I want a grocery store!
Not a souped-up convenience store, a real, full-size grocery store!
The crew and I take off for Kingman, up Highway 93 from Wikieup. Then a strange thing happens. When we reach Interstate 40, instead of turning west to drive 20 more miles to Kingman, we turn east!
I feel like putting some miles behind us.
Bridget and Spike sleep behind me on the bench seat. This allows me to drive in a dreamy, relax-and-enjoy-the-scenery state of mind. The Perfect Tow Vehicle takes us away from palo verde and creosote bushes into grassland and junipers, and pulls us up to 4,000 feet, then 5,000. Signs appear: “Ice may appear on road” and “Watch for elk.” I guess we aren’t in the desert anymore.
Not many people live along this stretch of road.
The first town that appears, I take the exit ramp. It’s Seligman, a tiny town next to railroad tracks. The main trade seems to be the Route 66 tourist business. We drive past the Roadkill Cafe and park in a vacant lot.
While walking the crew, Bridget makes a deposit in the neighboring bank parking lot. Before I can get back to the PTV to get a doggie poop bag, a truck pulls in and runs over it. Ha! Sometimes problems are solved simply by not doing anything! I ask a couple where the grocery store is and they tell me it’s next to the A & W up the road.
The A & W has a convenience store tacked onto it.
This is the grocery store? A large portion of the store is devoted to tourist items. T-shirts that read “I got my kicks on Route 66” are a big item. I order a drink and grilled chicken sandwich at the A & W counter. Out in the PTV, I share the sandwich with the crew. I open up the laptop and find directions to our next camp.
The PTV faces railroad tracks. Four, long trains roar by about five minutes apart, two one way, two the other.
It’s noon when we get back on the highway. I figure we’ll be in an Ash Fork boondock camp by one o’clock. Tomorrow I’ll drive to the Safeway in Williams and shop my little heart out.
I turn south onto Highway 89.
About seven miles south of the interstate I find the cow grate on the left and cross over into Kaibab National Forest.
The dirt road winds through grasses and junipers overlooking rolling hills and a horizon of mountains.
I find a spot that’s obviously been camped in before . . .
It’s situated with wide-open spaces all around, so I let the crew run loose. I immediately open the passenger door of the PTV and open the laptop which is resting on the seat. The air card light comes on. Yes! We’ve got internet!
Now that you’ve heard the good news . . .
It’s time for the bad news. I walk around to the hitch and see that the plug that connects the PTV’s AGM batteries to the 12 volt system in the BLT is lying on the ground.
I pick it up to inspect.
Well, it’s worn down and mashed, but the metal connectors inside the plug look okay.
I plug it back in and it holds. I knew this was going to happen and I didn’t do anything to prevent it. Darn!
That’s when I see the break-away cable.
Or perhaps I should say the break-away cables, plural. Because now it’s in two pieces! How in the world did THAT drag on the pavement? Darn!
My mind works through the situation.
It’s Friday afternoon. Easter weekend. We’re in our camp. Don’t have to tow anywhere. Tomorrow I’ll leave the BLT here and the crew and I will go get groceries. I’ve got internet. I’ll figure out what to do over the weekend and deal with this on Monday. This will work out.
I shake my head, trying to let go of the fact that I easily could have avoided this inconvenience. I pull out a camp chair from the PTV and set a bowl of water on the ground for the crew.
I need to sit down, drink a glass of water, and watch the crew sniff grass.
“Hey, guys! Do you like our new home?” Bridget runs over to my chair. Spike keeps on sniffing.
After a few minutes gazing out over the fields in front of our door, I click a leash on Bridget and Spike. “Let’s go for a walk and see what’s up the road.”