I have reviewed another book by author Jim Hinckley and photographer Kerrick James (about Route 66), so I knew what to expect. A high-quality picture travelogue with images of the past and the present. Images that charm and mystify and eloquently tell the story of the state of Arizona.
The state might be the epitome of the historic Wild West but the young Jim Hinkley was less than impressed when he arrived with his parents in 1966. He says it was a place warned about in Sunday school. Well, that’s a notion that might attract as many people as it would deter.
The author came to love the space and majestic beauty of Arizona and has been sufficiently enamoured by it to remain there, marry and bring up his son. It has everything that either an American or overseas tourist could wish for. Rocks, deserts, oases, ghost towns, London Bridge, cowboy cemeteries… What was that about a bridge? Surely you jest? No, dear reader, I do not. London Bridge was sold to America, was dismantled and rebuilt at Lake Havasu City. There is a rumour back in London that the buyers thought they were purchasing Tower Bridge. Ooops!
There is a deal of rustic humour here. The author has a picture of a grave in Boot Hill. It reads: “Here Lies Lester Moore, Four Slugs From a 44 No Les No More.” And a nice view of the gallows at the courtyard. Perhaps the shots (if you pardon the pun) are connected. Those who missed the drop could contemplate their misdemeanours in the comfort (here I do jest) of Yuma Territorial Prison.
Backroads of Arizona offers four routes, each one with its own attraction and charm. There are maps and plenty of historic background information. The photographs give a real and striking impression of this time-capsule of a state. There are horses, trading posts, Indian ruins, cactus and everything you would have seen in a John Ford Western. This isn’t, however, a film set. This is a view of your next vacation.
Backroads of Arizona
Author: Jim Hinckley
Published by: Voyageur Press
Price: $21.99, £12.99
Travel book review by Chrissie Walker © 2018