Murder & Mayhem on The Main Street of America. This is the title for the next book, number nineteen. To say the very least, it is a series of very dark tales. As an example, “…a tragedy that occurred in 1952 placed Grants in the media spotlight nationwide. On Friday, April 11, 1952, State Police Officer Nash Garcia was parked on the shoulder of U. S. Route 66 about 20 miles east of Grants. A pickup truck sped past him at a high rate of speed with the driver recklessly passing cars. Abruptly, in a cloud of dust, the driver pulled onto the shoulder before turning back into the highway in front of oncoming traffic. Miraculously he avoided causing an accident or collision before speeding east past Officer Garcia and roaring toward Grants. Garcia immediately began pursuit.
Near the Acoma Indian Reservation, the driver left the highway, turned onto a dirt road, drove for a few miles, and then violently braked the truck to a stop. As Officer Garcia neared the truck, an assassin lying in ambush opened fire with a rifle. Nine shots were fired into the police car and Garcia was wounded several times. The assassins, the sniper and driver of the truck then pulled the wounded officer from the car and began beating him in the head and face with rifle butts before loading his body into the police car and driving to a spot near Sandstone Mesa. The following day they returned, filled the car with scrub brush and wood, and set it afire.”
When I first set forth on my quest to become a writer, I never imagined that it would lead to such dark places. And I surely never imagined that there would be a Jim Hinckley’s America or that this endeavor would become a multifaceted travel network.
In The Beginning
Jim Hinckley’s America was born of an epiphany that occurred in 1990. This was during the presidency of George Bush, the father of the second President Bush. After years of being told that I had a gift for telling people where to go, the decision was made to see if this could be developed as a career. It began with the writing of feature articles for various publications including the local newspaper and soon I had earned a reputation as being something of an expert on the American auto industry between 1885 and 1945, a bit of fame that is still paying small dividends. All through the years of the Clinton administration I honed my skills, became a featured columnist for Old Cars Weekly, and then accepted the position of associate editor for the now defunct Cars & Parts magazine. Fame was easier to acquire than I had imagined. Fortune, however, proved elusive. So, I kept a day job, and sometimes a night job, to support the writing habit.
By the time the second George Bush assumed the office of president I had started writing books. First, I wrote about the American auto industry. Then I began writing about a favorite subject of mine, the great American road trip on Route 66 and forgotten two lane highways. On occasion I found opportunity to blend the two subjects such as when writing about the National Old Trails Road, predecessor to Route 66, and Edsel Ford’s epic adventure in 1915. The day job continued to support the writing habit until the second term of the Obama administration.
Turning The Page
Just over four years ago I developed eye trouble. I could see no reason to put up with the BS that was an ever increasing part of the day job, and the owners of the company that I worked for could see no reason to put up with my increasingly poor attitude. So, with support from dearest friend, the decision was made to valiantly attempt to make a living by doing what I do best – telling people where to go, and harnessing the fame and reputation earned between the presidency of George Bush and Donald Trump. That was the beginning of Jim Hinckley’s America.
So, here I am. President Trump is gearing up for what he hopes will be a second term and I am still chasing that dream, that fortune that I started seeking when the first George Bush was president. Along the way I have learned that fortune isn’t always measured in dollars and cents. I am rich beyond my wildest dreams. Daily I do what is enjoyed most, providing everything that a community needs for harnessing the power of Route 66 as a catalyst for revitalization and economic development, and providing travelers with tools for planning adventures on the back roads and two lane highways of America. I have friendships the likes of which were never imagined. And I have had adventures; a visit to Jay Leno’s Garage, speaking at the first and second European Route 66 Festivals, assisting a Dutch tour group on their trip through Arizona and New Mexico, and meeting some of he most fascinating people.
I have a tendency to use presidential administrations as milestones. It is my way of measuring time, and of coping with the never ending election campaigns of politicians. It is also a reminder that politics is sort of like cleaning stables. It comes in different colors but the smell is the same. As another milestone approaches, I can’t help but wonder if this will be the year that I crest the hill and see the long sought Holy Grail gleaming in the distance.