Skip to main content

So This Is Arizona

Greetings from Phoenix, Arizona. After a treacherous drive in the snow to Scranton, and having to dash my way through the Detroit airport in order to catch a flight, I am visiting the Grand Canyon State for a few days with the intent of watching the New York Islanders face off against the Phoenix Coyotes in hockey. While I am out here for that, I decided I would do some sightseeing along the way.

I spent yesterday afternoon checking out the scenery in and around the Phoenix area. While looking for Papago Park, I found Tempe Beach Park, which is situated along a dammed portion of the Salt River. While I did not see any actual beach, there are plenty of recreational activities to be had. There were even people fishing, which was about the last thing I expected to see in Arizona.



I did go to Papago Park, which also features plenty of recreational activities, plus the Desert Botanical Gardens, the Phoenix Zoo and a number of neat red sandstone buttes, such as Hole-In-The-Rock. There are also some small ponds that look like oases in the desert, and yes, I saw more people fishing as well. Apparently, trout and other fish are stocked into the pond every other week during the winter, and it is more than just catch-and-release. I would definitely recommend Papago Park if you are visiting Phoenix and want to go hiking.




I then set out towards Apache Junction to go take a hike around parts of the Lost Dutchman State Park, which is near the Superstition Mountains at the beginning of the Apache Trail (AZ Route 88). While I didn't get to see much of the Apache Trail, it is supposed to be very scenic. On the way to Lost Dutchman State Park, I stopped at the Apacheland Movie Ranch. Apacheland was a movie set built to look like an Old West town, and was the set used for the 1968 movie "Charro", which starred Elvis Presley. Unfortunately, the ranch has seen better days, and only a portion of the ranch still remains. This includes a church that was converted into an Elvis shrine.




Back to the Lost Dutchman State Park, it does offer plenty of hiking opportunities in a desert landscape. The park gets its name from a miner who disappeared into the Superstition Mountains. Moonlight hikes are also offered, but I decided to just stick around during the waning hours of the afternoon.




Today, I will be going to Sedona, followed by the hockey game back in Phoenix. But first, I will mention some of the road related things I had seen.

I am not sure if road construction is a year round activity in the Phoenix area, or if it is primarily done during the cooler months due to the high summer temperatures. I did notice an extensive widening project on the Loop 202 in Tempe. I also spotted a number of colored Loop 101 and Loop 202 shields that still remain. With the Loop 202 shields, once the brown color fades, the shields have a blue-green hue to them.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Relief Route That Wasn't: The Never Built I-70 Bypass in the Mid-Mon Valley

In June 1963, a small blurb in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette read that The Westmoreland Engineering Company was awarded a $24,060 bid to study the proposed construction of Interstate 70 in Westmoreland and Washington Counties.  The study was to see what the construction and right-of-way costs "...to modernize the existing highway to Interstate requirements within eight months." (1)  This small, non-attributed, three paragraph article came less than a decade after the completion of a four lane highway that linked the Mid-Mon Valley to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. This would be the start of a 15 year process to upgrade and improve Interstate 70 - a process that ultimately never produced a single foot of new highway.

This is the story, albeit brief, of the I-70 that never came about.

Background:
What is now known as Interstate70 from Washington to New Stanton began as a connecting highway for the region to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Known as the "Express Highway", construct…

The Many Failed Plans of Pittsburgh's Wabash Bridge and Tunnel

The December 27, 2004 opening of the Wabash Tunnel ended over 70 years of proposals and speculation for the use of the over 100 year old facility.  The tunnel, which is now a reversible roadway that is an alternative route for rush hour traffic, saw many failed plans during the 20th Century.  These plans included options for mass transit, converted and new bridges for vehicles, and other forms of transportation.

Brief History:
Constructed in 1902-04, the Wabash Bridge and Tunnel was planned and financed by rail mogul, Jay Gould.  Gould began his "Battle of the Wabash" with the established railroads of the city in 1890.  He would finally emerge victorious, but during that struggle, Gould would see many setbacks that would eventually result in the railroad's bankruptcy in 1908.  On October 19, 1903, when the two ends of the bridge were to be joined together over the Monongahela River, the 109' bridge collapsed; killing ten men.  Construction would resume four days later …

A look at Pittsburgh's Saw Mill Run Boulevard

Saw Mill Run Boulevard - Pennsylvania State Route 51 - runs through the narrow Saw Mill Run Valley.  It begins at the intersection of Clairton Road and Provost Road at the City of Pittsburgh Line with Brentwood.  It ends at the West End Circle at the entrance to the West End Bridge.  A four lane highway for its the entire length, Saw Mill Run Boulevard consists of interchanges at the South Portal of the Liberty Tubes and with the Parkway West.  It is an expressway from the Parkway to the West End Circle (West End Bypass).  One of the most well known traffic tie-ups in the Pittsburgh area occurs between Maytide Street and PA 88 (Library Road) which is simply known as 'Maytide and 88.'

History:
Saw Mill Run Boulevard was part of the 1928 Allegheny County 'City Beautiful' bond issue.  The bonds resulted in the creation of Saw Mill Run, Ohio River, Allegheny River and Mosside Boulevards. (1)   After the completion of the Liberty Tunnels in 1924, Downtown Pittsburgh was offic…