The Magic That Is Route 66

Always something to see at Chillin’ on Beale in Kingman, Arizona

I never tire of the fascinating people that are met through Jim Hinckley’s America. Recently I encountered Casey McGowan at a Route 66 Association of Kingman “meet & greet” that was also a cruise to Cool Springs on the old highway to Oatman for local auto enthusiasts. Being a fan of classic cars (surprise!) and history it was easy to find common ground for easy discussion as he was a fan of Route 66 and was driving a fairly rare Rambler Rogue. He had another interest that intrigued me, a quest to photographically document the history of automobile dealerships in Kingman, Arizona.

I encountered McGowan again recently at Chillin’ on Beale, an event held on the third Saturday afternoon of each month March through September in Kingman. He had brought not one but two Rambler Rogues to the event, and a beautiful AMC Javelin. Yesterday there was a bit of a break in the schedule so I accepted his invitation to see his vast collection of all things pertaining to the now defunct American Motors Corporation and to talk Kingman dealerships. The entire venture was a most pleasant surprise. (more…)

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A Pair of Rogue’s, Cold Beer and Route 66

Always something to see at Chillin’ on Beale in Kingman, Arizona

From March to September on the third Saturday afternoon of the month, Beale Street in Kingman, Arizona, just one block north of Andy Devine Avenue (Route 66) is transformed into an automobile enthusiasts version of paradise. As a bonus there is great music, a vibrant historic district framed by stunning skylines of towering buttes, mesas, and spires of stone, cold beer served at two award winning microbreweries, and a delightful array of diverse restaurants. In October the date for the Chillin on Beale festivities is adjusted to coincide with the arrival of Craig Parish’s Route 66 Motor Tour. (more…)

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Faded Glory

There are few places that inspire reflection on the brevity of life like a ghost town or town that has been suffering from a downward spiral for a few decades. Stroll a street lined with empty storefronts, walk a sidewalk lined with foundations and tile entries enshrouded with weeds, or explore a long abandoned hotel where the rich and famous once stayed and see if you are not challenged to give thought to the finite number of years that we have here on earth. All of these empty places were once vibrant manifestations of a dream, of plans for a bright future.

I have long had a fascination for the empty places that are a stage where dreams and hopes, tragedies and disaster, life and death unfolded. They keep me grounded and from taking myself or my contributions to the grand scheme of things to seriously. They inspire me to dig for answers, to share forgotten stories, and take time for much needed reflection. (more…)

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Meet Dino

You meet the most fascinating people on a Route 66 adventure. That, I suppose, is the magic that makes this old road so popular. This is why the iconic double six is so appealing to an international audience.

This past Sunday my dearest friend and I set out on a date. We never need an excuse for a road trip or for a date but the pretext for the little adventure was to deliver signed copies of books to the Antares Point Visitor Center about 20 miles east of Kingman on Route 66. In recent years this old place has become internationally recognized as the home of Giganticus Headicus that was created by Gregg Arnold. The misplaced Easter Island Head has become quite an attraction.

A year or so ago John McEnulty of Grand Canyon Caverns acquired the property and has slowly been rolling back the hands of time. The old restaurant and gas station that opened in 1964 now houses a delightful cafe as well as tasteful gift shop that features my books as well as my dearest friends photography. Also on display is a model of the Twin Arrows Trading Post created by Dutch artist Willem Bor. And of course, just as when it first opened, the major attraction is a dining room with million dollar views of the sweeping Hualapai Valley. (more…)

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Changing Times

Buffalo Bill Cody at the tiller of a 1904 Michigan

It was a time of incredible transition. In the Arizona territory Geronimo was being pursued by the United States Army. Meanwhile in Michigan, Ransom E. Olds was tinkering with contraptions that would soon contribute to one greatest societal changes in world history. A few years later, in 1892, he detailed a few of his endeavors, and his vision for the future, in an an interview published in Scientific American. He was quoted as saying about the automobile that, “…it never kicks or bite, never tires on long runs, and never sweats in hot weather. It does not require care in the stable and only eats while on the road.”

Peerless, a company that would rise to prominence as one of the nations leading manufacturers of luxury automobiles during the teens had its origins in the production of clothes wringers. With the explosion of bicycle popularity in the last decade of the 19th century, the company diversified production to include the two-wheelers for which America had developed an insatiable appetite.

Pierce-Arrow, another leader in the manufacture of American luxury cars during the teens, had as a cornerstone Heintz, Pierce & Munschauer, a manufacturer of iceboxes, birdcages, and other assorted household goods. As with Peerless, the manufacture of bicycles served as the interim step toward automobile production, and by the teens Pierce-Arrow challenged Rolls Royce for international dominance of the luxury automobile market. (more…)

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