Taxi cab violence on the streets of New York (courtesy MyInwood)
The title for this mornings post should garner a bit of eyebrow raising attention, I hope.
These are truly interesting times. Months after submitting a completed manuscript for publication, and a rather grueling time consuming search for historic photographs, I was informed this morning that the project was being suspended. The primary culprit is the astounding cost associated with historic image acquisition.
This has been on ongoing issue for quite some time but when coupled with the transitions associated with technological developments, it has driven traditional publishers to the wall.
I thought that the modern digital age would make available an unprecedented number of historic images. However, many newspapers, libraries, historic societies, and similar organizations now consider archives cash cows. As an example, with this book on the violent evolution of the American taxi, the publisher and I have been confronted with usage fees ranging from $100 to $500, a cost that is not feasible.
It appears as though I have been given a challenge to find a silver lining in what has been a rather challenging week. So, I choose to see this as another opportunity to explore the world of self publishing. Of course this means that first I will need to assume the duties usually passed off to layout departments and editors.
Before commencing with this, I need to finalize the self published guide to the Kingman area and the pending rewrite for a revised edition of Backroads of Arizona. This should keep me busy for awhile.
In my spare time there is a need for generating revenue to continue the ongoing habit of eating on a regular basis. Such is the life of the independent writer.
Meanwhile, in Kingman, things continue to develop at a rather amazing clip. Dunton Motors Dream Machines that is in the process of being transformed into a classic vehicle sales facility as well as eclectic museum added a rather famous drag racer to their collection.
Purportedly named after a hooker in Searchlight, Nevada (no Harry Reid jokes, please), Searchlight Sally is a hot rod in the classic style. In addition to being displayed at the Dunton Motors facility, it is scheduled to make a rather noisy appearance at Chillin’ on Beale this coming Saturday evening.
To have an office at this facility should be rather interesting for me as well as for visitors. Having a front row seat to all the interesting vehicles and people that pass through Kingman on Route 66, and to be surrounded by an ever changing exhibit of American automotive history should ensure everyday is a new adventure.
Across the street at the Powerhouse Visitor Center, the Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation continues to add to the collection at the Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum, the first of its kind. The most recent addition is Buckeye Bullet 2, an incredible racer that ran over three-hundred miles per hour on the Bonneville salt flats.
The Buckeye Bullet 2
Coming soon is an electric drag racer, Gone Postal. This vehicle also set a few records several years ago.
Plans haven’t progressed much behind general discussion as of yet but it looks as though an electric vehicle weekend will be linked with the traditional display of hot rods and classics at Chilln’ on Beale this coming October. Details will be provided as they become available.
I have get to work but to close this out, here is the latest press release from the Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative.
The Road Ahead Looks Promising!
Route 66: The Road Ahead – Collaboration Workshops Completed
Over 300 people took part in the Route 66: The Road Ahead – Collaboration Workshops that concluded Wednesday, July 29th. Designed as a way for the Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative Steering Committee to gather feedback on a set of recommendations for the development of a national framework for collaboration amongst Rt. 66 stakeholders, the meetings were attended by members of Route 66 associations, tourism officials, economic development professionals, business persons, preservationists, educators, government officials, and others interested in reviving and renewing Historic Route 66. The Collaboration Workshops began on July 21st in Springfield, Illinois, and included meetings in Springfield, Missouri; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Amarillo, Texas; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Flagstaff, Arizona; and San Bernardino, California.
The purpose of the Collaboration Workshops was to gather feedback regarding a proposed new national framework for collaboration amongst Route 66 stakeholders. Workshop attendees participated in a series of small group discussions, during which they considered a suggested mission statement, a set of strategic outcomes/goals, and a draft structure for a new organization that would function as a national framework for collaboration. Participants also considered the idea of seeking Federal designation of Route 66 as a National Historic Trail.
The 2.5-3 hour Collaboration Workshop meetings were lively affairs, with participants actively engaged in discussing the ideas proposed by the Steering Committee. Mr. Bill Thomas, Chairman of the Steering Committee, facilitated the meetings, which began with Mr. Aaron Mahr, Superintendent of the National Park Service (NPS) National Trails Intermountain Region, and Ms. Kaisa Barthuli, Program Manager, NPS Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, providing background information on the role of NPS in its partnership with the Steering Committee, as well as a brief overview of how and why the Steering Committee was established. Mr. John Conoboy, retired management specialist in National Trails, was on hand to present background information and help facilitate the discussion regarding the proposed National Historic Trail designation for Route 66. Those in attendance were asked for direct input regarding all the ideas proposed by the Steering Committee, with written comments, questions, and recommendations collected from them at the conclusion of each meeting.
With the completion of the Collaboration Workshops, the Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative Steering Committee will now:
·Review and synthesize participant feedback into a report
·Distribute the report to Steering Committee
·Develop next steps based on the report findings
·Report out to stakeholders on next steps
·Implement the identified next steps
The report to the Steering Committee will be completed by or before September 30, 2015. A report and next steps will then be distributed to stakeholders and the general public by or before November 20, 2015.
Copies of the proposed mission statement, set of strategic outcomes/goals, draft organizational structure, and information pertinent to the possible designation of Route 66 as a National Historic Trail can be reviewed at the Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative informational website at: https://sites.google.com/site/66roadahead, along with a complete listing of Steering Committee members and other background information.
The Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative is a response to recommendations from the Route 66 Economic Impact Study (2012) and the Route 66: The Road Ahead Strategic Roundtable (2013), organized by the World Monuments Fund and NPS with funding support from American Express. The initiative is focused on an inclusive, representative approach to developing a national framework for collaboration designed to leverage new opportunities and innovative partnerships in heritage tourism and historic preservation along the Mother Road.
Author Jim Hinckley at the Brunswick Hotel, Edsel Ford’s lodging choice in 1915. Courtesy Historic Vehicle Association
To say the very least, it has been a most fascinating week. It is not everyday that a fellow has an opportunity to compare the stark contrasts of technological evolution from two different centuries. First, courtesy of the Historic Vehicle Association, there was the opportunity to see, feel, touch, hear, and even smell the technological innovations of 1915 made manifest in a Ford that was manufactured one hundred years ago. As a bonus, I was able to observe that vehicles performance in its native habitat on the National Old Trails Highway. Next, an opportunity to experience the technologies of the 21st century. After a great deal of deliberation I reluctantly decided to upgrade and expand on my Microsoft Office software as I am using a 2008 version. Well, I submitted payment, hit “Install” and stared at the screen informing me that they were aware of the system issues. Then I called customer support.
After almost one hour on hold I can testify to the fact that they play hideous music, on a loop. On occasion they did break in to inform me that Windows 10 is available.
I am always amazed by the size, dominance, and profits of a company with such poor customer service. At least the time on hold was well spent as it was an opportunity for lunch in a hectic day.
In fact the entire week has been rather hectic but interesting. In a meeting with the promotions and events director for the Ramada Kingman we were able to finalize a structure for an electric vehicle weekend linked to Chillin’ on Beale this coming October, and the Route 66 Association of Kingman open house on September 8 that will include a special ceremony for Dries and Marion Bessels, inductees into the Route 66 Walk of Fame. Speaking of the Route 66 Association of Kingman and Chillin’ on Beale, this Saturday evening at 8:00 PM the classic film Edge of Eternity is being shown on the corner of Fourth Street and Andy Devine Avenue. The association is sponsoring the movie night to expand on the activities during Chillin’ on Beale. Bring your chairs and friends and enjoy an evening of classic cinema under a desert sky. For those unfamiliar with this movie it was a major production in the 1950’s that was filmed in Kingman, Oatman, and the surrounding area. The Ramada is moving forward with plans to become the cities only Route 66 resort. An excellent example of how that company will enhance and expand on events in Kingman is found in the promotion for a special package that transforms Chillin’ on Beale next Saturday evening into a full weekend of fun filled activities.
Details need to be finalized for the electric vehicle weekend but initial plans for call for a wide array of activities. In addition, several new additions to the Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum will be on display. More on that in just a moment. Meanwhile, a few major events are shaping up to be full fledged Route 66 extravaganzas. The first is the Birthplace of Route 66 event scheduled for this next weekend. Then, on the weekend of September 25, there is the Best of the West on 66 event in Kingman. This unique festival blends the cities rich association with Route 66 and its western heritage. Car shows and rodeos are but a few of the fun filled activities scheduled. Of course the big event of the year takes place on the weekend of October 31 in Edwardsville, Illinois. The Miles of Possibilities event is reminiscent of the U.S. Highway 66 Association conventions that blended the business of Route 66 with fun filled activities. On the schedule for the coming week is a trip to Grand Canyon Ranch Resort to discuss ways I may assist with promotional development. This should be an interesting adventure.
Then there is an opportunity to visit with Wolfgang and Anja Werz, friends from Germany. We always look forward to their visit but since Anja wasn’t able to join us at de Prael in Amsterdam this past January we are even more excited about the pending visit. As they are the primary organizers behind the European Route 66 Festival scheduled for next July, I am sure the conversation will be most exciting. I am also quite confident that there will be more than a few updates to provide afterwards. As a close for this mornings post, I suppose a few pending developments would be appropriate. Several new additions are being added to the Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum housed in the Powerhouse Visitor Center. One of these is Gone Postal, an amazing piece of electric drag racing history. I do not have an exact date for delivery to the museum but it should be before the end of the month.
The transformation of the historic Dunton Motors facilities is ongoing. In addition to housing my future office (stop by if your in the neighborhood) the classic vehicle dealership is adding some interesting displays to create a one of a kind museum.
The latest addition is Searchlight Sally, a legendary racer in the area. The vehicle will also be making an appearance at Chillin’ on Beale on Saturday, according to Scott Dunton. Bring some ear plugs for this one.
On two separate occasions in the last week my dearest friend and I have been privileged to meet with adventuresome folks who decided to enhance their Route 66 odyssey and ensure a memorable trip was an unforgettable adventure. In each instance the added component was time travel.
For those willing to make the sacrifice by foregoing a few of the former luxuries that are now deemed necessities, time travel is possible. All that is needed is a vintage automobile, not a modern car masquerading as a vintage automobile but the real deal.
The Historic Vehicle Association’s 1915 Ford on the National Old Trails Highway in eastern Arizona. photo courtesy Historic Vehicle Association.
To cruise the highway in a car or truck that is as it was when it rolled from the factory, or with period correct accessories, is as close as we can get to leaving the modern era behind to step into the world of the 1950’s, 1930’s or even the teens. With each modification made, with each inclusion of modern conveniences the illusion of time travel blurs.
Bright and early yesterday morning my dearest friend and I met with the intrepid team from the Historic Vehicle Association, an organization that is celebrating “America’s Road Trip Century” by recreating Edsel Ford’s journey from Detroit to San Francisco in 1915. If it wasn’t enough of an adventure to attempt a cross country drive in a century old Ford, the association team is following the National Old Trails Highway of 1915 and other roads used by Edsel and his friends on that trip to the world’s fair exposition in San Francisco where ever possible.
Fortunately for the association, Edsel and his friends kept a rather meticulous photo journal of their American odyssey. In addition to providing a detailed look into the world of cross country road trips in 1915, it enabled the team to quite literally follow Edsel through the heartland of America and into the deserts as well as through time.
As I sipped coffee, turned pages in the journal, read entries about the trials, tribulations, and adventures of free spirited young men on a voyage of discovery, and identified locations in the sepia toned images, it seemed as though time was being rolled back. Then we stepped outside and watched as the mud spattered Ford was rolled from the storage trailer, and the daily maintenance routine commenced before the drive to Barstow began.
After lengthy discussion about the original trip, I agreed to accompany them to the summit of Sitgreaves Pass, point out locations noted in the journal, and provide some historical commentary. Our first stop was the Brunswick Hotel, Edsel’s overnight stop after an arduous drive from Flagstaff.
Next was a stop at the Powerhouse Visitor Center. Mark Gessler, president of the association wanted this as a photo stop. He also wanted a few books including EZ 66 by Jerry mcClanahan.
This was followed by a stop for gas at Canada Mart, an interesting endeavor as the tank is under the front seat cushion. Then it was off to Cool Springs and the climb through Sitgreaves Pass.
My experience with the Model T is rather limited. We double dated in a 1926 model, and a few acquaintances over the years have driven them around town. This, however, was my first opportunity to really evaluate them on the open road.
I was rather impressed. Mark maintained a steady clip of thirty to thirty five miles per hour in the valley, and pulled the grade to the summit without overheating.
The only mishap was the loss of a license plate bolt that necessitated the use of a zip tie, the modern equivalent of bailing wire.
Author Jim Hinckley signs books for clients traveling Route 66 with Hop A Long Travel of Norway during their stop at the Powerhouse Visitor Center in Kingman, Arizona.
The title for today’s post is somewhat lengthy but it still does not adequately describe everything that has happened over the course of the past few days. Still, it does convey the sense that a maelstrom has swept through the Hinckley household.
Lets begin with the events that took place between 4:30 this morning and high noon. First, there was another opportunity to work on the Youtube Channel and the podcast, both of which are the primary reasons for inclusion of “never ending learning curve” and “exciting frustrations” in the title.
Several months ago after a bit of urging, advice, nudging, and encouragement I decided to expand on the books, speaking engagements, tours, and tour consultation that is loosely known as Jim Hinckley’s America. So, work commenced on development of a podcast, self published guidebooks, and a Youtube Channel.
The topic of the latest video and audio project was a visit with Toshi Goto of the Japanese Route 66 Association. My dearest friend manned the video equipment. I handled the audio recording and editing.
Well, polish is obviously needed. Still, I have never shied away from a challenge or a project that may result in a bit of embarrassment.
As you watch this interview with Toshi, please pretend that there is a flashy opening, credits, and filming location. I worked on adding those items for a full day but between completion and loading to Youtube, they vanished. Back to the drawing board, or computer screen and key board.
The audio for the podcast came out a bit better. Now, editing and distribution, that is the next project.
Graciously, Toshi has hinted that we can try this again on his next visit. Stay tuned for part two in the near future.
Toshi Goto and Jim Hinckley at El Palacio in Kingman.
Then it was off to the day job. Well, the handwriting was on the wall for quite sometime but it still came as a surprise. Suffice to say I was home in time for lunch.
Yesterday was rather long and quite full. It culminated last evening with an interview about the Route 66 renaissance and how it affects Kingman. This is to be part of a documentary for Pivot TV.
Sunday, as noted, we had a delightful visit with Toshi Goto. It kicked off with dinner at El Palacio where I presented him with a plaque from the Route 66 Association of Kingman, followed by the fledgling attempt at an interview at the comparatively quiet Ramada Kingman lobby.
In an effort to foster development of a sense of community among Route 66 enthusiasts internationally, the Route 66 Association of Kingman is giving honorary memberships to all Route 66 associations. As Scott Dunton wasn’t able to attend, I made the informal presentation on the associations behalf.
Sunday morning was consumed with a surprise visit from our son, and our grandson Nathan who recently celebrated his first birthday. Dinner with friends, apple pie and coffee shared with family, that is one way to ensure a day is most enjoyable.
Saturday was largely a day that centered on work; namely writing projects. Specifically there was some editing work on the self published guide to the Kingman area, and continuing work on a revised edition of Backroads of Arizona.
All work and no play, as they say …Saturday morning kicked off with an enjoyable breakfast at Rutherford’s 66 Family Diner and conversation with John McEnulty, owner of Grand Canyon Caverns Resort. Conversations centered on exciting new developments at the caverns, pending tour packages hosted by Ramada Kingman, and the sponsoring of Jim Hinckley’s America. Details on the latter will be posted this week.
Friday evening was another interesting day. My dearest friend and I met with Kjetil “Chet” Sveistrup, and his wife Anne, of Norway based Hop A Long Travel.
I was quite surprised and honored to learn that their clients are provided with two books; the EZ 66 Guide by Jerry McClanahan and the Travel Route 66 book published last year.
I signed books and answered questions before adjourning to Mr. D’z for pie, coffee, conversation, and more book signing. That is another delightful way to end a day.
One of the companies was a delightful couple with a passion for vintage American vehicles. A manifestation of this was the fact that they were driving an all original, with the exception of after market air conditioning, 1960 Chevrolet.
So, ends a weekend of adventure. So begins a new chapter. Let the adventure begin!
Author Jim Hinckley discusses Route 66 with Anne and Kjetil Sveistrup of Hop A Long Travel.
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!