If you’ve ever driven along Route 66, or I40, in western Arizona and into the Mojave Desert it is easy to imagine the unease travelers most likely felt crossing the vast, empty desert fifty or sixty years ago.
The Mojave Desert, and surprisingly, the Colorado River Valley is one of the driest and hottest places in the United States. The Mojave Desert covers most of southwestern California, and parts of Arizona. It is bisected by Route 66, the iconic highway that connected Chicago to Los Angeles from 1926 to 1985.
Route 66 was a popular route for travelers, especially during the Great Depression and World War II, and post war years when many people migrated westward in search of better opportunities. But extreme heat during the months of summer, steep grades, and long steep hills, created an array of challenges for drivers. There were also issues if drivers were unprepared for long distances between services.
Many cars broke down or ran out of gas along the way, leaving their drivers stranded in the middle of nowhere. And this was before the era of cell phones, so it could be a life-threatening situation. In A Guide Book to Highway 66 published in 1946, author Jack Rittenhouse notes, “US 66 continues across the desert, occasionally passing the remains of burned out gas stations … Skeletons of abandoned cars are frequent along the roadside.”
This created a demand for towing services, which were a literal lifeline for stranded motorists. Many towing companies were little more than primitive garages, a desert oasis, with a cut down car that towed vehicles from the desert with a chain attached to the bumper.
As Route 66 became busier and more crowded, the towing business became more competitive and professional. Tow truck drivers had to invest in more sophisticated equipment, such as winches, cranes, flatbeds, and hydraulic lifts.
Towing in the Mojave Desert was not an easy job then, and it is a demanding job today. It requires skill, experience, trained operators, and specialized equipment to meet the unique challenges presented by the Mojave Desert.
In the months of summer temperatures in the Mojave Desert and Colorado River Valley often exceed 120°F. Sudden dust storms can reduce visibility. And believe it or not, in winter snow can also present problems. Plus the Mojave Desert is still vast and sparsely populated, which means that tow truck drivers must often travel long distances to reach their customers or destinations.
Then there are the critters that present unique challenges for tow truck drivers. These include rattlesnakes, and scorpions.
The professionals at A & G Towing in Bullhead City, Arizona can meet almost any towing need, big or small, from heavy construction equipment and semis to large boats, motorcycles and even RVs. And we are also well prepared to meet the unique challenges of the Mojave Desert. And that is just one reason that we are one of the largest towing companies in the Colorado River Valley.
Written by Author Jim Hinckley