Even though it was often said that I had a gift for telling people where to go,
it was at least ten years after the publication of my first feature article before an attempt was made to capitalize on that talent. Well, that was almost twenty years ago and though fortune in the form of financial compensation has proven somewhat elusive, it has been a truly rewarding endeavor. It has also been an educational experience, a faith building endeavor, a grand adventure, a chance to hone my skill as a pinata impersonator, an international odyssey, and an endless opportunity to meet the most fascinating people. This and the friendships made along the way are the true reward that has come from harnessing my gift for telling folks where to go.
Now, with eager anticipation and a touch of apprehension I am turning my sights toward 2017. First, however, I need to give 2016 a proper send off. On Friday morning, at 6:15 Arizona time, there is the Jim Hinckley’s America program from Beale Street Brews on Facebook live. I will be answering readers questions (feel free to ask your questions on Friday morning, or by email) about Route 66, the road less traveled, and the infancy of the American auto industry, and talk a bit about the exciting events pending for 2017. I also plan on introducing folks to Ralph Teetor, the inventor of cruise control. That evening the Route 66 Association of Kingman will be hosting a reception for Rasheed Hooda, a fascinating gentleman who is walking Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica, at Calico’s on Beale Street at 6:00 PM.
To paraphrase a very famous book, 2016 was the best of times and the worst of times. I have no reason to think that 2017 will be any different.
I am deep into the next book project, number fifteen. The first challenge with this project was to compose a list of 100 restaurants, photo ops, motels, museums, and events that should be included in every Route 66 adventure. I could have filled this narrow list with just restaurants. Meanwhile, I am negotiating on another book. However, until the project moves from rough idea to approved contract and full outline, I will refrain from talking about it. There isn’t really a need to get folks excited about something that might not happen, and there is no need for me to get overly excited about a project that is little more than an idea, especially when I have so many other irons in the fire.
One of these irons is the Promote Kingman initiative being developed by MyMarketing Designs, a sponsor of Jim Hinckley’s America. In addition to the twice weekly blog posts on Route 66 and Kingman history and development for their website, I also post similar material including historic photos on their Facebook page. Many of the photos are graciously contributed by Mike Ward, Steve Rider, and Joe Sonderman. The generosity of these collectors has enhanced many of my books, and Joe has a new book on the evolution of Route 66 advertising and promotion that I highly recommend.
Under development is a video series, Jim Hinckley’s America: A Trek Along Route 66 that is being developed by MyMarketing Designs as a part of the Promote Kingman initiative. The first video in the series is due for completion on January 1, and with acquisition of a sponsor or sponsors, production of the second video will commence in February. With that as an introduction, I need to say that Promote Kingman, and the video series represents a tremendous marketing opportunity for a business or company. With promotional partnership packages starting at free, and a rapidly growing international network, Promote Kingman might just be the best advertising opportunity available.
The initial success of this initiative, as evidenced by an average Facebook reach of more than 20,000 people per week, has led to discussions of a similar initiative under the Promote Route 66 banner being developed in 2017. This would be an excellent venue for further fostering a sense of community, as well as to provide a tremendous marketing opportunity for businesses regardless of available advertising budget.
The Promote Kingman business partnership network has been growing at a steady clip. Last week Grand Canyon Caverns, another sponsor of Jim Hinckley’s America, and the Route 66 Antares Point Visitor Center signed on. Today the Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation joined the Route 66 Association of Kingman as organizational network partners. The foundation is gearing up to kick off stage two of the Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum expansion that will include a fund raising initiative, and this partnership will be beneficial to all concerned.
If your not familiar with the electric vehicle museum, it is located in the Powerhouse Visitor Center in Kingman, Arizona. The donation and acquisition of vehicles has outstripped available space and as a result a number of vehicles are in storage. This is the only museum of its kind in the world, and with expansion will chronicle the entire evolution of the electric vehicle, a rather exciting and fascinating story.
Did you know that most buses and taxis in New York City before 1905, those that weren’t horse drawn, were electric? Did you know that in 1917 the Woods Dual Electric was a hybrid, an electric car with gasoline engine? Did you know that the White Zombie, a street legal 1970’s Datsun modified as an electric car recently ran from 0 – 60 in a mere 1.8 seconds? Did you know that in the 1970’s Audi manufactured several electric prototypes that were tested extensively?
As I wrap up today’s post, and another year, it is time for a bit of reflection. It will be difficult to top 2016. This year has been one of our most memorable thanks to friends who ensured that each adventure was quite remarkable. Of course at the end of 2015, I had found it hard to believe that this epic year would ever be bested. Boy, was I wrong.
Here is to a new year. May it be filled with friends, family, laughter, grand adventures, and, perhaps, a bit of profit.