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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Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Silver tongued wordsmith Ned Jordan of the Jordan Motor Car Company was well known for his prose and ability to create evocative, emotion stirring advertisement. In its time his Somewhere West of Laramie piece was as well known as Dinah Shore encouraging folks to see the U.S.A. in their Chevrolet. 
Several days ago I was contemplating the current state of Route 66, its future, and its fast approaching centennial. As I waited to flip the garlic and onion filled burgers my thoughts began to wander as they often do at such times and soon I was contemplating what Ned Jordan would do to promote this road. How would he attract a younger, more diverse audience? 
In 1927, the road was promoted as the Main Street of America. In 1946 people were encouraged to get their kicks on Route 66. 
While both slogans remain relevant and popular, they are also sepia toned with a bit of fraying around the edges. What new slogan or promotion inspires adventure on the double six today? What slogan, as with the road itself, aptly bridges the gap between the past and future today? 
Professor Nick Gerlich, a fellow Route 66 enthusiast with a devotion to unraveling the mystery of successful marketing may wish to chime in here. My thinking seems to be rooted in the type of marketing that pushed poor Dobbins from the streets and filled them with clanking, smoking Fords and Buick's, Jordan's and Studebaker's. 
Scattered here and there among the international legion of Route 66 enthusiasts are fresh young faces not yet creased by the passing of the years. They are the ghost of Christmas future on the legendary double six. They hold the key to successfully marketing this iconic old highway and keeping it alive for the second century.
Zdnek and Eva Jurasek of the Czech Route 66
Watch this clip of Kumar Patel with Harry Smith of NBC News on Route 66. Listen to the honest reverence for this storied old two lane highway; that is the future of Route 66, that is the voice of the next generation of stewards.
Watch a few of these videos that chronicle the adventures of "Roamin'" Rich Dinkela. This is how to lure a younger generation through the promise of adventure, this is another steward that will ensure the road is as popular in its second century as it was in the first.
Take the time to visit with Chris and Katie Robleski, examine with a critical eye their innovative photographic work at Fading Nostalgia, bask in their enthusiasm for the road less traveled and legendary Route 66, and imagine the scores of future adventurers that they will inspire. Here too we see the ghost of Christmas future.   
Route 66 may be an American treasure but the passion it inspires is international in nature. The army of enthusiasts from France and New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands, Norway and the Czech Republic who seek an authentic American experience on this old road that has become America's longest attraction are also the ghost of Christmas future. 
Their infectious passion and enthusiasm challenges Americans to be caretakers and stewards, adventurers and historians. It also inspires a hunger to ignite a passion in a new generation of caretakers for the treasures of Route 66. 
I am not sure what the slogan for the new century will be. I only know that the old road is in good hands for another century as long as folks like Kumar and Rich, Kevin and Rick, Chris and Katie, Karel and Hanneke, Jeroen and Maggie, Oscar and Daniel share their enthusiasm and passion for the legendary double six.    
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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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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.


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

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