I once met an Australian couple that had an actual bucket list.
They had literally written the list on a bucket, and used the bucket to collect pocket change that they applied to each years adventure. One of the items on their list was to travel Route 66 from end to end.
The concept of a bucket list has always intrigued me. Equally as fascinating is the tsunami of international fascination with iconic Route 66. So, when Jim Ross facilitated a discussion about the 100 Things To Do On Route 66 Before You Die project with Josh Stevens of Reedy Press, I readily agreed to write what I consider to be the ultimate bucket list.
Even though the process is now quite familiar, I hold my breath until initial reviews are in after a books release. I am pleased to say, the response has been favorable. Even better, the book is encouraging people to do a bit of exploring, and to sample pie and cobbler at a few of my favorite stops such as Grand Canyon Caverns, Clanton’s, the Ariston, and Wild Hare Cafe.
Promoting the book, and me, and the road, is the reason for the upcoming road trip to Joliet and the Miles of Possibilities Conference. Full details, updates, an invitation or two, and a schedule will be made available for patrons in the coming week. And speaking of patrons, I am offering a copy of the latest book or episode one of the Jim Hinckley’s America: A Trek A Long Route 66 video to new sponsors. Become a Patron!
And that takes us to the next chapter in the Jim Hinckley story, another book. This time the subject is murder and mayhem on the old double six. To say the very least, this project has changed my perspective of the old road just a bit, especially when it comes to tales of unsolved murders.
Case in point, the murder of J.D. Welch and Utha Maria Welch thriteen miles west of Seligman, Arizona on June 8, 1961. J.D. and his wife Utha of Spencer, Oklahoma were sleeping in their car just off of Route 66 near Seligman, Arizona. Their four boys Jimmy, Tommy, Billy, and Johnny were sleeping in pup tents near by. The boys awoke to find their parents dead, and flagged down a passing motorist.
Investigators found few clues. Based on the missing wallet and purse, the motive was determined to be robbery. An intense multi-state investigation commenced but to this date the crime remains unsolved. The only vague clue uncovered came from Glen Hamby and Bill Lawrence of Tulsa, Oklahoma who reported two young hitchhikers near the site of the murder about sunset.
Since learning of this story, every time I drive across the Aubrey Valley on Route 66, I think about those boys, now old men, and wonder what became of them.
Plans are to begin sharing a few of these stories as regular posts with our patrons. In addition, we will be sharing videos from the road similar to the adventure in the basement of the Mohave Museum of History & Arts. I hope you will be joining us.
Now, time to finalize travel plans. Its almost time for another adventure in Jim Hinckley’s America.