tropical followup

The key word in the wake of Tropical Storm Bill was deluge. I came to work the morning it was supposed to hit. The storm decided to hang out off the coast for another 5-6 hours. In that time, the storm moved west. The storm did indeed bulls-eye where I work. Nothing crazy on the wind, so not really any damage to speak of. But we got all the rain. It is estimated that 13.5″ of rain fell around the area of the office. My route back home was closed off by 10am. The office closed at 1pm. I left then. I was planning on leaving at 3pm originally had the office not closed. I had to drive west, then north, then back around to home. They closed off several stretches of the route I took within an hour of me going through. My total drive time was 2.5 hours. Then it took me an hour each way the next day on top of working late.

Now the ground is drying out. Maybe it will stay that way for a little bit.

the road to home, pt2

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In our last installment, I was starting to tell you about my new road home. Point A to Point B is about an hour and a half worth of a drive. We talked about how everyone has at least heard of Flagstaff, Phoenix, Tucson, and the Grand Canyon, but not much else.
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Point A is Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. To me, the name has always invoked memories of the Mos Eisley Spaceport on the planet Tatooine out of the Star Wars universe.
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Don’t ask me why. It just does.
But now that we have gotten to the point where Highway 60 stops going due east, it’s time to look at another stretch of this road home. We’re heading from Apache Junction to Superior.
Before we get going down that road, I want to point out something…
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Do you see the discrepency that I do?
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That’s right! Why didn’t they just keep building this highway due east?
Ok, I guess it must be said…RANT WARNING!!!
I detest the idea that my drive in to Phoenix is 30 minutes longer than it has to be. That’s being generous!!! Do you see where the highway turns southeast towards Gold Canyon all the way to where it turns back east/northeast heading to Superior? That stretch of road is 30 minutes to travel at the posted legal speed limit. This isn’t even counting going out of the way to get to that spot in the first place!!!
Ok, the rant is over. I just had to get that out. Before I got to this point of my writing, I hadn’t really looked at the history of these roads anyway. I found a pretty informative web page detailing the original path of highway 60 between Globe and Apache Junction. All I can say is “wow”. I’ll let you read it for yourself by clicking here. I don’t feel as bad knowing what I would have had to go through driving the road in the 1930s.
Now I’ve heard talk that highway 60 would be rerouted. I even read an article on one of the local newspaper websites. However, I can’t pull it up right now because it’s out of range for not being subscribed. (Copper Country & Arizona Silver Belt) However, I remember the article talking about citizens of Globe being concerned about what would happen to the town if US 60 was rerouted to where it essentially came out the opposite side of Globe! I believe the spot they made mention was a couple of miles north of the current terminus of US 70 where highway 60 comes in from Show Low. The thing I found interesting about the article is that they cited several towns in Texas that have died out when bypassed by highways.
There’s also a movement in the area known as Top Of The World to get US 60 rerouted. Note, I said area. I did not say town. When you go through this area, official signage posted says something about “Business Area” and marks it as 45 mph. The sign is the same type as you would see indicating twists and turns coming up on a mountain road with a recommended safe speed to travel. I’ve only seen a run-down beef jerkey stand open once. If all the residences and other buildings in the area were another 1000 feet off the highway, you’d be hard pressed to know anyone was around there. I’ve been through similar areas in the Texas hill country that were marked 70 mph all the way.
The movement that people in this area started for the US 60 reroute seems to be tuckered out. The only way I hear about it is if I’m driving through and see signs that say things like “Don’t build through an existing problem”. It then publicized a URL to save Top Of The World. That link is dead. Of note though, is who is listed as the URL owner. It is a man who owns an archery shop in Chandler.
The only thing I have found about rerouting US 60 that has any backing by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is a stretch of several miles around Gold Canyon. Even that one, while shown to be needed, is still another couple of decades off from being worked on (source: AZ Republic).
One thing for sure is that Arizona residents are passionate about their roads. Really passionate. Just take a look at this article.
Ok, I did get sidetracked on this part of the story. I promise part 3 will cover Gold Canyon to Superior!!!

police presence on independence weekend

Before we left town, I saw someone I used to work with at the TV station in Lubbock post from her own trip up Route 66 with her family that the state troopers were EVERYWHERE!!!  So I decided that, with it being a long weekend with July 4th at the end of things, and with knowing from past TV stories that law enforcement steps up efforts when a holiday makes for a three day weekend, that I was going to take notice and see how many of our fine law enforcement officials were on the roads.
First, Texas.  Now, I understand that Texas is the second biggest state in the country in terms of land area.  However, I left a town of 14,000 (Hereford), drove through a town of 15,000 (Canyon), and another of 190,000 (Amarillo).  Couple that with the other 100 or so miles on I-40 to the border, I only saw ONE state trooper.  No sheriff deputies or local cops were spotted.
Oklahoma wasn’t much better.  I didn’t see any law enforcement officials from the state border all the way in to OKC.  The next day, we get on the Turner Turnpike to Tulsa and one state policeman was hanging out at the toll plaza.  Then on the Will Rogers Turnpike, there was actually one state policeman clocking for speeders.
Missouri gets the blue ribbon.  From Joplin to Saint Louis, I saw 18 cops.  One was even sitting on an overpass over the highway clocking people coming down the road, undoubtedly radioing to someone further down when they spotted offenders.
In Illinois, I saw 6 cops.
Indiana sported two of their finest…in the last 20 miles.
Ohio?  Considering we drove through lots of civilization with the Cincinnati area, I was disappointed to see none.
Missouri knows how to make it safe!