Author Jim Hinckley signing books after leading a neon nights walking tour in Kingman, Arizona. Photo Anita Shaw
In our home we celebrate Valentine’s Day every day of the week. Never is there is a day that I don’t reflect on how fortunate I am that an amazing woman looked beyond my down at the heels, rough around the edges exterior and accepted my invitation to share the grand adventure that is life. This year my dearest friend and I will be celebrating 37 years of marriage as well as countless shared adventures, both good and bad. And make no mistake about it, it has been an epic adventure.
When we first met, after the mines had shut down, I was working as an itinerant ranch hand and part time truck driver earning a few dollars while searching for more permanent employment. I drove a battered old ’46 GMC pickup truck, and on occasion we would double date in an even more battered ’26 Ford touring car. I had spent most of my life on the road. My folks often joked that I had been potty trained along Route 66. She was a quiet, but beautiful, clerk working in a local department store that drove a ’70 Charger. Her travels had been limited to a family reunion in Tombstone, a family vacation to Disneyland, a trip to the Grand Canyon and regular visits to family in Phoenix.
Me and my old dog, Critter, called a line shack about 25 miles from town, on a dirt road that turned into a quagmire when it rained home. I had an outhouse, kerosene lamps for lights and a word burning stove for heating as well as cooking, and hauled my water. To escape the heat of summer I often slept on the porch under the stars at night. She still lived with her parents. I will be sharing more of our story in the autobiography that I am writing in serial format as exclusive content on our Patreon based crowdfunding site.
Several years ago we launched our most amazing adventure to date, and it is still unfolding – Jim Hinckley’s America. Books, presentations, the website, a weekly travel planning newsletter, live stream programs, 5 Minutes With Jim podcast and more; a travel network and marketing venue for small businesses and communities as well as artists, authors, photographers, museums and nonprofit organizations with very limited promotional budgets. We provide a service for travelers, have made the most amazing friendships, and traveled to places we could never have imagined 35 years ago.
Kick off for the new presentation series in Needles, California
And now we are taking this to an all new level. We have developed promotional packages for most every budget, and created opportunity for partnerships invested in tourism related economic development. Three new presentations have been developed and we are now in the process of organizing a series of speaking tours linked with book signings. This was launched last week to a packed house in Needles, California and to date we have appearances confirmed in Spokane, Kingman, and Zlin, Czechia. We have tentative appearances in Ely, Nevada, Pontiac, Illinois, Cuba, Missouri and Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Meanwhile we are chasing promotional partners for the two big projects this year; the Route 66 promotional tour that includes the Miles of Possibility Conference in Pontiac, Illinois and the International Route 66 Festival in Zlin. And we are moving ahead with development of community education programs through Mohave Community College and Route 66 Crossroads, a recently organized nonprofit developed to foster creation of cooperative partnerships in communities.
In recent years things have turned full circle. The quest for information that led to the writing of my first book began in Jackson. And last October we returned to Jackson for a speaking engagement, and the launching of a new chapter in Jim Hinckley’s America.
Thirty-eight years ago I would never imagined that telling people where to go could be so much fun or be so rewarding. And I surely never imagined having such an incredible friend to share the grand adventure that is life.
The Bonelli House in Kingman, Arizona is a fascinating time capsule as it contains most of the original furnishings purchased by the family between 1915 and 1940. Photo Jim Hinckley’s America
It has been a week of assorted adventures, time spent with friends, adventure planning, planning adventures with friends and the frustration of dealing with shadow ranchers. Let me start by giving an explanation of shadow rancher for those not familiar with the term. This is someone who walks like a rancher and talks like a rancher in an attempt to fool people into believing that they are a rancher. In reality the herds are shadows, a fiction. I am not usually snookered by the shadow rancher but it does appear that this is exactly what has happened. There isn’t any need to provide details. I will keep my end of the bargain and ride it out as long as they don’t try and pay me with a sack of three legged buffaloes, and to the best of my ability smile. Suffice to say a lesson has been learned.
Aside from this little problem it has been a pretty good week. My dearest friend and I enjoyed a great breakfast with Zdenek Jurasek, an old friend from the Czech Republic, and his tour group at Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner. Aside from catching up and talking about tours, Route 66 and torus on Route 66, we talked about the 2020 International Route 66 Festival that Jurasek is organizing in Zlin, Czech Republic. Judging by the festival in Zlin last year, and his skills when it comes to event planning and organization I am confident that this will be quite the festival. It represents an incredible promotional opportunity for Route 66 communities and businesses, and for the Route 66 enthusiast, a fun filled weekend with fans of the double six from throughout the world.
We also had an opportunity to enjoy a lunch with friends from the Netherlands, Karel and Hanneke. Aside from reminiscing about last years shared adventure that included numerous mechanical mishaps with a Fiat in Poland and Germany, we pitched big dreams for future odysseys. And then there was another opportunity to explore the unique architectural attributes of the historic Bonnelli house.
Other highlights of the week included the honor of riding in the Andy Devine Parade with Vice Mayor Travis Lingenfelter, and a few mechanical mishaps that are humorous with the luxury of hindsight. And there was a great Route 66 Association of Kingman “meet & greet” with some folks from Australia as guests courtesy New Zealand based Gilligan’s Route 66 Toursthat retains my services to meet with clients that avail themselves of the self drive tour option. The Kingman association is a big part of the grassroots initiatives and networks that are transforming the city into a destination, and that make up for the shortcomings of the city’s tourism office.
With our son in charge of the homestead, next week my dearest friend and I take to the road. It will be a promotional tour for the new book, and as is our custom, a Jim Hinckley’s Americaresearch trip that ensures my work as a tourism development consultant is relevant as well as effective. It will also provide fodder for future podcasts, blog posts, travel planning updates and reviews of motels as well as restaurants on the website as well as social media network, and, perhaps material for the next book, number 20. This will also enhance the community education classes on tourism that I developed for Mohave Community College.
Look for us on the road. Perhaps we can hoist a pint or a cup of coffee, and talk Route 66 adventures. And I will have books on hand, or can sign your copy, and we have stocked up on the popular Jim Hinckley’s America pins. Check out our Facebook page for schedule updates. As it stands now, we will make a made dash for Jackson, Michigan on the first leg of the trip. We will be making a pit stop in Moriarty, New Mexico and then Tulsa to meet with Rhys Martin to catch up and to talk about the festival in Zlin, Route 66 centennial projects, and the Oklahoma Route 66 Association. Then we pick up promotional materials for the Miles of Possibility Conference in Cuba, and push on to Terre Haute.
The next stop is Jackson; a reception and presentation at the Hackett Auto Museum and a bit of research that MAY lead to a new book. Stay tuned.
And while in town we will be paying a visit to my pa, and to my nephew and his wife. Then it’s the Miles of Possibility Conference, an economic development and tourism conference in Cuba, Missouri, and on the 22nd, a fun filled evening to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Connie Echols proprietorship of the historic Wagon Wheel Motel. She has a lot of festivities planned and I will be signing books. From there it’s a relatively leisurely drive home along Route 66.
The National Route 66 Museum in Elk City, Oklahoma, a stop on our fall tour.
I am unsure if blog posting will fit into a tight schedule so it might be best to follow our Facebook page for a bit. And to wrap this up I need to give a shout out to the sponsors of the fall tour. First, our major sponsors – the City of Cuba, Route 66 Association of Kingman and Grand Canyon Caverns. Then there are advertising sponsors and supporters of our crowdfunding initiative on the Patreon platform. Listed among these sponsors are the Roadrunner Lodge in Tucumcari, Dale Butel’s Route 66 Tours, Uranus Fudge Company, Wagon Wheel Motel, Jenny Joy’s Soap, Calico’s restaurant and Diana’s Cellar Door.
Telling people where to go since 1990, is more than a catchy tongue in cheek slogan. It is the underlying goal of
Introducing a Dutch tour group to the intricacies of driving a 1923 double T Ford truck. Photo Daniel Kuperus
Jim Hinckley’s America; telling people where to go, showing people where to go, helping them plan the trip, and then working to ensure that the trip is memorable. Jim Hinckley’s America is firmly rooted in the great American road trip and adventures on the road less traveled. It is built on adventures behind the wheel of a 1926 Ford, 1946 GMC or rental car along Route 66. It is stories told as Route 66 chronicles. It is journey’s into the Mojave Desert and the old trails in Arizona. It is rooted in the past.
Jim Hinckley’s America is in a state of transition. Bridges are being built to connect the past with the future. The latest endeavor is a complete revamp of the website and social media network linked with expanded YouTube video projects, a new presentation series, the on again off again podcast, a step on guide service, a travel planning service, a travel book store, and of course, new books and feature articles. There is also going to be an expansion of the Patreon based crowdfunding sitelinked with additional services offered to business and community sponsors.
As a key component to this transition is further development and expansion of the Adventurers Club live programs on the Jim Hinckley’s America Facebook page, I am working overtime to complete the transition before taking to the road in July. So, most of June has been spent learning a bit about website development, installation of Divi Builder and making valiant attempts to understand some of the lingo. It remains a work in progress but as you can see, the website is being transformed albeit slowly. At this juncture I would like some honest input and a bit of constructive criticism. What would you like to see from Jim Hinckley’s America? (more…)
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