It has been a most interesting week, and it is only Thursday. Last night I attended the Route 66 Association of Kingman meet & greet at the Liquid Coffee Shop and Bistro, a new business in the historic Kingman, Arizona business district.
I had written the associations monthly newsletter last weekend. And so an hour before the get together, I sat for an interview with Evan Stern of the fascinating Vanishing Postcards podcast. As he wanted somewhere quite for the interview, and and as this was his first visit to western Arizona, I drove to beautiful Beale Springs, a true desert oasis less than two miles from Route 66 and downtown Kingman.
Evan Stern is a most fascinating young man with an inquisitive mind and unbridled curiosity about Route 66 and the people that give the iconic highway its magic. It was an honor to be included in his spring 2022 series of podcasts.
We had met the evening before when he joined a community education class that I was teaching at Mohave Community College. I developed the classes to foster an increased awareness of area history and how that history can be a catalyst for tourism development.
This particular class a hybrid. I provided a guided tour to four key blocks along he Route 66 corridor in Kingman. For the second portion we returned to the Beale Street campus and I gave a virtual tour of Route 66 from the old Kingman Army Airfield to the western city limits using historic photos provided by the Mohave Museum of History & Arts.
Afterwards we walked to the historic Sportsman’s Bar that opened its doors in 1907 for a cold beer and some initial conversation. This authentic territorial era saloon is a bit rough around the edges but it is comfortable, sort of like a well worn pair of boots or jeans.
Stern wasn’t the only guest in attendance of the meet & greet. Acclaimed photographer Efren Lopez of Route 66 Images was also in attendance. He is currently traveling Route 66 gathering images for a new product, and introducing his recently released coffee table book filled with stunning images of the historic highway. Afterwards Lopez and I strolled across the street to the recently opened Federico’s for a plate of tacos, and a cold beer. It was great to catch up, brainstorm about projects, and simply get caught up.
At the end of last week I kicked off a test run for a new project, a 15 minute live stream podcast, Wake Up With Jim. Sponsored in part by UK based RouteTrip USA, it will be an interactive fast program about road trips, books, and interesting people. After ironing out a few bugs that resulted from being modern Amish which leads to a trial and error method of development, this week I made it official and will be giving it a full four weeks to determine feasibility. Judging by the initial reaction the 5:30 A.M. MST program is going to be a success.
The week has also included writing blog posts for clients of MyMarketing Designs. It can be challenging to find new material for kite stores, the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce, an RV Park and campground, and a landscaping but I do enjoy the research.
Research is also my Achilles Heel. On more occasions than I care to count, I will be deep into research for a project with a pressing deadline and distraction leads me down a twisted but fascinating rabbit hole.
That is exactly what happened on Tuesday in the research library at the Mohave Museum of History & Arts. I was working with retired history professor Dan Messersmith to get accurate information about the Kimo Cafe, now Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner, the Hotel Beale, Brunswick Hotel and other historic sites in Kingman Arizona.
This is for the self guided, narrated historic district walking tours that are being developed by Kingman Main Street. This project has provided ample opportunity to wander down more than a few rabbit holes. And even though these detours have led to a frustrating loss of time, each is providing materials for other projects.
In this particular instance the rabbit holes were the amazing McDonald collection of Route 66 and National Old Trails Road post cards, as well as vintage guide books that was recently donated to the museum. It is an astounding archive that I will be delving into often for this as well as future projects.
The week has also included development of a schedule for the spring community education classes at Mohave Community College. And as a hint that 2022 might be a return to the normal world of the pre BC era (before COVID 19), I fielded a number of requests for speaking engagements and appearances. It is refreshing to see the calendar through May being filled in with confirmed appearances.
I expect that to this schedule will soon be added tour company dates. Pre COVID it was quite common to meet with four or five tours each week. In addition to signing books and making presentations at dinners or suppers, I also provided additional services. This included arranging dinners, receptions, and serving as a step on guide.
This is always interesting. And it can also be a bit challenging as the Powerhouse Visitor Center with its museums in Kingman is often not usable. Hours for tours are quite limited, last tour at 3:30 or 4:00, and it is closed on Sunday.
Before closing out the week I need to get the Jeep into the garage, attend a breakfast meeting, and prepare for the Sunday edition of Coffee With Jim, our live stream program on the Jim Hinckley’s America Facebook page. I also need to finalize a presentation about the history of electric vehicles, and their future on Route 66, that will be made Saturday morning for the Tucson Electric vehicle Association.
Looming on the horizon for coming weeks is tax preparation. And I also need to start laying out plans for the promotion of my next book, number 20. Scheduled for release in late January, Here We Are … ON Route 66, is already on Amazon for preorder. This means that soon there will be requests for interviews, and the need to juggle book signing/presentation schedules.
Telling people where to go for fun and profit. Sharing the adventure. Inspiring road trips. Blurring the line between past and present by bringing history to life. And meeting the most fascinating people. In a nutshell this is Jim Hinckley’s America. This is a week in the life of a fellow on a quest to become a writer when he grows up.