Tuesday, September 22, 2009

California or Bust!

22 September. Kingman, Arizona, 6am.

The camper has been rocking for the past hour or so as one by one we have begun to stir. For those keeping abreast of our progress, I thought I would share an excerpt from one of the travel guides about what’s in store for us today. (After the logistical maneuvering of dropping off vehicles and campers at points south and west and returning to Kingman to begin our westward progress in earnest). I love this description:

"If you fancy yourself something of a canyon buster, the run over Sitgreaves Pass into Oatman may be just what you’ve been waiting for. Especially if you’ve dreamed of the twisties on the famous Stelvio Road in the Alps, but cannot yet make the fare to Europe.

All right, then, just imagine an alpine road dropped down into the middle of the American desert. Instead of black ice and maniacal Italian bus drivers, here you’ll be dealing with scattered patches of shoulder gravel, rock-hounds in 4x4s, and the occasional band of wide-angle choppers. Still, it’s often said that the highway surface, curves, and gradients are a miniature version of the Stlevio run.

In the old days, when cars and trucks had little power, even in first gear, the only way up the 3,500-foot grade from Oatman east was in reverse – a craft mastered so well by locals that they could do it at top speed, by rearview mirror only, while dangling one arm loosely out the window. So, as you drive these marvelous old switchbacks, imagine how city-bred easterners must have felt when they veered into a blind, cliff-hanging curve, only to encounter some mad local coming full steam up the mountain backward. Commercial laundries at the bottom of the hill must have done a hell of a business."

So... off we go! Talk to you again from California!

Love-n-Laughter, Lori :)

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