In the summer of 1915, Edsel Ford and more than 10,000
motorists rolled west toward California over the National Old Trails Road in western Arizona, blissfully unaware that they were passing within yards of the entrance to a stunning natural wonder. Vestiges of that pioneering highway are still found in a canyon east of the entrance to Grand Canyon Caverns, but the road was long ago overshadowed by Route 66, and the caverns themselves.
The caverns as an attraction, as a destination evolved with Route 66. From 1927 to the modern era, this complex has mirrored the ebb and flow of the storied highway itself. When the road boomed so did the caverns, as evidenced by the four lane divided highway at the entrance. At the time of its construction, this was the only four-lane segment of U.S. 66 between Albuquerque and Los Angeles out side of an urban area. In fact, aside from the Grand Canyon itself, this was the most popular attraction in the entire state of Arizona. (more…)
This morning I have what is hoped to be an exciting post that will
encourage an Arizona adventure or two. First, however, I would like to thank the sponsors behind Jim Hinckley’s America, the multifaceted project that now includes a video series and Kingman, Arizona historic district walking tours developed in partnership with Promote Kingman, a Friday morning Facebook live program, the blog, a YouTube channel, photo gallery on Legends of America, and podcast. And, of course, there are the presentations and books, including a new release, Route 66: America’s Longest Small Town. The entire project is built around my gift for telling people where to go, and a desire to provide the information needed to make those adventures memorable and enjoyable.
So with that as the introduction, I would like to thank the folks at Grand Canyon Caverns, Promote Kingman, and the Route 66 Association of Kingman. Of course I would be quite remiss if I didn’t thank folks like you who through contributions to the Jim Hinckley’s America tip jar, as well as with comments, book purchases, and attendance at events make all of this possible.
The post office in Gold Road, Arizona on Route 66 courtesy Mohave Museum of History & Arts
I am now within spitting distance of sixty. No matter how
hard I squint, fifty isn’t visible in the rear view mirror any longer. One lesson learned many, many years ago is that every second counts. Part two of that lesson is this – with the passing of each year, the awareness that every second counts increases exponentially. Linked with this is an old adage that the older one gets the faster time goes. I am not familiar with any empirical evidence that provides validity to this statement but can attest to the fact that the world flying past the windows is quite blurred as of late.
Yesterday, or so it seems, it was Monday. Between then and now there has been a few meals shared with friends, the recording of several new podcast episodes and the publication of one (Jim Hinckley’s America podcast), completion of the rough draft for another book and initiation of the writing of the first chapter for another one, a few meetings, a revamping of the blog format (did you notice that there is now a tip jar in the top menu bar and in the sidebar for those wanting to leave a little something for the storyteller?), and another Facebook live program.
My dearest friend and I in the home of the late Willem Bor, and his charming wife Monique. Our first meal in the Netherlands was enjoyed in their home.
A rare B-17 at the former Kingman Army Airfield, and an
early morning conversation with internationally acclaimed artist Gregg Arnold, photographer Herberta Schroeder of Wind Swept Images, and Michelle Drumheller who is organizing a family reunion for the family of pioneering rancher Tap Duncan, that is how my day started. In short, another day, another colorful adventure. This is Jim Hinckley’s America. If that seems like a plug, well, I suppose that it is.
In retrospect it started simply enough. I wanted to write, to share the history of the American auto industry as well as tales of adventure on the road less traveled in the hope that it would inspire people to do a bit of exploring. After the publication of a few dozen feature articles for various magazines, I had an opportunity to write a book. That had been a dream since childhood and so I wrote a little book about the Checker Cab Manufacturing Company.
That was followed by an interesting project that carried the odd title of The Big Book of Car Culture. In essence this was a Jerry Seinfeld type of project, a book about nothing. Jon Robinson and I wrote short stories about everything auto related from the history of highway striping and speedometers to Route 66 and Harley Davidson. (more…)