Day one in Kingman.
We’re in Kingman, camping out in a dusty parking lot on the opposite side of a fence from a carnival. My helicopter is parked about 200 feet away, next to a pile of manure. (I really can’t make this stuff up.)
The flight up here was just as I expected: long, hot, and bumpy. It was actually longer and bumpier than I expected but not quite as hot. That’s a good thing because I had all four doors on so I could maximize my speed and minimize my flight time.
The bumps were due to the wind. It was howling at Kingman when I arrived. It always is. This has to be one of the windiest places in Arizona. The AWOS at Kingman airport reported the wind as 180 at 24 gusting to 32.
As usual, the people in charge of the fair had dragged the north parking lot with something that got up every last bit of vegetation. They must have done this at least a week ago so the barren dirt would have plenty of time to bake in the Arizona sun and turn into the fine powdery dust we’ve come to know and hate in Kingman. When I touched down in the parking lot, I blew up a cloud of dust that could probably be seen from space. I’m sure the folks who look at satellite photos are still trying to figure out what the hell happened in Kingman today.
Apparently someone had decided to clean out their horse trailer right in the middle of my landing zone. There’s a sizable pile of manure and hay about 5 feet in front of my helicopter. From the freshness of it, I’d say it was deposited last night or this morning. I’m hoping that if I ignore it, it’ll go away.
Of course, I beat Mike up here by a good 30 minutes. I passed him on route 93 just south of Wikieup. So when two kids started walking toward the helicopter while I was shutting down, I had to trust hand signals to keep them back. They were smart kids and waited until I shut down.
Later, I took them for a ride. They were my only two rides today.
That’s two more than Friday last year.
What’s surreal is our trip to Wal-Mart. We went in after dinner, at 9 PM. I thought they’d be closing, but the damn place is open 24 hours a day.
Why Wal-Mart? Where else can you get two marine batteries, a 50-foot drinking water hose, an RV level, a quart of milk and an apple pie at 9 PM?
The batteries are for the trailer. Have I mentioned that it’s jinxed? Today’s problems include the vent cover for the bathroom ceiling vent, which apparently flew off while Mike was driving up route 93 from Wickenburg, and the pair of “maintenance free” batteries, which cannot keep a charge despite the solar panel on the roof. (At least that didn’t fly off in transit. Yet.)
I took photos of the things in Wal-Mart that I thought were weird and immediately sent them to my TumbleLog:
- The row of about a dozen handicapped shopping carts plugged into wall sockets by the entrance. You know the ones I mean. Little scooters with big baskets on front. These things are meant for handicapped people, folks. Not fat slobs too lazy to walk the 5 acres of floor space.
- The entire supermarket aisle dedicated to Halloween candy. Hello? Does anyone in Wal-Mart headquarters realize that Halloween is still six weeks away? And yes, they did already have Christmas stuff out, too.
- The sign advertising “extended sizes” for only $2 more. Yes, this is why I feel thin when I’m in Wal-Mart. Because compared to other Wal-Mart shoppers, I am thin.
While I’m sure the extra-large martini I had with dinner (on an otherwise empty stomach, I might add) did make the Wal-Mart shopping experience a little more enjoyable, I still think it was weird.
But what I also think is weird is that the last time I was in Wal-Mart was a full year ago — in the same store, 130 road miles from my home.
Tomorrow is another Day
Dave and Darlene will be joining us tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll do a bunch of flying. This gig is usually good for about 150 rides over 3 days. A great way to start the season.
Look for more photos on my TumbleLog.
[composed in a travel trailer parked next to a carnival with ecto]