One week ago today, an historic event opened in the quaint village of Ofterdingen Germany – the first European Route 66 festival hosted by the German Route 66 Association. The opening days activities included an unprecedented conference with representatives from Route 66 associations as well as passionate enthusiasts from Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and France, as well as a few folks from the United States participating. The goal was to establish an international advisory group to work with the Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative. Fittingly, it took place in the 90th anniversary year of what just may be the most famous highway in America.

Courtesy Sylvie Toullec

I was quite honored to be participating in an event of such magnitude. There was a palpable sense of history in the making. 
Another highlight of the festival and conference was receipt of an award for my support from the German Route 66 Association. 
Thanks to Melanie Stengele of Bensheim, I was also privileged with an opportunity to address a high school class and speak on the American Dream as made manifest on Route 66. 
The conference, the festival, and our entire German adventure is not something that will be soon forgotten. As with our trip to the Netherlands and Belgium last year, my dearest friend and I, through the gracious hospitality of friends, were privileged with an opportunity to be more than mere tourists. 
Sylvia and Bernhard opened their home, and treated us as family. Together we laughed, made memories, and explored the stunning landscapes, historic sites, and the quaint villages of southern Germany. Sylvia’s months of planning ensured it was a grand adventure.
Meeting with old friends, members of the Route 66 family, is always a pleasure. Still, there was something quite special about laughing over dinner and beer with friends from the Netherlands and Germany, France and Belgium, and sharing the magic of Route 66, at a festival in Germany that was so American it could have taken place in Kingman, Galena, Cuba, or Carthage.
In the coming weeks I will share more from our grand adventure to Bavaria and the Rhine River Valley, details about the conference, and highlights from the festival that Wolfgang and Anja worked so hard on to ensure a good time was had by one and all.

Through the blog, the Jim Hinckley’s America Facebook page, and the free subscription service, Updates From Jim Hinckley’s America (subscription form in right hand column), I will also be sharing travel tips as well as hotel and restaurant reviews in coming days. There will also be new additions to the Jim Hinckley’s America photo gallery on the Legends of America website. 
First, however, there is a need to readjust to the demanding schedule of the real world, a difficult task after living a story book adventure for almost two weeks.  
That includes a television interview about the festival in Prescott (Morning Scramble, AZ TV 7) on Monday morning, a series of meetings next week, meeting with several tour groups, the monthly Route 66 Association of Kingman meet and greet on Thursday evening, the final edit for a new book, and preparation of a report on the promotional aspects of the trip and festival to be presented before the city council on August 2. 



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