Marvins Window: California hostage

I looked out my window at traffic moving smoothly on I-40 headed east out of Kingman thankful that I was no longer driving on a California freeway!

But then I thought traffic is one way to get more people to stop and stay overnight in Kingman.

Maybe we make it too easy for folks to zoom right on by.

Traffic works in California.

Victorville was full of travelers last Friday including a lot of California folks headed east to the Colorado River and Las Vegas.

We stopped in Victorville for lunch about noon happy to be out of the smog belt and traffic of the Los Angeles area.

We were trying to decide whether to stay in Barstow or drive on home to Kingman and discussed the pros and cons at lunch.

Two minutes after getting back on I-15 we were stopped in three lanes of traffic.

About an hour later we had progressed to the first exit about two miles out of Victorville.

I pulled off at Peggy Sue's Route 66 Diner for coffee and information.

It is always interesting to check out another Route 66 tourist stop.

Another driver and I discussed the clogged freeway and what we could expect on I-15 for the 38 miles to Barstow.

He had used his cell phone to call friends who had left earlier for a weekend in Las Vegas.

He reported traffic was a mess for 97 miles to Baker! We only had to go 38 miles of that.

However, at five miles per hour that would take seven hours! Why fight the traffic when we could spend a quiet and restful night in Victorville.

Surely, all those cars would disappear by Saturday morning and they did.

We settled in and took an afternoon nap.

I had spotted a Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Outback and Marie Calendars while looking for the right motel.

Kingman is not likely to get any one of those in the next ten years so we indulge when we travel.

The Red Lobster had the bar full and folks waiting outside.

An hour seemed a bit much to wait after being spoiled in Kingman.

We chose to go next door to the Olive Garden and wait 35 minutes.

Another group waiting sent a youngster to the Outback and he reported a 40-minute wait there.

Several of the people we talked to said they were on the way to Las Vegas and waiting for traffic to clear or staying over in Victorville to make an early morning trip.

Now I know one reason why people stay in California.

They are held hostage by the traffic and cannot get out of the state!

The area newspapers were full of "good news" that should have encouraged most residents of California to move to Kingman.

Houses in Santa Barbara County sold for a median price of $750,000 last year.

Los Angeles area housing sold around $350,000 on the average.

It ranged as high as a $1.2 million median in Beverly Hills and Brentwood where OJ once lived.

In Beverly Hills, 240 houses sold last year for over a million each.

They could buy a home in Kingman and live as "rich folks" on the leftover money from a California house sale.

The Victorville paper headlined a local school riot between Hispanic and Afro-American students.

Victorville is supposed to be a quiet rural town well out of the usual Los Angeles problems.

Smog, traffic, school riots, a $60 billion state budget deficit, high utility costs, crowded neighborhoods and lots of environmental problems do not add up to paradise for me.

Neither do I speak enough languages to feel comfortable among the diversity of people in California.

Yet, people go to California for vacations.

I did! The whole place is a Disneyland.

I expect, judging from the traffic on I-15, a whole lot of them come east to Las Vegas, Laughlin and Lake Havasu City every weekend.

Would they stop in Kingman if I-40 traffic were so thick they could not get all the way to the Grand Canyon? Could we use the freeway for a parking lot for semis on weekends so they would get off and spend a quiet evening enjoying our clean air and watch the real stars overhead?

Ten percent of the U.S.

population lives in Southern California, between 20 and 30 million depending on your geography.

Las Vegas is the number one vacation hot spot among U.S.


Is the answer to more tourism in Kingman to interest the people living next door in California and the visitors to Las Vegas?

I suspect Laughlin, Lake Havasu City and Las Vegas depend heavily on tourists from the Los Angeles area.

Could Kingman tap that market?