Thursday, June 18, 2009

Night Shift To Kingman

The drive from Wickenburg, AZ to Kingman cuts through the Joshua Tree National Forest on Route 93.  A 128 mile stretch of blacktop that until very recently was known as one of the most deadly stretches of highway in America.  Heading Northwest out of Wickenburg the GPS put arriving in Kingman in a little over 2.5 hours.  The gas was between a half and quarter tank and I was doing fine.

Only in Arizona are gas stations spaced out in distances of nearly a full tank range.  Only in the Impala is the last quarter of a tank an optimistic measure of fuel.  There wasn't enough to go back to Wickenburg up the 6% grade, Wickieup was potentially out of range.  Wickieup might have had a gas station.  While the GPS listed one in Bagdad its phone number was out of service.  It became the decision between going farther than the cars range hoping the downhill would outnumber the uphill to hopefully find gas, or to drive a half hour through open range cattle on a small county road to find a gas station that was potentially out of business.  

Open range driving on curvy rural canyon roads while stressed, fatigued and running on fumes is not advisable.  After nearly taking out several head of cattle and bottoming out on washed out roads I arrived in one of Arizona's few remaining company towns.  Bagdad isn't a pretty town, but neither is sleeping along the side of a dark desert road.  

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