I Just Couldn’t Wait!

With the deadline for the new book fast approaching, and an array of

Traveling home from the first European Route 66 Festival in 2016. Photo Sylvia Hoehn

other projects demanding an inordinate amount of my time, a weekly blog posting is the best I can manage. Still, there are a number of very exciting developments that I just could not wait to share.

Let’s start with the European Route 66 Festival in Zlin, Czech Republic. It has been our plan to attend the event, especially as I had accepted a request to assist with the creation of a Route 66 information booth, and tentatively agreed to make a presentation on Route 66 as well as show the two part Jim Hinckley’s America video series produced by MyMarketing Designs. However, even with the launch of the crowdfunding platform, the cost of the trip made attendance questionable. Yesterday Jim Flynn of Kingman Chevrolet-Buick confirmed sponsorship in the form of airfare, and a couple nights lodging. We still have a ways to go but a major hurdle was cleared.  (more…)

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Now What? To Young To Retire, To Old To Work

What do you do when the regular paycheck comes to a

screeching halt, and the illusion of security that comes from a steady job vanishes? What if you are to young (and broke) to retire, and employers think you are to old work?  You get creative, you reinvent yourself, you launch a never ending learning curve, and you saddle up for one hell of a wild ride!

The Johnson Canyon tunnel was deemed an engineering marvel when completed in the early 1880’s.

Writing in various forms worked well as a second job. It was always the day job, however, that supported the writing habit and that paid the bills. Two years and four months ago everything changed. No paycheck, no job, and employers that worked very, very hard to avoid hiring someone of my age. Now what?  (more…)

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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.

(more…)

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Who Made The List?

On September 1, my latest book was released, number 18. It is

a deviation from most of my published work. It is in essence simply a detailed  list of 100 of my favorite places on Route 66, and it was one of my most challenging projects to date. How can you distill something as amazing as a Route 66 adventure, an odyssey of more than 2,000 miles through the heartland of America on the most famous highway in the world into a simple list of just 100 museums, attractions, restaurants, and classic motels?

With that as an introduction, let’s discuss the places that made the list.  We will start with the delightful Belmont Winery near Cuba, Missouri. In advance I should note that several places and events in Cuba, and in the surrounding area made the list.  As you might have guessed, my dearest friend and I are quite enamored with this charming Ozark Mountain community, and the people that make it so special.

Belmont Winery, officially, is located in Leasburg, Missouri. Perched atop a wooded knoll there are delightful views of the valley below, and the rolling forested hills that march toward the western horizon, especially from the covered open air pavilion.  (more…)

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Roadside Oddities, Attractions & Curiosities
Jim Hinckley's America

Roadside Oddities, Attractions & Curiosities

Capitalizing on peoples curiosity isn’t new. P.T. Barnum built an

empire with assorted oddities and curiosities, and insightful marketing. For decades the mainstay of the carnival and circus was the side show where people could gawk at the albino, the bearded lady, the Siamese twins, the fat lady, and in 1896, the Duryea Motor Wagon, America’s first production automobile. The successful author, fiction or non fiction, to a degree, has to harness the curiosity factor if their books are going to sell.

 A primary goal in my projects, be it books, feature articles, podcasts, the video series developed in partnership with MyMarketing Designs, or presentations is to add depth and context to the ordinary.  To accomplish this I have learned that it is crucial to first pique the curiosity.

As an example, consider the Checker cab. Even though it hasn’t been manufactured since 1982, it remains such an integral part of the urban landscape in America that it appears in video games, movies, and commercial photo shoots. Still, after writing a book about the Checker Cab Manufacturing Company, I sat down for an interview with Jay Leno and the quip was made that he had purchased one of the five copies sold.  (more…)

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The Ultimate Bucket List, A Road Trip & A Murder or Two

I once met an Australian couple that had an actual bucket list.

They had literally written the list on a bucket, and used the bucket to collect pocket change that they applied to each years adventure. One of the items on their list was to travel Route 66 from end to end.

The concept of a bucket list has always intrigued me.  Equally as fascinating is the tsunami of international fascination with iconic Route 66. So, when Jim Ross facilitated a discussion about the 100 Things To Do On Route 66 Before You  Die  project with Josh Stevens of Reedy Press, I readily agreed to write what I consider to be the ultimate bucket list.

Even though the process is now quite familiar, I hold my breath until initial reviews are in after a books release. I am pleased to say, the response has been favorable. Even better, the book is encouraging people to do a bit of exploring, and to sample pie and cobbler at a few of my favorite stops such as Grand Canyon Caverns, Clanton’s, the Ariston, and Wild Hare Cafe.

Promoting the book, and me, and the road, is the reason for the upcoming road trip to Joliet and the Miles of Possibilities Conference. Full details, updates, an invitation or two, and a schedule will be made available for patrons in the coming week. And speaking of patrons, I am offering a copy of the latest book or episode one of the Jim Hinckley’s America: A Trek A Long Route 66 video to new sponsors. Become a Patron!

(more…)

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Telling People Where To Go For Fun & Profit Since 1990
The Johnson Canyon tunnel was deemed an engineering marvel when completed in the early 1880's.

Telling People Where To Go For Fun & Profit Since 1990

It started when a dear friend gently encouraged me

to pursue a childhood dream. That was in 1990. I am still chasing the dream, with gentle encouragement from my dearest friend. To say the very least, it has been a grand adventure, an odyssey worthy of Jason and his band of intrepid and fearless Argonaughts. I digress.

Today’s post, however, is not about the past, but about a future that includes gently encouraging my dearest friend to grasp a recently presented opportunity in pursuit of dreams. More about this exciting development in just a moment.

A new book, 100 Things To Do on Route 66 Before You Die was released on September 1. That is number 18. Filling in the spaces between the writing and publication of books are hundreds and hundreds of features articles, the launch of a video series and a fledgling attempt to kick off a podcast, a YouTube channel, walking tours in the Kingman historic district in support of the Promote Kingman initiative, a Facebook live program, this blog, serving as an impromptu reception committee for Kingman area visitors, presentations on a variety of subjects, and development of a crowd funding patrons program that is crucial to keeping a few of these projects alive.  Become a Patron!  (more…)

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Moose Drool, Anniversaries, Neon & Good Friends

You would have to drive from Death Valley to Loveland Pass in

Colorado to find lows and highs equal to what we have been through in the past week or so. To paraphrase (or plagiarize) a bit of classic literature, it was the best of times and it was the worst of times: dedication of a memorial to a valued friend and a bit of bittersweet family time with my dearest friend and son, the debut of a new book and unexpected support from friends, squandered opportunities and unnecessary battles, taxes and hard choices, memories and reflections. 

An emotional ceremony, the unveiling of the Twin Arrows Trading Post model created by Willem Bor at Antares Point Route 66 Visitor Center. Photo Sam Fiorella.

On Sunday, with artist Gregg Arnold, the model of Twin Arrows Trading Post created by Willem Bor was unveiled at Antares Point Route 66 Visitor Center east of Kingman. The stand, created by Arnold, and the setting were poignant and moving for a number of reasons.

Even though our association with Willem, and his wife Monique, was quite short, we enjoyed memorable milestones in life with these friends.  As we pulled the cover from the display, I flashed on our first evening in Europe, and a delightful dinner in Willem and Monique’s home where the artists handiwork was on full display. Thoughts turned to last summer in Germany when a contingent of Dutch friends, including Willem and Monique, enjoyed dinner, laughter, and lively conversation. Clouding these delightful memories was the death of Willem earlier this year.  (more…)

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A Look Behind The Curtain

Raise your hand if your envious of the travel writer,

the person who enjoys a carefree life of adventure where days are spent visiting exotic locations, meeting colorful and fascinating people, and extolling the delights of charming restaurants, bistros, taverns and historic saloons? When trapped in the mind numbing world of cubicles, power tripping bosses, subsistence level wages, impossible to meet deadlines, or days spent slaving under a broiling sun, it is hard not to. Then, you peek behind the curtain and the cubicle doesn’t seem so bad after all.  

I have been telling people where to go for fun and profit since 1990.  That has provided my dearest friend and I with endless opportunity for memorable adventures, for meeting wonderful people,  and for priceless friendships. On occasion, I have also had mind numbing jobs and endured belittling bosses, often to support the writing habit and ensure that we continue the eating habit.

In all those years, I have yet to meet a writer that pays the bills by writing, or a writer that could imagine doing anything else in life. The fact is, the travel writer writes because they enjoy it,  because they have a passion for sharing adventures and for inspiring road trips, and because like the prospector of old or the person who faithfully buys a lottery ticket every week, they can’t help but believe fame and fortune awaits them with the next book. In short, we are dreamers.  (more…)

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