The last ten days have been a whirlwind. It started with a bit of interesting historic research that has enhanced my understanding of Route 66 evolution. Consider this little tidbit, in 1939 one million vehicles entered Arizona on Route 66. Here is another, within twelve moths of the highways bypass in 1978, Grand canyon Caverns experienced an 80% decline in business.
Linked with this research was a most interesting educational project. I finished the first series of classes on the history of tourism in the southwest for Mohave Community College, and have begun work on the next series on the economics of tourism. This is my first attempt at teaching in a formal setting and I was quite pleased to hear that the college will be offering the classes on two campuses this coming fall.
The Patreon platform based crowdfunding initiative is being revamped as I gear up for the very ambitious project that is tentatively being scheduled for May 2020. In a nutshell the project is development of a time capsule for the Route 66 centennial. The core of the endeavor is 21-days, 21-live interviews on the road. I will be talking with the pioneers of the Route 66 renaissance such as Michael Wallis as well as a new generation of leaders that are taking the helm for promotion and preservation of the iconic highway such as Rhys Martin. Linked with the video will be audio podcasts interviews and a photographic record of the journey as well as creation of the time capsule. If all goes as planned the project will end with in the cradle of the American auto industry that spawned the creation of the US highway system.
Work on the website continues, albeit with a bit of a delay. More on that in a moment. The goal is to provide a multifaceted travel planning center that also adds advertising dollar value for sponsors. And with that said I need to give a shout out to some of our newest advertising sponsors, Mohave County Fairgrounds, the Illinois Blue Carpet Corridor, and Calico’s Restaurant, my go to spot in Kingman when meeting with groups, hosting a meeting, or for a live program with larger number of guests.
The Facebook live programs, linked with the YouTube channel and audio podcast, Ten Minutes With Jim, are growing in reach in engagement as well as in number of subscribers. I attribute some of this to a bit of a change in format. As an example this past weeks Adventurers Club live program was a bit of show and tell from the Mohave Museum of History & Arts. The growth is quite encouraging as it indicates I am doing something write; providing the balance of history and travel information the traveler wants as well as value for our advertising sponsors. And I must admit that there is a bit of perverse satisfaction in seeing number that indicate our social media network linked with the website and podcast is our performing that of tourism offices in several communities including Kingman.
The highlight of the week was an opportunity for reflection. In the grand scheme of things it was a small disaster. After all there was no death or injury, it didn’t cause the stock market to crash, and I lived to tell the tale. It did, however, delay completion on what I am hoping is the final edit of the caption file for the new book which is already six months over deadline. It also stalled a National Park Service project, stifled website design, and created a huge backlog of work that contributed to postponement of this weeks Ten Minutes With Jim audio podcast. So, on a personal level being without internet service for almost an entire week was a major disaster. It almost left me longing for a time when we weren’t so dependent on corporations that have little regard for customer loyalty and when we weren’t so reliant on technology.
As this was the second such incident this year, needless to say I will be switching internet and phone service provider next week and bid adios to a company that we have been paying faithfully for more than three decades. Small business owners are quite aware that customer service which builds customer loyalty is the best investment a company can make. Corporations have a tendency to forget this. They become megalithic, disconnected and develop a sense of indestructibility. That is the danger in allowing development of monopolies.
With that little ramp I wrap up things for the day. It is Memorial Day weekend. As we set out in search of fun, beer, and barbecues lets not forget the reason for the holidays. For my dearest friend and I, it will be a weekend of short road trips on Route 66, memories made with good friends from Germany, and just a hint of business.
Stay tuned for updates, photos, and a bit of road trip inspiration.