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Join Jim Hinckley for adventures on Route 66, two lane back roads, and along ancient cobblestone streets in medieval German villages, and meet some interesting people along the way. Travel tips, book reviews, tall tales, and a signature sense of humor ensure miles of smiles.

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Monday, September 26, 2016

GOOD FRIENDS, GOOD TIMES, GRAND ADVENTURES, AND EXCITING TIMES

The good folks at the City of Kingman, Josh Noble, the tourism director, Ray Cullison and the Kingsmen, and the volunteers who labored so hard to make the recent Best of the West on 66 Festival a success deserve a hearty thank you.
It was a delightful and fun filled event that my dearest friend and I enjoyed immensely. Even better, it was an event that was shared with, and enjoyed by friends from the Netherlands. 
Though the event evolved from the rather successful 2014 Route 66 International Festival, it has some rather interesting roots. 
Published in 1946, A Guide Book to Highway 66  by Jack Rittenhouse had a rather lengthy entry on Kingman. "Each September, the citizens of Kingman celebrate their famous "Dig-N-Dogie Days" in a rodeo which combines cowboy contests with miners' events. Since Kingman lies on the margin between cattle country to the east and the mining country to the west, the event draws a wide audience of local folks as well as many outside visitors. Only working cowboys can enter the riding contests ..."
Somewhere along the line, the miners contests fell by the wayside. The name was changed to Andy Devine Days, an honorarium for the towns' favorite son and the name sake for the Route 66 corridor through town. 
Still, the Best of the West of 66 Festival preserves the spirit of the original celebration, and the sense of community noted by Rittenhouse is highlighted.
Political squabbles are given a rest as the mayor and mayoral candidate participate in the parade that courses through an historic business district lined with spectators, and cowboys, now mostly professionals, still kick up the dust at the Mohave County Fairgrounds. 
With the Route 66 International Festival that had the theme of Kingman: Crossroads of the Past and Future, a new dimension was added. In partnership with the Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation, the world's first electric vehicle museum was established. Also, a Route 66 Walk of Fame to honor the people that have contributed to the transformation of this highway into an icon was unveiled.
At the festival in 2014, the international nature of the Route 66 community in the 21st century was on display at an historic and unprecedented conference that featured representatives from several European Route 66 associations. This year it was the grand marshals, Dries and Marion Bessels of the Dutch Route 66 Walk of Fame and inductees into the walk of fame in 2015. 
Frank Kocevar, developer of the Route 66 Experience website did a masterful job of capturing the historic event on video.
The Best of the West on 66 Festival was but one manifestation of how Kingman, Arizona was transformed by the 2014 Route 66 International Festival. 
The long dormant Route 66 Association of Kingman was reactivated shortly after that event, and has become a leader in historic district revitalization initiatives, in the fostering of a sense of community purpose, the marketing of Kingman internationally, and an array of beautification projects. 
As examples, in partnership with the local True Value store, the Hualapai Tribe, and Legacy Signs, the organization launched an ongoing graffiti clean up program, a mural program, and neon sign restoration program. They have also contributed signs for organizations and businesses such as Luv of Paws and Route 66 Car Wash.
In partnership with the Graves family, the facade renovation at the Old Trails Garage, a current project, is generating tremendous international interest.
In large part this is resultant of the recovery and restoration of a towering circa 1930 neon lit Packard sign that hasn't seen the sun since the 1940's. The lighting of this sign will surely serve as a catalyst for revitalization a block that is at the heart of the historic business district.
Good times and good friends were the order of the day this past weekend. I didn't expect anything different. After all, these are exciting times in Kingman, Arizona.   

      

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BOOK OF THE WEEK

Most of the products that I review, or books that I suggest, are travel related. This week I am deviating a bit. This book is a bit dry and scholarly, and it is written more for a British than American reader. On occasion it is a bit to succinct. Those caveats aside, I highly recommend this book, especially if your curious about the origins of the morass that is never ending conflict in the Middle East, the foundations of the EU, or the chain of events that gave rise to the Third Reich. However, what really makes this book a superb read and study is the timely nature of the content. In fact, I would go so far as to say that its relevance for the modern era is a bit unnerving. On the Great Depression, "Serious economic weakness within an unstable and imbalanced economy, magnified by nationalist protectionism and glorified self-interest, offered no firm basis for staving off the shock waves from across the Atlantic. Cultural divisions fostered extensive levels of prejudice and vitriol that could easily be exploited should there be a downturn in the social or intellectual climate." On the origins of World War I, "In most countries the imagery of enemies, internal as well as external, was built into political rhetoric that was reaching new levels of aggression. The mass media stirred animosities - usually intensely xenophobic and often out rightly racist - that governments were glad to encourage."

Jim Hinckley's America - Podcast

Jim Hinckley's America - Podcast

Jim Hinckley's America : Adventures on Route 66 and the back roads of America with author Jim Hinckley...

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Jim Hinckley's America: Legends of America Photo Prints

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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.

MY BOOK SHELF

Jim's bookshelf: read

Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest
John Adams
Black Range Tales
The Kalamazoo Automobilist
Original Intent: The Courts, the Constitution, & Religion
Half a Wing, Three Engines and a Prayer
Classic Chevrolet Dealerships: Selling the Bowtie
By Motor to the Golden Gate
The Last Convertible
Chrysler, Ford, Durant and Sloan: Founding Giants of the American Automotive Industry
Virgil Exner: Visioneer: The official biography of Virgil M. Exner, designer extraordinaire
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany
Common Sense, The Rights of Man and Other Essential Writings of Thomas Paine
Legendary Route 66: A Journey Through Time Along America's Mother Road
The Diary of a Young Girl
Five Lies of the Century
Flyboys: A True Story of Courage
Two Years Before the Mast: A Sailor's Life at Sea
The Hiding Place
The Best of Robert Service


Jim's favorite books »

The Jim Hinckley Collection on Amazon.com