Ask The Man Who Owns One

Ask The Man Who Owns One

When I was a kid there was an advertising campaign that encouraged a

Pontiac Dealer Kingman, Arizona

Courtesy Mohave Museum of History & Arts

generation of Americans to see the USA in your Chevrolet. To ensure that we got the message there were two fellows named Buzz and Todd whose adventures played out each week on television. They drove a Chevrolet Corvette, and even though few episodes were actually filmed on U.S. 66, the show immortalized Route 66.  (more…)

Sacha Baron Cohen, Kingman & The Dark Side of Route 66

Sacha Baron Cohen, Kingman & The Dark Side of Route 66

As I live in Kingman, Arizona, and have a bit of a reputation in the

Route 66 in Arizona

Courtesy Mohave Museum of History & Arts

international Route 66 community, the recent Sacha Baron Cohen attempt at comedy has been the subject of countless emails, text messages, and Facebook messages. I didn’t watch the program, and didn’t even listen to more than a few random minutes of the video. I didn’t need to. It was obvious that he merely supplied the rope, and then let his victims hang themselves.

I am not sure what I found more disgusting, the displays of blatant prejudice from my adopted hometown, or the fact that in America today a man can profit from inciting lynch mobs, yelling fire in a crowded theater, and selling used cars at the scene of a bloody accident by labeling it “comedy” or “entertainment.” There is so much good and positive in Kingman, including a large segment of the population, but once again the town has been given a black eye that will take a long time to heal. After all, we are still remembered as a town where Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh found a nest of like minded people and even a partner in crime.   (more…)

Before It Was Route 66

Before It Was Route 66

Before it was certified as U.S. 66, and long before it was

Black & Ellis

This photo of the first Packard dealership in Kingman is courtesy the Mohave Museum of History & Arts.

internationally recognized as a symbol of the quintessential American road trip, the ultimate expression of freedom that is found on the open road, the highway that would become known as Route 66 was a series of trails. They were given names and associations of boosters developed signage, performed road maintenance on occasion, and actively promoted to attract the growing legion of tourists that were traveling by automobile.    (more…)

The Adventuring Automobilist

The Adventuring Automobilist

“Pull out block and tackle, wade around in the mud, get

Ash Fork, Arizona Circa 1914

Photo courtesy Mohave Museum of History & Arts

soaked to the skin and chilled from the effects of the deluge, make fastenings to the fence or telephone post and pull. Pull hard, dig your heels into the mud, and exert every effort at command. The machine moves, your feet slip and down in the mud you go full length. Repeat the dose and continue the operation until the machine is free from the ditch and again upon the road.” When Charles B Shanks wrote this feature article for Scientific American in the summer of 1901, he wasn’t describing an African safari or an adventure into the Amazon. He was writing about a trip from Oakland to Port Costa in California. It was the first leg in what was to be a cross country odyssey with Alexander Winton, president of the Winton Motor Carriage Company of Cleveland, Ohio.  (more…)

Albuquerque To Gallup; 174 Miles In 13 Hours

Albuquerque To Gallup; 174 Miles In 13 Hours

There were only 4,250 automobile owners in New Mexico at the time.

Kingman, Arizona

The National Old Trails Highway at the dawning of Route 66 in Kingman, Arizona

The covered wagon and horseback were still the favored mode of transportation in the state of New Mexico as well as in Arizona, its neighbor to the west. Both states had entered the union in 1912 just four years prior. And yet both states were garnering headlines for some pretty spectacular automotive events. They were also attracting a growing number of tourists, including Emily Post and Edsel Ford, that traveled to and through the state by automobile, many on the National Old Trails Road. It was an era of transition, to say the very least.  (more…)