August 7, 2010
I am reading the tale of your Grand Canyon trip 2010 and thought I would add a couple of tidbits for your amusement.
I have crossed the US via RT 66 so many times in my childhood that to this day I do not need a map to get across the US from AZ to PA. I just go by the next big city. I haven't done it since 1977 myself but my youngest daughter did it in 2009 just by following my directions from Chicago to Sun Valley, AZ where I have lived within spitting distance of I-40 and old RT 66 both for about 20 years, I am 1/2 way between the 2 roads.
Well here is one tidbit for you, I notice you were complaining about the HEAT when you got to NM, and that you stopped at "Speedys" on the AZ/NM Border. The area you were at in the winter time can be a nightmare for Diesel users as the fuel if not made for that area can actually GEL in the fuel tanks while driving down the road! The actual air temperature will sometimes drop to -15F and then add in the wind blowing through the canyon there 50 to 70 mile winds are not that unusual then add the 50 to 70 MPH speed of the trucks that gives you about a 140MPH wind chill! That is COLD!
I drove a School Bus from Holbrook, AZ for Holbrook Unified School District for 5 years and it was fun going out there to drop off dormitory students on Friday nights and then one year I picked up and returned students to Sanders EVERY day of the week, there were many days I was out on the road there before the snowplow drivers were out of bed.
There was one trip I made to Albuquerque in 1984 for a funeral that on the return trip I burned a full tank of gas going from Albuquerque to Grants fighting a headwind of 70+ MPH over the continental Divide, No one could get over 50 - 60 MPH that day at full throttle.
Many places in AZ I40 is actually built on top of old 66, this state didn't think we needed it at all! Now they wish they had it as a backup for traffic accidents on I40 as there have been many times that the Sun Valley fire department has had to close I40 to fight fires from traffic accidents for many hours with the fire being in the median or right along the shoulder of the road, or a fire in one lane with high winds blowing flames towards traffic.
There was one semi hauling burlap bundles that had the road closed for 6 hours as the fire would not go out, it was burning inside the bails and each one had to be opened to kill the fire.
Ah yes "Falling Rocks" unless my eyes are failing me that was taken just after you passed "Geronimo" and had "Cholla Power Plant" on the left. (It may be in AZ but ALL of the power it makes goes to LA (Boycotting AZ over SB1070!)), now imagine coming around the curve at 1AM and seeing a semi straight up the mountain that is at the extreme left edge of your Photo! The driver made the first curve and part of the second, had a heart attack and never knew he hit the mountain from what DPS told me when it was all over, I called that one in from Joseph City about 2 miles away as that was before cellphones, and I was the first one past it.
OH BTW: I don't know if you noticed the man made DAM on your right Just before these rocks and way off to the right just after the rocks but they are lakes of cooling water for Cholla power plant and I hope they never break! You can see them by googling Cholla Power plant, sometimes when they are full they are 3 times the size of the one alongside it.
And speaking about Fire you should have been here in 2002 when the "Rodeo-Chedisky" fire was burning! The sun was a small orange spot that you could stare at with no problem, you probably remember the smoke that made it back there as I remember the news reports on it and people complaining.
I was having to clean out the water pads on our "EVAPORATIVE COOLER 2 or 3 times a day just to get air through it into the house, we don't use Air Conditioning much as most of the year evaporative coolers AKA "Swamp coolers" work great and cost about 1/4 as much to use.
I was having a great time of it as I had no place I could go and am on oxygen 24/365, during that fire they completely evacuated 35,000+ people from the city of Show Low, AZ (Named by the turn of a card) and the fire came to within 150 FEET of the city! That fire covered 654,000 acres as I remember.
You are right about the state saving money by not having the rest areas open they closed 23 and left 3 open in the state BUT 1 year before they closed that one they spent about $2,000,000.00 rebuilding it and the one on the east bound side and that took 2 years! They did the same thing to one on I17 (Sunset Point) but left it open. The citizens of AZ let the Governor know how much they liked it also.
Yes the meteor creator was made many years ago, about 50,000 if I remember what I have read, I just am glad I wasn't around here at the time as they say that the shock wave killed all animal life within 100 miles and all of those big rocks around the exit off I40 were thrown out of the pit!
I see that you stayed at "Big Tree" camp ground, I lived there for about 4 months on a construction job in 1985.
I hope you ate at "Mary's Cafe" as that is my favorite place whenever I make it to Flag as I can't resist her cinnamon rolls and if I get there and don't bring my wife and her twin one each I am dead meat!
I worked for a asphalt construction company in 1996/8 and we rebuilt all of the taxiways and runways at the airport at the Grand Canyon (All the while keeping the airport open for normal operation) in the summer of 97 if I remember right. On of the first aircraft to use the rebuilt runway was "Air Force One" when the President stopped for a visit for some reason, it was quite a sight to see it land and then fight to take off at that altitude! It use the whole runway to get off, and we had just added 800' to it!
While I was working there for 5 months I had to live in Williams, AZ and drive 60 miles each way every day as they will not let you stay more than 3 days at any campground in the area including most of the ones in the Williams area. If you ever need a place to stay in Williams Area I would recommend 1000% the Railside RV Ranch?- more info
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