Breaking News From Jim Hinckley’s America

Breaking News From Jim Hinckley’s America

The Great Southwest on The Big Screen. A century of cinematic epics, larger than life characters and even a classic themed western with an all dwarf cast. Forest Gump, Planet of The Apes, Star Wars and the Great Train Robbery filmed in 1903 all have one thing in common. The panoramic landscapes of the great southwest. And that is the subject of discussion on the next installment of Coffee With Jim.

An announcement about our popular interactive Sunday morning program isn’t exactly news. After all, we have been hosting the Sunday morning for more than two years.

But what is new is the venue, Eventbrite. As our account on Facebook was locked more than a week ago, and as we can’t resolve the issue, we have been searching for a new venue for the program. And while we were at it we were also looking for a platform that would allow for a more interactive program.

We gave the platform a trial run last week. I am pleased to announce that it worked much better than Facebook live, the platform we have been using. Even better, it allows us to make Coffee With a Jim a fully interactive program with question and answer session that includes conversation as well as audience participation. So, after more than a week of unmitigated frustration, I am actually feeling excited about being locked out of Facebook.

There are, however, a couple of issuues that I need to let followers know about. First, even though the Sunday morning program is still free, you will need a ticket. This is the link you need for tickets, for event information, and to participate when the program starts. You can also find infromation and tickets by going to the Eventbrite website, and search for The Great Southwest on The Big Screen. 

The next issue is cost. I will be incurring an expense to use this program. As a result, the cost and the time involved to create the programs may force me to charge a nominal fee for future programs.

If that becomes the case we will expand the program format. But at this time I will depend on advertising sponsors and support of our crowdfunding initiative on the Patreon platform.

Without Facebook and the more than 7,000 followers of the Jim HInckley’s America page, I will be depending on fans to get the word out about programs. This website will become the primary portal for information, updates, and of course, our stories, road trip inspiration, news, and everythign that was shared on Facebook. So, please, feel free to share infromation and links with friends.

Now, an update about Wake Up With Jim, our interactive audio podcast on Podbean. The program is broadcast live on Mondfay, Wednesday, and Friday morning, 6:00 MST. It is then archived for listeners who can’t join us at that time. Here is a link for the podcast page.

We are working as quickly as possible to fully revamp the website. It needs to be streamlined, and as we will not be on Facebook for the foreseeable future, it needs to be more interactive. And it will need to provide fans with information about classes, speaking engagements, events, and updates on books and other projects.

So, please share away. Let’s get the word out. Let’s continue sharing the adventure. Together let’s tell people where to go.



Well, That Didn’t Work

Well, That Didn’t Work

A collage of illustrations from the authors collection for an episode of Coffee With Jim.

I had prepared the script with rich detail about Ludlow, Daggett, Newberry Springs and other outposts of civilization along the Route 66 corridor in the Mojave Desert. For illustrations I had combed my archives and created a well designed presentation. There was a blend of rare historic photos, award winning photography from several of our adventures along Route 66 in California and historic maps. As the program was going to close out our series that profiled each of the eight states that constitute the Route 66 corridor, this episode of Coffee With Jim had to really shine.

Well, that didn’t work. For reasons unknown, I was unable to get the screen share function to work. And so I went live on the Jim Hinckley’s America Facebook page with just the script and a smile. At least I had pants. I am confident that most folks can relate. In this past year we have had to adapt to a world of Zoom meetings hindered by internet interruptions and odd filters. And we have learned to roll with the punches and to come up with quick fixes and bluffs while maintaining a modicum of dignity.

Then after the program I went with plan “B” and made lemonade out of lemons. I took each slide of the presentation and created a series of scheduled posts on the Jim Hinckley’s America Facebook page. It wasn’t ideal. It wasn’t I had planned. But it worked.

The audience for Coffee With Jim, our live stream program, was understanding, cordial and even supportive. And so far the series of posts on the Facebook page are performing well. The reach and engagement is exceeding most of the posts this month. Is it possible that I have stumbled (or been tossed) into a formula to enhance the Jim Hinckley’s America network?

Every day is a new experience, a new opportunity for teaching this old dog new tricks and new levels of frustration. It is a grand adventure, to say the very least.

Let’s see how next Sunday’s episode of Coffee With Jim goes. The program will be a fun filled, informative fast paced bit of time travel. I have created the presentation and am rather pleased with the result. The program is entitled Bathtubs, Birdcages & Chevrolet and will highlight what each of these has to do with the formation of the American auto industry. I will also be delving into the origins of the great American road trip and sharing some interesting stories about people like David Buick and companies such as Pierce Arrow, Jackson and Chrysler.

Two areas of focus in coming weeks pertain to the development of revenue streams needed to fund proposed Jim Hinckley’s America projects. I have a core of loyal partners that support our crowdfunding initiative on the Patreon platform, and for that I am humbled and grateful.

I have tested the waters of pay per view programs using Facebook live. There has been moderate success, and I was able to repay crowdfunding partners by providing the programs at no cost to them. But the Facebook platform is limited and restrictive.

And so I have set up an Eventbrite account. In the next few weeks, if all goes according to plan, I will host another pay per view presentation using Zoom and Eventbrite. There is still a bit of learning curve but that too seems be a component of the new normal.

On this program I will draw from my latest book Murder and Mayhem on The Main Street of America: Tales From Bloody 66. It will be a rich tapestry of stories about serial killers, gangsters, race riots, robberies turned deadly encounter, and shootouts. The dates for this event as well as for episodes of Coffee with Jim, and On The Road With Jim are posted here on the Jim Hinckley’s America page as well as on the event section of the Facebook page.


The Quest

A desert oasis on Route 66 in western Arizona

With the luxury of a half century of hindsight I can now see that the quest began in the summer of ’69. That was when I began trading hours of my life for money. That was the summer that I began working for Ed of Ed’s Camp on a long abandoned alignment of Route 66 in the Black Mountains. I now see that this is when the hunger to write, to share stories and to preserve history was sparked.

Ed was a geologist of some renown that had arrived in Arizona from Michigan shortly after WWI. He had established the camp sometime around 1928, and created a rough around the edges empire built on a desert oasis. The business evolved with Route 66 and in the years after WWII, Ed’s Camp offered an array of services to the traveler. There was a small cafe, cabins, gas station, garage, rock shop and produce market where Ed sold tomatoes and melons grown on site. Ed was also a prospector, was rumored to be involved with the burning of King’s Canyon Dairy and was internationally renowned for his geologic discoveries in the deserts of western Arizona.

IN western Arizona Route 66 course though a breathtaking landscape.

My primary job was to help with the gardens; weeding, helping with irrigation system repairs and other chores. But Ed had taken a shine to me and found other ways to put me to work. He also found ways to share his vast knowledge of the desert but I was far to young to fully appreciate the opportunity a summer with Ed represented. Still, I enjoyed books, especially books about adventurers and I was living an adventure of epic proportions.

Years later, even though I didn’t remember all of Ed’s quirky comments, details about the time a Pickwick bus missed a curve on Sitgreaves Pass and nosedived into a bank or his geology lessons, when I started writing about adventures memories of that summer often dominated my thoughts. That was when the seeds of my quest to become a writer were sown.

The pre 1952 alignment of Route 66 in the Black Mountains of Arizona

Even though I have had nineteen books and countless feature articles published, the hunger is still there. I am still hungry to share and to inspire adventures. I am still eager to make new discoveries and to share them. And that is, perhaps, the cornerstone for Jim Hinckley’s America. It may have started as a platform to market my work, it has become a venue for sharing my talent for telling people where to go. And as a bonus, it has become an opportunity to provide a service, to assist communities, small businesses, authors and artists by providing them with a promotional boost.

To date the quest, the writing, the search for adventure and the development of Jim Hinckley’s America as a venue for telling people where to go has been a truly grand adventure. And now a new year and new decade is underway, and indications are that this will be the most amazing year to date.

Growth of the audio podcast, Five Minutes With Jim, is up 1,200% year to date. We now have 6,000 followers on Facebook. On February 7, I will be speaking about the Old Trails Road at the historic El Garces Hotel in Needles, California. On June 4, I will be talking about Route 66 travel in Spokane. And now the quest is on for sponsors as I have received a request to speak at the International Route 66 Festival in Zlin, Czechia. The plans for a Route 66 centennial conference at Grand Canyon Caverns is underway. In limited partnership with Desert Wonder Tours, I am now leading walking tours in the Kingman historic district, and along the Cerbat Foothills Recreation trail system. The fall tour on Route 66 is under development and it includes attendance of the Miles of Possibility Conference in Pontiac, Illinois. In answer to requests received, I am now writing an autobiography as exclusive content on the Patreon based crowdfunding website.

And so as the quest continues, I give thought to Ed, to a summer of adventure and to a the living of a life of adventure.

Disasters Large And Small (And A Bit of Good News)

Disasters Large And Small (And A Bit of Good News)

The last ten days have been a whirlwind. It started with a bit of interesting historic research that has enhanced my understanding of Route 66 evolution. Consider this little tidbit, in 1939 one million vehicles entered Arizona on Route 66. Here is another, within twelve moths of the highways bypass in 1978, Grand canyon Caverns experienced an 80% decline in business.

Linked with this research was a most interesting educational project. I finished the first series of classes on the history of tourism in the southwest for Mohave Community College, and have begun work on the next series on the economics of tourism. This is my first attempt at teaching in a formal setting and I was quite pleased to hear that the  college will be offering the classes on two campuses this coming fall.

The Patreon platform based crowdfunding initiative is being revamped as I gear up for the very ambitious project that is tentatively being scheduled for May 2020. In a nutshell the project is development of a time capsule for the Route 66 centennial. The core of the endeavor is 21-days, 21-live interviews on the road. I will be talking with the pioneers of the Route 66 renaissance such as Michael Wallis as well as a new generation of leaders that are taking the helm for promotion and preservation of the iconic highway such as Rhys Martin. Linked with the video will be audio podcasts interviews and a photographic record of the journey as well as creation of the time capsule. If all goes as planned the project will end with in the cradle of the American auto industry that spawned the creation of the US highway system.

Work on the website continues, albeit with a bit of a delay. More on that in a moment. The goal is to provide a multifaceted travel planning center that also adds advertising dollar value for sponsors. And with that said I need to give a shout out to some of our newest advertising sponsors, Mohave County Fairgrounds, the Illinois Blue Carpet Corridor, and Calico’s Restaurant, my go to spot in Kingman when meeting with groups, hosting a meeting, or for a live program with larger number of guests.

The Facebook live programs, linked with the YouTube channel and audio podcast, Ten Minutes With Jim, are growing in reach in engagement as well as in number of subscribers. I attribute some of this to a bit of a change in format. As an example this past weeks Adventurers Club live program was a bit of show and tell from the Mohave Museum of History & Arts.  The growth is quite encouraging as it indicates I am doing something write; providing the balance of history and travel information the traveler wants as well as value for our advertising sponsors. And I must admit that there is a bit of perverse satisfaction in seeing number that indicate our social media network linked with the website and podcast is our performing that of tourism offices in several communities including Kingman.

The highlight of the week was an opportunity for reflection. In the grand scheme of things it was a small disaster. After all there was no death or injury, it didn’t cause the stock market to crash, and I lived to tell the tale. It did, however, delay completion on what I am hoping is the final edit of the caption file for the new book which is already six months over deadline. It also stalled a National Park Service project, stifled website design, and created a huge backlog of work that contributed to postponement of this weeks Ten Minutes With Jim audio podcast. So, on a personal level being without internet service for almost an entire week was a major disaster. It almost left me longing for a time when we weren’t so dependent on corporations that have little regard for customer loyalty and when we weren’t so reliant on technology.

As this was the second such incident this year, needless to say I will be switching internet and phone service provider next week and bid adios to a company that we have been paying faithfully for more than three decades. Small business owners are quite aware that customer service which builds customer loyalty is the best investment a company can make. Corporations have a tendency to forget this. They become megalithic, disconnected and develop a sense of indestructibility. That is the danger in allowing development of monopolies.

With that little ramp I wrap up things for the day. It is Memorial Day weekend. As we set out in search of fun, beer, and barbecues lets not forget the reason for the holidays. For my dearest friend and I, it will be a weekend of short road trips on Route 66, memories made with good friends from Germany, and just a hint of business.

Stay tuned for updates, photos, and a bit of road trip inspiration.



Adventures In Optimistic Pessimism

Adventures In Optimistic Pessimism

On several occasions I have alluded to an old cowhand that I

worked with on a ranch along the Mimbres River in southern New Mexico. To say the very least, he had a very unique philosophy for life. As an example, he often referred to himself as “an optimistic pessimist” who started every day meditating on all of the things that could happen or go wrong. Then, according to him, when the day was done, he would be the only one smiling because it didn’t go as bad as he had envisioned.

Shamrock Texas is the location for the 2018 Route 66 International Festival.

Oddly enough, I have found that the old cowboys philosophy works quite well in regard to the New Years Day celebration. As the last day of the old year winds down, I pop the top on a cold bottle of beer, watch the sun sink in the west, and meditate about the new year from the perspective of the optimistic pessimist, but go light on the pessimism. I prefer to think of myself as a pragmatist or a realist.

The year that is coming to a close, 2017, was the best of times and the worst of times. I have little doubt that twelve months from now I will be looking back on 2018, and have the same thoughts.  Today, however, we are looking toward the future, not into the past.