Monday, July 28, 2014


The clock is ticking. It is now less than three weeks until the 2014 Route 66 International Festival kicks off.
As excited as I am about this fun filled, historic event and an opportunity to visit with friends from Europe and along the Route 66 corridor, as well as an opportunity to listen to the music of the Road Crew on two evenings, there will be a huge sigh of relief when it is over. In recent months my initial role as a consultant morphed into a position where I served as press agent, disaster control assistant, and information bureau manager.
Along the way I learned a great deal about things I never want to experience again. I also learned that a great deal of time, money, and other precious resources are squandered as communities reinvent the wheel with the development of each festival or special event. I also received confirmation that a minimum of eighteen months lead time is needed if an event wants to include our friends from distant shores. 
In a more perfect world, the festival location and dates for 2015 would have been announced last year in Joplin, and at this festival we would be announcing the 2016 event. Unfortunately that didn't and won't happen for a litany of reasons, but that is about to change.
Meanwhile, after a relatively relaxing weekend spent cleaning up the rest of the storm damage and some progress on the next book, and enjoying a pleasant dinner with my brother in law and his wife, and a movie shared with my dearest friend, it is now time to tackle what promises to be another intense week.
David Knudson of the National Historic Route 66 Federation has offered to run another advertisement for the festival provided materials are provided today. That is one project.
The Federation is an organization that often flies just under the radar with its quiet, low profile. However, as I have experienced with the development of this festival, they are an organization that is intently focused on providing service and assistance to the Route 66 community.  
In the morning its a radio interview. Tomorrow evening its an enlistment drive for volunteers to assist with the festival. Next is the writing and distribution of press releases for various aspects of the festival (dedication of the Route 66 Walk of Fame with special presentation by Kaisa Barthuli of the National Park Service, the unprecedented conference, profiles of attending authors, film festival, etc.).
It looks as though conference speakers are confirmed. That schedule will be posted soon. I will also be sharing film festival details. So, stay tuned for details.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


We reside on Route 66. I write books about that highway. I derive a great deal of enjoyment from talking about the road, its history, its culture, and the people who make it special. We make ourselves readily available to talk about those things.
Becky and Nick Gerlich, just two of the folks that make
Route 66 a very special place.
As a result, we increasingly find ourselves meeting with folks traveling Route 66 or meeting with tour groups from every corner of the earth, providing assistance to tour groups, speaking before an array of groups interested in Route 66, or simply providing assistance in the development of cooperative partnerships that foster development of a unified sense of community and community purpose along the Route 66 corridor. This has led to the development of some delightful friendships, and in a few instances, finding my diplomacy skills sorely tested.
Intertwined with this are the mundane things that dominate daily life; family issues, employment problems, deadlines, meetings, age related issues, etc. 
In the grand scheme of things my dearest friend and I are blessed. The mundane things and the frustrations of life are adequately balanced with the joy of dinners shared with friends, friendships made, and ample opportunity to indulge in the things we enjoy.
The past seven days are a near perfect microcosm of a living life intertwined with the wonder and allure of the legendary double six.
Last weekend was dominated with storm damage clean up, a trip to the library, an afternoon barbecue with my dearest friend, dinner with friends at Chilli' on Beale, assistance with the development of the fast approaching Route 66 International Festival, and assorted tasks associated with what promised to be a very busy weekend.
Monday morning at the office was, as usual, rather chaotic. Respite came in the form of Dale Butel's summer tour from the land down under.
Tuesday was a veritable whirlwind of activity that began with an interview on the Ray Carr program in Cleveland. A change in schedule initially created a few issues but the interview went off without a hitch but at 5:30, not 4:15.
The ongoing issues at the office escalated when my son announced he had accepted a position with another company. Even though he only worked in my division of the company three hours a day, his departure means that as of the 31st, my staff consists of one - me, with a young lady to operate the office from 8:00 to noon on Saturday.
That evening, immediately after work, Dora Manley hosted a meeting pertaining to the Route 66 International Festival. My dearest friend and I followed this with a most wonderful dinner and an evening of conversation shared with Hanneke Wiersma and Karl Kuperus, and their U.S. Biker tour from the Netherlands.
The Chinese tour of Route 66 organized by
Open Road Productions
Wednesday was another early start as I had promised to meet with Karl's tour before they departed. A young lady had requested one of my books the evening before, and a number of the travelers had an array of questions pertaining to the groups forthcoming adventure east along Route 66, and then to Jerome. 
Amply sprinkled throughout the entire week were a litany of festival related issues and problems to resolve. The most maddening of these was the need to diplomatically attempt to placate people demanding preferential treatment, or promised assistance that never materialized.
Friday was quite interesting. I had facilitated a lunch at the Powerhouse Visitor Center organized by Dora Manley for Rick Thomas of Open Road Productions who had developed a Route 66 tour for a group from China.
Language barriers made my presentation before the group a bit of a challenge. One or two carefully chosen lines, the interpreter with the bullhorn would translate, then I would speak another couple of lines. 
Still, it was a most fascinating venture. The people were most cordial, and they posed questions that indicated a serious interest in Route 66 and reflected their fascination with all they had experienced on their American adventure.
I signed books, posed for pictures, signed hats, arranged for our visitors to have their picture taken with vintage cars, and in general had a good time. There is an infectious enthusiasm among travelers on Route 66 that is an invigorating tonic.    
A replay will take place on August 4. Open Road Productions will be leading another Chinese tour through Kingman, this time from west to east.
The week will close out, I hope, on a relaxing and productive note. On the list is a few thousand words written for the new book, a few festival related items, barbecue with my brother in law, finish cleaning the site of my former workshop, and, perhaps, just a bit of relaxation. 
Next week I will post a number of festival details. I hope that you will be able to attend as it is shaping up to be a fun filled weekend.
For me the most exciting aspect of the festival is the unprecedented Route 66 Crossroads of the Past and Future. To the best of my knowledge there hasn't been a conference with representatives from almost all of the state associations along the Route 66 corridor in decades.
I do know that this is the first time representatives from the international community have been given an opportunity to share and provide input about the future of Route 66. I also know it will be the first time that representatives from the electric vehicle community will be making similar contributions.       


My Photo

I was born in North Carolina but am a product of the desert southwest with its vast, panoramic landscapes where spires of weathered stone cast long shadows under cloudless skies. It was there that I became enamored with the road less traveled, adventures on those forgotten roads, and the people you meet along the way.
For more than forty years I have explored the hidden places, the forgotten places, hungered for the colorful history found there, and sought the empty highways and dusty tracks that were once pathways to opportunity and the land of dreams.
These adventures and a fascination for the history of the formative years of the American automobile industry, and the resultant societal evolution, are the foundational elements of my published work. This work includes a former position as associate editor with Cars & Parts magazine and a monthly column, The Independent Thinker, and more than one thousand feature articles for various magazines and newspapers.
Additionally, I have written more than ten books that reflect these interests and chronicle my adventures including Checker Cab Manufacturing Company Illustrated History, The Big Book of Car Culture, Backroads of Arizona, Route 66 Backroads, Ghost Towns of the Southwest, Ghost Towns of Route 66, Route 66 Treasures, and The Route 66 Encyclopedia.
Meeting with tour groups, speaking engagements, providing travel planning assistance, and lectures round out what has become known as affectionately as Jim Hinckley's America.
In addition, my wife and I are also photographers with a lengthy and colorful resume of work appearing in magazines and books, on corporate websites, in a wide array of promotional material, and now, a photo exhibition in the Czech Republic. Our prints are currently sold through a limited partnership with Legends of America.
This would include prints of photos appearing on our blog, Route 66 Chronicles.

Author Jim Hinckley

Author Jim Hinckley
Somewhere on the road less traveled

Jim Hinckley

Jim Hinckley
Jim Hinckley in his native habitat, the road less traveled

Follow the camels!

Follow the camels!
Follow the camels to Kingman


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