A Biergarten, Great Pie, Black Holes, and Assorted Notes

I have never hid my affection for great pie and judging

by recent photographs, attempts to hide that passion are futile unless more time is spent on walkabout. Compounding what appears to be a growing problem is my quest for good craft beers. With that as an introduction let me introduce you to a delightful new experience to enhance your Route 66 adventure – the Caverns Grotto.

The Caverns Grotto
A new addition to the venerable roadside attraction that is Grand Canyon Caverns.

The restaurant at Grand Canyon Caverns is a favorite stop of mine, and a place where I have been eating for at least fifty years. With all honesty, however, I can say that the food today is better than ever. As a bonus the fresh baked pies are superb.

Even though the Caverns Grotto doesn’t officially open for a couple of weeks, I took it for a spin last Sunday afternoon. Sylvia and Bernhard, dear friends of my wife and I, were visiting and as we were in the midst of a record breaking heat wave the caverns seemed an ideal destination, especially as the year round temperature is 61-degrees. This unique dining experience will be by reservation only but it should be added to any Route 66 adventure. Excellent food and a unique scenic setting ensures a memorable experience.


Indicative of my affection for the caverns and their pie is inclusion in a new book, 100 Things to Do on Route 66 Before You Die. Scheduled for release on September 1, this book that highlights some of my favorite stops on Route 66 is available for preorder on Amazon. I should note that the book is not just about places where you can enjoy a slice of pie and coffee after a fine meal of Hualapai stew and fry bred. Also included are a few of my favorite quirky stops, great places to rest the head after a day of exploration, and scenic wonders where the challenge is to try and take a bad picture. As a result, it will be a welcome addition to your travel kit.

In a somewhat unrelated note, my association with the Promote Kingman initiative is providing new and wondrous opportunities for sharing some of my favorite places. Last month episode one of Jim Hinckley’s America: A Trek Along Route 66, a new video series, was released to critical acclaim. In this episode, with photos from the Mohave Museum of History & Arts and a walk through the world’s only electric vehicle museum, I present Kingman, Arizona as the crossroads of the past and future. I still have a few copies on hand, and ordering information is in the right hand column. I checked this morning and Promote Kingman also has copies available. We do not expect issues such as informing customers that the DVD is on backorder as another order will be placed shortly.


Episode two is scheduled for release by July 12. The focus of this episode is on two very unique Route 66 sites, both of which are sort of like the ghost of Christmas past and ghost of Christmas future – Antares Point Route 66 Visitor Center and Grand Canyon Caverns.

A bit narrower in focus than the video series are the walking tours, another Promote Kingman initiative. The tours are a relatively easy 2.5 miles and again, utilizing photos provided by the Mohave Museum of History & Arts, I make these an illustrated tour that allows people to see the evolution of Kingman. Along the way I share stories about topless celebrities (Pamela Anderson was introduced to the police during a Playboy photo shoot),  Louis Chevrolet, and a bit of mayhem. You can arrange for personal tour through Promote Kingman, or join in a scheduled tour. The schedule is posted on the Facebook pages for Jim Hinckley’s America as well as Promote Kingman.

The length of time for the walking tour varies as I stop at businesses along the way on request. And as it is summer, we usually stop for a question and answer session, and to wet the whistle, at one of the award winning breweries in the historic district. If your not a fan of beer or wine, I can highly recommend the non alcoholic, vintage recipe ginger ale at Black Bridge Brewery.


Years ago, when folks said I had a gift for telling people where to go, I never imagined that this could be turned into a career!



A Survival Guide For The Modern Era

There is an old adage that the two certainties in life are

death and taxes. There are, however, two more adages that you can bank on. One, times change, whether we like it or not. Two, it is up to you to create the survival guide for the modern era and to keep it updated. In short, adapt and learn to adapt or face the consequences. You can bet money that the best blacksmith in town had fallen on hard times by 1915 if he hadn’t added automobile repair to the services offered.

Fred Harvey Company Touring Coach 1918
By 1918 the Fred Harvey had adapted to changing times by adding touring coaches as a means to ensure hotel properties remained profitable. Courtesy Mohave Museum of History & Arts.

The Fred Harvey Company pioneered development of hotel and restaurant chains. They didn’t, however, rest on their laurels after dominating the railroad hotel business in the southwest. They developed tours, added buses, and began marketing to tourists traveling by automobile.


As an author I have, with a degree of success, made the transition from typewriter and carbon paper to word processor. Marketing, a crucial skill for the writer that is going to transition from hobbyist, is another matter. There are indications that I have been somewhat successful in regards to shameless self promotion. As an example, yesterday I learned that Route 66: America’s Longest Small Town is going into a second printing even though the book was released this past April.

Continue reading “A Survival Guide For The Modern Era”


Before you ask, I haven’t won the lottery. An uncle did pass away last year

but he wan’t wealthy, and he didn’t include me in his will. As to treasure, last month I found a 1939 dime in my change, and acquired a promotional brochure for Dinosaur Caverns (now Grand Canyon Caverns). So, you may ask, how do I intend to share the wealth? What, exactly, are the golden opportunities alluded to? To explain that, I will need to start with a bit of shameless self promotion.

First, I am taking to the road again. On July 22, I will be signing books and the new DVD at Autobooks-Aerobooks, 2900 Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank, California. There are other tentative appearances in southern California that bracket the one in Burbank but these are awaiting confirmation. I will provide dates, times, and locations as soon as possible. Also, please feel free to contact me to schedule an appearance; a book signing, a presentation, or both. For the 2017 season I have created a presentation entitled Kingman, Arizona: 120 Years of Tourism. 

The presentation may seem a bit narrow in scope. However, as it includes tales of Louis Chevrolet, Buster Keaton, and Clark Gable, political intrigue that resulted in the rerouting of a highway, and the arrest of a celebrity for indecent exposure, I am confident that you will find it interesting.

One more. In April, two new books with Jim Hinckley in the byline were released. To be a bit more specific, it was one new book, Route 66: America’s Longest Small Town, and an expanded version second edition, Ghost Towns of the West. In September, 100 Things To Do On Route 66 Before You Die is scheduled for release. At the end of May, the first DVD in a new video series, Jim Hinckley’s America: A Trek Along Route 66 was released. Signed copies of books are available through this blog, and the DVD, with autograph and Kingman, Arizona souvenir, is available through Promote Kingman. When inquiring about book orders include zip code, totals and payment options will be included in the response.  Continue reading “SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION, GOLDEN OPPORTUNITIES, AND SHARING THE WEALTH”

The Thirty Hour Workday, Mayhem, and the 6th Earl of Cottenham

I have always had respect for people who can focus on a project

with such intensity that nothing distracts them from the task at hand. Obviously this trait is a prerequisite for people who work as bomb disposal specialist or as a sniper. I have never had interest in pursuing either career but the quest for a level of mental discipline that allows me to finish projects without enduring thirty hour work days resultant of succumbing to distraction is ongoing. This is not to say that my pursuit of the red ball is abandoned when I see a green ball, or that the smell of fresh baked pie will always lure me from the office to the kitchen if a deadline is looming.

Scheduling and allocation of time is definitely an Achilles heel. In this I am not alone but that provides little solace when my most recent language skills test indicates a 21% proficiency in German, a 1% increase over last summer, and the venerable old Dodge (aka Barney the Wonder Truck) is still sitting in the drive awaiting repair, just as it was last Christmas.

Continue reading “The Thirty Hour Workday, Mayhem, and the 6th Earl of Cottenham”

The Speed Bump Theory Applied To Community Development

Every community is plagued by self serving factions, apathy, naysayers, and

people who simply never learned to play well with others. In communities where these people dominate government or the tourism office or media or civic organizations, opportunities are missed, long term sustainable progress is stifled, and vision for the future is conceived through extensive study of the rear view mirror. Spend an hour or two in a town, city, or village where these type of folks run the show, listen to the locals in the restaurants or taverns, check out the historic business district, cruise a few neighborhoods, peruse online reviews of businesses and there is a very good chance you won’t make a return visit.


So, exactly, how is a community transformed from a haven for the apathetic and people obsessed with protecting their fiefdom into a vibrant place where people want to visit, to open businesses, to raise families, and to retire? Let me introduce you to the speed bump theory of community development. Continue reading “The Speed Bump Theory Applied To Community Development”