ROUTE 66 NEWS AND UPDATES

As I have about forty-five minutes until Scott Miller calls and the interview with Dave Plier at WGN in Chicago begins, it seemed like a great time to post a few updates, and a few notes about the coming weekend.
Saturday is shaping up to be one of those days where it starts on a dead run and doesn’t end until somewhere just short of midnight. That isn’t as bad as it sounds.
In the morning I need to correlate a surprisingly large pile of research material for the new book. Great stuff is buried in the reams of notes, print outs, and notebooks. Did you know that the first pedestrian killed by an automobile occurred in 1899 or that the vehicle involved was an electric taxi?
Did you know that Studebaker offered a Perkins diesel option for fleet sales vehicles such as taxis in 1950? Did you know that Checker built taxis, on order, utilizing Perkins diesel engines in the 1960s? Did you know that San Francisco taxi drivers (hack men)formed a union in 1904?
Those are just a bit of the tidbits destined for inclusion in the new book to be published by History Press. Likewise with stories of Lawrence Fay, a New York gangster who turned prohibition profits into a taxi cab empire, and Basil Hugh Banghart, a Detroit based car thief who stole over one hundred cars between 1920 and 1926, and converted most of them into taxi cabs.
Chillin’ on Beale in Kingman, Arizona
Similar activities and, perhaps, a bit of home repair will consume most of the day. When the day gives way to evening, we should be sharing a delicious dinner at Redneck’s Southern Barbecue with friends, and setting up our chairs for an evening of Chillin’ on Beale.
As there is no registration, and as it is open to anything with wheels, this low key, fun filled evening is always filled with surprises. It kicks off on the third Saturday evening of each month, April through October, at about sundown. The August edition will take place during the Route 66 International Festival.
With that lead in I would like to provide a few updates for the festival. I think a few of these may have you making plans for a trip to Kingman on August 14.
The walk of fame honoring the individuals that contributed to the evolution of a dusty trail into an American highway is a go. There were a few setbacks resultant of issues to resolve with zoning and related matters.
To fund a brick and nominate an individual for inclusion, contact the Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce. The actual time for the walks dedication has yet to be set but it will take place during the festival, and as plans call for the walk to run the length of the Route 66 corridor in the historic district, it will be an ongoing project.
The Route 66 Crossroads of the Past and Future conference is an exciting part of the festival. Even though it won’t be an actual convention with workshops and similar activities, it is a vital first step toward that goal.
The hope is that next year there will be a full fledged Route 66 convention similar to those once organized by the U.S. Highway 66 Association. Details are less than vague but I can tell you that plans have been initiated to make that a reality, and discussions are underway.
Meanwhile, for this years festival the conference will feature a diverse array of notable speakers. This and ample opportunity to expand on presentations with discussions at the authors, artists, collectors, and Route 66 association representative exposition should lay some solid groundwork for establishment of cooperatives and partnerships.
The tentative list of speakers and topics includes Kaisa Barthuli of the National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, Dries Bessels of the Dutch Route 66 Association, a state of the road address by Michael Wallace, several representatives from state Route 66 associations, Jerry Asher speaking on Plug Share, Ron Hart of the Route 66 Chamber of Commerce, Tudor Melville of SunTech, Roderick Wilde of the Historic Electric Vehicle Association, Ed Klein of Route 66 World, Rudy Garcia with EV Station Solutions, Jim Ross, John Holod on Route 66 by RV, and Professor Nick Gerlich on bicycling Route 66 and related tourism.
The next item of interest is the forthcoming Rockabilly on the Route in Tucumcari. This fledgling event is fast becoming a major attraction that promises to ensure this tarnished New Mexico gem gets a bit of polish and a whole lot of notice.
Details are still pending but the Route 66 event in Holbrook being developed for the weekend before the festival in Kingman to allow visitors an opportunity to enjoy a full week of fun on Route 66 in Arizona, is already shaping up to be a spectacular and memorable event. On the schedule, a very rare opportunity to tour the section of Route 66 through the Painted Desert National Park east to the Painted Desert Trading Post.

On our list of events to look forward to is Cuba Fest in Cuba, Missouri. This delightful small town event captures the very essence of the authentic American experience that attracts thousands of international visitors to Route 66.
Several years ago we introduced The Route 66 Encyclopedia at this wonderful event. This year Cuba Fest is the setting for the debut and promotional launch for The Illustrated Route 66 Historic Atlas.
As with each book the frustration is size constraints that make it a challenge to determine what is left out. More often than not this is magnified during the final edit process when a request to trim a few thousand words, or in some cases add a few thousand is made by the editor in charge of the project.
This was definitely one of the more challenging, and rewarding projects. This time I dug deep into the dark recesses of Route 66 history to uncover stories of mayhem and murder to chronicle crime scene and disaster locations. 
To provide a bit of balance I also documented film and celebrity associated sites. Points of interest featured in this book include pre 1926 historic sites, military associated locations (POW and internment camps among others), and transitional locations. 
While we are on the subject of books and a bit of shameless self promotion, here is a link to my authors page on Amazon.com. If you have an opportunity place a review for any of the books I have written to give me an idea as to where improvement is needed, and what Route 66 information is wanted.
Another great place to share your input is on the Goodreads website. This is also an excellent on line community for anyone who enjoys books, talking about books, or reviewing books. 
Well, the time has come for breakfast with Marleen. 
    

   
          
 


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HOT OFF THE PRESS! EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!

When news breaks about developments on Route 66 it often does so in a very big way. So, today we have a wide array of stories and announcements including an update on the Painted Desert Trading Post provided by Roamin’ Rich Dinkella, a fantastic new book by Stefan U. Joppich, the opening of the long anticipated gallery, and a few dozen other items of interest to fans of the double six. 

Fall in Dwight, Illinois.

From the initiation of this blog more than 1,000 posts ago, I have received numerous requests for prints of photos that appear here. Time constrains, international shipping issues, and attempts to ensure some form of quality control have resulted in a number of fit and jerk false starts. 
Well, I think we have the issues resolved. Kathy Alexander and her computer guru husband David, the proprietors of the amazing Legends of America website, suggested I try Zenfolio. The Jim Hinckley Studio with an Arizona gallery and a Route 66 gallery is the result. 
Currently both galleries only contain a dozen images. However, work is progressing with a goal of at least one hundred photographs available to order in various sizes by the end of the month. In addition, we are now offering a limited use license for publication of our images. 
For several years I have depended on two sources to help me decipher the twisted course of Route 66 over the years: the EZ 66 guide by Jerry McClanahan and the Route 66 Atlas website created by Stefan Joppich. However, in our travels we usually end up using only the guide by Jerry McClanahan as the website is not always convenient or even available in some of the more remote locations. 
Well, that is about to change. Stefan has released the first installment (Old Old Route 66 Across New Mexico) in a series of publications based on that atlas and it is wonder to behold. As a bonus, Stefan also documents the course of other early highways in the Land of Enchantment. The size of the publication belies the stunning amount of research that went into this project. 
To be counted among the many passionate guardians of Route 66, its landmarks, and its history is Rich Dinkella. Rich is an adventurer cut from the cloth of De Soto, Livingstone, and Perry with an almost obsessive focus on deciphering, discovering, and preserving all things Route 66.
Last year we were honored to have him as our guide to the Beacon Hill Motel in Missouri, an amazing time capsule where the remnants of Magic Fingers Beds were still in place in the rooms that now sheltered wildlife instead of weary motorists. Unfortunately that time capsule was recently to lost to wildfires. 

The remains of John’s Modern Cabins in Missouri.

Rich has been documenting the loss of a Route 66 treasure through videos posted on Youtube (the Painted Desert Trading Post),  whose imminent demise is being hastened by cattle and vandals. This forlorn outpost in a sea of vast western landscapes exemplifies the almost magical power of Route 66 to captivate as I know a fellow in Holland that after seeing pictures of these ruins was inspired to make his first trip along Route 66, to begin leading tours, to establish a website, and to get a tattoo of the place on his arm.
The slow motion demise of the Painted Desert Painted Trading Post presents a fascinating dilemma for enthusiasts. How do you save a treasure such as this? Does the effort even warrant the effort or expense? Would the Route 66 community be better served by pooling resources to preserve the Indian school in Valentine, the fast fading remnants of Chambless, or the Richardson store in Montoya, New Mexico?
The forlorn ruins are marooned on a segment of the old road that is almost impossible to reach without a four-wheel drive truck. Additionally, like John’s Modern Cabins in Missouri, the Painted Desert Trading Post can only be preserved in an arrested state of decay and then only with great expenditures of time and money. 
The loss of this treasure would do more than tinge the excitement about the resurgent interest in Route 66 with somber tones. On a personal note, the loss would leave a very large hole as this is one of our favorite places on Route 66 and I often use a photo with it as a backdrop for my authors promotional pieces. 
Moving forward, this weekend in Kingman we have the KABAM activities, as well as another installment of Chillin on Beale Street Saturday evening. It will kick off this evening with a special gallery showing at Beale Street Brews & Gallery. 
It is still in the planning stages but a date (May 30) has been set for the first in a series of short, informative seminars about how to emulate the success of Cuba, Tucumcari, and Pontiac in Kingman. My hope is to create a sense of excitement about what Kingman has to offer, and to enthuse a unified vision for making Kingman a destination for travelers as well as those looking for a pretty damn nice place to relocate. Stay tuned for details.
Oh, while we are on the subject of seminars and related things like interviews, I have decided to address the requests received for speaking engagements at events. If you have need of this service please drop me a note and lets if we can work out details including my already conflicted schedule. 
Last but not least, the Route 66 Encyclopedia. I was given a sneak peek at the first nine pages (the galley proof will not be available until the end of the month) and am quite excited to see the finished, 288-page product with more than 1,000 illustrations (thank you Mike Ward, Steve Rider, and Joe Sonderman). The official debut is scheduled for Cuba Fest in Cuba, Missouri on October 20. However, by following this link to the publisher you can get a few more details, a teaser if you will. 




A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS

MId Point Cafe, Adrian, Texas
Painted Desert Trading Post





Afton Station



Pallisades Park in California



Mojave River Bridge in California



The ruins of Ed’s Camp with its million dollar views.



Santa Monica Pier in California





THE VIEW FROM BEHIND THE EIGHT BALL

There are quite often a litany of excuses for why things do not get done, why we do things, or why we don’t do things. Excuses seldom translate into justification.
The last weeks of November, and the month of December provided a very full bag of excuses but not justification for a number of oversights, holiday slights, and other little issues that have left me behind the eight ball and with a very heavy sense of needing to make up for lost time. So, to all who did not hear from me this Christmas, or who I forgot to call back, please accept my apology.

For the past couple of weeks it is though I have been driving through a thinning but still vision obscuring fog bank. Most of our Christmas mailings, with the exception of those yet to be mailed, were done the week after the holiday. Postponed appointments are now upon me even though it seems as if the rescheduling was done last week instead of last month.
It was the discovery that the first photo file for the Route 66 encyclopedia had not even been edited, let alone sent, that hit me like a wet sponge on a winter morning. In twenty years, a deadline has never been missed, let alone something this important overlooked.

So, it looks as there will be no surprise adventures this weekend even though a long drive without the constraint of schedules is what I crave. Instead, I will focus on the photos and allow them to be my passport to memories as well as places I would rather be.  
The pictures of Jericho, Texas always make me smile. These were taken on our grand, ghost town adventure along Route 66 this past summer.

The winds were blowing softly through the tall grass and with my eyes closed it was almost as though I could hear the faint voices of those who once called this place home and those that paused here before tackling the muddy gumbo of the infamous Jericho Gap. But the grandest vision that day was not an imaginary one, it was my dearest friend looking so radiant under that blue Texas sky.
Our visit and explorations at the hauntingly beautiful ruins of the Painted Desert Trading Post on the rocky ridge above the Dead River were cut short by near gale force winds. In spite of the buffeting winds and the stinging sand we were awe struck by the raw beauty of this empty land where a broken string of asphalt pointed as an arrow toward the western horizon.
Santa Monica Pier may have never been officially associated with Route 66 but for more than a half century it and Palisades Park on the bluff above have served as the end of the trail for those who motored west along the Mother Road. Dan Rice has kept that tradition alive as well as provided us with wonderful memories.

If we were to wax nostalgic about 2010, we could entitle it as the year of the Wigwam. On our journey east we immersed ourselves in the time capsule that is the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook. On our last trip to California we met the legendary Kumar and basked in the splendor of the resurrected Wigwam Motel in Rialto.
But 2010 was far more than grand adventures on the road less traveled and only the imagination can see the greatest discoveries of this past year hidden in the photos; the many wonderful people we met along the way. To name but a few, there is Fran at the legendary Mid Point Cafe in Adrian, Texas. In Afton, Oklahoma, at Afton Station, it was Laurel Kane and Ron Jones, the “Tattoo Man.” In Kansas, at 4 Women on the Route , it was Melba.
And with that, a special thank you to each and everyone who made 2010 one of our best. Thanks for the memories, the prayers, the encouragement, and the fun.

ENDING THE YEAR ON A ROLLER COASTER

How do you describe a month that includes incredible highs such as recording an interview with Jay Leno and extreme depths such as the loss of a mother and a sister within a period of less than two weeks? Accurate words or descriptors for the wide range of emotions are an impossibility and plagiarizing the line it was the best of times, it was the worst of times seems the best I can manage.
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=076033885X&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrThe first months of the year were filled with exciting and breathtaking twists and turns. The last month has added incredible climbs and stomach turning drops that blur the vision, make it hard to breathe, and leave you dizzy.
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0760332215&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrThe month of January was relatively calm, especially on the writing front. I had finished the introductions for the book Greetings from Route 66 in December so the only work was the monthly column, The Independent Thinker, for Cars & Parts magazine, initial planning for promotion of Ghost Towns of the Southwest that was scheduled for a March 1 release, and pitching a few new book ideas as continuation of the quest to find an agent.
Our only road trip was a “Sunday drive” of several hundred miles into the Mojave Desert in exploration of Route 66. We hit all of the high spots – Goffs, Essex, Chambless, Danby, and Bagdad with a light lunch in Ludlow.

Route 66 in the California desert.

On February 1 things took a sharp turn. I arrived home late that evening, checked the phone for messages, and discovered Jay Leno had called and would be calling me back after his return from New York!
As it later turned out he was calling to discuss the possibility of taping an interview for the book club section of his website, Jay Leno’s Garage. The book that had garnered his attention was The Big Book of Car Culture, a title written with Jon Robinson in 2005 that http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0760319650&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrhad gone nowhere in spite of excellent reviews from prestigious publications and the receipt of the bronze medal at the International Automotive Media Awards in 2006.
Well, as it turns out the publisher had decided to suspend any plans for a second printing of this title. This decision had been made at the end of January!
One of the first stops in the promotion of Ghost Towns of the Southwest was Prescott, Arizona, which provided an excuse for my dearest friend and I to escape to one of our favorite destinations, the lovely and historic Hassayampa Inn. Work related activity included a formal signing at Barnes & Noble in Prescott as well as an interview with Tonya Mock on AM Arizona.

Historic Hassayampa Inn, Prescott, Arizona

The trip provided us with an unexpected bonus, the opportunity to see how well the Jeep performed in snow. Unfortunately the sleet, snow, and rain led us to consider discretion the better part of valor so we abandoned the plan to make the pleasant drive home on the Williamson Valley Road, thirty plus miles of scenic gravel and dirt road across several stream beds.
March and early April were rather low key with the day job that supports the writing habit and a book signing for the new book in Kingman as well as Lake Havasus City. Then came notification of a pleasant but stunning surprise, The first printing of Ghost Towns of the Southwest was almost sold out!
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0760338434&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrThis left me facing a new dilemma, a full month of interviews and signings scheduled through May, including the KABAM literary festival in Kingman and another signing in Burbank, with no books. So, I signed post cards featuring the cover of the book and talked with potential owners of the new book.
The end of May and June were spent enjoying my favorite pastime, a long, adventuresome road trip with my dearest friend. The catalyst for this adventure, postponed from the previous fall, was research and photography for Ghost Towns of Route 66, scheduled for release in June of 2011, and the current project, a Route 66 encyclopedia and atlas.

For this grand adventure we set the clock back to 1960, made no http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0970995164&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrreservations with the exception of the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook and the Route 66 Rail Haven in Springfield in Missouri and depended on a 1929 Rand McNally atlas and Jerry McClanahan (his excellent guide book, Route 66: EZ Guide for Travelers – 2nd Edition) for guidance, and the stalwart Jeep for transportation. What a delightful odyssey!
We met Laurel Kane at Afton Station, Ron Jones, the legendary tattoo man, and Melba at 4 Women on the Route in Kansas. We explored the hauntingly beautiful ruins of the Painted Desert Trading Post, savored the contemplative serenity of Endee, sampled the goods at the Midpoint Cafe, and walked the empty streets of Texola. Best of all, we basked in each others company while enjoying the wonders of America’s most famous highway.

In between the road trips, the job, the writing, the photography, and general activities of life, we enjoyed warm summer evenings at events such as Chillin on Beale Street in Kingman. Enhancing the fun was the addition of themes such as Topless Fun on Route 66, a salute to convertibles, and dinner with friends such as Dries Bessel of Holland and Dale Butel of Australia.
Late summer and fall were the seasons of deep valleys and breathtaking summits. Mother fell and had to be placed in a retirement home, my sister became ill, Greetings from Route 66 made its debut, for the first time one of our photographic prints was sold through the Lile Fine Art Gallery in Amarillo to an international collector, and plans were finalized for the interview with Jay Leno. The wild fluctuations in high and low continued with the birth of our grandson and a biopsy that revealed I had skin cancer.
December has been, well, interesting. I am not sure how this month will be viewed in the years to come but it is with complete, naked honesty that I say it will never be forgotten. Still, in some odd, surreal way it seems almost a fitting end to the wild roller coaster ride that was 2010.