As our last major outing was the memorable trip to Amsterdam in January, we are quite eager to be on the road again. For my dearest friend and I the road trip is the proverbial fountain of youth. The invigorating benefits of the road trip are multiplied exponentially if that grand adventure on the highways and back roads of America are a Route 66 odyssey. Even better, a Route 66 adventure and an opportunity to spend time with old friends. Between now and our Sunday morning departure there are an array of issues to resolve. However, as I eagerly countdown the hours until we are on the road again it becomes increasingly difficult to focus on the task at hand or tying up the loose ends. As promotion of the Route 66 Association of Kingman and their Celebrate 90 initiative is a key component of our trip, getting the website for that group up and functional is of the utmost importance. So, I have been lending assistance to the website designer, mostly in the form of providing content.
The association has created a special Celebrate 90 souvenir that I will be distributing at the festivities in Edwardsville. So, if your attending this fun filled and historic event, stop by the Open Road Productions/Jim Hinckley’s America display at the exhibition in the historic Wildey Theater in Edwardsville on October 31, or catch me on the road. These collectible souvenirs are only part of our cargo. If your plans are to motor west any time soon, I will also have a wide array of promotional materials from the Kingman area including coupons for $59.00 per night rooms at Grand Canyon Caverns Inn, and, of course, lots and lots of books. If you already have copies of my books and would like them defaced, bring them by the exhibition hall in Edwardsville. The signature may be worth more in your book than it is on checks. The website is but one of many items requiring immediate attention. There is a new book contract to finalize, we need to stock the pantry for the caretaker of the homestead in our absence, and there are a few promotional projects for Ramada Kingman to finalize. This campaign will provide senior travelers with a bargain package for exploring the Kingman area.
Before I forget, Ramada Kingman and the Hill Top Motel both have information for the various packages available at Grand Canyon Western Ranch located sixty-miles north of Kingman. Simply use promo code “Hinckley” to receive a discount on packages, and when you get to the ranch, say hello to Robert Bravo on my behalf. On Friday there is a planning session meeting that will tackle the next steps in moving the Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative forward to the creation of a representative organization that will serve the entire international Route 66 community. I will provide update before we leave. There is also a report that needs to be finalized. This is all part of a rather exciting project that will, I hope, speed up the transition of the Kingman historic district. There will be more details on this soon.
I also need to winterize the “swamp” cooler as well as Barney the Wonder Truck. It may be a delightful seventy degrees now but things change quickly in the high desert this time of year. So, in consideration of all that there is to do before we hit the road, again, I bid you adios. I will have another posting for you after the meeting on Friday. I will also post from the road where possible. Check out the Facebook page for Jim Hinckley (author) and Route 66 Chronicles for more immediate updates from the road, including new food discoveries.
As it turned out, it was a rather apt weekend for applying the old adage about the well laid plans of mice and men. The weekend schedule of activities in Kingman included a bluegrass festival at Stetson Winery, the 2nd annual Rattler Mountain Bike Race, Nifty Fifties Car Show, reception for the 2nd Annual National Route 66 Motor Tour, Chillin’ on Beale, Cinema Under the Stars, a concert in Metcalf Park, and the monthly Route 66 Association of Kingman open house. On Friday morning it got a bit cloudy. Late Friday afternoon it rained, on Saturday it rained, on Sunday morning it rained.
Tudor Melville’s Tesla under stormy skies at Mr. D’z.
A general rule of thumb is that the folks who complain about rain in Arizona, especially after a long dry spell, are almost always newcomers or recent transplants. The rains did put a big damper (pardon the pun) on the festivities but the show went on, albeit on a smaller scale than intended.
For dearest friend and I, with assistance from Tudor Melville and a few friends, it turned out to be a most interesting weekend. In the last posting I shared my impressions of the P85D version of the Model S Tesla equipped with Insane mode and Autopilot software.
On Saturday we had another interesting experience with the Tesla, time travel and a comparative contrast in the guise of a trip to Cool Springs and the summit of Sitgreaves Pass on the pre 1952 alignment of Route 66.
Earlier this summer, courtesy of the Historic Vehicle Association, I had the opportunity to see the National Old Trails Highway, Route 66 until 1952, in western Arizona just as Edsel Ford did one hundred years ago. This was accomplished with a 1915 Ford the association team was driving from Detroit to San Francisco.
The vehicle and setting provided me with an incredible opportunity to step back a full century. In a sense, it provided an opportunity for a bit of multidimensional time travel.
On Saturday we saw the same road, a road where I learned to drive behind the wheel of trucks manufactured decades before my birth, as though it was several years in the future. This was accomplished courtesy of Tudor Melville’s Tesla, a vehicle that does more than just represent cutting edge automotive technologies. This is the future. To a certain degree our trip provided a peak into the future allowing us to see this iconic highway as Route 66 enthusiasts will experience it during the centennial year.
To say the very least, it was a most fascinating experience. At times as we floated over the old pavement in whisper silence, even with a quick five or six second burst of speed that pinned you to the plush seats, there was an almost surreal feel to the adventure. There was also a great deal of laughter and lively conversation, the highlight of any trip long or short that is shared with friends.
In between our trips into the future under rainy skies, I attended to the business of Route 66. First, there was some work with the marketing director at Ramada Kingman. They are creating a promotional brochure that centers on the developing 160-Miles of Smiles promotional campaign, and the use of my services as an area guide that is a component in the hotel managers plan for the creation of a full service Route 66 resort in Kingman.
Next, there was another attempt to resolve issues associated with the ongoing effort to self publish(I think we have it figured out!). I am forever indebted to David Keppel who has provided patient and invaluable tutelage in the development of this project.
This was followed with a bit more fun in the guise of Chillin’ on Beale, the last of the 2015 season, and the monthly Route 66 Association of Kingman openhouse. The eclectic and diverse display of vehicles that turn out for Chillin’ on Beale never ceases to amaze me.
There were numerous stand outs on Saturday evening. Among these were a rough around the edges but fully original 1948 Chevrolet canopy express series truck, a British taxi cab, a stunning Chrysler 300, Tudor’s Tesla, a beautifully restored 1950 Chevrolet truck, a chromed out low rider Chevrolet Impala convertible, a gorgeous 1968 Olds convertible, a 1960 Cadillac, and a mid 1960’s Alfa Romeo roadster.
The monthly open house at Ramada Kingman was also an informal birthday party for Scott Dunton, the Route 66 Association of Kingman president. As the Dunton family has a 90 year history of business ownership on Route 66 in KIngman as well as Goldroad, it was a most interesting gathering.
The Route 66 Association of Kingman has some very ambitious plans for 2016, including the Celebrate 90 initiative. If you would like more information about the associations agenda, or membership, the email address is Route66kingmanaz@yahoo.com. The phone number is (928)753-1314. A website is under development.
To wrap this up, as promised, here is an eleven minute video of a hands free cruise on Route 66 and I-40, courtesy of Tesla Autopilot, and the acceleration available using Insane mode.
To say the very least, it has been a most fascinating week. It is not over yet and there are a wide array of events taking place in the Kingman area today ranging from a bluegrass festival at Stetson Winery and Chillin’ on Beale to the monthly open house for the Route 66 Association of Kingman (tonight, 6:00, Ramada Kingman)and a nifty fifties car show. Still, no matter how much fun is had today, I am rather confident that nothing will top last evenings adventure.
It started off simply enough, photograph the reception for the 2nd annual National Route 66 Motor Tour at the Powerhouse Visitor Center in Kingman. Then I received a text message from Tudor Melville, an acquaintance from Phoenix who is also the owner of Suntech Circuits Incorporated as well as a new Tesla. He was in town for the festivities.
Tudor had introduced my dearest friend and I to the futuristic wonders of Tesla last year in Kingman during the Route 66 International Festival and the opening of the Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum. This time he was driving a bright red model purchased in December that had recently been upgraded with the Autopilot download.
I lean heavily toward living in a world where the simplicity of the Model A Ford represents the zenith of automotive engineering. Still, technological gadgetry really intrigues me and Tesla has this in spades. In fact it pushes the envelop for making gadgetry practical to such a degree that in comparison every new car in showrooms across America appear as outdated as a Model T.
I will post a video later today about our drive last evening. There is the very real possibility that I was the first person in history to cruise Route 66 in a fully automated automobile, as in “look ma no hands on the wheel”, self braking, lane changing, speed setting automated car.
It was both disconcerting and fascinating. Likewise with whisper silent acceleration that literally pins you to the plush seat.
A topic of discussion aside from the wonders of the future today was a rally under development by Open Road Productions. As envisioned, the rally from Chicago to the 90th anniversary Route 66 celebration at the original western terminus of that highway in the renovated theater district of downtown Los Angeles next fall would be a literal parade of automotive history. Tesla owner participation would really round out that parade through the heartland quite nicely.
In addition to making a presentation on how to utilize the Route 66 renaissance as a catalyst for community development at the Miles of Possibilities Conference in Edwardsville, Illinois the last weekend of this month, I will be sharing a display booth with Rick Thomas of Open Road Productions in the exhibition hall at the historic Wildey Theater. We should be able to provide more detail about the rally at that time.
I should also note that books will be available as well as a wide array of informational brochures from the Kingman area. Of course I will also make myself available to answer questions and to assist with Route 66 travel planning.
Most of this past week was consumed with projects to be resolved before we head out on our road trip or related to exciting developments in 2016. Next week looks to be more of the same.
Assistance was provided for development of a brochure developed by Ramada Kingman to promote the areas 160 Miles of Smiles marketing campaign (I will have these available in Edwardsville as well) and there was a radio interview on a Lake Havasu City station as well as a meeting with city officials to lay the foundation for a series of programs to revitalize the Route 66 corridor in conjunction with the Celebrate 90 initiative. I also worked with David Keppel in an effort to move the self publishing endeavor forward, and continued with contract negotiations for a new Route 66 book.
Now, it is time for some much needed rest and relaxation, a deep breath, and time spent with friend before charging headlong into next week, which promises to be even more hectic than this past one.
For my dearest friend and I, life is anything but boring. On more than one occasion there has been ample reason to see it as just a bit surreal, and sometimes, if it is real quiet, the theme from the Twilight Zone can be faintly heard as background music.
As an example, for your consideration, I present this morning. Our son stopped by for coffee and some eggs, and we offered hagelslag, courtesy of friends from the Netherlands, and toast with Nutella. Then to round out the breakfast we shared Badenoblaten mif Russ Schokoladegeschmack, courtesy of friends from the Czech Republic.
It seemed an ideal way to close out a week that included email from Croatia, a presentation before the city council about harnessing the international interest in Route 66 as a catalyst for development, and coffee with the irrepressible Bob Lile and an acquaintance from New Zealand.
It also sets the stage for a busy schedule in the coming week. In addition to the ongoing battle against frustration that now dominates my dealings with Create Space, isthe self publishing venue for Amazon.com, there is a meeting scheduled with a Swiss property developer, ongoing negotiations with my publisher that is now a British owned entity, and a pending meeting with a travel journalist facilitated by the local tourism director.
Also on the schedule is a couple of meetings that pertain to the 2016 Best of the West on 66 Festival, the need to add some polish to the Miles of Possibilities presentation, finalization of the travel schedule for the trip to that conference and festival in Illinois, assistance in the development of promotional materials for Ramada Kingman, and a development outline for the Celebrate 90 initiative for the Route 66 Association of Kingman. If, by chance, I get bored, Barney the Wonder truck is need of a power steering pump.
Presentations and public speaking are not exactly something I have a great deal of experience with. Granted, the skills are improving by the week but an awareness of my shortcomings leaves me a bit apprehensive, especially when an event is as important or as large as the pending Miles of Possibilities Conference in Edwardsville, Illinois.
My presentation centers on how towns can utilize the Roue 66 renaissance to develop a sense of community purpose which in turn leads to economic development. For obvious reasons I will use Kingman to illustrate my points.
I will add some polish this week and worry over it like a dog with a bone. That is a quirk I have come to accept as it accompanies the closure of all my published work.
The event in Edwardsville got off to a rocky start and at one point there was even a question about it taking place at all. In part this was resultant of the fact that the Route 66 community is still lacking a chamber of commerce type entity, a representative organization that can provide assistance with the development and promotion of events such as an annual convention.
That is changing, slowly but surely. After a serious of public town hall meetings this summer, the National Park Service facilitated Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative that evolved from the steering committee is moving closer to bringing that envisioned organization to fruition.
In 1931, the U.S. Highway 66 Association hosted a convention in Elk City, Oklahoma that purportedly attracted 20,000 attendees. The conference and festival in Edwardsville will mimic that event in that it blends the business of Route 66 with education and the Route 66 related fun that is the hallmark of such gatherings of Route 66 enthusiasts.
I spoke with an event coordinator a few days ago and the recommendation was made that people who plan on attending the conference or related events make reservations or purchase tickets soon. In addition to the conference, there will be a pub crawl, an historic annual parade, a performance by the Road Crew, and a catered dinner among other activities.
A bit closer to home, the Celebrate 90 initiative linked with the 160-Miles of Smiles marketing campaign is gaining steam. This is being spearheaded by the Route 66 Association of Kingman.
If you happen to in the neighborhood of Ramada Kingman this Saturday evening, the associations monthly open house will take place at 6:00. It will also be a small informal birthday party for association president Scott Dunton.
I would be quite remiss if the wide array of activities scheduled for this weekend were not mentioned. Kingman is definitely the place to be.
Late on Friday afternoon at the Powerhouse Visitor Center, there will be a free car show and a reception for the participants of the 2nd Annual National Route 66 Motor Tour. These festivities will be linked to an informal anniversary celebration for the Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum. For more information contact the Kingman Area Tourism office.
On Saturday, there is a cruise to Grand Canyon Caverns, the 2nd Annual Rattler Mountain Bike Event, and a bluegrass festival at Stetson Winery. That evening is the last Chillin’ on Beal of the season, and Cinema Under the Stars on the corner of Fourth Street and Andy Devine Avenue at 8:00 PM. Bring your chairs and enjoy a classic motion picture courtesy of the Route 66 Association of Kingman.
If you plan on taking in all of the activities, you might as well make it a weekend. And if you plan on making it a weekend, you might want to take advantage of the special package being offered by Ramada Kingman.
To wrap this up today, here is a list of our scheduled stops on the trip scheduled for October 25 to November 6. If you would like a book autographed, or would like to retain my services for a group or organization function, please let me know.
October 25, morning, a presentation in Winslow –
October 25, late morning, pending, a presentation at the Petrified Forest Visitor Center parking lot on U.S. 180 south of Holbrook –
October 25, Albuquerque –
October 26, Las Vegas, New Mexico, Shamrock, Texas –
October 27, Elk City, Clinton, Tulsa
October 28, morning Tulsa, Galena, Carthage, Lebanon, and Cuba
October 29 to October 31, Edwardsville, Illinois
November 1, Elkhart, Braidwood, Joliet
November 2, Jefferson City
November 3, Guthrie, Oklahoma
November 4, Amarillo, Tucumcari
November 5, Santa Rosa, Gallup, Holbrook
November 6, Winslow, Flagstaff, Williams, Seligman, and a special meeting at Mr. D’z in Kingman around 1:30
First, let me respond to a recent comment received. The historic Brandin’ Iron Motel sign (the motel has been converted into an apartment complex) was recently purchased by Scott Dunton. In a conversation last week he noted plans for the signs restoration and that the location for display had not yet been determined.
Dunton, owner of Dunton Motors Dream Machines and Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner, is also the president of the Route 66 Association of Kingman. Recently he acquired the former neon sign for the Beale Hotel cocktail lounge, and installed a restored 1960 OK Used Car sign at his dealership.
All of this is a part of the associations Celebrate 90 initiative, a series of linked projects that will build on the 90th anniversary of Route 66 to bring dynamic change to Kingman. The initial focus is on the transformation and expansion of Chillin’ on Beale, a low key but fun filled event that blends cruising, car displays, friends, food, and music which takes place on the third Saturday of each month, April through October.
Meanwhile, as this initiative moves forward and the city of Kingman under goes a most delightful transition, I am developing a better understanding about the difficulties associated with teaching an old dog new tricks, the subject of a famous adage. Until quite recently I maintained a full time job that supported the writing and related endeavors, as well as paid the bills. Recently a series of interesting developments closed that chapter which left me with two options. With support and encouragement from my dearest friend, I could make a valiant attempt to blend my passions for writing, for providing service to the Route 66 community, and related activities into a venture profitable enough to pay the bills, or I could resort to seeking employment. At my age job acquisition becomes a rather intriguing adventure in itself. That, however, is a story for another day.
Well, we are two months into this venture. To say the very least, it has been interesting. It has also been rather rewarding as well as, occasionally, a bit disconcerting.
Even though I have the self discipline needed for meeting deadlines and completing projects in a timely manner, being set free from four decades of having the rhythm of life set by the time clock is sort of like being cast adrift without a compass. You may have spent years thinking and occasionally planning for such a contingency, and you know the direction in which you plan to travel, but when it happens the concept of time as well as direction become a bit distorted.
Developing a routine, a schedule that balances productivity with enjoying the pursuits there was never time for previously is more challenging than one would think. On one hand I look back on the past two months and the time wasted chasing my tail with extreme frustration. This is balanced with the exhilaration of being presented with an opportunity to sail into uncharted waters, and a few major accomplishments. Life is truly a grand adventure, even if it can be rather unnerving at times.
First, I focused a majority of my attentions on the self publishing endeavor, a goal that was long overdue for completion. In addition to needing a destination, a point of reference, upon which I could focus, the thought was that in addition to the learning opportunities involved with the project, providing travelers with a detailed guide book to the Kingman historic district as well as the surrounding area might generate a bit of income.
The cover for the forthcoming travel guide.
Thanks to Anne Slanina who introduced me to David Keppel, the project moved forward rather quickly after months of extreme frustration. Then came time to navigate the confusing waters of Create Space, the Amazon.com entity for self publishing.
Yesterday, I again submitted the file. Today I again received notice of another issue with the submission. This morning the generous and accommodating Mr. Keppel provided assistance. This afternoon, I will make another attempt to clear this hurdle, before addressing the next one. One aspect that has greatly hindered establishment of a productive and structured work schedule is an almost endless series of meetings. As I lean more toward the blue collar, red neck side of life where you simply take the bull by the horns and get things done, incorporating meetings, the development of detailed reports and Power Point presentations, and related tasks into a work schedule while awaiting results has proven to be most interesting. Fortunately it has also been productive as well as somewhat profitable and rewarding. As a consultant for Ramada Kingman, I have been able to provide service to the owners of the property as they transform the historic motel into the city of Kingman’s only full service Route 66 resort, as well as provide assistance to travelers in the process. My services are also now being utilized to provide promotional assistance for the owners of Grand Canyon Caverns Resort as well as Grand Canyon Western Ranch. I am also able to dedicate more time to volunteer projects that have piqued my interest. Aside from the Route 66: The Road Ahead initiative facilitated by the National Park Service, I am providing assistance to the Route 66 Association of Kingman for the development of the Celebrate 90 initiative and a membership drive. I am also providing assistance to the City of Kingman tourism office, and am facilitating establishment of several cooperative partnerships on the local level for event development. In short, I finally have an opportunity to focus energies on helping to make Kingman a destination rather than a mere stop on the road to somewhere else. Utilizing the Route 66 renaissance as a catalyst for economic development and for creating or restoring a sense of community will be the subject of my presentation at the Miles of Possibilities conference in Edwardsville.
Courtesy Herberta of Wind Swept Images.
At the same time, I am able to expand on the services that can be provided to tour companies, to travelers, and to businesses that want to profitably offer travelers quality service. It is quite the adventure. There is still a question pertaining to my ability to balance all of this in a manner that generates enough income to sustain it. Meanwhile, at least I have new things to complain about, a new set of frustrations, and fascinating new challenges. This alone is worth the price of admission. Now, lets see what I can do with Create Space, and about finishing my presentation for the conference in Edwardsville, and setting up the Garmin for the pending trip, and preparing several reports, and setting up the homestead for the caretaker in our absence, and …