Afton Station
Even though she has been in ill health for quite some time, the recent passing of Laurel Kane has shocked and sorrowed the Route 66 community. On a personal level, a lesson that we have all learned at least once was reinforced, again. 
For the Route 66 community, her loss calls to our attention, again, a very serious issue that is not easily addressed. However, the very future of Route 66 as a living, breathing time capsule with its own unique culture depends on us, as a community, finding a solution. 
As happens far to often, our trip to Edwardsville and the Miles of Possibilities Conference this past October was bound within the confines of a fairly rigid schedule. The evening before we left, I was contracted to speak before a tour group. On Sunday morning, the day we left, I was to meet with a tour group in Winslow. The date for our return to Kingman was also set resultant of another contracted appearance. In between were several appointments. 
A Tulsa sunset at the Campbell Hotel.
As a result, the flexibility that allowed for long visits with friends on the road was severely restricted. Still, plans were set to have dinner with Laurel Kane, as well as Rhys Martin, and his charming wife Samantha at Maxwell’s in the Campbell Hotel. Laurel canceled at the last minute resultant of not feeling well, and a dialysis appointment scheduled for early the following morning. 
On the return trip, we stopped at Afton Station, but Laurel was absent that day. The schedule didn’t allow for another stop in Tulsa, so I called Laurel when we got home to Kingman, and into December there was some correspondence as she provided input for the next book.
The moral in this story is an ancient one. Time is the one finite item that we each have. Not one of us has control over the amount of time allocated. However, we each have control over how we choose to spend or invest this precious resource. Use it wisely. 
Learn to balance the need to earn a living with what is needed to ensure that it is a life worth living, a life that is enjoyed, a life that enriches the lives of others. Lastly, keep in mind one simple fact, none of us are getting out of this alive. However, while we are here, lets fill that life with friends and family, laughter and adventure. 
Last summer we embarked on a new odyssey, one that was a bit unnerving. For the first time in more than thirty years of marriage, I wasn’t bringing home a steady check or two. On one hand being set free from a rigid structure of schedules, an employers soul crushing lack of respect, and mind numbing boredom has been liberating and invigorating. However, now that the schedule is being set by me, it has been discovered that I can be a very harsh taskmaster.
Laurel Kane will be sorely missed by all who knew her, and by the Route 66 community. Her loss, as with that of Gary Turner, highlights an impending crisis. 
The historic bridges that enhance the sense of time travel on Route 66 are imperiled. A few will be lost. A few will be saved. A few will be re-purposed.
Landmarks face a similar fate. We will loose a few, and we will gain some new ones. 
However, what really makes a Route 66 journey memorable, what really sets a road trip on the double six apart from any other in the world is the people. It is the passion, the spirit, the enthusiasm, the warmth, the generosity, and the hospitality of the people that you meet on the road, and the people who open businesses and that welcome travelers with open arms.
The passing of Laurel Kane highlights a very real threat to the future of Route 66 as a community. As the song by George Jones so aptly asks, who is going to fill their shoes?
There are glimmers of hope in Rhys and Samantha Martin, Jessica and Cameron Mueller, Katie and Chris Robleski. Still, the question remains, will Route 66 as a vibrant community survive into its centennial and beyond?           


Valentine, Arizona –
I enjoyed a most interesting dinner and conversation last evening with Reuben, a fascinating fellow that works by day at the proving grounds in Yucca, and in his spare time, works to create a living time capsule from the long derelict Great Western Service Station in Valentine. His dogged research to pin down an exact date for the stations construction has narrowed it down to around 1941, plus or minus a couple of years.
In renovating the property with a goal of creating a time capsule, a place on the road for travelers to enjoy an authentic experience, as well as an opportunity to experience a bit of cinematic history due to the areas association with the movie Easy Rider, he has learned that at one time a small coffee shop was also a part of the facility.
To date, he has put a few of the old signs found in the attic back in place, is evaluating how to uncover and preserve a few ghost signs, added a few vintage cars as photo ops, and is setting up a website so folks can chart progress. He will also be introducing a t-shirt soon. It looks as though another Route 66 era roadside survivor is about to get a new lease on life. 
Speaking of signs and a bit of Route 66 history, the folks in Holbrook need some assistance. The Dairy Queen in that city has a delightful neon sign that is at least fifty years old. The corporation is wanting the franchise owners to take it down, and replace it to ensure continuity of the brand. This is the link for the petition to save the sign.
Yesterday I stopped by the new office in the historic Dunton Motors facility next to Mr. D’z to pick up some area promotional materials for a car club that luncheon where I was to make a presentation. Restoration of the ultra rare 1954 Ford with factory glass top is about complete and it will go on sale in the next week.
If your looking for a really unique cruiser, this is it. Just drop me a note and I will provide full details.  
A few weeks ago they acquired a 1953 Ford sedan. The interesting aspect of this cars story is that it was purchased new at Dunton Motors in Kingman!
Even though I am not keeping regular office hours at the facility, it is an interesting place to use as a base of operations. If your in the neighborhood let me know and I can give you the grand tour. I should also note that the owners of the dealership are setting up the Route 66 Association of Kingman gift shop with some unique souvenirs.
As part of an a recent interview with the Chicago Tribune at the new office, I got Roy Dunton involved. He is the patriarch of the family who went to work for his uncle N.R. Dunton at his garage in Gold Road back in 1937. Roy has been involved with the dealership since it opened in 1946. As a side note, N.R. built Cool Springs in 1926.
Some great stories were told, a few of which will make it into the next book. These included involvement with the presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater, a near death experience with a split rim wheel in the Gold Road garage, and adventures as the owner of an Edsel dealership.
While we are on the subject of Route 66 stories, thank you for sharing yours. Please keep them coming. We will keep the contest going as long as there are stories to publish.

Today, I have one more from Mark Nowning.
Looking at the picture you posted jarred another memory loose. Right outside that window the Kimo Shell had a outside hoist, I was working under a car that was on the hoist when a volkswagon pulled into the Kimo Shell parking lot. A guy with a cowboy hat jumped out of the vw. The vw sped away and the guy that jumped out strapped on a gunbelt and strode into the dealership. My co-worker called the cops, and they responded very fast, took up positions surrounding that whole end of the block and had a short stand-off with the guy. It all ended peacefully with him being removed in the back of a patrol car. Apparently his car had been impounded as the result of a traffic stop the night before and he must have thought this was a good way to liberate it. No shots fired but my co-worker and I laid pretty low until it was over. Always some excitement going on in Kimgman.”



The first month of the new year is almost over and I am already about six months behind schedule. That does not bode well for the rest of 2016. Still, I am rather confident that others feel the same way. 
Kicking off the new year with a cold that kept me down for a day or two did not help. Likewise with some unexpected issues that cropped up in the last week of December, each of which required immediate resolution. 
A large part of this month has been consumed with a push to complete the first draft for the new book even though the deadline for the review chapter is the 15th of February, with the complete project to be submitted on our before April 15. However, with possible jury duty pending it seemed best to finish the project in a timely manner. 
That, in turn, led to the shelving of a few other projects. Simply put, these secondary endeavors were of importance but the importance was not on the same scale as the completion of the first draft. 
Okay, this may seem like one of those after midnight commercials but the advertisements are what pay the bills and what keeps the programs on the air.
So, this weeks primary projects include completing the “Your Story” page, and updating the section that will allow readers to purchase the latest book, Jim Hinckley’s America. Also on the list, a valiant effort to finalize plans for the trip to the European Route 66 Festival in Germany this coming July, and the initiation of an international marketing campaign for the Armchair Tour of Route 66 presentations.
Yesterday, in a marathon writing session that left my backside numb, I completed the draft and sent it to the editor this morning. That in turn sparked an interesting series of emails, some of which left me just a bit confused and a whole lot frustrated. Times such as these leave me wondering why, exactly, I decided that a quest to become a writer was a good idea. 
The weekly Your Story contest has generated a surprising amount of interest. If your not familiar with this, here are a few brief details. 
Send the story of your Route 66 memory or adventure to me. Each week one story will be selected and shared with readers in a blog post. Eventually, hopefully this week, the stories will be archived on a special page. Once a month the winning story will be selected from those published, and the author will receive a copy of Travel Route 66.  
Now, lets talk about the Armchair Tour of Route 66 presentations. As the Route 66 Association of Kingman discovered a week ago when more than eighty people purchased tickets, this is an ideal fund raising platform for an organization, museum, or event. It is also a great component to add to a festival. As a bonus, it also generates a passion for traveling Route 66 as well as harnessing the resurgent interest in the road as a catalyst for revitalization. 
So, if you are planning a fund raiser, an event, or festival, and would like to retain my services please let me know. I should note that each presentation is customized to the audience or specific need. 
Obviously, for all concerned, it would be best if these presentations could be coordinated with my travel schedule. As an example, since we will be in Germany in July, this would be the best time to schedule a European appearance. 
With that said, the current travel schedule for 2016 looks something like this; a trip to California in early February (dependent on jury selection), a trip to Missouri in April, a trip to Holbrook in June, and a trip to Missouri in October. Please note, I can also arrange a special presentation and event for your tour group in Kingman or at Grand Canyon Caverns. 
Now, on to new business. As I write this afternoons post, estimates are being written by Legacy Signs for the restoration and installation of several historic neon signs. In addition, plans are being developed for the recreation of a few historic signs, and a formal dedication ceremony for the Running Hare sculpture. The Route 66 Association of Kingman is moving forward as promised.
In the morning I meet with the managers and directors at Ramada Kingman to discuss the marketing and promotion of their exciting packages, and the development of additional ones. I should be able to provide details in the next post.
On Wednesday, I will meet with David Witt of Nostalgic Datsun who is planning a tour for his group in 2016. Updates on this endeavor will also be provided.
There are some other developments pending but I do not have enough information at this time. Suffice to say, a few of these look rather interesting. 
So, to wrap this up today, don’t forget to send your Route 66 story. Happy Trails, mi amigos –    


Route 66 in the Mojave Desert.
I am quite excited to announce that at the end of this mornings post, I will share the second installment of “Your Stories” that is a part of a new contest cosponsored by Quatro Publishing. This time we are provided with a look at what it was like to work at a service station and garage in Ludlow during the mid 1960’s.
First, in response to a flurry of recent questions from our friends in Europe, yes, we plan on attending the Route 66 festival in Germany this July. In fact, we are hoping to finalize flight arrangements within the next week or so.
Author Jim Hinckley making a presentation in Utrecht
However, as a request was received to make a series of Route 66 presentations in the UK, there is a possibility that we may need to adjust travel plans. At this time we are looking at keeping things as simple as possible; a direct flight from Las Vegas to Germany.
While we are on the subject of presentations, and related book signings, the overall response to the Armchair Tour of Route 66 made last Saturday evening was quite positive. As a bonus, apparently, the question and answer session coupled with the presentation inspired a few folks to consider making a trip to Chicago this summer, and there was tangible excitement about Cuba, Pontiac, and Galena, and how their successes can be applied to Kingman.
I am always amazed that people will pay to see me beat my gums and share photos from road trip adventures. At this particular event more than eighty people turned out. 
All joking aside, these presentations are something I really enjoy doing. Sharing the magic of the Route 66 experience, and encouraging a road trip or two, is a lot of fun.  
This was the fund raising kick off for the Route 66 Association of Kingman’s ambitious 66 Celebrates 90 initiative. Neon sign acquisition, restoration, reproduction, and installation, creation and installation of custom benches, murals, and facade renovation programs are just a few of the projects on the drawing board. 
Speaking of the Route 66 Association of Kingman, their gift shop is being set up at the historic Dunton Motors building, Dunton Motors Dream Machines next to Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner this week. Route 66 items, and Kingman specific souvenirs are currently available. A full line of Mr. D’z items is in development.
In fact the evenings activities were so well received, there are discussions pertaining to a similar presentation being made during the Route 66 Fun Run weekend. I will keep you apprised of any developments.   
In regards to transforming the city into a destination, it looks as though Kingman is shifting gears and picking up speed. Chillin’ on Beale, enhanced by community partnerships such as the special weekend packages created by Ramada Kingman is shaping up to be quite a series of events this year. The event takes place on the third Saturday evening of each month, April through October.
I have so much more to share but this will have to wait until tomorrow or the next day. With jury duty pending, I am pushing to finish the text for the current book project. If I can dedicate five or six hours per day to this for the rest of the week and through the weekend, it should be complete. 
With that said, thanks to everyone who shared their Route 66 stories and insight for this project. Your contributions ensure that the book will be a treat for the Route 66 enthusiasts everywhere. 
Also on the schedule, a presentation about Route 66 related developments as they pertain to Kingman at a meeting of business owners, and a meeting with the organizers of Kingman Circle, an innovate pooled resource marketing program conceived and developed buy Ignite Marketing. 
There is also a need to complete an outline for a book proposal, one focused entirely on crimes committed along the National Old Trails Highway and Route 66, and to finish the content edit and fact check for a book on Route 66 in New Mexico being developed by Rio Nuevo Publishers. Content editing and the related fact checking of manuscripts is another way that I keep beans and beer on the table, and gas in the tank. 
If, by chance, that I get bored, there are also several projects for Ramada Kingman, the Route 66 Association of Kingman, Grand Canyon Caverns, and Grand Canyon Western Ranch that require my attention. Another ball that I attempt to keep in the air is grandly titled “tourism development consultant.”
So, with that said, here is a story about Ludlow provided by Mark Nowning. 

Life in Ludlow was 12 hour work days, six days a week at a buck twenty five per hour, no over time. Rent on a small house trailer and utilities were included in the pay, so when we got paid the money was all ours……such as it was. We didnt think much about it at the time. 
It was the time of the great hippie migration to San Francisco so that was pretty entertaining, even had a small run in with Charley, before he became infamous. 
The people that owned all those little towns were pretty much in it for the money, not much mercy for the flat-broke broke-down travelers, and if any of the employees did anything to help them it was a firing offense, as my dad found out. And when you got fired you were also immediately homeless. But all employers have their polices that have to be adhered to. 
I learned many lessons there, short-change artists took me for a few days pay, gas and goes, gypsies, tramps and theives all got a few of my hard earned dollars. After awhile you learned to not trust anyone. 
One young couple came in the gas station where I was working they had some small children in the car and said they were broke and wondered if I could give them a few bucks so the kids could eat. I felt sorry for the kids so I gave them five bucks which was half a days pay…he came out of the cafe with a couple packs of smokes and a sixer of beer held them up so I could see what he bought with my money and yelled, SUCKER! and peeled on out of there. 
But mostly there, as with everywhere the majority of people were just trying to get by and get to where they were going. I have many stories about life on 66. “


Courtesy Steve Rider
A few weeks ago I requested that followers of the blog share their Route 66 stories. These would be posted every week, and once a month a copy of Travel Route 66 would be the prize for the best story submitted. In addition, a few of these stories would find their way into a current book project. 
To say the very least, the stories have been interesting and inspirational. Some of them also provide interesting insight into life on Route 66 when it was the Main Street of America.
Next week I will share the story of a mechanic and service station attendant who worked in Ludlow during the mid 1960s. I also have an interesting story from the Czech Republic, and a few from some Route 66 celebrities. 
As long as there is interest, I will keep the contest rolling. So, please feel free to share your favorite or most memorable Route 66 experience.
This afternoon I will be making a presentation entitled an Armchair Tour of Route 66 at Beale Celebrations. This is the kick off for the Route 66 Association of Kingman’s ambitious 66 Celebrates 90 fund raising initiative. 
Though the presentation will be of interest to Route 66 enthusiasts, I designed the slideshow presentation, with special effects, to serve as an introduction to a Route 66 adventure in the 21st century. The goal is to introduce Route 66 to a new audience and, perhaps, inspire a road trip or two. 
Ramada Kingman
If you have an event or fund raising initiative, or a group that is interested in Route 66, and feel that this one hour presentation would enhance it, please let me know. My calendar for 2016 is still relatively free with the exception of the first weekend in May, and mid July when we will be attending the first European Route 66 Festival in Germany. 
Now, lets talk about ongoing developments in Kingman. The eagerly anticipated area tour packages developed through cooperative partnerships with Ramada Kingman are now available. One of these is a customized walking tour of the historic district with me as your guide. 
This coupled with the initiation of phase two in the historic properties renovation and upgrade is another manifestation of the owners goal to create the only full service Route 66 resort in Kingman. 
Plans are underway to add a unique Route 66 Association of Kingman gift shop that will specialize in Mr. D’z merchandise and Kingman/Route 66 souvenirs to the historic Dunton Motors Dream Machines facility. Currently the complex houses a classic vehicle dealership, garage and body shop that specializes in restoration as well as customization, as well as the offices of the Route 66 Association of Kingman, and offices with a reception area where I will meet with media and visitors, and kick off tours of the historic district. 
Chillin’ on Beale, held on the third Saturday of each month, April through October, is being expanded. The free cruise and mingle event in the cities historic district will include Cinema Under the Stars and a variety of special activities. 
Open to anything with wheels, this year the classic and custom cars will initially fill the block from Fourth Street west along Beale Street. Motorcycles will fill Beale Street from First Street at Thunder Rode east. when all four blocks are full, then they will be begin lining Beale Street east past Black Bridge Brewery, Redneck’s Southern Barbecue and other businesses. 
On Tuesday and Thursday mornings at the Powerhouse Visitor Center, traditional Hualapai dancers and singers perform. This complex also houses the critically acclaimed Route 66 museum, and the worlds first electric vehicle museum. 
This is but the tip of the iceberg as a music festival at Grand Canyon Caverns is under development, there is the Route 66 Fun Run in May, and Best of the West on 66 takes place in September. So, my suggestion is that if you have plans for traveling Route 66 or exploring Arizona this year, add Kingman to your list of destinations.