Day 20: August 15, 2014
Kingman Rocks

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After applying several techniques, including Google Earth, we figured out where the Route 66 Crossroads of the Past and Future Conference was being held then realized that it must be very close. The first picture is of the Mohave County Supervisor's Building, site of the conference, from in front of our motel room.

I didn't make it for the 8:00 opening but did catch the last part of Sharlene Fouser's presentation. Sharlene is with the Arizona Route 66 Association. Kaisa Barthuli, the National Park Service Route 66 Preservation Program Director, was up next. Among the projects she discussed was a soon to be released website revamping that will make much of the data collected by the program available. She also talked about the just released report of the World Monument Fund strategic roundtable held last November. The report, Route 66: The Road Ahead, is available here.

During the lunch break, I checked out a Bob Waldwire exhibit that included some of his early work. The Waldmire mural is on a building next to the exhibit.

After Wednesday's impromptu dinner gathering, Jim Hinckley took a small group on a walking tour of a few nearby blocks. Jim say he is often asked what remains like it was from his early days in Kingman and he usually points to the Sportsman Club. He also jokes that it is Kingman's version of skid row. Of course, one building makes a pretty short row plus, when I stopped there on the way back to the conference, I found it way too friendly and welcoming of strangers to be considered very skiddy.

The conference's afternoon sessions started off with a couple of "bikers". Richard Mouer spoke on the Arizona Route 66 Bicycle Corridor Development and Professor Nick Gerlich spoke about Bicycle Tourism. They were followed by Jim Thole from the Missouri Route 66 Association. Jim is a member of the committee that has successfully resurrected several neon signs including the Luna Cafe, in Mitchell, Illinois. He spoke about their various projects and explained that each was made possible by grants from the National Park Service Route 66 Preservation Program. The slide that he finished with and with which he opened the floor to questions was not taken on Route 66 but it was something I instantly recognized. "LET THERE BE NEON" is one of the many signs at the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati.

The conference presentations were streamed live on the internet and the video archived for future viewing. It can be found here.

After Thole's presentation, I headed to the Artists and Authors area. The fact that the presentations were being recorded made this decision easier for me and almost certainly reduced attendance in the auditorium to some degree since people could chose to take in some other festival activity while planning to watch the presentations later. That might have made some presenters think there was less interest than there was but is still a very good thing.

Near the entrance of the area, the signature covered hood from Rich Dinkela's truck was on display. Many Route 66 notables have signed that hood. In the summer of 2012, a group of five pipers and drummers traveled the length of Route 66 with the well received John MacDonald video, Pipes & Sticks on 66 resulting. Kilts and cowboy hats look pretty good together. There's an impressive amount of talent in that fourth picture with Akio Takeuchi, Jerry McClanahan, Shellee Graham, Jim Ross, and Bob "Crocodile" Lile. Shellee get some assistance from Akio and Jerry in the last photo.

The Road Crew was in town for two performances and I made sure I was there for every minute of the first one. Even though a Route 66 festival had always been this trip's destination, it seems like this music was what finally got me into a Route 66 frame of mind. Going West, a song from their first CD, is a favorite of mine that always gets me in the mood to travel the Route. Between home and here, the Dixie Highway and Old Spanish Trail had naturally been on my mind but, when the Road Crew launched into Going West, my Sixty-Six mood was firmly in place. Thanks Woody, Jason, Joe, and Don.

Two new Road Crew songs were debuted Friday night. I believe the band has written a song for every festival where they have performed and this year's offering, Kings of Kingman, got its first exposure at tonight's show. It's another great song that captures the spirit of the road. It was a second new song, however, that may have been the crowd favorite. The Tattoo Man (of Route 66) was written about and for Ron Jones whose Route 66 tattoo "collection" is well over a hundred and constantly growing. At the end of the song's first public performance, Ron was presented with a signed and framed copy of the lyrics. I don't know who the gal in the second picture is.

"Hey, Ron. Whatcha gonna do?"
"Ron's gonna get a new tattoo."

Goodnight, Kingman.

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