ROUTE 66 NEWS, UPDATES, AND DEVELOPMENTS

Time travel, courtesy Ramada Kingman

On a personal level, it has been a most interesting week. As a bonus, the weekend is shaping up to be quite a suitable topper, especially as our friend from Japan, Toshi Goto, will be stopping by for Sunday dinner. 

For the Route 66 community, it was an historic week and I was quite honored to have been able to contribute. First, however, a few personal and regional updates. 
Even though it is months past the deadline originally set, I finished the introductory Jim Hinckley’s America podcast this week, well almost. It is a bit rough around the edges and the ten minute segment may need to be recorded again but that won’t take long now. That decision, however, is going to be dependent on the suggestions of Gary Cron at Baby Boomer Radio who is patiently lending educational assistance and editorial expertise.  
The self publishing endeavor, also way behind schedule is nearing completion. If that wasn’t enough to keep me busy, there is the Jim Hinckley’s America Youtube Channel (rough first attempts but with a bit of polish…) with the first video published here. All of these endeavors have been, to say the very least, a rather educational but patience trying experience.
Without the support, input, and general assistance from my dearest friend, I doubt if they would have progressed much beyond the drawing board.  
To ensure that there is a proper balance between excitement with project development and the frustration associated with projects that ever seem to end, the editor from History Press has me scrambling for a suitable cover image. Is there anyone out there who can provide a photo from the taxicab wars in Chicago during the 1920’s? 
Meanwhile, the joint initiative with Ramada Kingman that includes day tours along Route 66 to Grand Canyon Caverns and in the Kingman historic district, as well as area travel planning assistance took a major step forward yesterday. The 1953 Ford, the first of several vintage vehicles that will be pressed into service for the tours as well as special events at the hotel, was delivered on Thursday. 
There is an interesting historic footnote, this car happens to be a perfect time machine for these adventures. It has a documented association with Lucille Ball and her famous television program. What better way to cruise along the old double six?
Well, in answer to that question, yesterday afternoon my dearest friend and I met a Norwegian couple traveling Route 66 with Hopalong Tours that suggested a 1960 Chevy Impala four-door hardtop. Not just any Chevy Impala mind you, but an all original, low mileage 348-cid powered Impala with the only modification being the installation of air conditioning.
They store the vehicle stateside and use it during holiday in America. To date they have traveled more than 14,000 trouble free miles in this beauty. The one exception was a leak in the after market air conditioning system. 

On this trip they drove Route 66 from Chicago to Kingman. Their destination is California.
Do you still think that a vintage car needs to be transformed into a street rod or transported on a trailer due to reliability issues?   

Chillin’ on Beale, held the third Saturday evening of every month, April through October, is always a fun filled, low key event that centers on cruising, warm summer evenings, and sampling the goods at microbreweries, ice cream parlors, and restaurants in the historic district. In August a new chapter for the event begins. 
In addition to all of the regular activities, this month the Route 66 Association of Kingman is hosting a movie night on the corner of Andy Devine Avenue and Fourth Street that will kick off at 8:00 PM. Bring your chairs and enjoy some classic cinema under a starlit sky. 
Ramada Kingman is also helping to enhance the event by offering a special weekend package that ties it in with some beat the heat fun and a bit of Route 66 adventure. In addition to Chillin’ on Beale, there will be a pool party, a Route 66 cruise, and tours of Grand Canyon Caverns.

A similar package is being developed to coincide with Chilli’ on Beale in October. This time, however, the focus will be on filling the hotel with electric vehicle owners and further enhancing the cities reputation of being at the crossroads of the past and future. I should have details within the next week. 
Now, Route 66 news of importance. The meeting in Flagstaff this past Tuesday was actually two events in one. There was the National Park Service Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative town hall meeting with workshops to hone the steering committees focus and a state association meeting to provide updates from every community along the Arizona Route 66 corridor.
A Route 66 information center with rack cards and promotional brochures ensured that participants viewed the road in its entirety. In addition to being informative the meetings provided a tremendous opportunity for networking, comparing notes, and the building of cooperative partnerships. 
In addition to representatives from the National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation program and the state Route 66 association, attendees included Angel Delgadillo, his daughter Mirna, Bill Thomas of Atlanta, Illinois who also serves as the chairman for the steerig committee, David Heward from Holbrook, the Greer’s from Truxton, author Roger Naylor, Jim Conkle, Mike and Sharon Ward, marketing representatives from Kingman, the mayor of Winslow, Sean Evans, Kurtis Shaul from Hualapai tourism, and Glenn Schlottman representing the Arizona Office of Tourism.
From its inception, a few people expressed concerns as well as reservations about the steering committee and the Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative. These meetings along the Route 66 corridor should alleviate a few of those concerns as well as mute open and unfounded criticism about it not being representative of the Route 66 community.
At this juncture I am left with but one criticism and that is the glacial speed of apparent progress. Still, at this point I must agree that the slow and methodical development seems to be the best course as tremendous strides are being made toward the creation of an organization with elected representatives that can provide support for the entire international Route 66 community.
Meanwhile, progress on what promises to be an historic 90th anniversary celebration of Route 66 at the highways western terminus in Los Angeles is also moving forward in a slow but methodical manner. Early indications are that Scott Piotrowski and his team will set a new standard for Route 66 events in November 2016, and in the process introduce enthusiasts to an overlooked segment of the highway, and the highways allure to a new audience in the process.
The Miles of Possibility event scheduled to take place in Edwarsdville, Illinois on the weekend of October 31, 2015 is also shaping up to be quite an event. The slate of fascinating speakers continues to grow, as do the list of activities that range from a parade and Route Yahoo e-group breakfast to a catered dinner and pub crawl in the cities historic district.
If you happen to be in the neighborhood of Kingman, Arizona around 5:00 PM, on Monday August 3, the Route 66 Association of Kingman will be hosting their first monthly open house at Ramada Kingman. This month the open house will also be a 94th birthday celebration for Roy Dunton. 
Mr. Dunton has very long association with Route 66. He worked for N.R. Dunton in Goldroad and established Dunton Motors in Kingman in 1946. As an historic footnote, Roy was also an Edsel dealer. 
Another Kingman event to add to the calendar is Best of the West on 66 scheduled for the weekend of September 25. Formerly the event was Andy Devine Days and in the era of Jack Rittenhouse, Diggin’ Doggie Days. In addition to the official induction ceremony for the Route 66 Walk of Fame, the event will blend a celebration of the cities association with Route 66 and its western heritage. 
There will be a parade, car show, rodeo, concerts, and a wide array of activities. At this point it should be noted that I was quite honored to learn that the organizational committee selected me to serve as the King of the Road, the parades grand marshal. I should also also note that this years inductees for the Route 66 Walk of Fame (Dale and Kristi-Anne Butel, Dries and Marion Bessels, Eva and Zdnek Jurasek, and Jerry McClanahan)will fill that role next year.
To round out the week, there is work to be done. Stay tuned for a new and improved Route 66 Chronicles!   

  

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