By Chuck Woodbury
It’s been another week of hanging out in an RV park in Kingman, Arizona, as time marches on. One day blends into another. We watch the death tolls mount on our TV and computers, wondering what’s ahead for all of us.
Our little adopted terrier, Archie, keeps us entertained. He’s two years old and likes to play. We throw his ball from one end of the motorhome to the other giving him just enough room to sprint after it and then sprint back. It’s not his only exercise, but it’s not bad when we’re stuck inside for hours on end. What a fun little buddy he is! Dogs are such wonderful creatures. I had not had one for about 15 years until Archie, and I had forgotten how quickly they steal your heart.
Speaking of Archie, I have to tell you a funny story. About three weeks ago, before the state locked up some of its public places, Gail took Archie to Kingman Dog Park. Archie thoroughly enjoys smelling all the dog pee and poop there, always making a few contributions before he leaves — his duty as a dog.
This time, as he and Gail were leaving, a guy in a pickup rolled down his window and yelled “Hi, Archie!” He was an RV Travel reader and recognized Archie and Gail, and put the pieces together. How about that?
GAIL AND I TAKE WALKS around the neighborhood almost every evening except when wine beckons, when we sit outside in the warm summer-like evenings and talk about whatever we normally talk about, plus whatever the wine brings out. People walk by and some stop to talk. We know our neighbors on both sides now. We keep our distance, but normal talk from six to eight feet away works fine. Our neighbors in the driver’s side of our RV are here on a temporary assignment. He repairs wind machines. He was working 7 days a week, but parts for the giant windmills are in short supply, so he’s been cut back to five days.
They have a small daughter, perhaps five, who plays with a friend in the park. Gail decided today to make yarn dolls for them. I don’t know the young girls at all, due to my near total self-isolation. I love little girls (I guess from being the father of a daughter), so I feel disappointed I can’t be sort of a temporary “uncle” to them, as I might in other times.
We walked into historic Kingman the other evening. It’s less than a mile away. There was nobody around, all businesses locked up. A very appealing brew-pub was closed; I thought on such a warm evening it would be packed in other times.
I felt very sorry for all the mom-and-pop businesses, which I know are struggling to stay alive in normal times in the small town, bypassed years ago by I-40. Route 66 ran right through town in its heyday. I don’t know when this pandemic is over that any of those stores will come back, so sad. . .
I loved the motto of the Have a Great Hair Day Salon, “Get Your Clips on Route 66.”
Route 66 is still popular with road trip fans — these days those from Europe, China and Japan. But not right now. The stretch east of where I am living is the largest uninterrupted section of the Mother Road in the country. I was through three years ago and sad to see that many of the small businesses still open ten years ago were closed, finally done in by the Interstate.
One thing that Gail and I do often is star gaze. I was puzzled the other night as I looked into the southwest sky. I could swear that a star was blinking red, white and green. Maybe it was a satellite. Maybe it was a helicopter hovering in place miles away. But probably it was just my imagination.
I got out my binoculars. Sure enough the light was blinking the three colors. What the heck?
Well, Gail hopped right on her iPhone and did a little searching. And low and behold it was a star and it was, indeed, flashing colors. Its name is Sirius, the Dog Star. It’s the only star that is bright enough here on Earth that its light gets refracted into a tiny, tiny “rainbow” in a way that we can see. It’s roughly 8.5 light years away, making it one of the closest stars to us. How about that? How could I have missed knowing that after 40 years of star gazing?
So, confusion remedied.
We took two hikes this past week, one close by in the desert, the other 12 miles into the mountains, in the pines at more than 6,000 feet. When we left our motorhome the temperature was 95. Within a half hour it had dropped to 81. We paid $10 to enter Hualapai Mountain Park. Dry camping is available for $20 a night, but I don’t think I would try it in an RV longer than 24 feet. There are several rock cabins from the 1930s that looked totally wonderful. I bet some families have stayed in them for generations. We hiked for about a mile beneath the tall pines and by giant granite boulders.
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Okay, it’s Friday night, so I’d better wrap up. Tomorrow’s newsletter is almost complete. I finished my part at about 4 p.m., and now Diane McGovern will take over, adding content, proofing for typos and fixing goofs that the rest of us made along the way.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend wherever you are. Please be safe. One day, this crisis will end. And then we can again go about our normal play and appreciate it more than ever.