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11:29 AM Mon, Oct. 22nd

Marvin's Window: Vacations take time to enjoy

As I looked out my window, actually the windshield, during a 4,500-mile trip through 13 states from Arizona to Detroit and return earlier this month, I wondered what would stop me.

Vacation time is always limited and every hour spent on the highway between destinations takes away from the time available to visit with friends and relatives.

We budgeted a daily goal of miles to travel that left time only for stops for gas, food and sleep.

Time to stop and smell the flowers (visit the tourist sights) were limited.

As we sped down the interstates, I wondered what it would take to get me stopped if I were a tourist speeding toward Kingman.

Obviously, motels, gasoline stations and restaurants would get some business each day.

But, why stop in Kingman-or any of the hundred or so places that were potential options?

Time and distance dictate some of the choices.

A factory outlet mall with an older, single level motel and a view stopped us in the middle of Iowa.

That proved to be a good choice for us.

Some people do more planning of stops before beginning a trip.

Friends wanting to continue an exercise program while on the road booked motels ahead where workout facilities were available.

We made an unscheduled stop to see a wooden bridge in Illinois because the movie Bridges of Madison County piqued that interest.

High water, time and distance kept us from traveling off the interstate in the same area to see Ronald Reagan's birthplace.

We did stop at a rest stop near the birthplace of Herbert Hoover.

The information at the stop made it almost as good as taking time for the jaunt to the local town.

The combination of living near Hoover Dam and growing up in the same town in Oregon where Hoover spent several boyhood years sparked that interest.

If you are the local tourism director trying to get me to stop, I am driving you crazy trying to figure out which of my many quirks would be your key marketing tool!

I can give that tourism director a couple of more useful clues.

My first trip through Kingman was to get from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon on the way home from a long trip.

The Grand Canyon is the most visited spot in America and closer to Kingman than I thought before I moved here.

Las Vegas is a great draw from all over the world.

Of course, Kingman is still the "Heart of Route 66."

Can Kingman tourism stop more people headed for Vegas and the Grand Canyon?

I took a Route 66 guidebook with me because we traveled it from Kingman to a few miles east of St.

Louis.

Did you ever try to read a guidebook upside down and backwards? The guidebook I had sure assumed everyone traveled from Chicago west to Los Angeles!

Someone who appeared to get lost west of Albuquerque wrote the specific book I used.

Arizona and California were barely mentioned and the section of Route 66 from Seligman through Kingman and Oatman was not mentioned.

I attended a meeting of Arizona highway tourism researchers who had looked at Route 66 in the state.

Their time was spent in the Flagstaff area and east to New Mexico.

The picture they showed of Kingman was from somewhere else!

I have often wondered why the recently celebrated 75th anniversary of Route 66 did not rate a special issue of Arizona Highways-or at least some mention.

Maybe those of us living here have not recognized the tourism potential either.

A few years ago, I spent a week on a cruise taking meals with a couple from England who lived just outside London.

London is still high on my travel list.

The man worked in the town where Princess Diane is buried.

I asked them what I should visit as a tourist in London and England.

"There is nothing to see in London," she replied!

I was astounded.

Then, I began to think about hometowns across America, including

Marvin Robertson is the city hall and transportation reporter for the Miner.