Well, judging by a recent article published in the Quay County Sun the city of Tucumcari is the latest community to decide that the time has come to get serious about harnessing the Route 66 renaissance as a catalyst for development and urban renewal. I would bet that the recent awarding of the recent Traveler’s Choice Award to the Blue Swallow Motel by Trip Advisor and the international tsunami of interest in the forthcoming Rockaabilly on The Route festival have played a role in the creation of this committee.
Historic Holbrook seems to be just a few steps behind them, if recently developed events and the passion of home town folks like David Heward are any indication. Likewise in Kingman to the west with its rapidly evolving Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum and the linking of historic events such as the cities Andy Devine Days celebration of western heritage that includes a PRCA rodeo and parade with a celebration of the communities association with Route 66.
This weekend a huge grassroots rally for the preservation of the historic Gasconade River Bridge takes place in Missouri. It will be linked with a memorial for Gary Turner at Gay Parita in Paris Springs Junction. From Chicago to Santa Monica, from Amsterdam to Brisbane the Route 66 community is enjoying an unprecedented renaissance. That bodes well for a road and the communities nestled along it that will be celebrating a 90th anniversary as the Main Street of America.
Meanwhile, in my sunny corner of Route 66, the adventure in self publishing continues. The second chapter in the guide book for Kingman and the surrounding area is complete with the exception of illustrations, and the input of mileage way points.
The eagerly anticipated opportunity to assist Joe Sonderman with the development of a book is moving forward. I wonder if we can have it published in time for the big event in Edwardsville this coming October?
Discussions with my publisher is now underway for the development of an updated version of Backroads of Arizona. Copies of the current addition can be ordered utilizing the drop down menu at the top of this page and Paypal. Currently updates are provided via email inquiries.
We are also talking about the release of a paper back version, with a few updates, of The Route 66 Encyclopedia. Hardback copies are also available using the drop down menu above. Updates are provided via a QR code on the back cover.
Kerrick James, the award winning photographer we worked with on Backroads of Arizona and Route 66 Backroads, and I are also pitching a new book, Back Roads of New Mexico. This is a project that I originally proposed several years ago but it was shelved as the publisher wanted to focus on the development of Route 66 titles.
Usually we kick off our Route 66 season in April. This year, however, we kicked it off with the amazing adventure to Amsterdam and a delightful open house hosted by the Dutch Route 66 Association at de Prael, a privileged opportunity to share the wonders of this storied old highway at the holiday fair in Utrecht courtesy of USA Holidays and U.S. Bikers, and the hospitality of friends that opened their homes and introduced us to the beauty as well as the history of the Netherlands.
The open house with members of the Dutch and German associations, and Swa Frantzen, at de Prael in Amsterdam.
A lunch with Dale Butel of Route 66 Tours from Australia kicks off our Route 66 season on Route 66. Any visit with Dale is always enjoyed but the first one of the year is always a special treat.
Then comes a visit with Dries and Marion Bessels, dear friends from the Netherlands, and Sean Evans of Northern Arizona University on a tour of Two Guns. On all counts this will be a most enjoyable day come rain or shine.
The annual Route 66 Fun Run on the first weekend in May is always fascinating and exciting. This year, however, will be quite special. In addition to the Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum which will have many new exhibits and meeting with Dale’s annual spring tour and answering questions about Route 66 and Kingman, Steve Rider and Mike Ward, friends and collectors that have provided many of the historic illustrations for my books, will be in attendance.
An interesting new development in Route 66 tours takes place this fall when Adventure Caravans leads the first of several tours scheduled for the end of this year and in 2016 down the old double six. I am quite excited to provide assistance in the development of these tours, and to meet with the group when they stop in Kingman at the end of October just before we leave for Edwardsville.
That takes us to the next item, tours of Route 66 and the American southwest customized to meet the interests of your group, media crew, or corporate clients. This limited partnership with Open Road Productions is the latest addition to the services offered by Jim Hinckley’s America. Another will be the release of a series of travel guides under this heading, the fruits of the self publishing endeavor.
A speculative and unplanned endeavor that could be a most interesting venture is looming on the horizon resultant of recent intriguing conversations. Not one but two communities have inquired about my availability to assist in the development of Route 66 related promotional campaigns.
A multifaceted project of this magnitude isn’t exactly in my bailiwick. Still, the more thought I give to this the more intriguing the idea becomes. I am rather confident that valuable contributions could be made even though I lack the formal education for such a project. Still, I wonder if my contributions would be worthy of their investment? I also wonder if other communities might be interested in putting me to work?
Things are most definitely getting interesting. Meanwhile, somewhere on Route 66…