Hiding in Plain Sight

Hiding in Plain Sight

Depot Plaza in Kingman, Arizona ©Jim Hinckley’s America

Its origins are as a remote auxilliary Kingman Army Airfield landing strip on the shores of Lake Havasu that morphed into a rustic camp for fisherman in the post war years. In 1963, Robert McCulloch, owner of McCulloch Motors, chose the site for a planned community and a factory where his outboard engines could be tested.

In 1964, there was only one unimproved road into the envisioned city. McCulloch was a visionary. So, he developed an air charter service to fly in prospective land buyers that wanted a fresh start or an escape from harsh winter climates. Between 1964 and 1978, 137,000 potential land buyers flew to what would become Lake Havasu City. In 1978 the town was incorporated. By 1981 the modern community built on the hills above the shimmering lake had a population of 17,000 people.

From its inception the city recognized the value of tourism. There was an understanding that tourism was more than just heads in beds. It was an opportunity to showcase the community to prospective residents and business owners.

Agressive marketing, leadership that developed cooperative partnerships within the community, a focus on the development of events that support the business community, and utilization of all available resources have paid dividends. Even though summer temperatures often reach 120 degrees or more, Lake Havasu City consistently rates as one of the top destination cities in Arizona. On the city’s tourism website the calendar of events illustrates the community’s marketing success.

Sixty miles to the east is Kingman, Arizona, a town with an astounding array of diverse attractions. The towns link to Route 66 has ensured international name recognition. And yet as a destination it remains relatively obscure.

In recent years the Colorado River Area Trail Alliance has developed an expansive series of hiking and mountain trails in the Cerbat Foothills Recreation Area. The scenic trail system that includes an array of historic sites is located less than two miles from the historic district and Route 66.

There is a thriving arts community and the historic State Theater is being renovated as a performing arts center. Chillin on Beale, held on the third Saturday afternoon of each month, April through October, adds a colorful vibrancy to the historic district that is in the midst of a slow motion renaissance.

At the west end of the historic business district along Route 66 are two delightful parks, one of which is shaded by towering tress. As they are located adjacent to the Powerhouse Visitor Center and Mohave Museum of History & Arts, they are ideally suited for the hosting of events such as the Kingman Festival of The Arts, and for vendors during the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona sponsored annual Route 66 Fun Run. But, oddly enough, the annual Kingman Route 66 Fest is held in a park located miles from the historic heart of the city, and nearly a mile from the nearest restaurant.

Kingman Main Street recently spearheaded development of an innovative narrated self guuided historic district and Route 66 corridor walking tour. Phase one will be completed in a few weeks, and yet it is already becoming an internationally recognized attraction.

Spring flowers along Route 66 in the Black Mountains. ©Jim Hinckley’s America

Hualapai Mountain Park is located a mere twelve scenic miles south of Kingman. This pine forested island in a sea of desert is is a true oasis. Hualapai Lodge and pictuersque stone cabins built by the CCC, and rustic camp sites, provide a wonderful option to chain motels. And there are miles of shade dappled trails that climb through the forest to scenic overlooks.

Lake Havasu City. Kingman. Needles, California. Bullhead City. Western Arizona is a destination for a memory making holiday filled with adventure in any season. Telling people where to go, it’s what we do in Jim Hinckley’s America.



Forgotten Cousin of Route 66

US 6, forgotten cousin to iconic Route 66, is an amzazing opportunity for the passionate road trip enthusiast. ©Jim HInckley’s America

It was a momentous event. It was the last US highway to be fully paved. And so on September 21, 1952, The New York Times noted that paving of U.S. 6, the Grand Army of the Republic Highway, had been completed a week earlier in Utah and that a two day celebration would “mark completion of thirty-three and one-half miles of arrow-straight asphalt pavement running from a point just beyond Hinckley, about six miles west of here, to Skull Rock Pass in the Little Drum Mountains.”

The October 11 issue of Business Week noted that U.S. 6 “… was designated a transcontinental highway in 1937. Technically, it was. You could get from Provincetown to Long Beach on it if you chose to try. But from Delta, about 80 mi. east of the Utah-Nevada border, to Ely, some 80 mi. west of the border, you ran into trouble. Much of this stretch of road was nothing but a wagon trail-rutted, filled with dust. It was one of the worst chunks of federal road in the country.”

The forgotten cousin of iconic Route 66 has an interesting history. And as it courses across the country from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to central California, it remains a quest for legions of passionate fans of the great American road trip.

In October 1925, the Joint Board on Interstate Highways proposed a 75,884-mile U.S. numbered system. One of the routes in the initial highway systm was U.S. 6 that would run from, “Provincetown, Massachusetts, to New Bedford, Fall River, Providence, Rhode Island, Hartford, Connecticut, Danbury, Brewster, New York.”

By the time that AASHO approved the proposal on November 11, 1926, there had been several modification to several U.S. highways. As an example, U.S. 60 was renumbered as U.S. 66.  The adjustments to U.S. 6 were even more dramatic. And over the course of the next few decades, there would be other adjustments that finally resulted in U.S. 6 being designated the longest highway in the United States.

U.S. 6 in Grand Junction, Colorado
©Jim Hinckley’s America

Published in 1927, the first official AASHO log of the U.S. routes, published in 1927, defined the route of U.S. 6:

United States Highway No. 6

Total Mileage, 707

Massachusetts Beginning at Provincetown via Sandwich, New Bedford, Fall River to the Massachusetts-Rhode Island State line at East Providence.
Rhode Island Beginning at the Massachusetts-Rhode Island State line on Waterman Avenue, East Providence, via Providence, North Scituate to the Rhode Island-Connecticut State line at South Killingly.
Connecticut Beginning at the Rhode Island-Connecticut State line at South Killingly via Danielson, Brooklyn, Clarks Corners, Willimantic, South Coventry, Coventry, Bolton Notch, Manchester, Burnside, Hartford, Farmington, Plainville, Bristol, Terryville, Thomaston, Watertown, Minortown, Woodbury, Southbury, Sandy Hook, Danbury, Mill Plain to the New York-Connecticut State line west of Mill Plain.
New York Beginning again at Kingston via Kerhonkson, Wurtsboro to Port Jervis.
Pennsylvania Beginning at the New York-Pennsylvania State line at Port Jervis via Matamoras, Milford, Honesdale, Carbondale, Scranton, Clarks Summit, Tunkhannock, Wyalusing, Towanda, Mansfield, Canoe Camp, Wellsboro, Coudersport, Farmers Valley, Kane, Warren, Corry, Waterford to Erie.

A major change was made to U.S. 6 in the summer of 1931. From the Federal Highway Administration Highway History page. “The route was changed again on June 8, 1931, when AASHO’s Executive Committee approved State highway agency requests to modify the route in Pennsylvania and extend U.S. 6 to Greeley, Colorado. The approval read:

U.S. 6, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado. U.S. 6, which now begins at Provincetown, Massachusetts, and ends at Erie, Pennsylvania, is extended so that the original description of U.S. 6 stands as heretofore, except that from Waterford, Pennsylvania, to Erie, Pennsylvania, it shall be known as U.S. 6 N. Then beginning at Waterford, Pennsylvania, the following additional routing is established temporarily: Cambridge Springs, Meadville, Conneaut Lake, Pennline to the Ohio-Pennsylvania line west of Pennline. OHIO, beginning at the Pennsylvania-Ohio line, west of Pennline, via Andover, Chardon to Cleveland (it being clearly understood that the final designation of this route between Waterford, Pennsylvania, and Cleveland, Ohio, is subject to a more definite location, dependent upon certain road improvements contemplated by the State Highway Departments of Pennsylvania and Ohio). Further permanent location of this route continues as follows: Cleveland, Lorain, Fremont, Bowling Green, Napoleon, Bryan, Edgerton to the Ohio-Indiana State line, west of Edgerton. INDIANA, beginning at the Ohio-Indiana State line, west of Edgerton, via Waterloo, Kendallville, Ligonier, Nappanee, Bremen, Lapaz, Walkerton, Westville, Hobart, Hyland, Munster to the Indiana-Illinois State line, west of Munster. ILLINOIS, beginning at the Indiana-Illinois State line, west of Munster, via Joliet, Mendota, LaMoille, Rock Island to the Mississippi River, opposite Davenport, Iowa. IOWA, the description of U.S. 6 across Iowa is made by the absorption of the present U.S. 32 in Iowa. NEBRASKA, the description of U.S. 6 in Nebraska is the same as present U.S. 38 and absorbs that number. COLORADO, the description of U.S. 6 in Colorado is the same as present U.S. 38 and absorbs U.S. 38, terminating at Greeley.”

After U.S. 6 absorbed these segments, highway number “38” disappeared from the 1932 log. Surprisingly U.S. 32 remained in the log even though the 181 mile highway only connected Davenport, Iowea and Chicago. On June 21, 1937, when U.S. 6 was extended to Long Beach, California, 3,652 miles from Provincetown on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, it was designated a transcontinental highway. The eastern terminus was at New Beach Circle and the western terminus at the intersection of the Long Beach Freeway and Pacific Coast Highway designated as U.S. 101.

A gem on U.S. 6 in Grand Junction, Colorado. © Jim Hinckley’s America

This webiste also notes one more major change to U.S. 6. “Under State Senate Bill 64, California renumbered its State highway system, effective July 1, 1964. The State law provided that each route should have a single number, with precedence given to retention of present sign route numbers in the following order: Interstate routes, U.S. numbered routes, and State sign routes. To comply with this requirement, the State asked AASHO’s U.S. Route Numbering Committee to approve a shift in the western terminus of U.S. 6 to Bishop, thus eliminating the combined section of U.S. 6/395 between Bishop and Brown. On June 18, 1963, the committee approved the request. While the route retained the U.S. 395 designation between Bishop and Brown, the former segment of U.S. 6 beyond Brown became State Route 14. After the 1963 change in California, U.S. 6 became the second longest highway in the country (3,227 miles). The longest was and remains U.S. 20 (3,345 miles).”

I have yet to fully explore U.S. 6. But it is on my “to do” list. And with with every mile driven, my eagerness to follow the highway from end to end grows stronger.

Recently I had Jim Hinckley’s America related business in Colorado. And that provided an opportunity for some backcountry exploration in southern Utah and northern Arizona. As a bonus I also had time to explore a bit of U.S. 6. in Utah and Colorado.

And once again I wasn’t disappointed. Counted among the highlights of that exploratory adventure was the discovery of the Grand Junction Palomino Inn in Grand Junction, Colorado.

There are a number of vintage motels dating to the 1950s and 1960s along U.S. 6 in Grand Junction. The original signage had been replaced long ago. Most were tarnished relics that rented by the week or month, or perhaps by the hour. But the Palomino Inn was clean, reasonably priced, and at every turn reflected the pride of the owners. To the best of my knowledge this is the last historic property along U.S. 6 in Grand Junction that still functions as a motel.

Are you ready for a road trip?








Incentive With Inspiration

Incentive With Inspiration

Telling people where to go and sharing America’s story. In a nutshell that is what we do at Jim Hinckley’s America. And we are always looking for new opportunities to do both. That is why we recently launched the podcast Car Talk From The Main Street of Americaand expanded the scope of the Sunday morning program, Coffee With Jim. 

But there is another facet to Jim HInckley’s America. That is the development of educational programs, speaking at schools, and even providing someone on one time for students.

These projects are almost entirely made possible through partners that provide support through our crowdfunding initiative on Patreon. As my dearest friend and I are used to eating on a regular basis, crowdfunding is key to make these type of projects relatively feasible.

We don’t talk much about these initiatives. I don’t feel comfortable giving the impression that they are done for profit.

To date I have had the distinct privilege of working with a variety of schools at all grade levels. Counted among the most memorable programs were those made at schools in Germany. I learned as much or maybe more than the students.

Incentive to continue thiese programs and projects, and the inspiration for them, often comes from students, from their parents and from teachers. A few months ago I receoved a message from a teacher at a school in Chandler, Arizona with a request to speak to her class.

Obviously that wasn’t feasible at the time. It had to wait until I had business in the area. Meanwhile one of the teachers sudents accepted my offer to assist directly via phone or Zoom. One student accepted that offer. He was working on a project about the societal impact of Route 66 in the 20th century. Did I mention that he was just eleven years of age?

Well, we talked on the phone and I answered his carefully crafted and well thought out questions. Then he talked his parents into bringing him to my program at the Performing Arts Center in Apache Junction. Well, yesterday I received this note. “I’m happy to share that I made it to state level and will be participating in the program at ASU (Arizona State University) in April.”

That, my friends is the true reward for what I do. That is the inspiration needed. To my supportring partners on Patreon, thank you. We did it. We made a difference.

In coming weeks I will be sharing an array of exciting updates about pending travel, new programs, and items associated with the fast approaching Route 66 centennial. And as I will be attending a rather dynamic conference and symposium soon, there is every confidence that we will have much to discuss.


More Route 66 Adventures

There were a wide array of exhibits on display at the Route 66 Info Fair in Needles, California. ©Jim Hinckley’s America

A nearly packed house for my presentation about Route 66 in Arizona at the Performing Arts Center in Apache Junction, Arizona, and attendance of the recent Route 66 Info Fair in Needles, California make it abundantly clear that the infectious magic of iconic Route 66 is igniting a passion for road trips. For me personally these events bod well for a very busy year as I share America’s story and tell people where to go.

When elected mayor of Needles, last year Janet Jernigan made it quite clear that she wanted to see a renaissance in the historic heart of the city that is dominated by the picturesque historic El Garces depot and hotel complex. In spite of a few unforeseen glitches the 2022 Route 66 Info Fair was a success. And as an example of leadership with vision, Jernigan and her team have already announced a date and provided preliminary details for the Route 66 Ino Fair scheduled for February 10, 2024.

“The 3rd Annual Route 66 Info Fair at the El Garces in Needles. This popular event will once again feature Route 66 vendors and businesses, El Garces tours and speaker presentations. Next year’s fair will add an art show in the west end of the El Garces and craft fair in the Santa Fe Park. Make your 2024 plans to include Needles on your calendar.”

The Route 66 Info Fair this past Saturday was a winner in my book. Aside from an opportunity to visit with old friends, a hallmark of these Route 66 events that are almost like a family reunion, it was a wonderful opportunity to inspire road trips, and to help people plan a memorable adventure on storied Route 66.

Thanks to sponsors of Jim Hinckley’s America, including the City of Tucumcari, and supporters from Cuba, Missouri, Amarillo, Texas, Atlanta, Illinois, and the Oklahoma Route 66 Association, I had an array of promotional materials to share including visitors guides. This greatly enhanced my ability to lend assistance with travel planning.

Wade Bray of SRO productions. Photo Needles Tourism

A hit at our display was a plaque that allowed us to demonstrate the narrated, Kingman Arizona historic district self guided tour developed by Kingman Main Street. I am hoping that people will be inspired to use it as a template for a similar project that assists in the revitalization of the historic district in their community.

The rich and colorful diversity of the Route 66 renaissance was on full display at the event in Needles. It also reflected the growing trend in showing Route 66 as a direct connection between past, present and even the future.

Si Garcia of the Fort Mojave Tribe performed traditional bird songs. Historical renactor Debbie Miller Marschke did a superb impression of Olive Oatman, and shared Oatman’s amazing story. Wade Bray of SRO Productions shared a video from the 2022 AAA Route 66 Road Fest in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and answered questions about the 2023 fest scheduled for June 23 – 25. Mike Thornton gave tours of the El Garces and brought the history of the complex to life with his passion for the property and for Needles.

The old double six has been charming people for nearly a century. Tourism directors in communities along the Route 66 corridor that ignore or that shrug off the popularity of that highway do so to their detriment. The old double six just may be more popular than at any time in its history. And with the centennial fast approaching I would be willing to bet my bottom dollar that this popularity is going to grow exponentially.


A Tale of Ambition, Daring and Vision

A Tale of Ambition, Daring and Vision

According to legend Floyd Clymer received recognition as America’s youngest automobile dealer by Teddy Roosevelt. That is an example of what happens when you have a father that encourages, teaches with hands on experience, and instills a sense of self confidence.

With his father’s assistance, Clymer had his own dealership selling cars manufactured by REO, Cadillac, and Maxwell by the age of eleven! Clymer’s amazing career was diverse and his life was lived in the fast lane. He set speed records with motorcycle and automobile racing and spent a bit of time in prison. He pioneered the mail order auto parts business, laid the groundwork for a thousand cottage industries, and transformed the publishing industry.

And on a recent episode of Car Talk From The Main Street of America, a podcast from Jim Hinckley’s America, I shared a bit of Clymer’s story and suggested that people do some reading about this fellow that was possessed with ambition, daring and vision.

After a number of false starts, hiccups, frustrations, and months spent with a seemingly endless learning curve, podcasts (as in two) are now an integral part of the diverse Jim Hinckley’s America network. As with everything we do the idea is to share America’s story, to provide communities as well as authors and artists with a promotional boost, to inspire road trips and visionary thinking, and to tell people where to go.

Embedded players on the website allow people to enjoy both programs at their convenience, or to share them with friends. Likewise with archiving the progams on Spotify and other major podcast platforms.

Coffee With Jim has morphed into a replacement for the popular live video programs that was shut down unceremoniously when Facebook locked the Jim HInckley’s America page. The live stream program on Podbean, Sunday mornings at 7:00 MST, is travel centered. The interactive format usually adds an interesting dimension.

And for 2023, we are taking the program in a new direction. We are FINALLY able to begin adding guests on a regular basis. We attempted this about a year ago with Whitney Ortiz, the dynamic tourism director from Atlanta, Illinois.

But as I said, there has been a steep learning curve for someone that identifies as modern Amish. And that takes us to a new year and new opportunities.

Gregg Hasman (better known as Highway Hasman) will be our guest on the February 5th program. Hasman is a good friend and a fascinating young man that is an exceptionally talented photographer. He has a gift for turning a phrase and so is viewed, in my opinion, as a gifted writer. As a bonus he is an inquisitive fellow with a passion for road trips. So, this should be a rather interesting program.

And then on March 19th we will have a very special guest, Stephanie Stuckey. She is the CEO of Stuckey’s and a board member of the Society for Commerical Archaeology. So, who has fond memories of pecan logs and a stop at Stuckey’s onepic family road trips?

Car Talk From The Main Street of America is still in a formative stage. But working with producer Stan Hustad a good quality program is being developed. In essence the program is about the past, present and even the future of the auto industry. We discuss all facets of this topic from Route 66, road trips to museums, personalities such as Louis Chevrolet and Lee Iacocca, the evolution of electric vehicles, and events. Now, we just need some guests and help growing the audience.

Both programs are sponsored in part by Visit Tucumcari. We strive to give promotional partners a bang for their advertising dollar, and I am confident that this podcast will catch on soon. If you have a chance take a listen and give us your two cents worh.