Part One – On April 14, 1940, the early morning stillness in Kingman, Arizona was shattered by the thundering roar of a B-17 as it made its landing approach to Port Kingman, an airfield initially established by Charles Lindbergh. It was the ghost of Christmas future for this dusty little town nestled along Route 66 and the main line of the Santa Fe Railroad in the foothills of the Cerbat Mountains.
As the clouds of war boiled into towering thunderheads on the eastern and western horizons, and it became increasingly obvious that the neutrality of the United States would soon be abandoned, President Roosevelt guided the nation through the period of transition. One manifestation of the changes that were about to transform the country was Senate Bill 4066 introduced by Senator McCarran of Nevada, the namesake for McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.
This bill addressed the importance and vulnerability of the electric power grid in the western United States and proposed establishment of a military post to protect the cornerstone of that infrastructure, Boulder Dam, now Hoover Dam. It was this bill, as well as a report issued by the War Department that detailed the importance of Route 66 in the southwest as a military artery and and a location feasibility study by the Civil Aeronautics Authority for the establishment of military airfields in Arizona that prompted the Mohave County Chamber of Commerce to send a telegram to President Roosevelt extolling the attributes of the Hualapai Valley bisected by the railroad and Route 66 east of Kingman. 
Port Kingman had served as a key component in the development of TAT, a pioneering transcontinental passenger airline that combined the use of trains and planes for rapid cross country travel. Now the dusty desert airfield served as a key hub in the transport of military aircraft added weight to the barrage of sales pitches being put forth by the Mohave County Chamber of Commerce. 
In January of 1941, with announcement that completion of US 93 from Kingman to Boulder Dam was being given top priority as a result of its potential military importance, the city prepared its most aggressive effort to acquire a military airfield to date. On March 27, the efforts bore fruit in the form of Major John Horton, assistant director of the West Coast Air Training Corps, and Captain Mauhan from Moffett Field who arrived in California arrived in Kingman for a two day inspection of possible sites for a newly proposed airfield that would serve as a primary training facility.
Horton’s report submitted on April 3rd proved favorable enough to warrant engineering evaluations on April 17th, and a more detailed inspection tour on the 29th. On May 1st the final report with recommendation for approval was submitted to the Army Air Corps.
Indicative of the increasing priorities being given to military construction is the speed with which the project was given the green light. On June 5th it was announced that bids were being accepted for construction of an advance bomber training school to be built along Route 66 east of Kingman in Hualapai Valley.
On the first of July, Camp Sibert with 850 troops assigned, was established near Boulder Dam and negotiations for lease of lands from the Neal family ranch in the Hualapai Valley commenced. Meanwhile Port Kingman was transformed into a temporary military facility with planes making refueling stops, cadets training with Curtiss aircraft, and military aircraft being transferred to pilots of the Brazilian Air Force.
With the attack on Pearl Harbor, completion of the airfield was given the highest priority and construction of Davis Dam on the Colorado River was temporarily suspended with crews and equipment relocated to Kingman.



A week is a relatively short period of time, a mere seven days divided into periods of twenty- four hours each. Still, it is quite amazing that there can be so many changes in that period of time or that so many things can take place. 

“Mohave Green” rattlesnake

 Last Saturday it was a busy morning at the office followed by a leisurely lunch at Yesterday’s in Chloride with Dave, a friend from Australia. This Saturday it was a busy morning at the office, a much needed drive on a dusty and rock strewn trail into the Black Mountains with my dearest friend to unwind, a close encounter with a Mohave green, a variation of the western diamondback rattlesnake, and making this blog available for subscription on the Kindle reader.
It was an unseasonably cool afternoon and as a result the snake came as a bit of a surprise but as is often the case we scared him as much as he startled us. You may click on the photo to enlarge and get a better idea of how well these critters can hide in the brush.

If you are unfamiliar with the old mining town of Chloride, and happen to be motoring through Kingman on Route 66, or to Las Vegas, you need to add this to your list of stops. Bring your appetite and try out the food as well as the interesting atmosphere at Yesterday’s.
Chloride is accessed via about twenty miles of paved roads, US 93 north from Kingman and then a short drive on a county road. However, a variation of this is to follow the old highway, now a graded gravel road into Chloride for a different perspective. You can pick up the well signed road by turning north on Mineral Park Road from US 93, the road to the landfill and the big, looming open pit mine at the base of the mountains.
In between these two Saturday’s were a whirlwind of activities and frustrations. Magnifying everything was the effort to regain some strength as I am still as weak as a kitten.
Monday, a day off, was spent making financial arrangements with the hospital (my brief visit pencils out to just over $1,000 per hour), correspondence pertaining to the Route 66 encyclopedia, learning how much we owe in taxes for 2010, a bit of writing, and a consultation with the attorney as we work to resolve a few loose legal strings pertaining to mom’s estate and related issues. It was a productive, expensive, and tiring day to say the least.
At work it was the busiest week we have had in almost a year. It was almost as though someone kicked over an ant hill and everyone decided to move at the same time.
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0760338434&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrObviously, from the perspective that this job is what supports the writing habit this was a real blessing. From the perspective of falling behind on the encyclopedia it was a bit disconcerting as there was little energy left in the evenings to work on it.
Promotions and arrangements for promotion were about the best I could do as for the next few months the schedule is quite full. There is the Kabam festival in May, assistance to a German film crew filming a documentary about Route 66 in the same month, preparation of photographs for entry in a contest being sponsored by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, preparation of the Ghost Towns of Route 66 photo exhibit, a book signing at Barnes & Noble in Amarillo on June 9 to promote the new book, Ghost Towns of Route 66, and then the big kick off for that book at the international Route 66 festival.
Friday was the topper that necessitated the need for a long drive into the Black Mountains, a complete physical in the morning and a lengthy court hearing in the afternoon. The outcome for both was excellent but the added stress was something I would have liked to avoid.
For the week to come I have a great deal to look forward to. Tomorrow it will be an afternoon with the grand kids and looking through some new material supplied by Joe Sonderman.
With all of the assistance Joe has provided, including access to his vast Route 66 post card collection, I may have to list him as a coauthor. Likewise with Mike Ward.
On weekends I have been posting travel tips and book reviews but fell behind as a result of my illness. Last week I received two new books from Veloce Publishing that will need to be read and reviewed. One, Russian Motor Vehicleshttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1845843002&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr, really has my attention and a review will be provided next week.
As for travel tips, I would like to expand on my recommendation for Chloride. This dusty little mining town nestled in the foothills of the towering Cerbat Mountains is best explored on foot.
Particular points of interest include the historic cemetery and the old train depot. In between are a wide array of historic homes, vintage service stations, and a small herd of vintage vehicles basking under the Arizona sun.
So, sturdy shoes and a wide brimmed hat are strongly suggested. Likewise with a camera.
In the week to come I have some exciting Route 66 news to share, a few updates on Amarillo, and, of course, some interesting ideas for weekend getaways. So, stay tuned.