THE GRAND ADVENTURE – A NEW CHAPTER

THE GRAND ADVENTURE – A NEW CHAPTER

Last August this grand adventure that I call life took a rather dramatic, exhilarating, and on occasion, unnerving, turn. For the first time in more than thirty years of marriage, I was no longer bringing home a steady paycheck or two or three. So, with the encouragement of my dearest friend, rather than looking for a replacement job I set out in unto uncharted waters on a quest to be able to pay bills and buy groceries by doing what I enjoy most, telling people where to go, and through our travels, help them transform a trip into a grand adventure of their own. 
This week, less than three very long days, this quest has included work on the weekly Live From Kingman radio broadcast (available live on Friday mornings via the internet and, hopefully, soon the Route 66 segment will be a podcast). My role is providing Route 66 related updates and facilitating interviews. This week the latter included Scott Dunton, president of the Route 66 Association of Kingman, Bill Thomas of Atlanta, Illinois, and author Roger Naylor. 
I have also been diligently striving to complete the photo and caption file for the new book, with the exception of the chapter on California. That final section will have to wait until we update the photo portfolio with new images, and that will require a journey along Route 66 to Santa Monica in the first weeks of March.
There was also the weekly Tuesday morning marketing meeting at Ramada Kingman where I indulged in a $4.66 breakfast special, the steak omelette. The Route 66 photo contest (information on the motel homepage website) looks like it is shaping up, the area tour packages are being promoted and others are being discussed, and there are plans for catered receptions hosted for visiting groups. 
A surprise visit from friends who now live in California made a dinner most entertaining. Likewise with an opportunity for lunch shared with an old coworker who was in town for the day. 
Yesterday, and last evening, in conjunction with Kingman area tourism, I served as a guide and answered questions for journalists from Le Figaro, a French magazine. That too included a most stimulating dinner, this time at the Dambar. 
Today’s projects include drafting a report for a chamber of commerce meeting on community development meeting this evening, creating a photo file for the Kingman Circle initiative, and developing a Power Point presentation on Route 66 in Arizona for visiting journalists that I am to make this evening. 
Only a few of these endeavors pay directly but each has proven to be most interesting and rewards are not always immediate nor can the best of these, new found friendships, be measured in dollars. Those that do, however, have required my dearest friend and I to become bookkeepers, another learning curve. 
It has also required a rather difficult adjustment from an almost lifelong schedule that centers on early to bed and early to rise. These, however, are small prices to pay for an opportunity to write a new chapter. 
The rest of the week looks to be just as interesting. Of course, that is most likely subject to change at a moments notice. 
After what seemed like endless weeks of negotiation and schedule adjustments, I can now confirm that we will be at the European Route 66 Festival in Germany this July. This week airline reservations will be finalized.
Life, the grand adventure. That almost sounds like a title for a new book. 


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YOUR STORY, THEIR STORY, MY STORY, AND A MOST INTRIGUING WEEK

YOUR STORY, THEIR STORY, MY STORY, AND A MOST INTRIGUING WEEK

Back around 1946, Nat King Cole crooned a catchy little tune about a highway signed with two sixes that mentioned a town named Kingman. In spite of that rather obvious promotional leg up on other communities along the Route 66 corridor, that highways renaissance had little affect on dusty old Kingman. 
That, however, is changing, and in a very big way. It is also happening with a speed that is almost dizzying. 
Last evening the Route 66 Association of Kingman held their monthly meet and greet at the venerable old Sportsman’s Lounge, a pre-territorial era saloon. As conceived, these monthly events are more about networking and fostering a sense of community than adding to the membership roster or advancing an agenda. From that perspective it was a raging success. 
The president of the Kingman Downtown Merchants Association was in attendance, as was Liza Noland, one half of the team from Ignite Marketing that developed the innovative pooled resource marketing program Kingman CircleAlso in attendance was the city manager, Mike Wagner, host and producer of the new radio program Live From Kingman, business owners, folks curious about Kingman events, real estate agents, a couple of tourists, and Matt Phillips, owner of Legacy Signs that has just invested in the equipment to restore or create neon signs and relocated his business to the historic district.
Earlier that afternoon I provided assistance to Gerard Ramalho and his crew News 3 in Las Vegas, an NBC affiliate, that was working on a series about Route 66 between Amboy and Williams. My role in the affair was to serve as their guide and to share the stories about some of the more famous people associated with Kingman. Here is a link for the segment featuring Kingman and Seligman that includes an interview with the world’s most famous barber. 
There was also a brief meeting to discuss marketing strategy with Joel Zubaid, one of the owners of Ramada Kingman, a 1960’s era Holiday Inn that draws closer to becoming the cities only full service Route 66 resort. There are kicking off a Route 66 photo contest (details are on the home page) and expanding on the tour packages currently offered. 
Of course Kingman is but one of the quirky neighborhoods in the linear community that is Route 66, an apt analogy. Another neighborhood that has piqued my interest of late is Leasburg, Missouri, home of the delightful Belmont Winery. Rumor has it that they may be introducing a limited edition wine to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Route 66.
If your unfamiliar with this delightful little oasis located just east of Cuba, stop by. In addition to a wonderful and unique wine list (pink dogwood and edelweiss top our list), they also have an interesting menu for dinner. If you stop by, say hello to Trish on our behalf. 
To close this out, here is another chapter in the Your Story series. Don’t forget to send you Route 66 stories, you just might win a copy of Travel Route 66. 
Today’s story from Bob Walker and Lorrie Fleming tells about the founding of the Canadian Route 66 Association. 
In May, 1994, Bob & I were traveling from Santa Fe, New Mexico heading west on I-40 in Arizona and noticed a sign posted on the freeway in Arizona that indicated “Historic Route 66” – next exit right!
Remembering the TV show that aired from 1960-64 featuring George Maharis & Martin Milner as Buzz & Todd, we decided to take the turn. Now situated in the sleepy little hamlet of Seligman and much to our surprise, were greeted by Angel Delgadillo, the town Barber who is credited in forming the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona and pioneering the historic highway movement to “Save The Mother Road”. Behold, Angel convinced us to come back in Spring, 1995 for the Annual Fun Run weekend, since we had just missed this year’s event. Angel was so enthusiastic & convincing, that we returned in April, 1995 sporting our ’82 Corvette and officially registered for this spectacular Event.  Hence, we were the only Canadians, albeit there were lots of participants present from other countries (England, Germany and Switzerland).  We had so much fun, that we planned our vacation here the following year (April 1996); once again driving our Vette, this time sporting personalized license plates “ROOT66” from British Columbia.  We were an instant hit, but still the only Canadians registered!  In conjunction with Angel’s blessing, Jerry Richard, one of the “Founding Fathers” of the Arizona Association, along with Secretary-Treasurer, Anita Leeming, jointly encouraged me to start an Association in Canada, so the people in the ‘Great North’ would be aware of the Fun Run and other events planned along the famed Mother Road.   At this end, upon my return home, I contacted the BC Corvette Club to introduce myself and my plight.  Thereafter, I was invited to attend a club meeting and subsequently, the BCCC became our first “Chartering Member” to endorse for registration as a Non Profit Society set forth in the BC Societies Act.  Soon afterward, the Totem Classic Thunderbird Club came on board, followed by the Vancouver Camaro Club.  To keep the momentum in motion, my good friend Gerry Sheppard, owner of a 1964 Roadster, joined the aforementioned Founding Members.  Likewise, Lloyd Gregorowich, owner of Good Time Oldies Memorabilia Store in Langley expressed interest in becoming a Founding/Chartering Member.  Hence, the above named individuals (and club representatives) resulted in the (5) signatories required to form a Society in the Province of British Columbia.  Adding to the mix, I received a letter from Red Robinson, famed Vancouver Radio personality, expressing interest too in becoming a Founding Member.  Collectively, the signatures were applied and I submitted all the signed forms (and Red’s letter) onto Victoria; and was accepted on October 23, 1996 as Non-Profit Society No. S36022, incorporated in British Columbia.  In our first year of incorporation, our association membership evolved with members hailing from across Canada in Ontario, overseas in Germany & Switzerland and cross border in the USA.   Yes, there really is a Route 66 in CANADA!  Thanks everyone, for your support…” 
  
  


     
    
SPRING IS IN THE AIR, OR AM I JUST BEING OPTIMISTIC?

SPRING IS IN THE AIR, OR AM I JUST BEING OPTIMISTIC?

It was a gorgeous Arizona afternoon with a temperature of, appropriately, sixty-six degrees. The winds that signal the approach of spring were blowing at a relatively calm ten to fifteen miles per hour. Spring was definitely in the air in Kingman and so my dearest friend and I couldn’t resist a short walk.
I know that winter isn’t over yet. After all, I witnessed snow during the Route 66 Fun held on the last weekend in April several years ago.
As much as I crave a good ninety degree day, the fast approaching spring has me rather concerned. In spite of apocalyptic El Nino predictions this has been a very dry winter, which follows a series of dry springs, summers, falls, and winters. This place is starting to look like a desert. 
On a less worrisome note, spring, summer, and fall are shaping up to be a series of grand adventures, grand adventures shared with friends, and new opportunities for introducing travelers from throughout the world to the wonders in and around Kingman. There is even the distinct possibility that these adventures will, as in 2014, be international in nature.
With the exception of a few minor details, such as finances, that have yet to be fully resolved, we have circled the dates of July 15, 16, and 17 in red. These are the dates for the first European Route 66 festival and we fully intend to attend. 
As the event is the first of its kind, it will be an historic festival. And, in spite of the fact that it is taking place quite some distance from the eastern or western terminus of Route 66, as with any event where Route 66 enthusiasts gather, it will be a family reunion albeit with a distinctive twist.
Still, I can say with absolute confidence that in spite of obvious language issues and the expected jet lag that can make the normal seem odd, in my wildest imagination I don’t see any way possible for this event to be more unusual or strange than the “roadie bash” that closed out the Miles of Possibilities Conference and activities in Edwardsville this past October. When it comes to strange events associated with Route 66, that get together set the bar quite high.
George Game of the Canadian Route 66
Association at the festivities in
Edwardsville. 
Between today and when we fly away to Germany in July, the schedule includes meeting with our friend Dale Butel from Australia and regaling his tour group with tales of Route 66. Also on the calendar are Lon Haldeman’s bicycle tour, a tour from France, a tour group from Germany, a tour group from the Czech Republic, the annual Route 66 Fun Run, meeting with a representative from the UK Route 66 Association, a Route 66 festival in Holbrook, a trip to Los Angeles, a dinner with some French journalists, an interview about Route 66 in western Arizona for an NBC affiliate, and Sam Murray’s group from New Zealand. Once again, it looks as though I will be keeping boredom at bay.  
Meeting with groups and visiting with old friends is the highlight of a season on Route 66. Lon’s group is a different matter as I never know whether to be inspired or depressed. 
The last time I met with, and spoke before his group the youngest participant was in his early fifties, and the oldest had recently celebrated an 80th birthday. Did I mention that when I met with them they had just ridden to Kingman from Needles through Oatman?
On the Kingman front things are moving rather fast. This Wednesday evening, the 10th, the Route 66 Association of Kingman will be hosting their annual meet and greet at 6:00 PM. This time the venue is the historic Sportsman’s on Andy Devine Avenue (Route 66) in between the Hotel Beale and Brunswick Hotel. If your in the neighborhood, stop by for a cold beer or a game of darts or pool, and lets talk Route 66.  
The Brunswick Hotel
The old saloon is beyond wore at the heel but with its pressed tin ceiling, stunning back bar with beveled mirror, and scuffed floors it is a near perfect time capsule from the era of World War I. As the historic district reawakens from a long slumber it is only a matter of time before someone adds a bit of polish to this diamond in the rough. 
This morning I learned that an offer has been made for the long derelict State Theater downtown. It doesn’t have the class of the Rialto or Coleman but when it opened, it was just a simple 1940’s era theater in a dusty Arizona cow town where Route 66 was literally the main drag. Still, it would be great to see it revitalized as I have some great memories associated with the place. More years ago than I care to count, my dearest friend and I would have dinner at the soda fountain in Kingman Drug, and then walk to the theater.
The prospective owner plans to transform it into a performing arts center and school, and to show classic films. This would be a most welcome addition to the historic district. 
I have also learned that a sign company which recently purchased equipment for the restoration and manufacture of neon signs is looking for a location in the Kingman historic district. That would fit quite nicely with the Route 66 Association of Kingman’s 66 Celebrates 90 initiative that includes adding neon to the Route 66 and Beale Street corridors.
Yep, 2016 is shaping up to be quite a year. As a bonus we have a three ring circus complete with side show. Technically, it is called a presidential election.
   
  
      

THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD, STORIES, TALL TALES, AND THE END OF ANOTHER INTERESTING WEEK

THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD, STORIES, TALL TALES, AND THE END OF ANOTHER INTERESTING WEEK

To illustrate my week with one photo
As you may have noticed, the Route 66 Chronicles posting this week was less than anemic and the weekly publication of your Route 66 stories did not take place. I have a litany of excuses but as you are aware, seldom do excuses constitute justification. A short summary of the week includes issues with Blogger itself (the page for the publishing of your stories has become a puzzling issue), development of promotion for Ramada Kingman, grand jury duty selection, a series of valiant efforts to install Windows 10 (seven before achieving success), an endeavor to create a podcast that somehow morphed into a radio program, accepting a position to the cities historic preservation committee, and the creation of a photo file for the new book. In my spare time, in a fit of temporary insanity, agreed to arrange the official dedication for the Running Hare, a sculpture created by Donald Gialanella.
The Running Hare, sponsored in part by the Route 66 Association of Kingman, has become a rather unlikely attraction. With the planned addition of custom themed benches, some landscaping, and murals, the former eyesore at the corner of Fourth Street and Andy Devine Avenue might become Kingman’s answer to Standin’ on the Corner Park in Winslow. 
Next week, we will continue with the publication of Your Stories series. I do apologize for the delay. If you have a Route 66 story to share, send it in. Remember, a winner will be selected each month and the prize is a copy of Travel Route 66.
The recent passing of Laurel Kane of Afton Station has reignited discussions about the future of Route 66 as the old guard passes. I also have concerns about what the future holds for the old road and its culture but we have to always temper those worries with a realization that Route 66 has always been in a state of evolution. Nothing has changed in the era of renaissance. 
To alleviate those concerns and to garner a glimpse of what Route 66 may look like in its centennial year, I suggest following the work of Rhys and Samantha Martin of Cloudless Lens Photography, and Chris and Katie Robleski of Fading Nostalgia. These passionate folks represent a new generation of two-lane highway enthusiasts, the first that do not have an association with Route 66 when it was still a certified U.S. highway.
Most of the stories posted recently have focused on the roads past. I would also like to share stories from the modern era and the perspective of a new generation. I also would like to share stories from international enthusiasts. 
These perspectives are being woven into the current book project. As this endeavor developed it became increasingly obvious that there was a need to present Route 66 as it is, and as it will be rather than just as it was. 
With that said, I need to close this out for the day. Today’s schedule calls for work on the aforementioned book, scheduling an interview with News Channel 3 in Las Vegas, sending out invitations for this months Route 66 Association of Kingman’s monthly meet and greet, creating a contact list for the submission of press releases to promote projects at the Ramada Kingman, and the ongoing quest for sponsors as I kick off the 90th anniversary Armchair Tour of Route 66 series of presentations. 
So, until we meet again, …    
  


        
WE HAVE A WINNER, A FEW UPDATES, AND INTERESTING DEVELOPMENTS

WE HAVE A WINNER, A FEW UPDATES, AND INTERESTING DEVELOPMENTS

We have a winner! Mark Nowning is the winner for January. Thank you for sharing your Route 66 stories from Ludlow. A copy of Travel Route 66 will be arriving in your mailbox soon. 
Lets keep the stories coming. In the coming weeks we will share a few stories from some international fans of Route 66, and from a former Edsel dealer.
Rhys Martin, one of the new faces in the Route 66 community, has a most interesting blog that I highly recommend. His most recent post is a poignant reflection on his brief association with Laurel Kane, the proprietor of Afton Station that recently passed away. The blog post can be read by following this link
Rhys and his charming wife Samantha represent the dawning of new era on Route 66. They are among some of the first American enthusiasts that lack a connection to the road when it was still a designated U.S. highway.
Afton Station
The folks in Holbrook are gearing up for the next Route 66 festival this June. Once again the event will feature the very popular tour along Route 66 through the Painted Desert National Park to the ruins of the Painted Desert Trading Post. I will keep you posted on updates as they become available. 
It has been confirmed that the Route 66 Association of Kingman will be hosting Cinema Under the Stars at this years Chillin on Beale. This fun, low key, old fashioned event takes place on the third Saturday evening of each month, April through October.
Bring your chairs and cameras. Enjoy a great cruise night in the historic district, and when the sun goes down, a classic movie filmed in Kingman or along Route 66.  
As Ramada Kingman moves forward with plans to become the cities first full service Route 66 resort, they are adding some polish to the Kingman area tour packages introduced at the first of the year. Other tours are planned, including an affiliation with internationally acclaimed Pink Jeep Tours which will follow soon. This is the official link for the hotels website and packages page.   
To wrap up this mornings post, I have a little something from Ron Hart of the Route 66 Chamber of Commerce who recently shared this item with me. If you have ever wanted to establish a Route 66 business, or eight businesses, this property might be exactly what your looking for. 
This photo is of the interior and the original bankers cage. All I can say about this is wow. 
Have you ever wanted to own a bank? Or an Apartment/Bed and Breakfast?
How about a fully-equipped multi-bay garage? Or maybe a big Showroom?
How about having all of the above, facing Route 66? The Route 66 Chamber of Commerce has learned that the old ‘Miners Bank’ building in Carterville, MO. (between Carthage and Webb City, near Joplin MO.) is coming-up or sale, and the Chamber wants to find a ‘Roadie’ to own this place that is in excellent condition.
This building is in it’s original condition, except for the newer windows. After it was the bank that catered to the lead and zinc miners, it later became Carterville’s Town Hall. The addition on the right was the Fire Station, and the multi-bay garage is attached. The second floor is all original and has a number of apartments. The building is just across Main Street from the ‘new’ fire station.
I forgot to mention that the rear area of the Bank was the city judge & Police Chief’s office and was the Carterville Police station….complete with two cells for the ‘miscreants’ ! Lots of history here. The fact that there are some apartments to rent, an established business in the old Fire Truck bay and the 7-bay commercial auto repair business….means that there would be enough rental income coming-in to make the payments with money left over for restoration. Plus, you would have a 1000+ square foot living quarters on the second floor with all the appliances, etc. overlooking Route 66 so one could move right in! Too much for one person to handle? ….Form a ‘coalition’ of investment, hands-on partners!
Carterville is one of those little mining towns that has seen better days….and that is just what our Mother Road visitors want to see. Check-out the comments with the photos, and for more about the town, go tohttp://route66chamberofcommerce.homestead.com/CARTERVILLEpa…
Thurs. update: I just had a long meeting with the owner. The asking price is $190K. The building is 1/4 of a city block in size. There are 7 auto service bays on the East side, and the selling price includes this business that includes a 10,000 pound lift, a compressor and more. The original burglar alarm bell is saved. Annual property taxes on the building is only $850,. The roof was covered with metal sheathing on top of tar paper, then insulated with spray foam and covered with a sprayed-on rubber roof coating. Yes, the price seems high, but remember that this includes the Bank, the apartments, the large showroom that used to be a department store, and the auto repair business bays. This totals nearly 8 potential sources of income!”