Last week my dearest friend and I had the pleasure of playing guide to the Kingman area for Beth Murray, a Ramada KingmanRoute 66 photo contest winner, and Jo Murray. These two ladies with big smiles, and infectious laughter and enthusiasm are unrelated but share last names as well as a passion for grand adventure on the back roads of America. Kingman was their last stop on the journey home to California after a Route 66 odyssey to Chicago.
On Thursday at noon, I spoke on my association with Route 66 that dates to 1959, and how communities are harnessing the storied old roads renaissance as a catalyst for revitalization and development at a chamber of commerce sponsored event in Needles, California. After several days of record heat the temperature had plummeted to a more seasonal normal – 118 degrees – a bit much even for an old desert rat like me.
The event was well attended with people driving from as far away as Las Vegas and Barstow to see me beat my gums about the magic of Route 66, and to enjoy lunch at Juicy’s. As I derive a great deal of pleasure from telling folks where to go, as well as sharing a bit of double six history and inspiring people to transform their community, the large crowd made it even more enjoyable.
As a bonus, my son was able to accompany me. It was the first opportunity for an adventure together that we have had in quite some time. So, for the return trip, rather than rush home on I-40, we moseyed along Route 66 through Topock, Golden Shores, and Oatman.
Author Jim Hinckley at the June Route 66 Association of Kingman Meet and greet. Herbeta Schroeder
That evening I attended the Route 66 Association of Kingman meet and greet. This time it was at Diana’s Cellar Door on Beale Street where I enjoyed a sunset, a cold beer with friends, and some stimulating conversation.
As is often the case with these monthly gatherings sponsored by the association, there was quite a diverse crowd. Open to the public, in addition to local people, business owners, and city officials that take advantage of the networking opportunities, there are always a few travelers that stop by.
Even though I have been writing books and feature articles for more than two decades, I have yet to get used to people seeking me out for a signature on a book or an autograph. It still seems a bit surreal. Now, adding to the sense of unreality, I am fielding requests for presentations, developing an international tour schedule, and am negotiating sponsorship’s.
The rest of the week was, to say the very least, quite interesting. Last minute details for the pending trip to Germany, including resolving issues with debit and credit cards that resulted from the banks insistence that accounts be upgraded in May, fueled the rising level of anticipation and anxiety about the trip.
On Wednesday, I respectively declined a request for an interview about the City of Kingman’s surprising decision to provide funds for development of the innovate pooled resource Kingman Circleinitiative launched by Ignite Marketing. Judging by letters to the editor after an article about the decision was published in the Kingman Daily Miner neutrality seems to have been the correct course of action.
Rosie Ramos and Jim Hinckley in Needles. Courtesy Rosie Ramos.
An interesting marketing meeting at Ramada Kingman was also a part of the weeks activities. Details about exciting new developments will be shared soon.
As I have been honored with a request to make a presentation on Route 66 as a mirror of the changing nature of the American dream for a secondary school in Bensheim, Germany (thank you, Melanie Stengele), a great deal of time was spent honing and polishing a PowerPoint program. This is to be submitted for review on Monday.
I have also been working on an improved version of the popular Armchair Tour of Route 66 presentation. I will be presenting this one at the first European Route 66 Festival in Ofterdingen Germany on July 16.
Another project that consumed a bit of the week was improving the free travel planning assistance subscription service Updates From Jim Hinckley’s America (registration form is in the right hand column). The number of subscribers is growing every day.
The podcast is again in limbo, largely the result of a lack of time. Likewise with the YouTube channel. I will be focusing on these again in the coming days.
Another project that was temporarily shelved awhile back is also being revived. This is linked to the growing lists of requests for presentations. It also will add value to a sponsors marketing investment.
Interesting times. That is akin to saying it gets a bit warm in Needles this time of year.