THE SMALLEST CAR IN THE WORLD, THE MOST FAMOUS HIGHWAY IN AMERICA, AND UPDATES FROM MY ADOPTED HOMETOWN

A long title that gives but the faintest of hints about the wide array of interesting items that I have to share with you today. First, item number one. 
My dearest friend discovered this tongue in cheek story about the world’s smallest car and shared it with me last evening. As Route 66 often dominates my thoughts or is lurking in the recesses, I thought that if he was serious about getting this to market there would be a Route 66 cruise in the future.
As the policies, dictates, and edicts of the government increasingly seem to be severed from common sense of practicality, I had another thought when watching this video. If the government were an automobile manufacturer this is exactly the type of vehicle they would produce. The primary difference is that they would pay $8,000 to manufacture it and sell it for $4,000.
Now, a few updates from America’s most famous highway. It would seem the knee jerk reaction to recent allegations against Mr. Marsh 3 is manifesting in a growing cry to dismantle the now iconic Cadillac Ranch. I have to admit, the meaning, or even concept, behind this roadside monument escapes me. To be honest, it always seemed like a waste of perfectly good cars, a sort of drug induced surreal nightmare. 
Still, somehow, the very silliness of it seems a natural fit to the often eccentric atmosphere that permeates the Route 66 community. After all, fun and being able to do things you are not allowed to do at home is a large part of the Route 66 experience and in my neighborhood they frown on spray painting cars. 
In my humble opinion the fine folks of Amarillo, and the Route 66 community, would suffer a tremendous loss if the Cadillac Ranch was ripped from the fabric of the roadside. And for those who think dollars and cents, I am quite sure this monument to eccentricity generates a fair bit of revenue for the city. 
Next, a few updates from my adopted hometown, Kingman. Several months ago an historic district beautification program kicked off with the creation of a series of innovative shadow box insert murals for the west wall of the historic Old Trails Garage. 
Well, I spoke with the artist this morning, Sandy Rusinko, and she informed me that the mural for window three is complete. That means we should have it installed within two weeks. 
I was also informed that work is underway for the next window. This one is being funded by the new owner of the historic Brunswick Hotel. 
That leaves just one more and then we can address the old doorways, and move to the next building. So, who wants to contribute $400 toward the transformation of the Route 66 corridor in Kingman?
Speaking of the Brunswick Hotel, this evening my wife and I will be meeting with the Swiss owner, Werner Fleischmann, to get a first hand look at progress on renovations and to discuss the gallery we will have in the lobby. Rest assured, updates will be provided. 
Initially our work will be displayed in the gallery but we will only be on site by appointment, when meeting with tour groups, or when time allows. If you would like us to meet with you or your group, please let me know so we can schedule a visit to ensure you are not missed as you motor along Route 66. 
Additionally, I am finalizing details for the hosting of special evening events in the gallery, and for providing walking tours of the historic district. If these options are of interest please let me know so we may coordinate schedules and discuss the cost.
Since word began circulating about the development of a video series entitled Jim Hinckley’s America, I have received a surprising number of inquiries about availability. Well, work will resume this weekend and, dependent on how this goes, I should be able to provide a possible date for release by Monday.
As a final note, I have dusted off an old project and decided to finish it even though it represents a bit of departure from most of my work in that it is a novel, a fictional work. Since this a new realm of endeavor, are there any agents or publishers out there that would be interested in evaluating the work?  
Don’t forget to check back on Friday evening when the last installment in the first five week series for the Ultimate Route 66 Contest will be posted.  


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.