The mural by the iconic artist Bob Waldmire, a pioneer in the Route 66 renaissance movement, on the side of the old Tavern at TNT Auto Center is one of Kingman’s treasures. Given the popularity of Waldmire’s work the lack of official promotion for this gem has long long puzzled me.
So, an opportunity to rectify this shortcoming, and to pay homage to an old friend, made the writing of the kiosk descriptor, and recording the audio for this point of interest on the narrated self guided historic district walking tour being developed by Kingman Main Street relatively easy and extremely rewarding. Every point of interest completed is rewarding but few have been this easy.
Confusing information, conflicting information, or a near complete lack of information has made it quite a challenge to separate fact from fiction, and urban legend from accurate information. Central Bank, now the Kingman ArtHub, was it built in 1907, 1909 or 1911? The Ramblin’ Rose Motel, a former Travel Lodge, was it opened in 1959 or 1961?
But overall the project has been quite fascinating. I have uncovered stories of the most fascinating people. And I know that when completed the tour will enhance tourism, and bring history to life for residents old and new.
The clock is really ticking on this endeavor. Legacy Signs needs a minimum 30 days to complete the kiosks. And the plan is to debut phase one, thirty points of interest on National Road Trip Day, May 27. To date I have twelve sites completed.
This isn’t the only Jim Hinckley’s America project that is rewarding as well as vexing. I am currently working to transform a derelict 1951 Chevy panel truck, AKA The Beast, into a rolling Route 66 information center. As envisioned it will also serve as a mobile studio so we can take programs such as One The Road With Jim, Coffee With Jim and Wake Up With Jim on the road. Putting the truck on the road, and making it a dependable on cross country excursions is time consuming as well as expensive.
The goal is to have it ready in time for a trial run, a drive along Route 66 from Kingman to Seligman, Arizona and back again, during the annual Route 66 Fun Run. That event takes place on the first weekend in May. So, I am under the gun for this endeavor as well.
As this is also a Route 66 centennial project, I will be selling advertising space on the sides. But first I need to get on the road. And for that I am leaning heavily on our crowdfunding initiative to offset the costs. My tight schedule and, even though I am hesitant to admit it, age are making it necessary to have some of the heavy work such as a clutch completed by a garage.
It is shaping up to be quite a year. Aside from these endeavors I have two new books being published this year. And that will add promotion and appearances to a crowded schedule.
But this all part of the fun. This is what takes place behind the scenes at Jim Hinckley’s America.