US 70, Day 15: Santa Rosa, NM - Phoenix, AZ


For those that asked, I didn't do any reports for 9/2 through 9/4 because I was staying with friends over the labor day weekend, and not travelling.

I forgot to mention that in western Texas and eastern New Mexico there are ranch driveways that connect directly to I-40, without an interchange. The Texas ones are not marked, but New Mexico does have a "Driveways Ahead" and T-intersection signs. The T signs are marked "TEMPORARY", but they look fairly old.

The traffic wasn't bad through Albuquerque's "Big I" construction project at I-40 and I-25.

At the Arizona line, I checked out Arizona's one and only Welcome Center. They give out free maps, but they aren't much to talk about. These are prepared by an ad agency for the Department of Tourism, not by ADOT or Arizona Highways. ADOT used to produce a map, but that was eliminated in budget cuts in the 80s.

Indian Route 12 has a shield on the big green signs at exit 357, which I believe is the only such one in Arizona.

The only other thing to note for today was that I stopped to explore Canyon Diablo a bit. Between Winslow and Flagstaff, the mesa is cut by the narrow but steep canyon. This caused a lot of problems for wagon trains in the 19th century. A bridge for US 66 was built in the 30s, which was bypassed by another in 1964. This became the westbound bridge for I-40, with an eastbound bridge being built in 1975. Along the old route of US 66 here there are several abandoned tourist traps, including an old stone building proclaiming "MOUNTAIN LIONS". The area (including the old US 66 bridge) is fenced in and posted with "No trespassing" signs. Unfortunately, so close to the interstate, illegal dumping and vandalism is a problem. On the north side of the interstate at the Two Guns exit, there's a big illegal tire dump.

A dirt trail goes several miles north to the BNSF rail crossing at Canyon Diablo. I'm not sure when it was originally bridged. The original bridge is gone, leaving just a few footings. The current crossing is a two-track bridge. Long ago this was a train stop, and there are still the shells of a few stone buildings here.

From there, I drove pretty much straight through to I-17 and down to Phoenix, just stopping in Camp Verde for dinner.

Whew. It was a long drive, but I certainly did enjoy myself. The only problems I had were the overeager deputy in Howard Count, AR, the terrible traffic in North Carolina, and the flat in Tucumcari, NM. Everything else went very smoothly.

Today I drove 633 miles, for a grand total of 5668 miles.

Previous day: 9/6
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