On several occasions I have alluded to an old cowhand that I

worked with on a ranch along the Mimbres River in southern New Mexico. To say the very least, he had a very unique philosophy for life. As an example, he often referred to himself as “an optimistic pessimist” who started every day meditating on all of the things that could happen or go wrong. Then, according to him, when the day was done, he would be the only one smiling because it didn’t go as bad as he had envisioned.

Shamrock Texas is the location for the 2018 Route 66 International Festival.

Oddly enough, I have found that the old cowboys philosophy works quite well in regard to the New Years Day celebration. As the last day of the old year winds down, I pop the top on a cold bottle of beer, watch the sun sink in the west, and meditate about the new year from the perspective of the optimistic pessimist, but go light on the pessimism. I prefer to think of myself as a pragmatist or a realist.

The year that is coming to a close, 2017, was the best of times and the worst of times. I have little doubt that twelve months from now I will be looking back on 2018, and have the same thoughts.  Today, however, we are looking toward the future, not into the past.

A glimpse of the adventures that await my dearest friend and I in 2018 was received this morning in the form of messages from friends in Europe.  We are, tentatively,  making plans to attend the 2nd European Route 66 Festival that is scheduled to take place in Zlin, Czechia the second week in August. As this will be a working vacation, we will need to strike a balance between the task at hand and visiting with dear friends. As with any adventure, the trip will also need to be planned within the constraints imposed by time available and budget. 

Author Jim Hinckley heading home. Photo Sylvia Hoehn.

As the airport experience leaves me frustrated, tense, anxious, exhausted, and somewhat grumpy, that is something I hope to avoid as much as possible. We can fly non stop from Las Vegas to Frankfurt. Then what? Prague or Vienna is closer but that would require one or two layovers, and making travel arrangements from those points to Zlin. Stay tuned for details as I have a feeling this story is about to get quite interesting.

Since at least 2000, most of our adventures have been a working holiday. However, in 2017, I took that to a new level. That was the year that I decided to transform Jim Hinckley’s America into a brand, an enterprise that centers on the provision of promotional assistance to communities, small business owners, and organizations that would like to capitalize on heritage tourism and the Route 66 renaissance.

We kicked it off with the MyMarketing Designs limited partnership that led to the creation of the Jim Hinckley’s America: A Trek Along Route 66 video series to promote Kingman, Arizona, Grand canyon Caverns, and the Route 66 corridor in western Arizona. A Facebook live program was also launched with the focus being a means to provide international exposure for business owners, community leaders, event organizers, artists, authors, and interesting people. On the heels of these endeavors was the creation of educational programs designed to foster an awareness about the importance of including tourism, specifically heritage tourism, in long term economic development planning. These presentations were made in several communities including Las Vegas and Tucumcari, New Mexico. In 2018, with the exception of the video series, these projects will be expanded on and magnified.

Well, by late spring it was quite obvious that the endeavor had merit and that a service which was needed could be provided. There was, however, a stumbling block. As an example, the amount paid for a presentation was adequate and fair, but not when travel expenses were factored in. To add professionalism to the Facebook live programs, there was a need for upgraded equipment. There was also this little thing called time as each program consumes at least three hours. So, I delved into the world of crowdfunding and launched a platform toward the end of the summer.

It soon became apparent, that things were about to get very, very interesting and that 2018 was going to an adventure of epic proportions. It was also going to be quite a juggling act. I have a book to complete for Rio Nuevo Publishing. I have agreed to assist MyMarketing Designs with development of the Promote Route 66 Facebook initiative, and to continue lending a hand to the Route 66 Association of Kingman. I will also be providing quality content to this marketing company so that there is added value for business owners who sign up for a website through the innovative My 24 Hour Website program.

There is also a need to provide exclusive content for supporters of the crowdfunding initiative, develop customized presentations for communities upon request, facilitate promotional opportunities for businesses, and expand on the Facebook live programs. An example of the latter are plans to add weekly programs from restaurants or microbreweries, and an ambitious 21- days, 21 interviews on Route 66 this coming summer.

That takes us to the first week of January, the launching point for the year. The first Facebook live program of the new year will center on the history of electric vehicles, the future of the Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum, and automotive events in Kingman, Arizona throughout the year. Next, following up on inquiries from several communities about presentations, solicitation of community sponsorship in exchange for representation at the European Route 66 Festival, negotiations pertaining to a possible radio program that can be used to promote communities or small businesses, working on the current book project, confirming dates for presentations and book signings through mid February, and, in my spare time, assist in the development of marketing campaigns for promotional partners of the crowdfunding platform.

There are so many exciting things unfolding that optimism threatens to crowd out pessimism as I contemplate 2018. Still, this is life and life is seldom predictable. In either case, ready or not, here we go!




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