It is a God given gift, or so people tell me. I first began
harnessing that gift for telling people where to go in 1990 with the writing and publication of feature articles and books (18 to date with another due for release this year). Initially it was largely viewed as a means to stave off starvation. Then I began to meet the most wonderful and inspirational people. Then those people began to seek me out during their adventures, and to tell their friends to do the same. In turn this led to the promotion of my adopted hometown, Kingman, Arizona, and America’s small town, Route 66.
100 Things To Do On Route 66 Before You Die
The ultimate bucket list - from restaurants to photo ops, from time capsule motels to attractions here are 100 of author Jim Hinckley's favorite places on Route 66
A quick visit is all it takes to tell if a town or village is
possessed of a sense of community, is progressive and forward thinking, and if it has a vision for the future, or if it is riddled with apathy, indifference, self serving factions, and leadership focused on the rear view mirror. Take a drive through town, hit the historic business district, and then take a couple of laps through neighborhoods. Skip the fast food joints and stop at a local diner or tavern, be a fly on the wall and listen. Pick up a local paper (or read the on line edition) and be sure to read the editorials as well as the comments.
My dearest friend captured this moment of contemplation during a winter outing in Arizona.
Today’s post isn’t meant as condemnation. It is a bit of a soapbox sermon inspired by thoughts and reflections as I gear up for this mornings conference call with the Route 66: Road Ahead Partnership economic development committee. It is also an expression of frustration.
As many of you know, my dearest friend and I call Kingman, Arizona home. Located at the heart of a wonderland of vast and diverse landscapes, and at the center of the longest remaining uninterrupted segment of Route 66, the town has, perhaps, the greatest undeveloped tourism potential of any community in the southwest. This boundless opportunity is magnified by a location on the western edge of the “Grand Circle” that is the premier destination in the southwest, and the fact that within 400 miles of Kingman there are ten million people with interest in mountain biking, camping, spelunking, fine dining, off road exploration, wineries, colorful festivals, ghost towns, museums, white water rafting, classic car events, Native American culture, the Grand Canyon, and hiking along shade dappled trails.
As with so many things it began simply enough. In this case it
was a question asked. Actually it was the asking of several questions before the idea came to mind, and then it took even more questions before the idea coalesced into the illustrated walking tours now being offered by Promote Kingman. The endeavor has proven to be relatively popular, and judging by the response received, entertaining as well.
What sets the adventure along the Route 66 corridor, and through the historic business district in Kingman, Arizona apart from the average guided walking tours is the liberal use of modern technology and photos from the archives of the Mohave Museum of History & Arts, and my personal collection. With several hundred historic images downloaded to my iPad, I am able to provide a walk through time and allow people to experience the evolution of the city, as well as Route 66.
I can be quite the story teller, or so I have been told, but this adds life to the tall tales. As an example, while telling the story of the Clark Gable and Carol Lombard nuptials, I can transport people back to Kingman as it was in 1939.
Kingman’s lengthy association with the rich and famous of Hollywood is a lengthy one. When Buster Keaton filmed Go West in 1925, this was the fourth major motion picture shot in the area.
On the illustrated walking tour, often under neon lit skies, I stop at filming locations, and other celebrity associated sites. An ample dose of stories about murder, mayhem, sordid affairs, and nefarious characters is also provided. All of this, of course, is amply seasoned with stories of colorful characters, travelers on the National Old Trails Road, such as Edsel Ford, and Route 66.
For more about Kingman’s celebrity association, tales from the dark side, and walking tours, check out our patrons page for exclusive content (button top right corner).
I would be willing to wager that few followers of this blog, or
anyone else for that matter, is familiar with the name Henry Wriothesley, the 3rd Earl of Southampton. Likewise with Henry Lovin. Yet both men made contributions that forever changed the world. Wriothesley was one of William Shakespeare’s principal patrons. Lovin was the patron who provided the $16.00 grubstake to Jose Jerez, the man who launched the last gold rush in Arizona with his discovery in the Black Mountains, the event that led to the establishment of Gold Road.
For centuries patronage served as an the primary mechanism for the funding of the arts, music, and the work of playwrights and authors. In a nutshell, the rich and famous in a society acted as sponsors. A variation of the concept took hold in the late 19th century when patrons grub staked a prospector. A primary difference was that the reward for patrons of the arts was recognition and the enrichment of society, and the patron who grub staked a prospector hoped for a return on investment.
In the case of Henry Lovin, legend has it that he pocketed something like $50,000 as a return on hist $16 investment. For Wriothesley the return on his investment in Shakespeare was timeless plays and sonnets that resonate with audiences to this very day.
In what seems like a never ending quest to find funds to support my promotional endeavors, writing projects, video development, and related endeavors I recently discovered that the ancient practice of patronage is alive and well. As with so many things, however, it has been wedded to modern technologies. Let me introduce you to Patreon.
I derive tremendous satisfaction from my various projects, such as the weekly Facebook live program. I gladly provide this as a community service, likewise with a few other endeavors such as this blog. The challenge, however, comes from balancing community service projects with those that provide income, and the enormous amount of time required to develop them that is multiplied by the never ending search for funds. For just a moment consider this – one blog post a week requires one to two hours, the podcast about three hours, and the Facebook live program about two hours.
Steve LeSueur of the Promote Route 66 initiative and I have recently learned that video development is a huge time sink. Episode one of Jim Hinckley’s America: A Trek Along Route 66, a video developed in part to promote Kingman (available for order at http://www.promotekingman.com) required in excess of 450 hours to complete.
Recently, as I was meditating on some of the current projects, how I could expand on them, and other projects I would like to develop such as educational programs, my thoughts turned toward the ancient practice of patronage. To further develop current or future projects I needed more time and as I am powerless to add two, three, or even four hours to each day that left but one option, find more time in the existent day.
As much of my week is consumed with the quest for financial funding to support the various endeavors, this looked like a place to begin the streamlining process. Those thoughts led to patronage and that led me to Patreon. This in turn led to establishment of a Patreon page, a place where I could market my community service projects, my promotional initiatives, and related endeavors to those who saw value in them. And that explains the red button in the upper right corner, which will take you to the new Patreon page where you can become a Jim Hinckley’s America patron.
To add further value to the service provided, I have devised a plan to provide patrons with a little something extra. Okay, with that as an introduction, what are your thoughts? What value do you place on Jim Hinckley’s America?
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.