What an amazing year!
There are still a few weeks left before we bid adios to 2016. Indications are, at least here at our hacienda, that they will relatively quiet with the focus being placed on family, friends, the new book, the Promote Kingman initiative, tax filing preparation, and similarly mundane projects. These weeks will be in stark contrast to what has been a most incredible year.
You might say that I hit the ground running in 2016. In January, on behalf of the Route 66 Association of Kingman, I spoke on the thrills of a Route 66 adventure in the modern era at a fund raising dinner. This was the kickoff for the associations ambitious historic signage and facade renovation initiative.
To date, in partnership with property owners and Legacy Signs of Kingman, this program has made some rather dramatic contributions to transformation of the historic business district. Perhaps the most exciting project was the restoration of the circa 1914 Old Trails Garage facade on Andy Devine Avenue (Route 66) next to the historic Brunswick Hotel. This included the refurbishment and installation of a 1930 Packard sign – 12 towering feet of neon.
Fittingly, to close out a very busy year, I made a presentation about the Route 66 renaissance at the fully refurbished Beale Celebrations, the building where I spoke in January. Now, however, the renovations are complete and it is a showpiece in the historic district. This was an introductory presentation for Promote Kingman, an innovative and visionary initiative that is working to transform the community through promotional partnerships.
Sandwiched between the book end presentations were two trips to Los Angeles, a most incredible odyssey to Germany, a 12-state 4,800 mile adventure, and a few short adventures to places such as Holbrook and Grand Canyon Caverns. However, what made these adventures truly memorable were the friends they were shared with.
It was also a year of humbling honors. In response to requests received, I made a presentation on Route 66, its history, its unique culture, and its renaissance at Cuba fest in Cuba, Missouri, at the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis, at the Miles of Possibilities Conference in Bloomington, Illinois, and at the 90th anniversary celebration of Route 66 in an historic theater at the highways original western terminus in Los Angeles.
However, the highlight of these endeavors was the request for a presentation at the first European Route 66 Festival, and another at a school in Bensheim, both of which were in Germany. In spite of technical issues that rendered my carefully prepared PowerPoint presentation a bit sterile, I rolled with the punches, carried on, and, to my relief, received applause.
Being asked to speak at the school in Bensheim, the reception received there, and the time spent answering questions from students was quite an honor. This was followed by a presentation made by the German Route 66 Association. It will be quite difficult to top this in 2017!
Here is a little video I prepared to show what an amazing year it was, and the friends that made it so special –