Saturday, April 19, 2014


Another week has been transformed into history with astounding speed. In light of the wide array of activities on the calendar, I have little doubt that the weekend will be joining it just as quickly.
On the "to do" list this weekend is providing Dave and Kathy Alexander some photographs from Texas for the Jim Hinckley's America gallery on the Legends of America website. This is the official source for ordering prints of our photographic work in a variety of sizes. A slide show is available here -
The Legends of America website is an interesting blend of museum, archive, and grandma's attic. Your challenge for the weekend, try limiting time spent exploring the site to a half hour.
My original plan was to begin demolition slash renovation of the front bathroom this weekend but that has been postponed for at least a week. Instead there is the first edition of Chillin' on Beale (would you like to join us?) in the Kingman historic district one block north of Andy Devine Avenue (Route 66) this evening (an opportunity to visit with friends that have been in hibernation), enjoy a bit of good food at Redneck's Southern Barbecue, and a lunch visit with Wolfgang and Anja of the German Route 66 Association.
Searching for things will also consume a bit of time this weekend. I need to tie my butt to the chair and dedicate a few hours to perusing newspaper archives in search of information for the current book project about the evolution of the American taxi industry.
And now for a change in direction -
I was half way through today's posting early this morning when the schedule was tossed from the window. As this happens with a certain degree of regularity in my life it is now considered normal.
First was an eagerly anticipated call from Pat Foster, an acclaimed automotive journalist who is the guru for post war independent automobile manufacturer information and the undisputed repository for all things AMC related. As the current book project includes documenting a bit of history about taxi cabs built by Packard, Nash, AMC, Studebaker, and even Hudson, this was an exciting conversation. Of course, any conversation with Pat is interesting. 
In taking his call I noticed two text messages from last evening. My fill in at the office on Saturday's was down with the flu. Needless to say this changed a few of the mornings plans. 
Then I received a phone call from Roger Allison who is on the road leading the inaugural Route 66 adventure for Gilligan's Wild West Tours, a New Zealand based company. As there have been a few glitches, Roger and I have had numerous phone conversations this past few days. 
This mornings glitch took the form of Roger being at the El Rancho Motel in Gallup and feeling as though he was coming down with the flu. I share this with you today to illustrate a point about the unique nature of the Route 66 community. 
A New Mexico motel owner and I have been following this tour as it has tremendous potential for the road, and we share a vested concern that the people who travel iconic Route 66 need to have a memorable as well as enjoyable experience. When learning that Roger was feeling under the weather, this motel owner offered to drive to Gallup, and assist with the tour across Arizona. That, my friends, is what makes Route 66 a truly unique experience.
With that said, if I am gone to make hay while the sun is shining...


Wednesday, April 16, 2014


As questions about the Route 66 International Festival scheduled for August 14th through 17th dominate my inbox, lets start with a few updates. Last evening the Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce hosted an organizational meeting and things are starting to really take shape. 
The historic district will be the primary focal point for the event. Even though there is a wide array of parking facilities in the area, and plans include providing maps in the program guides, access to the area is rather constricted even without street closures and a major event. 
So, to facilitate traffic flow and to ensure visitors can enjoy events in the historic district as well as other activities such as the film festival with a minimum amount of frustration, KART (the city bus service) is working with the chamber of commerce to develop a special festival route. A key component will be providing service from centralized parking areas such as the Mohave County Fairgrounds. 
A rough outline for activity locations has been set but as development evolves, I am quite sure there will be adjustments. In essence there will be two groups of activities separated by about four blocks. Linking them will be various displays. 
At the west end anchored by the Powerhouse Visitor Center, site for the historic electric vehicle exhibition, Metcalf Park and Locomotive Park will serve as the venue for vendors and the stage for the musical entertainment. At the other end, roughly between Fourth and Sixth Street on Andy Devine Avenue the railroad depot will have a special exhibit including a few displays pertaining to area railroad history and extensive model railroading exhibits, TNT Automotive will host a VW "bug fest" as well as Bob Waldmire exhibition, and there will be related vendors and a Redneck's Southern Barbecue catering truck. 
One block up, on Beale Street, there will be the artists, authors including Bob "Boze" Bell, Michael Wallis, Joe Sonderman, and other acclaimed authors), collectors, and Route 66 association exhibition. There will also be expanded activities at the Cellar Door, Black Bridge Brewery, and restaurants.
There will be two evenings (Friday and Saturday) for special editions of the low key Chillin' on Beale. There will also be special exhibits on Beale Street. 
Next, the film festival. Rob Chilcoate is ramrodding this aspect of the festival and he is doing a masterful job. This link is for a story that provides a few details which appeared recently in the Kingman Daily Miner.
There is ample space at this time for vendors. However, I should note that registration for spaces is escalating so if this is of interest, you might want to make arrangements soon. Here is a link for more information as well as the required forms.
At this time I do not have any additional details pertaining to the awards banquet that will be hosted by the Route 66 Alliance. I can, however, tell you that there will be one, and that details will be made available soon. 
A very exciting component for this years festival will be a Route 66 conference that includes representatives from various state associations, people associated with property and infrastructure preservation, and various Route 66 "celebrities" talking about ways to ensure the roads relevance for future generations. There will also be number of speakers form the electric vehicle community, a primary key to moving Route 66 into the future.   
For general information about the festival the Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce is the primary contact. The phone number is (928)753-6253.
The chamber of commerce in Holbrook is developing a companion event for the weekend before the festival in Kingman. I will be talking with Kathleen Smith in Holbrook next week and should be able to provide information afterwards.
In the southwest, before either event takes place the focus will be on Kingman during the first weekend in May for the annual Route 66 Fun Run, and on Tucumcari for the Rockabilly on the Route festival in June. Both events will capture the very essence of the Route 66 experience and, if possible, should be included in the development of a travel calendar.
As always, if I may be of assistance in regard to the planning of a Route 66 adventure, to planning participation in the festival, or to answer related questions, just drop me a note.  


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.

Jim Hinckley

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

Author Jim Hinckley

Author Jim Hinckley
Somewhere on the road less traveled

Jim Hinckley on Legends of America

Did you know that Henry Ford played a pivotal role in the establishment of Cadillac? Did you know that the Stanley brothers of steamer fame were responsible for the creation of Eastman Kodak? Did you know the original Chevrolet was an import? Did you know that cruise control was the creation of a blind inventor? Did you know that Buffalo Bill Cody drove a Michigan? Did you know that there are two ghost towns on Route 66 that have origins linked to the Santa Fe Trail? Did you know that there was only one lynching in Tombstone? As a fan of the Legends of America website for a number of years, it gives me great pleasure to announce that as a contributor I will be able to add stories such as these to this vast online treasure trove.


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