Notes from the Road, 8 of 10

Friday 8/9/96 8:30 PM PDST
Kingman, AZ

I had business which kept me in the L.A. area until close to noon which is an idiotic time to head out into the desert, but then my 2nd grade teach always said I was a little slow. I don't know how hot it was today in the Mojave Desert, but I passed a clove hoofed gentleman with a pitch fork hitch hiking outside of Ludlow, CA.

I've crossed the Mojave by motorcycle quite a few times and this is my tip for crossing the great Joshua treed expanse. Douse yourself down with water and then cover up. I know some of you desert-wise Presidents will know how to do it better, but I usually wear a thick cotton t-shirt and jeans. The cotton seems to soak in the water good. For a cover I wear a light bicycle wind breaker which has vents. The evaporation provides a reasonably good cooling system. You have to stop now and then re-douse yourself, but it beats broiling along uncomforted.

One thing I had never noticed until this trip was that travelers through the years have literally left their tracks as signs of their passing. Well, maybe I should have said their tread. The side of the road is littered with the tread and carcasses of tires that couldn't take it any more. I'm not just talking about a few retread strips left from tractor-trailers. Rubber garnishes every foot of the side of the road from Victorville to Kingman.

The Mojave is one serious desert. By the time I got to Kingman I was ready to holler "uncle." When queried, the motel desk clerk told me that the best steak in town was at the Dambar Saloon and Steakhouse. I didn't try any of the other places in town to compare, but they definitely know how to prepare dead cow. There were at least three local calendars prominent displayed (see "Blue Highways" by Least Heat Moon) and the clientele was local yokel. I consider both to be a good sign of eatable roadside grub. If you ever through that way around supper time, check it out.

Terry Turnbeaugh
Aurora, Colorado USA

"The ideas and concepts which best repay critical examination
are those which for the longest period have remained unquestioned."

-adapted from Alfred North Whitehead

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