Curious adventures seem to be an almost daily occurrence in my world. However, even by my standards the adventures currently unfolding may just turn out to be the most curious of all. The story begins about four weeks ago. Scott Dunton, owner of Dunton Motors Dream Machines and Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner met with me to discuss the various Kingman related promotional endeavors I have been involved with over the course of the last year or two, and ones that I have simmering on the back burner. That led to the offer of an office in the historic Dunton Motors building, after completion of renovations. In turn Scott facilitated a meeting with Noble and Joel Zubaid, the dynamic developers that are transforming the historic Holiday Inn into the Ramada Kingman, a full service (refurbished rooms, dining, lounge, etc.) facility that is fast becoming a destination for Route 66 enthusiasts stopping in Kingman.
|Courtesy Judy Hinckley|
The renovation of the property means that Kingman now offers three excellent vintage Route 66 lodging options from three different eras; the Ramada and Canyon 66 Restaurant and Lounge representing the 1960’s, the 1956 Hilltop Motel, and the El Trovatore Motel that dates to 1939.Joel and Noble were Route 66 novices unfamiliar with that highways renaissance when they opened the hotel. However, with the Route 66 tourism picking up steam by the day that is now changing at a very rapid pace.
|Left to right, John McEnulty and Jim Hinckleycourtesy Judy Hinckley|
After a series of meetings and discussions about the resurgent interest in Route 66 they offered to become the first major sponsor for Route 66 Chronicles and Jim Hinckley’s America. As strong community supporters they also offered to subside a portion of my promotional endeavors. New developments followed in rapid succession. As I write this attorneys are currently laying out the foundations for the Route 66 Association of Kingman, and the first draft for the associations missions and goals statement is awaiting approval. On Thursday evening an embryonic meeting of enthusiastic local Route 66 enthusiasts came together to discuss ways of promoting Kingman as a destination. For interested parties our next meeting is schedule for June 25, 6:00 PM at the Ramada. Yesterday my dearest friend and I shared a delightful breakfast and lively conversation with John McEnulty, the infectiously enthusiastic owner of the Grand Canyon Caverns. Later I was quite privileged with an opportunity to play guide for Joel and Noble on Route 66 east of Kingman, and introduce them to the charms of both the caverns and John.The caverns are in the most literal sense of the word, an honest to goodness Route 66 time capsule. A few years ago there was the very distinct possibility that resultant of neglect this roadside treasure with origins dating to 1926 would close its doors. Now, however, the entire resort complex is being reborn and the result is a roadside attraction that is a portal into another time. Enter John McEnulty. Both restaurants are now open as is the bar. The motel is being fully renovated. The cavern tours are about to be expanded. Miniature golf and trail rides along sections of the National Old Trails Highway are but two of the new additions. The RV Park has garnered accolades from Good Sam. The caverns are once again becoming a Route 66 destination. As a bit of historic trivia, at one time the divided highway in front of the caverns was the only four lane section of U.S. 66 in Arizona aside from those in Williams, Winslow, and a few other communities. This was necessitated by the popularity of the caverns that was at one time only second to the Grand Canyon in popularity of attractions in the state.
|Left to right, Judy and Jim Hinckley, Sylvia andBernhard Hohn at Mr. D’z.|
After a stimulating lunch and discussions about future plans for the caverns complex, and a tour of the caverns themselves, Joel, Noble, and I commenced the return journey with a stop to sign books at the Hackberry General Store. The dominating topic of conversation on the homeward journey centered on the development of Kingman centered tours, an idea I have envisioned for quite sometime. Now, a plan for development of such tours is underway. Today was quickly consumed with a mad dash to complete the guide to the Kingman area, and to get the first podcast broadcast ready for editing. All work and no play is counterproductive. So, late this afternoon we took time out to meet with Bernhard and Sylvia Hohn from Germany, a long and eagerly anticipated visit. That was a suitable note for ending a very interesting week. All of this seems to be setting the stage for a new chapter in the curious adventures of Jim Hinckley. A serious opportunity for sharing the hidden places along my corner of Route 66 is looming on the horizon. Likewise with a podcast and the first endeavor with self publishing. The City of Kingman is on the cusp of dramatic transition and it looks as though I may have a role to play. And a European Route 66 Festival that will take place in just over a year is being held just a few miles from the home of our new found friends Sylvia and Bernhard. Yes, my friends, this is becoming quite the curious adventure.