At first, stopping by a graveyard may not seem like a roadside attraction worth making the time. But what if it was an airplane graveyard? If you find yourself driving West on I-40 after a full day at the Grand Canyon, I highly suggest making a quick stop to see the “collection” of retired and parted-out aircraft at the Kingman Airport.
We stopped by the Kingman Airport at the perfect time. As the sun began to set, the sky exploded with color like cotton candy at the county fair. The sky painted the mountains a deep purple, an ideal backdrop for the hardened rusty aircraft.
The Road Less Traveled
Getting to the fenceline wasn’t as straightforward as we hoped. We found ourselves slowly making our way to the aircraft from a winding dirt road. Aaron’s little Elantra was racing against the setting sun, as we followed a Google Earth photo of the airport. It looked as if many years ago the road was more defined. Now, the upkeep of the perimeter road is reliant on visitors willing to drive in the sandy and sometimes steep road.
I started to panic as the tires lost traction going up the sides of a ditch. The Airport at this time was a ghost town, a fitting atmosphere for a graveyard. With no one around, not a soul would be coming to our rescue if we got stuck. In hindsight, we should have given more caution to the mangled bumpers and plastic undercarriages scattered along the dirt road, silently warning us of the misfortune of those who crossed this path before us.
We arrived at the fenceline to marvel at the endless rows of retired metal birds, tired giants. If you were quiet, you could almost hear them tell stories of the people they moved around the world, the crews who flew them, and the airports they visited. Now they are quietly tucked away, in neat rows, staring out into the mountain ranges, as the sunset on their final leg.