Am I the only one that feels like a rabid bear is chasing me but with my shoe laces tied together, and a bag with a wolverine in one hand and a bag with a bobcat in the other, it is becoming increasingly hard to keep the panic in check?
Still, the show must go on. And so I am developing new programs and projects, revamping old ones and finding ways to use these to support small businesses, the Route 66 community and authors as well as artists. As an example, for folks with an online store I am offering to put our travel network to work for them at no charge. Links to their sites will be added to the social media network and a new section that is being developed for the website as well as applicable blog posts. I am also offering a 50% discount on advertising and sponsorship packages, even for existing promotional partners.
Folks are going to need an escape from quarantine as well as a constant stream of bad news and political BS masquerading as news. And so the weekly audio podcast 5 Minutes With Jim will focus almost entirely on trivia, history, and stories from the road. As an example, on the episode of March 22, I share a rather dark tale from the ghost town of Glenrio, Texas. “In the old forlorn ghost town of Glenrio astride the Texas/New Mexico state line there is a non-descript cinder block-fronted building with broken windows and no door. Even though the town is a favored photo stop for Route 66 enthusiasts, this building is often overlooked even though it is one of the most famous buildings in Glenrio. It was here on July 10, 1973, that Dessie Leach was senselessly murdered.”
And we have launched a new live stream Saturday morning program through our Facebook page that is archived on the Jim Hinckley’s America YouTube channel. Book and movie reviews, a bit of reading from old travel journals (Edsel Ford, 1915, Alexander Winton, 1901), lots of surprises and lively conversation. This too is being used to lend a hand in these trying times as I am offering reviews of products, gift certificates, copies of authors books or anything folks want to provide.
The weekly travel planning newsletter is being revamped. You will find the latest information about closures, travel options, online gift shops, the latest releases of both books and movies and some great offers from businesses. You can sign up on our Facebook page.
As to the panic, it isn’t the idea of a self imposed quarantine or nearly empty shelves in the supermarket that worries me. So from that perspective, as I am a beans and taters sort of fella, the only concern is for the poor folks that might have to hunker down with me, and I am partial to quiet and empty places. As to hiding from the world with my dearest friend, well after nearly forty years together we don’t have a lot of secrets and to be honest there are few things that I enjoy more than time alone with her. Still, in all fairness I suppose it might be a good idea to cut back on the beans or to take more walks in the desert.
No, my concerns are with those families being devastated by the disease and economic tsunami that is sweeping around the wheels on the heels of the virus. My concern is for what this country is going to look like after the storm passes. After all, in spite of the crisis we seem to hold fast to our tribal divisions as a badge of honor and as Abraham Lincoln famously noted, a house divided against itself can not stand. My worries are for the Route 66 community. I am unsure how many businesses can weather this storm. Poorly informed folks sharing childish and juvenile postings on social media platforms have offended friends across the pond and kicked them when they were down. I am not sure how this kind of damage can be repaired.
Things are about to get interesting amigos. And I don’t mean to scare or panic you but it wouldn’t take much to get me to bet the bottom dollar that nothing will be the same when we get to the other side. The big question is, will we be the same.
If you are a fan of cast iron bathtubs with the white porcelain finish thank David Dunbar Buick. Does cruise control enhance your driving experience on long road trips? If so you might want to thank Ralph Teetor, the prolific blind inventor. After all, it was an idea that he patented in 1950. Ransom E. Olds is best known for the Oldsmobile, and to classic car enthusiasts, the man behind the REO cars and trucks. Did you know that he was also the inventor of the gasoline powered lawn mower? Did you know that Louis Chevrolet’s first business endeavor was the manufacturing of bicycles?
As has become a custom this past few years, I have been preparing some presentations for the fall tour along Route 66 as well as for the winter. Each has been designed as an educational program with a bit of fun tossed into the mix. Louis Chevrolet, David Buick and Ralph Teetor are but a few of the fascinating people I introduce in Dawn of A New Era, a fast bit of time travel back to the dawning of the 20th century and the American auto industry. It was developed for a Hackett Auto Museum fund raiser in Jackson, Michigan. However, I now scheduling other appearances.
Community education has become a passion in recent years. I enjoy providing the tools needed for communities or grass roots initiatives to harness tourism, specifically Route 66 tourism, as a catalyst for economic development as well as historic district revitalization. So, I have created a condensed version of the classes developed for Mohave Community College this past spring. I should note that the college will again be offering these classes. They are scheduled to start in late October at the Bullhead City campus. I am currently scheduling these presentations for the fall tour as well.
As my new book, Murder & Mayhem on The Main Street of America: Tales From Bloody 66, is scheduled for release in early September, as a series of book signings are also a part of the October tour, an accompanying presentation is being developed. This won’t be suitable for the younger audience but I guarantee it will be of interest for anyone with a macabre sense of humor, or an interest in Route 66 history.
The last presentation is pure fun. It is also a bit educational for anyone with interest in becoming a writer, or for a school journalism class. In this presentation I chronicle my thirty year career as a writer. It is a darkly comedic adventure; an odd series of coincidences that led to an interview in Jay Leno’s Garage, a two year book project that went down in flames when the publisher went broke, and of course, the launch and development of Jim Hinckley’s America that started as a venue for promoting books, book signings and related presentations.
I am compensated for most presentations but there is no charge for those made at schools and similar venues. So, the tour, as well as the various facets of Jim Hinckley’s America – live streaming programs, podcast, videos, etc. – is dependent on support of the crowdfunding initiative on the Patreon platform, donations such as the one recently made by the German Route 66 Associations and advertising sponsors such as Blue Swallow Motel, Roadrunner Lodge and Uranus Fudge Factory & General Store, and major sponsors, Grand Canyon Caverns & Inn and the City of Cuba.
If you would like to schedule a presentation for you community, organization, event or fund raiser, please drop me a note. As the schedule develops it will be added to our Facebook page, noted in the weekly newsletter, and on the Travel Center page.
Always something to see at Chillin’ on Beale in Kingman, Arizona
From March to September on the third Saturday afternoon of the month, Beale Street in Kingman, Arizona, just one block north of Andy Devine Avenue (Route 66) is transformed into an automobile enthusiasts version of paradise. As a bonus there is great music, a vibrant historic district framed by stunning skylines of towering buttes, mesas, and spires of stone, cold beer served at two award winning microbreweries, and a delightful array of diverse restaurants. In October the date for the Chillin on Beale festivities is adjusted to coincide with the arrival of Craig Parish’s Route 66 Motor Tour. (more…)
It was a time of transition. Highways like U.S. 66 were being replaced
by the interstate, the gas station with its clanging bell was being replaced by the self serve mini-mart, and a tsunami of generic chain motels and restaurants were transforming the roadside landscape. The demise of venerable automobile manufactures Packard, Hudson, Studebaker, and Nash was a recent event and cars that had rolled from those companies factories still shared the highways with Fords and Dodges. (more…)
He was thin enough to hide behind a flagpole and had piercing grey-
My neighborhood is the big empty where the wind carries a hint of sage and grease wood.
blue eyes shaded by a battered, sweat stained, misshapen old Stetson. His sandy brown hair was thinning and going gray but as he was never without a hat, no one knew unless they were around when he wiped his brow with the bright red bandanna. His hands and face were tanned leather brown and reflected years of hard work under a desert sun. He stood well over six foot tall, but his bowed legs lent themselves to the appearance that he was shorter. Age was hard to determine but a guess of between 60 and 100 was a good bet. (more…)