Author Jim HInckley talking about the power of grassroots initiatives at the 2022 Miles of Possibility Conference. Photo Penny Black

Well, the verdict is in. Author Cheryl Eichar Jett who is also an historian, playwright, founder and President, Route 66 Miles of Possibility, and Associate Editor, ROUTE Magazine, sent an email last evening. She shared the results of the survey from the recent Miles of Possibility Conference in Pontiac, Illinois. 

“We were privileged to have you as a speaker at the 7thannual Route 66 Miles of Possibility Conference. Thank you so much for sharing ways that communities can be transformed by working cooperatively. Your remarks on the panel showed just how important Dave Clark was to the Route 66 community and his generosity in sharing his knowledge.  You brought your great sense of humor to the presentation and we heard several people at the conference quoting some of your one-liners, including something about “selling everything on the hog but the squeal!”  You earned the highest evaluations (4/4) in every category and several people commented on your presentation: “Very good content” “Easy to understand” “Informative, interesting.” Kudos for a job well done.”

The comments were humbling, an honor, and a surprise. I am still amazed that people turn out to hear me beat my gums, and that I am paid to tell people where to go as well as share America’s story. And when I take time to reflect on the long and winding road that led to the stage in Pontiac, Illinois, my amazement grows.

This little factoid may surprise a few folks but I lean toward the quiet, reclusive life. As my dearest friend shares a similar course in life, we have been enjoying each others company, and adventures to empty places, for forty years.

The enjoyment I derive from sharing adventures with people from the stage is a recent phenomena. Public speaking is something I never thought of mastering, let alone attempting. While in school I would sit in the back of the class, and dress so I blend in with the wall.

Author Jim Hinckley talking Route 66 history with some Dutch motorcyclists.

During my John Wayne period, which I never outgrew, I was quick to volunteer for the jobs on the ranch that required heading for the back country, alone, sometimes for days on end. It was just me, the dog, a horse and gear, books and food. And I enjoyed that life with a passion.

But in time, and with encouragement from my dearest friend, I move tentatively from the shadows into the spotlight. And I became moderately comfortable standing before a crowd, sharing America’s story, and putting my God given talent for telling people where to go to work.

It has been a challenging transition. And it has been a rewarding one as well. Inspriting road trips. Bringing history to life. Encouraging people to dream, and then to make the dream a reality. I derive tremendous satisfaction from all of this.

With this as a rather lengthy introduction, I would like to offer my services. Can you use a gum beater that makes people smile, that encourages them, that brings history to life, and that encourages people to transform their community to add some zest to an event, a conference, or convention?

If, so, let’s talk. Meanwhile take a listen to our podcasts, Coffee With Jim and Car Talk From the Main Street of America, just two of the programs developed by Jim Hinckley’s America.


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