I admit it. A great deal of my time is spent giving thought to the lives of long dead people and then meditating on what lessons can be learned from their mistakes, and successes. As an example, can you imagine what it must have been like to sell automobiles in 1905? “Sir, this is a fine automobile that will most likely provide several hundred miles of trouble free service, especially if you drive within the city limits as there really aren’t any passable roads beyond that point. It operates on gasoline that can be ordered from most any drug store. Yes, I realize that price is a bit steep. Yes, I know that you can buy one or two houses for that price but think of the prestige.” If selling a new car was a challenge, can you imagine what obstacles had to be overcome by a used car salesman?
Now imagine what it must have been like to be an automobile manufacturer. Henry Ford pulled it off, on his third attempt and with the help of Horace and John Dodge. David Buick, failed time and time again. To a lesser degree, so did Louis Chevrolet. Walter Chrysler and Charles Nash were the mirror image of Buick, all that they turned their hand to succeeded. Nash started by stuffing cushions for the Durant Dort Wagon Company and within a relatively short period of time, was the head honcho at Buick and GM before launching his own company.
When faced with a promotional challenge I often turn to the infancy of the American auto industry for ideas or solutions. Recently I hit a wall in regards to Jim Hinckley’s America, and as I have a new book due for release in a few weeks, this seemed an ideal time to step back and contemplate how best to market the entire package – me, the book and Jim HInckley’s America as a multifaceted travel network. What have I been doing right? More importantly, what have I been doing wrong?
Often the first course of action when faced with a challenge such as this is to take a very long walk, or two, to clear the head, process thoughts (turning off the cell phone) and come back to the problem refreshed. The process minus the cell phone seemed to have worked well for John Adams. Harvey Firestone, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison were also famous for taking time away from projects to escape to the north woods of Michigan. All three men seem to have been relatively successful. Wouldn’t you agree?
So this morning I met up with a very old friend who just happens to be an ex-brother-in-law, and we set out for a morning walkabout on the Camp Beale Loop Trail. The Cerbat Foothills in the area of historic Fort Beale, Beale Springs, Johnson Canyon Springs, and Red Ghost Canyon are a scenic wonder. The sense of history here is palpable. The springs here were of tremendous importance to the Cerbat Clan of the Hualapai people. Father Garces purportedly camped at Beale Springs during his expedition in 1776. Lt. Beale and his now famous camel caravan also camped at the springs. Fort Beale was an important outpost on the Beale Wagon Road as well as territorial era Hardyville-Prescott Toll Road. This was also the site of the first internment camp for the Hualapai Tribe.
The loop trail is also another example of the many treasures that abound in the Kingman area. And as a result, they are also a source of frustration as they remind me of what could be if the city had an aggressive tourism office with vision, with passion, and with an interest in building cooperative partnerships within the community as well as in the international Route 66 community.
As is often the case when friends that have more than a forty year history get together, it was also a stroll down memory lane. The scenic wonders of the desert, deeply shadowed canyons, tracking deer into the mountains, easy conversation, and a cool morning breeze was just what the doctor ordered. Now, let’s see if I am going to be a Charles Nash or a David Buick.