|“Roamin” Rich Dinkela in an awkward moment at the
events in Edwardsville.
The primary destination for our latest adventure (a journey of 3,761 miles) was the Miles of Possibilities Conference in Edwardsville, Illinois, the latest evolutionary step in the rebirth of the historic Route 66 conventions. As usual it was a grand adventure.
That is usually the case with any odyssey that involves Route 66 and the people who give it such a sense of infectious vibrancy. This one, however, was quite special indeed as it involved the making of new friends, time well spent with old friends, a bit of old fashioned marketing, costumes, meetings that held the promise of exciting developments for 2016, the discovery of fascinating new restaurants, pirates, the music of the Road Crew, and lots of laughter.
Our adventure kicked off with a maddening array of last minute details and a schedule that included back to back obligations. On Friday, I picked up some promotional materials from the Hualapai tribe, had a telephone conference call with the various Route 66: The Road Ahead committee members, finalized arrangements with the caretaker of the homestead in our absence, and attended to some last minute family issues.
On Saturday morning we picked up the rental car (a Subaru Outback) and commenced packing it with luggage, snacks and water, the Garmin, books to sell, camera gear, computer equipment, gifts, picnic supplies, and the Kingman area promotional materials to be distributed at the conference as well as along the Route 66 corridor. Then, after weeks of frustrating delays and assorted issues, I finally completed the long overdue self publishing endeavor and volume one of Jim Hinckley’s America, a guide to the Kingman area, was added to the list of my books that are available on Amazon. The ebook version will follow shortly, and I am still working on the podcast.
Saturday evening I served as a guide for an Adventures Caravan tour that was in Kingman for the weekend. On Sunday morning, long before sunrise, we were on the road as I was scheduled to speak with Dale Butel’s fall Route 66 tour, and sign books, at the La Posada in Winslow by 8:00.
That set the pace for most of the rest of the trip. Still, the busiest or worst day on Route 66 is better than any day spent (fill in the blank).
A visit with the owners of the Jack Rabbit Trading Post, the distribution of promotional materials, and the gathering of new photos for the Jim Hinckley’s America Gallery at Legends of America consumed the rest of the morning so we stopped at the El Rancho in Gallup for a late lunch.
There is something truly special about Mexican food in New Mexico and this this was our first opportunity to savor the unique cuisine. The second opportunity took place at La Hacienda Restaurant in the Old Town district of Albuquerque.
After a stop at the Enchanted Trails Trading Post and RV Park, we closed out the first day of the adventure at the Monterrey Non Smokers Motel on Central Avenue, located a short distance from Old Town and the zoo. This historic old property has evolved with Route 66 and remains as the best lodging bargain in the city. Don’t let the looks of the neighborhood after dark deter you; this is an excellent oasis complete with laundry facilities, central location, pool, and friendly owners who run a very tight ship.
Our second day on the road commenced with some sunrise photography, and a superb breakfast at Kaps. This excellent little restaurant is located toward the east end of Central Avenue next to the historic Tewa Lodge.
Breakfast and our morning excursion along Central Avenue set the stage for what proved to be a most delightful day. After a long morning of stops for visits, for the distribution of materials, and for photography, my dearest friend suggested a picnic at the Blue Hole in Santa Rosa as the weather was almost picture perfect.
On Route 66 you are never far from friends, even if you have yet to meet. In this case our new found friends from Germany, Nicole Jens and Raab Hanneman, were contemplating a swim as the day was remarkably warm. The water temperature, however, deterred them.
Day two of the adventure ended in the pleasing glow at the U Drop Inn in Shamrock, an excellent dinner at Big Vern’s Steakhouse, and a restful evening at the Western Motel. Did I mention that a Tesla station has been added to the U Drop since our last visit?
Apparently Route 66 is truly the crossroads of the past and future.