Route 66 tours tap big market, Kingman historian says
The El Trovatore Motel continues to upgrade its services in the spirit of Route 66.
Owners Sam and Monica Frisher have spent months getting their neon signs to glow once again, transforming their rooms into Hollywood-themed novelties and making the outside of their business much more aesthetically inviting to passers-by. With the help of local Route 66 historian, photographer and author Jim Hinckley, they've now created the "Kingman to Seligman Legendary Route 66 Adventure Tours."
"This is well overdue in Kingman," Hinckley said. "The potential for this is as unlimited as the imagination."
The all-inclusive tour starts in Kingman at the El Trovatore. From there, with either Hinckley or someone trained by Hinckley serving as the guide, the tour heads to the Grand Canyon Caverns. There, a tour guide will lead you 21 stories down into the nation's largest dry cave.
Then it's on to Seligman - a Route 66 town since 1895 - for lunch and more history. On the way back, stops at the Hackberry General Store, the Kingman Army Airfield Museum, the Desert Diamond Distillery and the Powerhouse Visitors Center will conclude the tour.
September 30 will be the first official "Legendary Tour," Sam said. The plan is to have one once every two weeks, and if there's enough interest, the Frishers will start hosting them weekly.
They begin promptly at 8:30 a.m. and last until roughly 5:30 p.m.
"Hopefully this is the start of many, many tours," Sam said.
The Frishers hosted an unofficial tour this past weekend for several locals and even some out-of-towners.
"There were a few bumps but nothing real serious," Hinckley said. "That's why it was the maiden voyage."
People from the Illinois and Kansas Route 66 associations were able to take the tour, and Hinckley said they were impressed.
"They had such a great time, they stayed an extra day in Kingman," Hinckley said.
The benefits of the tour are extensive, he said.
For those planning to re-locate to Kingman as well as for those who moved here recently, the tour is an ideal way to get introduced to the area, he said.
Then there's getting tourists to stay here for a day or two.
"Kingman has the greatest undeveloped tourism potential of any place on Route 66," Hinckley said. "This is a step in the right direction, and there's a lot of potential for expansion."
Think ghost tours or Fort Beale tours when you consider how the service can be expanded.
Hinckley, with his never-ending knowledge of the Mother Road, will serve as the tour guide on days when it doesn't conflict with his day job. Whether or not he's physically involved in every single tour won't change the fact that his fingerprints are all over it.
Hinckley promises to have it all set up for whomever serves as the tour guide on a given day.
People who take the tour will also receive one of Hinckley's published Route 66 books. They will be autographed.
Though dates have yet to be set in stone, you can get more information about the tour, including pricing, by calling the motel at (928) 753-6520.
"It's important for people to see what this area really has to offer," Sam said.