This early view of Cool Springs on Route 66 in western Arizona most likely dates to shortly after its construction in 1925 or 1926. Authors collection.

So, what’s next? Funny that you should ask. This is exactly what I have been asking myself this past few days. If things go as planned (that would be different) I should be busier than a one legged man in a behind kicking contest.

I have set a rather ambitious goal of having the envisioned rolling Route 66 information center as a Route 66 centennial project and Jim Hinckley’s America mobile studio on the road by the time of the Route 66 Fun Run, which is held on the first weekend in May. The first hurdle to overcome is needed funding that will have to come from sponsors as well as through our crowdfunding initiative.

There is little needed to make the ’51 Chevy panel truck a rather dependable local driver. But if it is going to be driven to events such as the Miles of Possibility Conference in Pontiac, Illinois or a book signing at Auto Books Aero Books in Burbank, California there is need for a bumper to bumper work over. And it is the tours that will make it valuable promotional resource for the Route 66 community.

Since its formation in 1994 the Route 66 Association of Kingman Arizona has always been quick to support promotional projects and public arts initiatives. Still, I was humbled and surprised when they announced that the association would contribute $1,000 to the endeavor. That should cover tires and the purchase of a wiring harness.

Over the course of the next week I will complete a full evaluation of the truck, and then create a budget. This includes a short Route 66 drive to scrounge parts from the parts truck that was part of the package. And I will get it registered and licensed for the first time in five years, and take care of insurance.

The 1952 Chevy parts truck that will be used to create the rolling Route 66 information enter. ©Jim Hinckley’s America

I recently finished an article for Route about the Dunton family that has had a business association with Route 66 in western Arizona since at least 1926. N.R. Dunton, the family patriarch, had a garage and towing service in Goldroad, built Cool Springs, and purchased Taylor Owens Ford in Kingman shortly after WWII. It should be published in February, which is in time for the Route 66 Byways Conference in Needles, California.

Several days before Christmas an article about Route 66 neon signage was finished and sent to the editor of Crankshafta new automotive publication. As I have worked with Richard Lentinello in the past during his tenure at Hemmings, I have hopes that this will become a regular gig.

I put the downtime of the past eighteen months to good use. The first of the two books written is scheduled for release next month. So, promotion and book signings will be added to the schedule pending more curve balls such as those that we have been dealing with since March 2020.

A new season of community education programs developed for Mohave Community College kicks off in January. I initially created the classes to foster a greater awareness about area history, Route 66 and how both can contribute to tourism related economic growth.

The college had initially planned for the tourism department to put the classes to use in educating the areas service industry personnel. When that didn’t happen Lori Gunnette, the ambitious Corporate and Community Education Coordinator got creative. And I began meeting with the owners of companies such as Laughlin Tours. So, I am quite confident that we will be making a positive contribution this spring.

A mock up of the envisioned rolling Route 66 information center and mobile studio.

Of course the big project is work on the self guided, narrated historic district walking tours. This ambitious endeavor being spearheaded by Kingman Main Street could be used as a template for development of similar projects in other communities. That enhances its value.

I have always had an issue with the development of long term strategies but since at least March 2020 things are subject to change at less than a moments notice. And that is just a bit maddening. Still, the first quarter of 2022 is shaping up to be busy, productive, and possibly profitable.

 

 

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