In 1966, US 66 was the highway that my family followed west to Arizona. In 1968, I rode my bicycle along Route 66 to my first paying job, watering the tomato gardens at Ed’s Camp. In 1978, Route 66 was one of the highways that I followed on my runs to Oklahoma City and Wichita during my brief career as a truck driver. In 1982, I was driving my 1946 GMC to Kingman from a ranch near Ash Fork to court my dearest friend.
Fast forward to 2015. Courtesy Jan and Henk Kuperus of Netherlands based U.S. Bikers my dearest friend and I made our first trip to Europe. Four years later and we have added several more European adventures, been blessed with countless international friendships, and traded the traditional nine to five job for the wild and woolly adventure that is Jim Hinckley’s America. The common link is legendary Route 66.
As I was updating the project board this morning, setting the schedule for the coming weeks, and putting together a calendar for publication of advertisements for sponsors, I couldn’t help but reflect on the amazing transformation of Route 66 from highway to icon and destination. I also had to reflect on how this mere highway has transformed our lives. To date this year we have served as an unofficial welcoming committee in Kingman to people from Florida, Michigan, Alaska, Japan, England, and Slovakia. Before the end of May we have friends from Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Canada, the Czech Republic, Indiana and California due for a visit. I am also scheduled to meet with tour groups from throughout Europe, New Zealand, Australia, and North Carolina.
The Jim Hinckley’s America website has had more than 20,000 visitors since the first of the year. There has been a 75% increase in Facebook page followers in less than a year. The podcast is picking up steam. Jim Hinckley’s America is becoming an internationally recognized travel media network. Route 66 is the foundation.
And what looms on the horizon? Why Route 66 adventures, of course! This coming Saturday there will be a fun filled Route 66 Q & A session at Grand Canyon Caverns. Next week I begin teaching classes on Route 66 history and tourism at Mohave Community College. I am tentatively scheduled to speak at the Miles of Possibility Conference in Normal, Illinois. New sponsors of Jim Hinckley’s America include the Blue Carpet Corridor in Illinois and Calico’s restaurant in Kingman, Arizona. This morning an invitation was received to attend a gathering of the European Route 66 faithful in Amsterdam. The organizer for the 2020 European Route 66 Festival that is tentatively set to take place in Poland is planning to be in attendance as is Marian Pavel, developer of the Route 66 Navigation app and the forthcoming Mother Road Route 66 Passport. The arrangement to assist with development of Cuba, Missouri promotion has been given the green light for the second year.
Then there is the publication of the new book. It is actually going to happen by fall! And that opens more doors for grand adventures on the old double six.
It seemed so simple. Talk with the editor, sell the idea, write the article,
take a few pictures, and wait for the check. That was in 1990. Since that date the quest to become a writer when I grow up has been quite the adventure with more twists and turns than Route 66 in the Black Mountains of Arizona. The latest chapter, still being written, could very well be the strangest, the most interesting, and wildest to date. Vitamin infused beer, home security systems, Egyptian mummies, death on Route 66, cars with laminated papier-mache body panels, an ancient Jewish cemetery, hand made soap, and young entrepreneurs are just a few of the highlights! (more…)
Do you remember when telephones were a device used to
make calls? Do you remember getting change to use the pay phone? Do you remember using checks to pay bills? Do you remember using wind wings and cowl vents to offer a bit of respite from the summer heat when driving? Do you remember sipping a cold beer and playing pong on a table top device? Do you remember fumbling with road maps? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, there is a better than average chance that you suffer, to a degree, from the plight of technologically impaired.
A great deal of the past year has been spent working to overcome my technological impairment. To be honest this quest consumes a great deal of my time but it is a matter of survival. I can’t write books on a 1948 Underwood typewriter anymore, and I can’t market the books, or me, using stamps, stationary, envelopes, and a land line telephone. (more…)
Nostalgia is often described as a wistful desire to return
to a former time, an era when things were simpler, better, less stressful, more fun (insert your descriptor here). The truth, however, is that regardless of the period of time you live in or where you live it is the best of times and the worst of times. Nostalgia is a great deal like vintage pictures, it is one dimensional, a moment in time taken out of context.
The cover photo, provided courtesy of the Mohave Museum of History & Arts, illustrates this point. The Route 66 sign on the post provides a point of reference but what else can be discerned from the photo? From the perspective of nostalgia these appear to be simpler times. What isn’t seen in the photo is the White House Cafe to the right of the “grocerteria” where a sign read “Colored Entrance In Rear.” (more…)
In 2014, the city of Kingman hosted the International Route 66 Festival. The theme was
Kingman: Crossroads of the Past & Future. The opening of the world’s first electric vehicle museum, a partnership between the Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation and Kingman tourism at this event marked the beginning of a new era on Route 66, and in Kingman. Well, with the ever increasing acquisition and donation of vehicles, including an ultra rare electric 1998 Chevrolet S10 pick up truck, the museum has outgrown its current location in the Powerhouse Visitor Center and has more vehicles in storage than are on display.
In partnership with Promote Kingman, a fund raising initiative that includes solicitation of sponsors and partners will be launched in 2017 to rectify this problem. The goal is to raise adequate funds for establishment and creation of a dedicated museum that will chronicle the fascinating evolution of the electric vehicle, as well as related infrastructure. (more…)