It has been a week of milestones, and of course that got me to thinking

Bloody 66

The newest book, number 19, is a walk on the dark side of Route 66 (and the National Old Trails Road). Photo Joe Sonderman collection

about milestones. The Jim Hinckley’s America Facebook page hit a milestone, 4,000 followers. The newest book (number 19) is now in the hands of the editor at Rio Nuevo Publishing. The recently launched Jim Hinckley’s America Adventurers Club group on Facebook that is linked to the page now has 190 members. According to last weeks test results, I now have a 40% proficiency in German. No one is more surprised about this than me. The reach of the weekly Facebook live programs has reached 17.5 thousand people. And the number of supporters that now subscribe to our crowdfunding Patreon site has 25. 

Milestones are funny things. They mark our passage toward a goal or destination. They usually pass by with little notice or fanfare, and are only celebrated when reached or passed. Every birthday is a milestone, but only certain ones are celebrated; 16, 21, 30, 40, 50, 60, 75.

Route 66 figures prominently in the milestones of my life. The first adventure on Route 66 was in 1959. We moved west on Route 66 – in 1966. My first paying job was on Route 66. I learned to ride a bicycle, and drive a car and truck on Route 66. My dearest friend and I are married 35 years this year because of Route 66. Our first, second, and now third trip to Europe is directly linked with our association to Route 66. Some of the most endearing friendships I have ever had are rooted in Route 66.

The book that I recently completed is another milestone. In all of my published work, as well as with walking tours, and services as a step on guide as well as tour development consultant, I strive to add depth and context to the ordinary. There is always a concerted effort to ensure that the reader, or traveler, has an unforgettable adventure. This book adds depth and context, but I am unsure if the trip through time will be memorable. Haunting might be a better descriptor.

Wreck on Route 66

Joe Sonerman collection

In this work I recorded tales of a deranged husband that, after murdering his wife, drove the Cajon Pass on Route 66 while disposing of body parts and evidence along the way. There was also the story of Sammy Davis Jr. and the accident that cost an eye, an incident that also took place on the Cajon Pass. There are stories of serial killers and missing persons, epic floods and tornadoes, and of course, a few famous or infamous gangsters such as Bonnie and Clyde, and the boys of Egan’s Rats. One thing is certain, the book will be a personal milestone as well as milestone in Route 66 literary history.

In looking toward the distant horizon, I see a number of milestones. In fact, I would dare to say that this is going to be a summer of milestones. Would you care to join me for the adventure?


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