The October Adventure – Good Food, Good Friends & Discoveries

The October Adventure – Good Food, Good Friends & Discoveries

The October adventure officially came to an end last Saturday

Sunrise in Shamrock, Texas sets the mood for a great day on the road.

afternoon with the return of the rental car. It was, to say the very least, an amazing odyssey filled with good food, good friends, new discoveries, and endless road construction that nudged the frustration level into the anger zone.  With few exceptions the weather was perfect, which again confirms my belief that mid to late October is the ideal time for a Route 66 adventure.

Officially it was a business trip. Still, I can think of few things more enjoyable than doing business on Route 66 and the back roads of America. To borrow from an old adage, the worst day on a road trip is better than the best day most anywhere else.

The primary destination was the Route 66 Miles of Possibilities Conference in Joliet, Illinois where I was scheduled to make a presentation on Kingman tourism 1900 – 2020. However, this was not just a Route 66 adventure as plans called for a slight detour to Jackson, Michigan where we would pay my pop a visit (he will be ninety in January) and to meet with Ted O’Dell who has a vision of using the long empty 1910 Hackett automobile factory as the cornerstone for a museum that chronicles the rich manufacturing history of the community.

An amazing array of original components make the old factory a time capsule of early industrial production.

I am always inspired by projects such as Ted’s but this one has a personal connection. My grandfather was a prolific inventor who was deeply involved with the early auto industry in Michigan, specifically in Jackson. In 1900 he was a machinist for David Buick. For years a photo of my grandfather and Henry Ford adorned the mantle of the ancestral Hinckley house on Hinckley Boulevard in Vandercook Lake just to the south of Jackson.

The trip was also an opportunity to introduce a new aspect of the patrons program, the crowdfunding initiative launched to enable me to expand on the various community development and small business promotional projects under the Jim Hinckley’s America banner including the Facebook live programs. To lend your support as a patron simply click on the Patreon button on the top right side of the page.

Juvenile humor abounds at Uranus and now they are a distributor of Jim Hinckley’s America videos.

Louie Keen, the self proclaimed mayor of Uranus, Missouri was the first business owner to take advantage of the new program and lend support to Jim Hinckley’s America at this level. So, I wanted to meet with him in person, get our partnership off on a solid footing, set up the displays for the Jim Hinckley’s America: Trek Along Route 66 videos and to pick up a few items for product placement as well for some forthcoming contests. This level of support for the program provides the business owner with “product placement, an occasional shout out during Facebook live programs and posts, and blog posts as well other promotional opportunities in exchange for your support are just a few of the perks that come with becoming a Jim Hinckley’s America promotional partner.”

Uranus is one of those places that has to be experienced. Rather than spoil the fun I will just say this, the fudge consistently receives rave reviews and the humor found at every turn is sure to unleash the inner child. How can you not smile when the clerk says, “Thank you for picking Uranus.”

Another aspect of the trip had to do with the quest to become a writer when I grow up. At Bookworks in Albuquerque, I made a presentation on a Route 66 bucket list, and signed copies of my latest book, 100 Things To Do On Route 66 Before You DieI also signed copies of books at the National Route 66 Museum, the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, Ariston Cafe, Wagon Wheel Motel, and for fans along the road as well as at the conference in Joliet.

In St Louis we had a luncheon marketing meeting with the editor and publicist for Reedy Press, publisher of the book, and Jo Ann Faust Kargus, author of the fascinating and artful Route 66 Splendor adult coloring book.  We also discussed the possibility of future projects as I am closing in on completion of a book for Rio Nuevo Publishing. The photos needed for this book was another reason for the trip.

Presentations and interviews framed the venture. Aside from presentation made in Albuquerque and Joliet, I also spoke on heritage tourism and economic development in the original Las Vegas, the one in New Mexico. With each and every visit to this charming little community thoughts of changing my address grow stronger. Even though it isn’t a Route 66 community,  a 5.8 detour is well worth the trip but I highly recommend the drive from Tucucmari to Las Vegas on state highway 104. Then there was a visit with Pat Smith at the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, and an interview with Galen Culver of KFOR television in Oklahoma City, a CBS affiliate.

Of course, the highlight of any adventure is the people you meet along the way – friends, adventurers, inspirational travelers. On a Route 66 adventure this reward is magnified one hundred fold, as is the sorrow of people missed because of schedule induced restrictions or that have passed on.

My dearest friend and Efren Lopez at Swadley’s in El Reno, Oklahoma

On our October adventure we were privileged by an opportunity to enjoy a delightful dinner at Belmont Winery (a stop that should be included in any Route 66 travel plans) with Trish and Jeff Voss. There was also an interview with artist and creator of Red Oak II, Lowell Davis, a few meals and laughs shared with our Route 66 family in Joliet, a dinner and lively conversation in El Reno with Efren Lopez, some cake, coffee, a wonderful lunch and discussion with Peter at the Wild Hare Cafe, and conversation with Nick Adam at the Ariston Cafe as well as a pleasant reception hosted by Connie Echols at the Wagon Wheel Motel and dinner in Tucumcari with Amanda and David Brenner.  We missed Croc Lile and Bob and Ramona but we did catch Michael Wallis and Rhys Martin in Tulsa, another great dinner.

As is often the case, we returned home road weary and exhausted but with big smiles, fond memories, and thoughts of the next adventure.

 

 

 

Have I Got A Deal (Or Two) For You!

Have I Got A Deal (Or Two) For You!

Great pie, dinners shared with friends, almost 5,000 miles

through a dozen states, gum beating for fun and profit, memory making events shared with my dearest friend, networking and educational opportunities, Facebook live programs from the road, and a couple of book signings will dominate the schedule for the rest of this month. It all begins today, October 7, with the last Chillin on Beale for 2017 in Kingman, Arizona. This will be a big blow out event; Craig Parish’s Route 66 Motor Tour will be in town to join the festivities, the Octoberfest is going on at the west end of Beale Street, the Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation raffle for a replica 1904 to benefit the Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum takes place this evening, and artist Gregg Arnold and I will be hosting a Jim Hinckley’s America Facebook live program from the event.  (more…)

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

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!

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Moose Drool, Anniversaries, Neon & Good Friends

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…)

Promoting The Main Street of America

Promoting The Main Street of America

Last year I was privileged by opportunities to speak

about Route 66 and that highways renaissance at Cuba Fest in Cuba, Missouri, the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis, at the Miles of Possibilities Conference in Bloomington-Normal, at a fund-raising event for the Route 66 Association of Kingman, at the first European Route 66 Festival, at a school in Bensheim, Germany, and at a Promote Kingman event where the new video series, Jim Hinckley’s America: A Trek Along Route 66  was introduced. This year I am narrowing the focus by developing a presentation that centers on the marketing of the Main Street of America in western Arizona over the course of the past century.

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An early view of the Hotel Beale courtesy Mohave Museum of History & Arts

The story of Route 66 promotion actually commences a decade or so before that highways certification on November 11, 1926. The short version of a long story, one that I will provide more detail on in my presentation, is how the National Old Trails Highway was rerouted across northern Arizona, a rather dramatic realignment from the original route from Springerville to Yuma where it connected with the Ocean-To-Ocean Highway.

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