Home Is Where We Park It – Fort Beale RV Park, Kingman, Arizona
May 27, 2020
Temperature 99 Degrees
Kingman Heat Wave
The weather report has issued an excessive heat warning for Kingman. Really? The bottom number was in the sun this morning. Within an hour we settled back into a more reasonable 99 degrees where we stayed until about 6 pm tonight. We then dropped to a cooler 94 degrees. Thank goodness we had the front AC unit replaced when we did. We are cool and comfortable within Elvira.
This is another outdoor park that we visited in Kingman. It makes sense inasmuch as the railroad played such a pivotal and important role in the development of Kingman.
This is Engine 3759 built in 1928 by Baldwin Locomotive Works of Eddystone, PA. It went into service in 1929 and ran between Kansas City and Los Angles, and did this 10 times a month. Though it could easily reach a speed of 100 mph it usually cruised along the rails between 50 and 60 mph. It was retired from service in 1957 after having traveled 2, 585, 600 miles.
Donated to the city of Kingman the issue now became, how to get it to its new home in the park.
About a quarter of mile from the park is the main rail line that runs through Kingman. The answer – build a temporary spur line from there, across Historic Route 66 to the park. As soon as the engine was moved to its new home the track was torn up. It was the shortest lived railroad spur in the history of the Santa Fe Railroad lasting all of about 45 minutes.
On the front of the locomotive we noticed a blue ribbon. In fact, we noticed a number of them in various places and on different buildings and signs in Kingman. Of course my curiosity came alive. It turns out that it is the communities way of showing support for the Arizona Light It Blue initiative. This initiative is in recognition of the healthcare workers and first responders supporting Arizonans during this challenging time. The City of Kingman has joined in this initiative by lighting up the main city complex with blue lights, and putting blue ribbons on many city properties and various signs.
During its operational life this caboose was in transcontinental pool caboose services and accumulated over 2.5 million miles by the time it was retired in 1986
I believe the most interesting thing to note, though, about this caboose is how it ended up behind the engine. Saturday, May 9, 1987 1,200 people took rope in hand to move the nearly half-million pound locomotive 30 feet forward to its new resting spot. Supposedly, it took only 10 seconds to move the massive engine the 30 feet forward.
This is one of two identical benches in the park. No, you can’t roll them away. They are welded to steel plates that form the base for them. I have to say I thought they were a really original and creative use of old railroad wheels.
This monument caught our eye as we traveled about Kingman. It had a plaque in front ot it.
Once again my curiosity came alive. A bit of digging on the internet revealed what happened: It was 25 years ago, on July 5, 1973, that a propane tank car being off-loaded in Kingman, AZ, caught fire, resulting in a explosion – that killed 11 Kingman firefighters and one civilian. In addition to the 11 firefighters and one civilian killed, three other firefighters were burned by radiant heat from the blast – two from Kingman and one from the Hualapai Valley Fire District. Two police officers and 95 civilians (a crowd of about 2,000 had gathered across the street from the fire when it first started) also suffered burns from the radiant heat. More than $1 million in property damage was reported.
What caused the fire? Again I discovered that: At 1:30 P.M., workers began to connect the hoses to the rail car to start the off-loading process. During such an off-loading procedure, liquid lines are attached to the two liquid valves in the dome cover housing at the top of the rail car. Vapors are collected and routed into the vapor space of the tank. After all connections are made, the valves are opened slowly at first so as not to trip the excess flow valves. Connections are routinely checked for leakage and the valves fully opened when no leaks are present.
Two men were involved in the off-loading operation that day. As the off-loading proceeded, one of the men detected a small leak in one of the connections. Connections were typically tightened by striking them with a non-sparking brass-alloy wrench. These workers, however, used an aluminum-alloy wrench.
Despite their efforts to tighten the connection, the leak continued. The liquid connection was once again struck with the wrench. That’s when a fire erupted. It is thought that a spark was created as the wrench struck the steel fitting, because of magnesium being present in the alloy of the wrench.
So many lives lost, so much property damaged all because the wrong wrench was used by two workers who knew better.
So that was some of our recent discoveries.
Today it was much too hot to cook inside Elvira and too hot to barbecue outside.
The solution was to pick up a pizza and some home made root beer. Though this was not the thin crust pizza we prefer, nevertheless, it filled the void in our tummies.
Lunch over we decided to play with the new Food Saver. Its going to take some practice to be able to use it correctly but it is definitely a gadget worth having.
Another day is in the books on The Road of Retirement. I don’t know if it was hot enough to fry an egg on the pavement but it was hot. That’s OK, we’ll just stay holed up in Elvira until the heat breaks and we go back to something more reasonable. Do we still like it out here? Yup. Do we still want to live in the Southwest? Yup. One more trip to the East and this area will be our home base.
Thank you for joining us today. We always appreicate your company and comments. See you tomorrow.
These are the voyages of Elvira and it’s two intrepid travelers. Our continuing mission: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have never been before.
See you on down the road!