You meet the most fascinating people on a Route 66 adventure. That, I suppose, is the magic that makes this old road so popular. This is why the iconic double six is so appealing to an international audience.
This past Sunday my dearest friend and I set out on a date. We never need an excuse for a road trip or for a date but the pretext for the little adventure was to deliver signed copies of books to the Antares Point Visitor Center about 20 miles east of Kingman on Route 66. In recent years this old place has become internationally recognized as the home of Giganticus Headicus that was created by Gregg Arnold. The misplaced Easter Island Head has become quite an attraction.
A year or so ago John McEnulty of Grand Canyon Caverns acquired the property and has slowly been rolling back the hands of time. The old restaurant and gas station that opened in 1964 now houses a delightful cafe as well as tasteful gift shop that features my books as well as my dearest friends photography. Also on display is a model of the Twin Arrows Trading Post created by Dutch artist Willem Bor. And of course, just as when it first opened, the major attraction is a dining room with million dollar views of the sweeping Hualapai Valley. (more…)
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…)
There is an old adage that the two certainties in life are
death and taxes. There are, however, two more adages that you can bank on. One, times change, whether we like it or not. Two, it is up to you to create the survival guide for the modern era and to keep it updated. In short, adapt and learn to adapt or face the consequences. You can bet money that the best blacksmith in town had fallen on hard times by 1915 if he hadn’t added automobile repair to the services offered.
By 1918 the Fred Harvey had adapted to changing times by adding touring coaches as a means to ensure hotel properties remained profitable. Courtesy Mohave Museum of History & Arts.
The Fred Harvey Company pioneered development of hotel and restaurant chains. They didn’t, however, rest on their laurels after dominating the railroad hotel business in the southwest. They developed tours, added buses, and began marketing to tourists traveling by automobile.
As an author I have, with a degree of success, made the transition from typewriter and carbon paper to word processor. Marketing, a crucial skill for the writer that is going to transition from hobbyist, is another matter. There are indications that I have been somewhat successful in regards to shameless self promotion. As an example, yesterday I learned that Route 66: America’s Longest Small Townis going into a second printing even though the book was released this past April.
Before you ask, I haven’t won the lottery. An uncle did pass away last year
but he wan’t wealthy, and he didn’t include me in his will. As to treasure, last month I found a 1939 dime in my change, and acquired a promotional brochure for Dinosaur Caverns (now Grand Canyon Caverns). So, you may ask, how do I intend to share the wealth? What, exactly, are the golden opportunities alluded to? To explain that, I will need to start with a bit of shameless self promotion.
First, I am taking to the road again. On July 22, I will be signing books and the new DVD at Autobooks-Aerobooks, 2900 Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank, California. There are other tentative appearances in southern California that bracket the one in Burbank but these are awaiting confirmation. I will provide dates, times, and locations as soon as possible. Also, please feel free to contact me to schedule an appearance; a book signing, a presentation, or both. For the 2017 season I have created a presentation entitled Kingman, Arizona: 120 Years of Tourism.
The presentation may seem a bit narrow in scope. However, as it includes tales of Louis Chevrolet, Buster Keaton, and Clark Gable, political intrigue that resulted in the rerouting of a highway, and the arrest of a celebrity for indecent exposure, I am confident that you will find it interesting.
One more. In April, two new books with Jim Hinckley in the byline were released. To be a bit more specific, it was one new book, Route 66: America’s Longest Small Town, and an expanded version second edition, Ghost Towns of the West. In September, 100 Things To Do On Route 66 Before You Dieis scheduled for release. At the end of May, the first DVD in a new video series, Jim Hinckley’s America: A Trek Along Route 66 was released. Signed copies of books are available through this blog, and the DVD, with autograph and Kingman, Arizona souvenir, is available through Promote Kingman. When inquiring about book orders include zip code, totals and payment options will be included in the response. (more…)
Over the years death has come in many forms on iconic Route 66. The
highways realignment or construction of a bypass was often the death knell for communities and businesses. The ever increasing flow of traffic, including broken down Model A Fords and powerful new Buick Roadmaster sedans, on a highway peppered with narrow bridges that left no room for error, as well as blind curves, steep grades, long stretches without a shoulder, and gas stations that offered a free six pack of beer with every fill up of the tank all contributed to the moniker “Bloody 66.”
A wreck on Route 66. Photo courtesy the Joe Sonderman collection.
Shortly after WWII, two brothers opened a service station in western Arizona. Using a homemade wrecker to fulfill a contract with the state to remove wrecks from the highway, they soon discovered that there was gold in the tangled wrecks, broken glass, and carnage. Within twelve months they were able to pay cash for a brand new truck with Holmes wrecker body. Within three years they had three trucks and operated three shifts. (more…)