According to a lottery executive and the Chicago Tribune, the U.S. Powerball lottery jackpot is the largest, single ticket jackpot in world history. We were deciding where to buy our out-of-state PowerBall tickets when Mary came across a thread about the tiny town of Dolan Springs, Arizona for purchasing tickets as an alternative to the 3-5 hour queues just over the Nevada-California border in Primm. We googled it. Dolan Springs was only about 80 miles south of Las Vegas, just down US93. What the heck? Road Trip! We piled into Mary's car around 8AM and headed down Boulder Highway. Dolan Springs … here we come. Just on the other side of the Hoover Dam, we saw the Welcome to Arizona sign.
It was a cool, clear, blue-sky morning. The Mojave Desert spread out before us. The Black Mountains, the River Mountains and the McCullough Range lined our route and provided an interesting contrast to the bleak, flat desert land. It's easy to see how this area was once the bottom of a warm inland sea millions of years ago.
We passed by a couple of small stops along the way … Rosie's Den Cafe, usually a lazy, convenient stop on US93 on the way to Grand Canyon, was inundated with cars and serpentine lines extended to the far reaches of the parking lot and into the desert.
We turned off the highway onto Pierce Ferry Road and headed east about 5 miles to Dolan Springs. There were a few cars, but not all that many. A bus was heading towards the Grand Canyon. Dolan Springs proved to be a one-horse, one road kind of town, just what you'd expect in the middle of the desert.
We pulled into the Wishing Well Saloon and Restaurant, touted on FB just hours before as an outlet for PowerBall tix and a great place for breakfast … selling tix from 6am-midnight. This had been our Dolan Springs destination. The empty parking lot and the big CLOSED sign on the door was a surprise and a disappointment, to say the least.
Luckily, across the street was the town's only other restaurant, the Canyon Cafe. A much-harried waitress told us to find a table wherever we could and handed us menus. The service was slow; the food was mediocre and pricey; and they did not sell lottery tix. Conversation with a couple of locals, however, pointed us to the only gas station in town which did sell PowerBall tix. We finished breakfast and headed to the Dolan Station, just down the road.
We hadn't even noticed the station on the way past earlier, but the lines and full parking lot caught our attention this time. Comparatively speaking, the line wasn't all that long; but it was growing. We weren't really sure of the rules of play, but veteran players were happy to give us pointers. Quick picks ... computer-generated numbers … were easy. We had a couple of “custom” orders to fill for friends which required blackening dots on a lotto card which were then fed into the PowerBall machine by the counter attendant. We waited in line.
We found lots to entertain ourselves while waiting. We chatted with other folks. We took turns standing in a Western miner themed“face in the hole” board. That took up 5 minutes.
I'd noticed a fun mural on the side of the nearby Double D Market and popped out of line long enough to get a photo.
After about 40 minutes, we finally stepped into the general store. Once inside, there was all sorts of interesting stuff to check out.
There were rubber band guns with extra ammo, dream catchers and coyote ceremonial headdresses ($225 … Do not remove or put on!). There was Indian jewelry and cactus candy, gold nugget gum and tequila lollipops complete with encapsulated worm. We bought nothing, but appreciated the amusement value of the local souvenirs.
Finally, it was our turn. We bought our tickets, convinced that they were the winners, and walked proudly back out of the store. We noticed the line had expanded and stretched quite a ways further back. Timing is everything.
We waited with bated breath for 7:59pm Pacific Standard Time on Wednesday evening. We watched the balls drop and the numbers immediately displayed on the screen. The bad news? Hard to believe, but we didn't win… nada … nothing at all, but someone did! The good news? Luckily, we've saved ourselves a trip back to Arizona to cash in the winning ticket plus all the angst and aggravation associated with having to figure out what to do with all that money. Whew!