Funny You Should Ask: Driving to Kingman never boring, even at 4 a.m.

It's happened to me just once during the 10 months I've regularly driven to the east side of town: the tempting glide down the south end of Stockton Hill Road onto Hualapai Mountain Road if the light is right.

One guy hit the light dead on one recent afternoon until he came up on my bumper, waiting for me to upshift after the light at Andy Devine Avenue turned green.

Even if I had an NHRA drag racing license, I'd have little inclination to run my Toyota subcompact through the gears like at Firebird International Raceway, unless the thing on my bumper is an 18-wheeler, or a line of diesel locomotives is fast approaching after I've shifted into stall on the Louisa Avenue crossing.

For the guy on my bumper, I wondered what his hurry had been.

He pulled a convenience store right after pulling around me.

The city's annual chip-sealing treatment of roads is one way to put a brake on traffic.

Another might be the law of unintended consequences, in Kingman's case the speed bump of a railroad that city officials have long tried to surmount.

East-west traffic is funneled through two choke points, the Louisa Avenue crossing and the Hualapai Mountain Road overpass near that busy intersection with Stockton Hill Road and Andy Devine Avenue (where someone had the foresight to engineer moderate speed dips, as my wife reminded me from her recent ride in the back of a school bus).

City residents recently voted down a property tax that was proposed largely to pay for more ways across the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway.

But what about the idea - even in a town that doesn't have traffic jams, just clogged traffic at times - that drivers who have a love-hate relationship with stress really weren't wanting an easier way across the tracks? What would they do to restart their blood pumping after a tiring day at work, if they couldn't line up tensely along Andy Devine Avenue, waiting to turn left onto Louisa and beat the train to the crossing?

Returning from work one day recently, I saw the nose of a police car across from our home and briefly, jokingly wondered whether political discourse over dinner had landed us in trouble (not that our phones would be tapped, our only calls still being for the guy who used to have the number.


The car turned out to be the police department's driverless,1970s Ford Galaxy with its trailer displaying speed in scoreboard-like numbers as people drive past.

It was parked along a sidestreet near Seneca Street, an east bench thoroughfare that officers may well have deemed a lost cause.

Judging by their cars, I've counted at least three of them living in the area.

Yet traffic along Seneca often moves as if "Boulevard" were part of the name, a six-lane boulevard during rush hour at that.

(Though I've no doubt, as alluded by a recent article in this publication, that police cruisers in driveways keep a lid on spurious activity in the area.)

To some drivers, the proposed foothills parkway from Hualapai Mountain Road to Interstate 40 already is a reality, even if it only goes as far as Southern Avenue.

That eventual bypass promises to be a moneymaker for the Kingman Police Department.

In the meantime, heading up Seneca a little before 4 a.m., I grow ever watchful of headlights coming up quickly behind me.

Real men don't drive subcompacts, I've long been sure, especially in the eyes of women behind the wheels of Dodge 4 by 4s or Lincoln Navigators.

But their vehicles are still bigger then mine, regardless of whether I've eaten quiche that day, so I've labored not to ramble at all here about tailgating.

When this column first appeared last summer, I wrote that Kingman drivers by and large were much more courteous than those in North Carolina.

I'm not about to say otherwise now, even as I grip the steering wheel more tightly at ten and two o'clock.