Left to right, Daniel Azzopardi, John Powers, and DaleButel of Australian based Route 66 Tours, and authorJim Hinckley on the 19th century wagon road nearKingman, Arizona. Photo Judy Hinckley
At the risk of stating the obvious, Route 66 is not just a mere highway. The pure and simple truth is that the old double six is a time capsule, America’s most famous highway, and a destination for legions of international travelers.
The old road that first brought me to Arizona, the cracked and sun baked asphalt where I learned to ride a bicycle and to drive, the twisted two lane that I drove on weekends to visit with a precious young lady that I now call my dearest friend is an amazing old highway that has led us to Amsterdam and Jay Leno’s Garage, to Chicago and to Cuba (Missouri). For my dearest friend and I, it is an adventure shared with friends that never seems to end.
Counted among the many pleasures derived from the old double six are the opportunities we have for sharing its history, our history with the road, and its special places with an international audience. Even better are the friendships made along the way.
This week we were privileged by an opportunity to share lunch at Mr. D’z with Dale Butel of Route 66 Tours, a top notch outfit that provides clients with such a memorable adventure, they often come back for seconds or to experience one of the companies other tours. It was our first visit of the year with Dale, an old friend from Australia. Visits with Dale and his crew, and speaking with his tours is always a highlight of our season. On this particular visit he surprised me with a request and I had the opportunity to play guide for the tour guide.
After lunch I introduced Dale and his crew to the 19th century Stockton Hill Wagon Road just north of Kingman. This little gem shadowed by towering cliffs and, at least during this time of the year, bordered by cactus blossoms, is always a highlight of the tours I give in Kingman.
For those who want to discover the history and the treasures of the Kingman area without retaining my services, there will soon be a detailed guide book that includes a walking tour of the Kingman historic district. Okay, that is old news for followers of this blog. Still, I can assure you my venture in self publishing is coming ever closer to fruition.If I have said it once, I have said it a dozen times or more, Kingman is a veritable treasure trove of overlooked historic sites, delightful coffee shops and restaurants, and interesting museums. Clark Gable and Carol Lombard married here, and I can show you where. Buster Keaton stayed here while filming a movie in 1925. Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart also stayed here. Andy Devine called Kingman home. Pamela Anderson had a bit of legal trouble here. During World War II Kingman was home to the Kingman Army Airfield, the largest flexible gunnery school in the nation, and scattered across the wide Hualapai Valley are dusty remnants and vestiges.We have scenic hiking trails and wagon roads, the world’s only electric vehicle museum, two distinctly different alignments of Route 66, and a wide array of tangible links to that storied highway. As a bonus, within just a few miles of town we have ghost towns and mining camps, and forested mountain trails.There are also some pretty unique and interesting events. As a bonus, a special and memorable event or evening can be tailored for your group or tour. If all this piques your interest, drop a note and let me know what you would like to experience in Kingman. One more plug. If you would like to experience rather than just see Route 66, if you would like to feel, taste, touch, and get to know the real Route 66, consider Open Road Productions for an adventure customized to your groups needs and interests. In a limited partnership I am working with Rick Thomas and his crew to develop customized tours of Route 66 as well as the American southwest. To close this up for the day, here are a few scheduling updates and a pretty exciting development.On May 2, during the annual Route 66 Fun Run, I will be at the historic Frontier Motel and Restaurant in Truxton. In addition to signing books, I will be answering questions about this storied old highway. on June 13, I will be in Holbrook for their second annual Route 66 festival. Here too, I will be signing books, answering questions about the old road, and provide travel planning tips. The Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation is moving forward with plans for the Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum in Kingman. A number of new vehicles are being readied for the museum and there are hopes that the largest exhibition of cars manufactured by Detroit Electric will be on display by the end of June in time for the Great Race.
A t-shirt will be available soon, and the foundation is looking for outlets interested in adding these to their inventory.
One last note, my signature may not worth much on checks but if you feel it would add value to your book, it would be my pleasure to add one. Please let me know in advance if your going to be on the road or passing through Kingman, and perhaps we can arrange for our paths to cross. Travel safe, amigos –
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.