the war over turf in the taxi business was quite brutal, especially in cities such as New Orleans, Detroit, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. Drivers were beaten, offices and garages were bombed, cabs were burned, cars were bombed and used as battering rams, sabotage was an expected job hazard, cars were stolen and driven into the lake, passengers were held hostage, and there were numerous drive by shootings. Money or social status offered little protection as evidenced by the arson that destroyed the stables, with valuable horses belonging to John Hertz Sr., or the fire bombing of the home of Morris Markin, founder of the Checker Cab Manufacturing Company.
From a financial perspective it wasn’t much safer in the boardroom. Theft, smoky backroom deals, stock manipulations, profit focused corporate raiders, hostile takeovers, swindles, extortion, theft, and sabotage were often merely part of doing business for the numerous companies that manufactured taxicabs. Equally as fascinating is the ongoing conversations and exchange of correspondence pertaining to Route 66 and the African American community with Frank Norris of the National Park Service. I included some of this history in The Route 66 Encyclopedia and will include a bit more in the forthcoming Illustrated Route 66 Historic Atlas. What I would really like to do, however, is write a book about this obscure and often overlooked segment of Route 66 history. The most recent conversation with Frank centered on motels in Kingman that would offer accommodations to African-Americans during the 1940’s and 1950’s, and the fascinating and inspirational story of Alberta Ellis, the proprietor of Alberta’s Hotel at 617 N. Benton Avenue in Springfield, Missouri from 1947 to about 1960.
Aside from digging into the dark side of life and obscure history, it was a relatively quiet and restful weekend. On Sunday morning I tested progress of the healing process by walking to the store to return a video (Monuments Men) shortly after sunrise. There is a definite sign of improvement but it quickly became obvious that a bit more time will be needed. I don’t see the running of a marathon, or even a walk to work, in the immediate future.
On Saturday evening, my dearest friend and I enjoyed a simple barbecue. This time I grilled the buffalo burgers smothered in mushrooms, garlic, and onion. The verdict is that they were rather tasty.
With a gentle rain falling, and a pleasant breeze to assist in the turning of pages, I squeezed in time for a bit of reading on the back porch. This too was an adventure on the dark side as I am deep into the latest offering from John Sandford.
This series by Mr. Sandford rates high on my list. Well crafted characters, fascinating plot twists, and a voyeuristic look into the dark side of everyday life that lurks just beneath the thin veneer of civilized society ensures these books are an excellent read.
Counted among the things I lament is how many people don’t read books and how many children aren’t introduced to the joys of reading. What a pity.
I can’t imagine living a life detached from books. That would be like living in a world without salt or only shades of gray.
More years ago than I care to count, I was engaged in pursuing the life of my high riding heroes by playing cowboy on a ranch at the south end of the Mimbres River in New Mexico, just north of the Mexican border. The pay was beyond terrible ($8.00 per day plus board, room, and use of a truck to go to town once a month), the hours were long, the work was hard, and it was the most enjoyable job I have ever had.
My room in the bunkhouse had one light bulb hanging from the ceiling, and an old stove to burn wood for heat and to warm water for bathing or shaving. But I had access to the LIBRARY, a staggering collection of books, some more than a century old, in the main ranch house.
Most every Sunday, I would choose an interesting title, stash it and a hearty lunch in the saddlebags, saddle up, and then I would follow the ruts of the Butterfield Stage route to the ruins of the Faywood Hot Springs Resort where I would soak, read, and bask in the silence of the desert. I discovered the harrowing adventures of James McKenna who rode the same trails I did more than a century before me, tales of John Lloyd Stephens adventures in central America, the story of Olive Oatman, the tall tales told by Marco Polo, the wisdom of Plutarch, the Federalist Papers, and countless other wonders.
The three day working holiday weekend was a welcome respite from what is proving to be a most trying time. Today, its the adventure of the day job on a Monday morning (always interesting). Then there is the ongoing search for gainful employment, and what seems to be the never ending task of assisting in the development of the Route 66 International Festival. Still, in the grand scheme of things, we are doing well. Life is good. And, once I can walk to work again I am rather confident that it will be even better. And, on Wednesday morning, I should be able to provide some updates as there is a festival meeting scheduled for tomorrow night. One more note. Later this week Dora Manley and her husband, Kurt, take to the road to promote the festival and to issue personal invitations to everyone she meets along the way. If you would like to display a poster, please let me know and I will try to get a stop added to the schedule.
Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays. It is more than fireworks and barbecues, it is a time to reflect on the greatest experiment in self government ever conceived.
In our homestead yesterday the celebrations were minimalistic beginning with a reading of the Declaration of Independence and ending on the tailgate of Barney the Wonder Truck with my dearest friend as fireworks illuminated storm clouds. In between was mostly a work day as there was a pressing need to complete the first chapter for the next book.
In this tome I return to my journalistic roots by chronicling the corporate adventures of men like John Hertz Sr. and Morris Markin, and the bloody era of street violence in the late teens and early 1920s. As a bonus there is a need to research the future of the taxi industry.
Initial progress was brutally slow. Now, however, it seems to be flowing smoothly but there are still many, many hours strapped to a chair in the near future.
My initial writings were mostly automotive in nature and I soon developed a reputation for specializing in the American automobile industry between 1885 and 1940, a fascinating period with many parallels to the first decade of the 21st century. It too was a time of tremendous technological and societal change.
In 1909 companies in the United States manufactured more than 828,000 horse drawn vehicles and less than 125,000 automobiles. Twenty years later, in 1929, manufacturers produced less than 4,000 horse drawn vehicles but more than 1.5 million automobiles. Imagine the dramatic transition that this represents!
Today will most likely be a repeat performance of yesterday with at least five hours spent in the office. However, there is a plan afoot to close out the day with the grilling of some mushroom, garlic, and onion buffalo burgers.
Meanwhile the urge for a road trip is growing by the day. We are long overdue as the last big adventure was in March when we made a trip along the territorial era Senator Highway on the way home from Crown King.
The suspension of vacation time coupled with the new book, festival issues, home repair, and the arrival of a new grandson haven’t been conducive to road trips or adventures. Still, while sitting on the tailgate with my dearest friend, the rain scented desert breeze inspired some conversations about the long overdue need for a camping trip.
Today, however, I will put aside dreams of smokey mountain mornings, rutted dirt tracks through the Arizona wilderness, and old two lanes of sun baked asphalt stretching toward the horizon as there is work to be done.
My life is a great deal like the pre 1952 alignment of Route 66 in the Black Mountains of Arizona. At every turn it seems as though the exciting twists and turns stretch toward the distant horizon with nary a straight stretch of road in sight.
Yesterday the primary topic of thought and discussion was the not so distant future of the double six when old duffers like me are are no longer getting our kicks on Route 66. Today it was an opportunity to spend time with the future of the old road in the form of Cameron and Jessica Mueller, young members of the Tucumcari based Mueller clan. Well, if these two are any indication of what the future holds, this road will be in good hands well into its second century. This was their first adventure on Route 66 in Arizona and California and it looks a though a very good impression was made. Meanwhile, I received not one but numerous requests to either assist with or serve as a guide for a Route 66 tour in the past forty-eight hours. As fun as this may sound, being on the road for a full three months of the year, even if it is Route 66 isn’t very feasible or practical. At this juncture it also remains to be seen if such endeavors would be a profitable venture. Still, I was quite flattered and I must admit that these offers sparked the imagination. On the heels of these requests was a discussion pertaining to developing western states ghost town tours. Another opportunity for jump starting the imagination. All of this follows the recent story on Route 66 that appeared on the Harry Smith segment of NBC News. Kumar Patel may have unleashed a monster. There was a bit of division in the Route 66 community that resulted from the World Monument Fund sponsored Route 66 symposium in Anaheim last November. However, I feel that more good than bad came from this conference. In addition to initiating cooperative partnerships and providing valuable information, it sparked interest in conferences and conventions. At the Route 66 festival in Kingman scheduled for August 14 through the 17th, there will be a two day conference that will mirror the event theme, Route 66 as the crossroads of the past and future. There is a very real possibility that 2015 could be a milestone on the double six. I now know of several chambers of commerce that are discussing the development of a Route 66 economic conference, there are ongoing discussions about a full fledged convention, and a tourism office is also discussing an event that will showcase Route 66 as a catalyst for economic redevelopment. This is all very good news. After all, with the organizational issues that initially plagued the development of this years Route 66 International Festival, and the transitional status of the sanctioning Route 66 Alliance that prohibited the provision of assistance, I was a bit worried about loosing the momentum in regard to developing a functional cooperative to serve the entire Route 66 community. Last, but not least, a few festival updates. Yes, I know that the official website has been plagued with problems and that it doesn’t say anything about the Road Crew. Well, there will be not one but two performances. One on Friday evening and another on Saturday afternoon. There will also be concert featuring the Reunion. An unprecedented display of electric vehicles will also be on display. In addition to historically significant models, my understanding is that there will also be modern incarnations such as the astounding White Zombie.
This, my friends, is but the tip of the ice berg. There is more, much more so don’t let the heat deter you from attending what just may be the most exciting event on Route 66 this year.
Now, to close this out, lets put aside differences and labels that divide, and take a few minutes to give thought to what this holiday means.
Silver tongued wordsmith Ned Jordan of the Jordan Motor Car Company was well known for his prose and ability to create evocative, emotion stirring advertisement. In its time his Somewhere West of Laramie piece was as well known as Dinah Shore encouraging folks to see the U.S.A. in their Chevrolet.
Several days ago I was contemplating the current state of Route 66, its future, and its fast approaching centennial. As I waited to flip the garlic and onion filled burgers my thoughts began to wander as they often do at such times and soon I was contemplating what Ned Jordan would do to promote this road. How would he attract a younger, more diverse audience?
In 1927, the road was promoted as the Main Street of America. In 1946 people were encouraged to get their kicks on Route 66.
While both slogans remain relevant and popular, they are also sepia toned with a bit of fraying around the edges. What new slogan or promotion inspires adventure on the double six today? What slogan, as with the road itself, aptly bridges the gap between the past and future today?
Professor Nick Gerlich, a fellow Route 66 enthusiast with a devotion to unraveling the mystery of successful marketing may wish to chime in here. My thinking seems to be rooted in the type of marketing that pushed poor Dobbins from the streets and filled them with clanking, smoking Fords and Buick’s, Jordan’s and Studebaker’s.
Scattered here and there among the international legion of Route 66 enthusiasts are fresh young faces not yet creased by the passing of the years. They are the ghost of Christmas future on the legendary double six. They hold the key to successfully marketing this iconic old highway and keeping it alive for the second century.
Zdnek and Eva Jurasek of the Czech Route 66 Association.
Watch this clip of Kumar Patel with Harry Smith of NBC News on Route 66. Listen to the honest reverence for this storied old two lane highway; that is the future of Route 66, that is the voice of the next generation of stewards. Watch a few of these videos that chronicle the adventures of “Roamin'” Rich Dinkela. This is how to lure a younger generation through the promise of adventure, this is another steward that will ensure the road is as popular in its second century as it was in the first. Take the time to visit with Chris and Katie Robleski, examine with a critical eye their innovative photographic work at Fading Nostalgia, bask in their enthusiasm for the road less traveled and legendary Route 66, and imagine the scores of future adventurers that they will inspire. Here too we see the ghost of Christmas future. Route 66 may be an American treasure but the passion it inspires is international in nature. The army of enthusiasts from France and New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands, Norway and the Czech Republic who seek an authentic American experience on this old road that has become America’s longest attraction are also the ghost of Christmas future. Their infectious passion and enthusiasm challenges Americans to be caretakers and stewards, adventurers and historians. It also inspires a hunger to ignite a passion in a new generation of caretakers for the treasures of Route 66. I am not sure what the slogan for the new century will be. I only know that the old road is in good hands for another century as long as folks like Kumar and Rich, Kevin and Rick, Chris and Katie, Karel and Hanneke, Jeroen and Maggie, Oscar and Daniel share their enthusiasm and passion for the legendary double six.