Okay, a search for pie, blackberry or peach cobbler, hush puppies, or world class chilli are not the only reason that we are embarking on a road trip in a few weeks. But I can’t think of a road trip in the past forty years that didn’t involve a detour or two.
Someone tells me about a waitress at a hole in the wall cafe that has an interesting story or that a diner is renowned for its stawberry rhubarb pie.That is all it takes to derail the carefully crafted time table.
Geronimo was still at war with the U.S. and Mexican army when Lucius Copeland demonstrated his steam powered motorcycle at the territorial fairgrounds in Phoenix, Arizona. And Ransom E. Olds was taking his first experimental automobile for a test run two years before the legendary Apache was exiled to Florida. Elmer Lovejoy bicycled from Laramie, Wyoming to Chicago just two years after the massacre at Wounded Knee.
Road Trip 2023
This is the opening scene in my program about the dawning of the great American road trip. And that is the real reason that we are setting off on another Route 66 odyssey in October. This year I am a keynote speaker at the 8th annual Miles of Possibility Route 66 Conference in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. As you might have guessed, the conference has the road trip as its theme.
And as often is the case with us, it will be a busman’s holiday. Word was received today that a Route 66 centennial project simmering on the back burner will most likely be given the green light in a few weeks. So, I will need to create a portfolio of at least three hundred photos on this trip.
The Fall Tour
For the past eight years, with exception of the year of the apocalypse (2020), the Miles of Possibility Route 66 Conference serves as the anchor point for an annual fall tour. This is usually a blending of book signing and speaking engagements.
It is also a fact finding mission. I visit with friends and associates in the Route 66 business community, that are involved with touriism or community development, or are tour company owners. That provides me with a better picture of tourism, and Route 66 tourism, trends. As I don’t have a degree this helps me imitate a tourism development consultant. Did I mention that a recent interviewer referenced me as a humorist “in the mold of Will Rogers?”
I also have plans for using the trip as a vacation. Let’s see how that works out. It hasn’t yet. I have a tendency to turn everything into work. Besides, I derive tremendous satisfaction from inspiring road trips by tellinig people where to go, and sharing America’s story. And that is why we launched Jim Hinckley’s America.
In Search of Pie
But no matter how busy I get or how tight the schedule is, there is always time to go in search of pie. Even better, chances are that we will have a chance to share that pie with old friends, or perhaps, with friends yet made.
Speaking of pie, and pie shared with friends, while writing this I received a note from Nick Adam. Route 66 enthusiasts will recognize that name. Nick’s father established the iconic Ariston Cafe in the 1920s, and relocated it to Litchfield, Illinois in the 1930s. After decades of management, Nick retired.
It looks like we will be visiting with our old friend at Jubelt’s Bakery in Litchfield on this trip. HIs is a story that I want to tell. And I just looked at the Jubelt website. They have a lenghty list of pies including Strawberry Rhubarb!