“As a remedy to life in society I would suggest the big city. Nowadays, it is the only desert within our means. “
The sun sinks low on the horizon of barren mountains. Hues of turn signal amber and transmission fluid blot against an already graying sky as you sink back in to your rocking chair. Holding a perfectly cheap glass of Cabernet you glance to the east and admire the fact that the lights twinkling in the sky are about twenty miles away. You take a sip and enjoy your distance, realizing that tomorrow, come nine am you’ll be back there, among those people. The citizens of the nearby town, the city of Kingman.
Is that person me? Maybe. Am I going to go into detail? Of course. Are you sick of me painting these pictures of desert landscape with words? Probably, however, I’ve been in a damn writing slump and I thought I’d try to knock myself out of it. I figured if I revisited something very familiar to me, describing scenery with words (if you’re not a member of the BMW CCA in Pennsylvania, you’re missing out on my latest piece that describes what it’s like to be young and sad driving along Lake Shore Drive north of Chicago….now THAT article paints a picture). Another hiccup in my normal writing routine has been the inner introvert has reared it’s ugly head, so much that I don’t even feel worthy of writing a damn blog post that maybe 20 people see.
Aside that, let’s talk about camels, UFO’s, and a hell of a lot of conspiracy theory. To pepper in a few self-relevant ideas and a really cool true story of a transmission shop would only ice the cake, right? Buckle in, I’m using bold type face…aka: Blogging Game Face Strategy 101.
The Hills Are Not What They Seem
The perky little city of Kingman Arizona sits an an advantage over ghost in every direction. Places like Yucca, Valentine, and even a place called Santa Claus didn’t survive. Interstate bypasses, a lack of interest in tourist traps, and a fallen through real estate investment scheme (look up Mohave Heights) renders these places pretty obsolete. Kingman had an advantage, being an epic stopping point along Route 66 back in the day, later a watering hole along 93, then a fuel stop along I-40. It survived when others struggled, a story of an ardent community, not letting itself become the cobweb ridden byway of the west.
Why, is the optimal question. Kingman itself is situated in a nice little nook, a low spot sort of, between areas of inhospitable terrain and desert. Upon standing in the middle of Beale Stret in downtown Kingman, you can look in any direction and see the vast, ominous sky above even more angry desert. The main drag is adorable, tiny shops creating revenue for a downtown that otherwise would have been boarded up years ago are littered between empty store fronts. Glazing of storefronts are like a checkerboard of dark and light, offering everything from amazing soap to crap that’s labeled “vintage”. It’s Anytown-USA. Why didn’t it die?
Let’s talk about the albatross about six miles from that adorable Main Street experience. Imagine you’re walking through Mayberry (which isn’t a bad parallel as far as little downtown drags go) and you head out towards Mount Pilot. You’re having a good time, windows down music from the local AM station 1070 Classic Country howling from behind, when all of a sudden it goes from malts to machine guns. Cruising down Route 66 you roll up on a military testing/training facility. Depending on the decade, you’re going to see a graveyard of spooky aircraft consuming acres of desert or actual planes with mounted gun-guys pointing machine guns.
Travel twelve miles further (in current time) to a land of opportunity, a land of milk and honey, a land of…off-gridders. You cruise at a comfortable 80 mph down Route 66 and notice the on the side of the road there are little, not even secondary roads, not even tertiary roads, but whatever comes after that. A mule path perhaps, but that leads to an actual domicile, a place a real live person inhabits. Miles from nowhere, and on an island more remote than Gilligan knew. As you progress the almost 60 miles down Route 66 between actual cities, you see this is very VERY common. There are people living up in those hills, next to those weird barren mountains. Dirt roads are your only choice should you choose to adventure off othe beaten path, however, there’s never a good reason to venture off that path. A pit of Mohave Green Rattlers are waiting to take a taste of your flesh.
But It’s A Dry Heat
How do you get people to move to such a desert oasis as this? Easy, pump up the fact that although the temperature gets into the triple digits on a very regular basis, it’s a dry heat. It’s true, it can be 105 degrees here, Fahrenheit of course, and it’s not as miserable as you might think. One of my most vivid memories of my first real job was working at a nursery in north Chicago when the temperature rose to almost 108, with humidity at almost 80%. Some of you, without knowledge of the midwest, will call bluff. I can tell you, since there is at least one body of water within one mile of just about anywhere, that will assist the humidity to skyrocket. We pretty much boarded up for a few days, it was unhealthy to be outside. Running our sprinklers made it worse, fungus sat in quicker than you could say Copper Sulfate.
This, is why people are driven here. I know if you’ve had any experiences in the Midwest or even a tropical vacation know that humidity is your enemy. Just think about that thing your hair does when it gets humid. Not enough Aqua-Net and ball caps will save you, you will end up looking like Bozo. People look at the real estate, are astonished by the low, low pricing and then look at Wikipedia for a brief synopsis of what they can expect weather wise. 110, maybe, on the hottest, but the humidity is almost absent.
You know what else contributes to humidity, fucking plant life.
Transpiration. That’s what plants do, they pretty much breathe moisture into our surroundings. Remember all of those magazine articles that you’ve seen or have been shown that proclaim that houseplants create a cleaner atmosphere in your home? Of course they do, they are pretty much little humidifiers. Stagnant house air gets processed through stomata, the plant processes what it can, and then pretty much breathes out a breath of semi-humid air. (All plants differ). This, in a very VERY broad scale, makes the area make sense.
Lack of rain fall is one thing, lack of plant life that can process the toxins of the world around us is another thing. Take for example the smell of Kingman after a rainfall. The residents of the town seriously develop a sort of apprehension when there is rain in the forecast. True story, another cashier had a look of horror after I said it was looking like rain. A pale wash covered his acne ridden pubescent face, as if I had just asked him to prom. I didn’t get it, usually rain is an event to garner some sort of regalia. What’s the big deal?
At first, my speculation was that the “monsoon” would create a flash flood and people would be inconvenienced. Fact of the matter is that nobody, of sound mind and judgement, would traverse an area let alone habitat an area that is in the bottom of a wash. After the first real “monsoon” rain, I realized there was an odd aura in the air, beyond the smell. It didn’t feel natural, and maybe my could be prom-date had that hypersensitivity to atmosphere and weather vibes. A more logical explanation would be he didn’t have good tires on his weather beaten 20 year old Cavalier (pure speculation, but good God there are a lot of them out here.).
So, full disclosure, I’ve been around massive cities during a torrential downpours and never have I seen people look so frightened. The pure difference is that, in Chicago for example, the rains provide a smell, a semi-toxic, yet still cleaning smell. There’s still notes of earth (a bacteria that resides in soil), and smog, but at least it smells like it’s been water washed. Take for example a dog that has a bath, I don’t care what kind of dog shampoo you use, the dog still comes out smelling like a wet dog. It’s a sort of simple, dog smell. When Kingman get’s a dog bath, it smells toxic. What’s hiding in these rocks?
You promised Aliens
Be patient, I’m getting to them.
You also promised Camels
Route 66. Close your eyes and imagine the beauty that you’ll encounter traversing the great west along the Mother Road. Pavement caresses your tires as perhaps you let the windows down in your rented Mustang. Your passport was stamped at LAX and you’re embarking on the great American road trip. Three carefully packed bags move casually back and forth as you go around gentle curves and take the opportunity to pass other cars. It’s the big open country and you’re from Asia. Didn’t see that coming, did ya? Fact of the matter is that there are a hell of a lot more foreigners enjoying the Mother Road than there are full-blooded Americans. This sort of makes me sad.
Keep in mind, living directly next to (I was corrected by my Mom when I said I lived “on” Route 66, she said I’d have gotten run over, because that means I live in the middle of the road) I get to see them all. I get to have an even more vivid experience when I travel to the bar next door to get some free wifi. It’s a touristy place, a local place, a watering hole for the masses. Everyone is welcomed to write upon the great yellow walls and document their visit. Faded sharpie reminds me of Mike and Connie from North Dakota who visited in 2009. A big fat sharpie demand much more attention, documenting Pepone and his visit in 2019. Of all the markings, HK Fayino from Japan takes up the most room on the wall along with his travelling companion (the smallest writing) Y. Nakagta.
I can’t help but think back to the times of before Kingman, when Lt. Beale, a Naval officer was sent west, some say he lost a bet, to test the viability of camels as transportation in the Southwest.
Beales Blog, 20 October, 1957:
Day 17, water is scarce and the camels seem like they’re spooked by something. Unknown noises heard in the calley at night, causing some of the men to lay awake, tossing from side to side in fear. Our previous couple of weeks were wrought with curiosity and to be honest, I’m sick of having to explain our “odd shaped horses” to the locals. The moral is low, however, the men have their sights on getting down to some sort of civilization. I’m scared for the camels, for the men have been looking longing ly at them.
The feasibility of using these camels in such terrain is questionable. I enjoy the temperament of them over, say, a burro, however they seem to react to everything. Just seven days prior, my favorite camel decided he was going to mingle with the local reptiles. A nasty bite to the left hindquarters left him incapacitated and I had to put the poor beast out of it’s misery. Although I gain no thrill in killing, it was a good feeling to put it out of its misery. Against my pleading, my men ate the meat, which I was told was similar to hare of back East.
Come morning, our wagon train is slated to embark on the passage due West of our current site. Lack of vegetation leaves us vulnerable to the local native, although I’ve been promised they are of peaceful breeding. I have yet to encounter a tribe that has been hospitable. I’ve been informed that upon traversing this mountain range, there’s little to now human life for almost two hundred miles. I must have faith in my men and my fleet of camels. They are sure footed, but aren’t very easy on the eyes.”
Pure speculation. That was 100% fictitious, but from what I’ve read and studied on the whole adventure, it’s not far from the truth. His great adventure eventually became the Beale Wagon Road, which then became parts of Interstate 40 and Route 66. I don’t think anybody, including Lt. Beale ever wanted to really live here, however, it just sort of happened. It reminds me of the joke I used to have when I moved to South Carolina, people would asks how I ended up there, I’d respond, “I got a flat tire and decide to stay.” I think people settled here after their camels died.
In all seriousness, to the west of Kingman, there is the most treacherous pass along all of Route 66. Switchbacks through evil desert created a need, a need for skilled men to drive wagon trains across the pass without getting killed. Before the “hired drivers”, many of those that tried to traverse the pass without aid would find their family and livestock at the bottom of a desert ravine. Currently the stretch of road is dangerously narrow, no Jersey barriers, and 460 curves, many of them dissolving tight radious curves and hairpins down mountains. Imagine back in the day trying lead a pack of mules pulling a cart on rocky terrain.
Who’s from here, anyway?
Beale has been dead for centuries and camels never became a thing. The Mother Road came and went, as the Interstate system expedited travel. The military base closed a long time ago, and now sits as a graveyard. In all matters of practicality, this should have been a ghost town, but where the heck do these people come from? You’ll meet some interesting people in Kingman, three types actually. You’ve got the victims of oppression, the victims of California, and the victims of the penal system. This is a grossly over estimated generalization, however, it does make up for at least 70% of the population. We’ve quantified who they are, but never really said why.
Here’s something, land is so freaking cheap, there’s no reason not to want to move here. The numbers on paper make it seem like some sort of desert paradise, less than $2,000 an acre, and you own your property. People with modest to no income can actually LIVE somewhere. Although it will mean they have to haul water to their homes, and harness whatever mother nature provides energy wise. People look past that and hop on board. The pioneer spirit lives on (these people should really be given a camel on the governments tab).
People from the East, those of us that are used to the stuffy subdivisions, public transit lines, and car pool lanes love the breath of fresh air. There are almost no traffic jams. There’s a certain allure of being a mile away from your nearest neighbor, a stark contrast to McMansions that many of us have become accustomed to. The area surrounding Kingman has done a fabulous job of keeping an absolute potpourri of people (not necessarily different colors or people). There aren’t many “affluent” neighborhoods, per-se. You cruise a street and see a burnt out trailer, a meticulously up-kept adobe, and a brick home with real grass. It makes it feel like a melting pot, where everyone can get along, on the same block. No need to build special communities for different income brackets, let’s just glob them all together. All we want to do is live on a “good” street back East, here, there are no “good” or “bad” streets. (Except swanky Valle Vista).
There’s also the Californians, that are the nicest people in the entire town. They have come to seek some sort of peace and quiet. Most, if not all Californians that I’ve met that live here have expressed that living in California is merely surviving. They wake, work, repeat. Money goes to inflated housing costs, taxes, and just freaking a tank of gas. The idea of moving someplace that relaxes the stress and allows freedom of a money hungry state is a shining beacon on the horizon of hope. Without exaggeration, the typical real estate agent here works with 70% of their clients from California. There’s a massive flight, and I can’t blame them, being a refugee from Chicago at one time myself.
Stark contrast to that, the ability to have an acre of land in the middle of the desert, where police are few and far between , to cook all the meth you want. In addition to that, the presence of a state prison as well as county make it a hot bed of criminal activity, vagrants, and general mental illness. Those released from the prison and county have no way to get back to where they are from. Some of them picked up 75 miles away, have a hard time justifying trying to take the walk back home, through desert. Most of them just set up shop on a street corner (or in one case, in the downtown district with a tent), hoping for better days to come. None seem to get cracked down on, the same homeless guy sits at the same street corner day to day, never getting help, baked by the sun to an unnatural brown. The crazy screaming man in Big Lots is excused by the cashier as “just a little sick”.
Remember that potpourri I spoke of, we’re talking types of people not races of people. A gross over-generalization in the world today is stereotyping people as being good or bad based on race or religion. Churches are few and far between here, as a matter of fact, the local Catholic church isn’t a towering stained glass architectural marvel, it’s in a strip mall with cardboard over one of the windows. Race diversity isn’t a thing either, unlike back East where there is a population demanding reparations or like California where you have everything and anybody. The breakdown here is unlike almost any in the country, with the largest minority being Latinos at only 11%. Less than 1% of the entire population here is African American. Compound that with the fact less than 5% are foreign born, Kingman should be pumping the Star Spangled Banner through the loud speakers.
Some people, especially the old time purists and “wall builders” could look upon these numbers and start ordering a U-Haul post haste. Not so fast, let’s look at a few other things. These statistics has driven a flight of people, which in turn has driven a whopping increase in real estate. In just ten years, the average new home cost went from a modest $80,000 to $180,000. An increase of $10,000 per year? Astounding for a sleepy desert town. Employment is high, with only a 6% unemployment rate, but if you know me, there’s got to be an ellipses somewhere in this paragraph…crime!
What? White people commit crimes? That goes against everything that the television and YouTube tells me. Yeah, buddy, although the fine citizens of Kingman doesn’t go around killing each other on a daily basis like say, Chicago, they have no regard of a mans property. Even in the two months that I’ve been here, there has been a huge rash of mail theft, stealing everything from a mans junk mail to another mans medical supplies. Kingman has one of the highest property crime rates in all of Arizona, at a 71 out of 100 (the state is at about 42). And the drugs, which probably attribute to the crimes, are also rampant.
” I believe in prescription drugs. I believe in feeling better.”
Let’s talk about drugs real quick. The opiod epidemic, blah blah, you hear about it every day on the news, but is it really that bad. The answer, straight forward, no exaggeration is yes. One local independent drug store distributed 5.6 million Norco and Oxy pills in less than 6 years. At the time that divvied out to about 200 pills per every man woman and child. Surprisingly, those numbers aren’t even that far off par for the area, and Arizona in particular. Kingman, however, has been a little more vulnerable to the mass prescribing of opiods for simple illness due to lack of adequate health care. The two main health care campuses have general wait times of upwards of 90 days to see a simple practitioner for a check up. You can only imagine what an emergency room visit will get you, in one documented case an amputated finger (that was later determined to have been easily saved) and pretty much life time supply of pain meds.
A prescription for Norco 5/500 for a tooth extraction ten years ago was common, now you get a prescription of “prescription Ibuprofen” (which is like taking four over the counter Ibuprofens). The lack of easy access to these pills has pushed people to looking to get their “kicks” (it’s a joke, because Kingman is on Route 66), in other forms. Meth and Heroin have become saturated in a typically pill popping community. This has happened almost everywhere in the country, but Mohave County and Kingman in general have been hardest hit. Being the county that gobbled up the most opiods in the state, they’re also the ones searching desperately for alternative since the reduction of prescriptions being written.
This also pushes people to need more money to fund the new, sometimes more costly alternative. Chain reaction causes crime, people resorting to desperate measures to find a little something to hock or even sell on Marketplace. It’s always an entertaining day when those that have been stolen from find their items being sold on a public marketplace and the conversation that publicly ensues. This distraction with needing to get high has resulted in chunks of the community being deemed as “off limits” unless you’re looking for trouble. A glace from afar is enough to see the crisis, don’t forget, this community is almost all white. Crime? Where did that come from?
Speculation Makes Me Thirsty
To go a little further in depth on those off grid dudes, hip transplants and whack-a-moles have in common, what’s a basic need for all humanity? Aside from shelter and food, these people need water, which as you can imagine isn’t really plentiful out here in the middle of Beale’s Country. Those monsoon rains that bring what little bit of rainfall we get a year isn’t nearly enough to sustain the population that has developed here. The entire water system is fed by 14 deep (when I say deep, I’m talking 600′ deep) wells in two different valleys. To put the depth into perspective, the deepest dry caverns in the US are just 60 miles away at a depth of 200′, travel that three times and you’ll finally hit the water.
The bigger deal, above the scarcity of water, is the fact that the water itself is just garbage. Although the water reports show that the water itself, when tested at several stations around the city, show within safe parameters, that really only meets a requisite for the Clean Water Act. Within tested elements here, the water is at maximum safe levels of such elements as Selenium and Chlorine along with others. When compared to different water reports across the country, the level of selenium present is higher than almost anywhere. Of course, the topography and overall geography has a massive impact on the content of selenium. It is interesting, however, that when looking at Selenium as a “health supplement”, it aids in the alleviation of many age related illnesses such as Alzheimers, cardiovascular diseases and even boosts immune system performance. Is it a coincidence that Kingman has recently marked itself as one of the best places to retire in Arizona? Is it the water?
Looking past the health benefits (if you’d like to call it that), let’s look at the general all around hardness of the water. I’ve never in my life experienced anything so terrible and un-water-like in all my life. I did an experiment on my own little houseplant where I’d mist him with tap water every day for a week. The poor little guys soil would dry up within a day, due to not being able to grab moisture out of the air because his little plant pores couldn’t open effectively. Alternately, after two weeks of misting with distilled water, his leaves cleared up and the soil in his pot remained moist for three days between watering. Think about it like a body, you soak your skin with this water daily, using soap that doesn’t lather and when it does it doesn’t rinse off. Your skin is much like that little plant, your insides are being trapped inside this film, making you unable to do a normal sweat.
Let’s connect a few dots. Temperatures reaching 105 degrees here on a semi-daily basis + showering due to being hot + antiperspirants + hard water = a toxic body trap. Sweat can release toxins such as alcohol (gasp, of course, haven’t you heard the term sweat one out?) and cholesterol. In fact, even though there are millions of “cleansing” diets, the most efficient way to cleanse your body is to sweat like a prostitute in a church. Here, I’ve been hard pressed to really work up a sweat when doing outdoor activity. I’ve ridden my bicycle miles and miles, I’ve jogged until my lungs gave up and even ran a buffer for two hours straight. Nothing. No sweat. A completely unnatural feeling. I have to assume the rest of the residents feel the same, toxic way. How long can a person be sweat logged without long term effects? Are the water softener people in on it, to be able to charge $X per month to allow your skin to sweat.
Those not able to open their tap and taste the wonderfully hard water that comes out have to make an epic trek with a tank and fill up at a “bulk water” station. This is quite a sight to see, typically an old, scary looking tank on the back of some old pick up or makeshift trailer pulls up to a big pipe like hose (a stand pipe). For a low low fee, water pours out of this rubbery hose at a rate of what seems like 50 gallons per minute and fills these tanks. From there, the water is toted to domiciles across the valley for home use. These homes lack basic fresh water supply, other than what gets transported in the tank. These “off the grid” set up are very common, meaning you can’t take a trip into town without seeming somebody hauling water.
This in itself isn’t a problem, the tanks themselves are questionable, as well as what happens to the grey and black water upon being used. Let’s look at most of the tanks, old and agricultural looking, most looking to be made before the hype and research into BPA-free vessels. Could a leeching effect over time alter the mentality of these off-grid individuals. Commonly, those living off the grid do so because they are minimalists (due to lack of funds) or minimalists (due to lack of interest in modern society). Those lacking funds will use the same tank for maybe decades, accumulating whatever goes into that tank. Those with the funds may or may not upgrade to a BPA-free tank, but at a huge price tag. How do those tanks even get cleaned out, if ever.
Where does the water go, however? Septic tanks? I’m skeptical because since being here, I have yet to see even one Honey Wagon out in the boondocks. Do they have an open pit method where they rely on the rocky terrain to filter the grey and black water back down to the water table? After years of such behavior, does that require a person to move the septic fields in order to avoid an over saturation? I don’t honestly see poop travelling through rock that fast.
“What most people don’t understand is that UFOs are on a cosmic tourist route. That’s why they’re always seen in Arizona, Scotland, and New Mexico. Another thing to consider is that all three of those destinations are good places to play golf. So there’s possibly some connection between aliens and golf. “
Let’s Talk About Them Aliens
Certainly, if you’re still reading you’re either waiting for me to get to the juicy alien gossip, or you’re really REALLY bored (or fueling a punch list of things to send me hate mail about). The fact of the matter is that, the aliens are here, and nobody is talking about it. No, I didn’t gargle with Jim Beam for breakfast, the evidence is plastered on almost every “real” citizens face. A blank look without personality, and sort of paranoia about them. Could these people be scared that their true identity will be discovered in a wild Scooby Doo type mask grab? Ruh-ro, Raggy.
No, the citizens aren’t really aliens, but there are strong alien ties that just about nobody even wants to acknowledge. This little town has a better story than Roswell and is more accessible than Area 51, but none of this is being commercialized. The tourist trap mentality is absolutely superglued to the Route 66 mentality, which as was mentioned before, is becoming a strictly foreign adventure. Real Americans want to “see them aliens”, as this whole Storm Area 51 phenomenon is proving. Deserts often offer up the chance close encounter opportunity, but how many can atually produce on this promise? Think of the revenue!
Back in the golden days of Project Blue Book, which has recently been brought into the public eye with a television show based after it, alien air craft sighting were rampant. Starting with one adamant pilot in flying over Mount Rainier in 1947, insisting on the existence of a space ship passing him at a high rate of speed, the government had to do something to appease the masses coming forth with claims of similar nature. So many people came forward, from all over he country with these claims, a sort of fill in the blank form was created to deal with all of the alien allegations. These over inflated imaginations along with the science fiction fad on the golden screens fueled the almost demand for proof of aliens (or at least disprove it so they could get on with their lives).
*Full disclosure* I’m of the mindset that recently the media has become so focused on “illegal aliens” that it has skewed the focus from the extraterrestrial sort.
Kingman in 1953 had their very own Blue Book encounter, which has gone on the books as being one of the most difficult encounters to disprove. Some claim there were two crashes, others just one big one. To summarize and not lean too heavily on one author or publication or another, there was something that was investigated. The what has been bickered about, with one Air Force engineer from the 50’s going on record in pseudonym and a whole lot of speculation as well. The when was May and the where has been elusive.
What can be brought up as pretty conclusive evidence is that of the almost 13,000 alleged encounters with unidentified aircraft, only 701 were left unsolved, the Kingman encounter being one of them. The informant that went on record promised, under a sort of oath, that he saw little grey men in suits, a pie tin shaped saucer, and a few other people researching the same wreckage. Although they weren’t able to speak with each other, speculation of the craft led them to believe is was of a different world. The story gets even more outrageous, claiming there were survivors of the wreckage, which the informant promised was pristine although it crashed at a high rate of speed.
Even in modern times, people still glance at the skies at night, wondering what’s up there. The desert out here in Kingman is the perfect place to have “an encounter”, and there’s no reason that there couldn’t be something of the like set up. Who’s to say one of those little aliens that survived didn’t set up shop in Kingman and sell donuts out of a food truck? A strategic tourist trap to view the night sky with the hopes of seeing a craft over Hualapi Mountain, that’s a revenue cow right there. Milk the teet of extraterrestrials, publicize the crap out of it.
The oddest thing about Kingman, is nobody talks about it. In typical semi-rural communities there’s always a folklore or legend that people talk about. Rhinelander, Wisconsin had the Hodag, a terrifying looking tusk and fang ridden cross between a wolverine and an iguana (something like that). They embrace it, throw a festival for it, it’s even mentioned in Paul Bunyan stories. The Lizard Man of Lee County South Carolina has several YouTube videos made of it, exploring the swamps where he used to roam (or still does). CNN made a special trip to Lee County to cover a report of the Lizard Man attacking a young couples car. Pure imagination has driven publicity and revenue, why can’t Kingman do the same with something that actually has some credibility. Travel about 25 miles west on Interstate 40 to a semi-ghost town of Yucca to find the one and only museum/exhibit on the UFO crash, that’s it.
“The more you can increase fear of drugs and crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control all the people.”
Stagnation is the Fear Of Change
Why aren’t people leaving, since there are many websites documenting how much people actually hate it here? Certainly people aren’t staying because the school system is top notch (it isn’t), or the health care system is top notch (they seriously fly people out, via helicopter, every day). The local politics suck, with the mayor co-owning a construction company that caters towards building the $180,000 homes popping up. We’ve spoken of the water, the climate, yet people still end up here, and stay.
They stay and post on the Buy, Sell, Trade Facebook page that they are in need of everything including free cars, free food for their children, and housing less than $300 for a family of five. They stay and ask for help getting fuel enough to drive to Bullhead City and beyond to get a box of groceries for their family. Many of these people start the posting with “New to Area”, wondering how the heck they got here in the first place. No exxageration, today, “Need clothes for daughter” and “Need Pool Umbrella”. So much need, so little help, unless it seems you reach out to the neighbors that you hardly know.
Does this sound familiar? Sort of like the quote by our buddy Noam earlier? Keep in mind, I stand behind to political agenda, nor do I pretend that one ideology is going to cover 100% of any persons beliefs. IF you’ve read me for long enough, you can see that I’m a pretty well rounded and well-read person. I don’t fall to the feet of one politician, one philosopher, or one brewery. The world is too rich in opinions to concentrate yourself on only like minded individuals. This, at it’s most barbaric form seems to be what Kingman is, and will remain. As one person described it, “it’s the good ole boy system in the wild west”.
People come in droves, with the joke that it’s the first place along I-40 East of California that has a Starbucks. There’s a great energy of renewal here, a great sense of progress. At the same time, looking upon the statistics of the past ten and twenty years, it has progress like a constipated bowel movement. Prime example is the investment in the youth by building a splash park in a lower income area. A great sum of money was invested, with the promise to “keep kids off the streets and in a safe place”, and within a month, the splash park was vandalized with bats to, and no kidding, “make the water go faster”. The theory of improvement is only as good as the foundation that the progress is based on.
“A great place to live!” What community doesn’t say that to increase the potential of new businesses and residents? To be honest, though, how many City websites have an entire tab dedicated to debunking what’s “rumor” and what’s truth? There is a stark lack of public interest in what goes on in city cousin meetings and what gets passed as far as tax and what not, citizens don’t know how to differentiate between a “prepared food tax” and seeing the “food tax” on the bottom of a grocery store receipt. This sin’t entirely due to the fact people don’t care, they’re given very few, if any reputable sources of information and news in the community.
Poignant events can happen, without a reliably and free source of news that isn’t tainted with a smiling happy feeling. The local newspaper, The Daily Miner is hard pressed to run real cutting edge articles that aren’t about nice things like parks and puppies. These articles make casual tourists think the city is a little Utopia, as opposed to a tax ridden crime filled burg. Real news gets looked over, as in the case of seeing roll over accident with helicopter assistance on a main drag. I looked for the next three days in all forms of media in the area, with no print or video coverage. Being hundreds of miles away from the nearest actual broadcaster, has it’s charms, especially when you’re trying to obscure the facts of the tiny town the the desert hides. If you’re getting news in Kingman over the air, it’s via bunny ears and from Phoenix or Las Vegas, covering issues that hardly pertain to you.
The “knowledge is power” idea is lost, especially when it comes down to where money goes in Kingman. The example of the splash pad is one thing, however, explaining where and how the taxes get collected is another very grey area. The residents of the city are so confused and uneducated about how and where they get taxed, the city has a little visited page explaining the differences. “TPT” (transaction privilege tax, pretty much, be thankful you can purchase things tax) is different from the typical “state tax” that some from out east are used to. This can often mask the fact that the income tax is high, but can sneak under the radar as being a low tax state because the actual state tax is low.
Without the education of what’s happening, the typical person transplanted from afar is ignorant to actual circumstances around them. This creates an odd citizen base, one that doesn’t know exactly what to be angry about until they’re told. A population too focused on getting another score of drugs, trying to clothe their kids, and trying to obtain a pool umbrella is too focused on tiny things to be able to help the big picture. People are still getting taxed, just masked under the radar of commerce differentiation. It’s a big city, with a small town mask.
Ole Home Place
“You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.”
Here I am. I’ve spent an entire (almost) 35 years being a human on this planet living in almost every time zone in the continental US. I’ve lived in the converted lakeside cottage in a low rent part of town, I’ve lived in the second oldest home in an almost ghost town, I’ve done suburbia, big city, small city, Civic. They’re not all the same, they’re not all distinctively different. As a matter of fact, the same tiny town in Rawlings, Wyoming might as well be Freiburg, Maine. People are trying to survive, and nowadays the focus is too dedicated on diversity to try and help themselves. Kingman is sort of an enigma to me, and for once I feel compelled to help them.
There is a sort of pride that one should take in a place of residence, take for example Schulenburg, Texas. The town itself is an afterthought, probably destined to be a ghost town upon the creation of the I-10 corridor, but they kept on, and kept pride. An old town glamour resonates and it takes on it’s own personality. The town crier practically delivers gossip to your front door orally and the mayor comes out and kisses babies at car shows. These two towns are tragically similar, but have taken very different paths. I saw Schulenburg, I decided to go there and host a car show, I generated thousands of dollars for their small economy. The car show pride here is clique at best, nobody shaking hands, most people balking at the fact you’re looking at their car.
I’m not waving a political banner here, nor am I running for an office. There is a large part of me, however, that feels that someone with a genuine compassion for citizens and desire for change could do some good. Are you going to see election signs stating “Weed For Mayor”, maybe (if only to see what the papers would run against me). Consider just this much, would you trust the person that wants to see you come to town in order to take your money or someone that wants you to stay in town so you can save your money?
I can’t stand the epidemic, and I’ve only been here two weeks. My heart worries for those that have been in this town much longer. How long can you deal before you absolutely break free of this town and move to someplace like, well, Prescott.
More trees, less drugs, and alien tourism for all.