When my dad began unloading the truck at our new home on what was then
known as Oatman Road in the summer of 1966, I never imagined that Route 66 would become center stage for the unfolding of my life. And even a dozen years later when Route 66 was on the cusp of becoming an historic footnote resultant of its replacement by the interstate highway system, I never imagined that this simple old road would lead me to Zlin in the Czech Republic, or that it would be a catalyst for the development of some incredible international friendships.
This past week my dearest friend and I returned from an adventure, an odyssey that eclipsed anything in our thirty-five year history together. It was, to say the very least, a must unusual road trip that was directly linked to Route 66. It was a Route 66 detour of epic proportions that included stops in Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, and Austria with the destination being the second European Route 66 Festival hosted by the Czech Route 66 Association. Along the way there was awesome food, lots of laughs, the special discoveries that are the highlight of any road trip (coin operated breathalyzer at a truck stop), unforgettable sights (an elderly man changing clothes, including underwear in a hotel parking lot), and a beer or two.
It was a working holiday as the City of Cuba in Missouri, the City of Kingman in Arizona, and numerous business owners had retained my services as a representative at the event. I was also there to promote Route 66, and the entire trip was peppered with related meetings. It was also a celebration, albeit a bit early, of being married to an incredible woman for 35-years, and a grand adventure shared with friends. A summary report of the festival, and its potential impact on the Route 66 community, is being posted on our crowdfunding site that is on the Patreon platform. Even though we had several sponsors, crowdfunding continues to be the foundation for all of our promotional work from attendance of events like the festival or Miles of Possibility Conference in October to the weekly Facebook live programs and “welcome wagon” services for visitors. It is the very cornerstone of Jim Hinckley’s America.
The festival was nothing short of incredible. Zdenek Jurasek and his team created an amazing event that, as Zdenek said, “We’re excited about the friendly atmosphere that ruled all weekend. It was exactly what we know from American route 66, and it’s great that we managed to transfer it – at least for a while – to our parts.” American blue grass, a ZZ Top tribute band, and a band from Brazil adding a twist to some classics were but a few of the musical highlights. Vintage American iron from a 1970 Ford pick up to a ’57 Imperial, and more Harley Davidson motorcycles than one could count added to the surreal feeling that Main Street USA had been transported to the Czech Republic.
There is so much to process, and so much work to catch up on, it will be a bit before the entire story can be told. Suffice to say that I have enough new travel tips and locations to share that for the next six months or so the subscribers to our free newsletter through the Jim Hinckley’s America Facebook page, and members of the Adventure’s Club group, will be regaled with tales of food, hotels, museums, and beer that are sure to inspire a bit of travel planning as well as dreams of road trips.
I will also be sharing more about the festival, and the trip (including why you should carefully consider the airline used), in future blog posts. So, for today I leave you with this. Stay tuned.