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Author Topic: Sore Finger Road and the other weird roads off of I-10 west of Buckeye  (Read 1727 times)

Max Rockatansky

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Many a trip to California on I-10 was spent pondering what the genesis of Sore Finger Road was, apparently there was an explanation last year:

http://www.azcentral.com/story/travel/2015/09/28/sore-finger-road-name-reason/72705000/

Not exactly what I was expecting for an explanation...kind of mundane IMO.  Nothing really compared to the saga of Hovatter Road and the KOFA Mine/Refuge:

http://www.azoffroad.net/hovatter-homestead/4575378391
« Last Edit: August 15, 2016, 01:13:26 AM by andy3175 »
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Henry

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Well, mystery solved!
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coatimundi

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I used to use 355th/Vulture Mine Road as a way to reach 93 and avoid Phoenix completely. It's a strange road. Just absolutely nothing out there. They had some public notices up there years ago around the time of the housing crash, and I had read that they were looking to build a subdivision, but it obviously didn't materialize. It's still a good road to use. Completely paved. Just no exit off of I-10, so it's harder to reach. Drops you right at US 93, even with a traffic signal.
There's also the old US 80 routing, including the old truss bridge. I took a photo of that bridge and a band I was in in Tucson used an altered version of it for our album cover. https://www.amazon.com/Diagonals/dp/B009GMZGXY

I used to camp off of Castle Dome Road on my way to California. The first section is military, but then you cross the BLM boundary and it's just flat rock crust that you can easily drive on in any vehicle. Very, very quiet out there. It's just oppressively hot, so it gets you up pretty early. KofA also contains Palm Canyon just north of there, and I've always thought that was one of the most interesting places in the state, though no one seems to know about it.
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Max Rockatansky

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I used to use 355th/Vulture Mine Road as a way to reach 93 and avoid Phoenix completely. It's a strange road. Just absolutely nothing out there. They had some public notices up there years ago around the time of the housing crash, and I had read that they were looking to build a subdivision, but it obviously didn't materialize. It's still a good road to use. Completely paved. Just no exit off of I-10, so it's harder to reach. Drops you right at US 93, even with a traffic signal.
There's also the old US 80 routing, including the old truss bridge. I took a photo of that bridge and a band I was in in Tucson used an altered version of it for our album cover. https://www.amazon.com/Diagonals/dp/B009GMZGXY

I used to camp off of Castle Dome Road on my way to California. The first section is military, but then you cross the BLM boundary and it's just flat rock crust that you can easily drive on in any vehicle. Very, very quiet out there. It's just oppressively hot, so it gets you up pretty early. KofA also contains Palm Canyon just north of there, and I've always thought that was one of the most interesting places in the state, though no one seems to know about it.

I'm debating on trying for Palm Canyon out in October, one of many things I'd like to go try with my brother's Raptor.  I'll touch on this more when I get home but Vulture Mine Road has gotten infinitely cooler since a mine company bought the land and opened weekend tours.  That's actually one of the coolest things to go see in the entire state nowadays, there is scrap machines everywhere. 

coatimundi

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Yes, I've heard good things about the Vulture Mine tour. I have no interest in it (only been to Bisbee and Bingham Canyon), so have never stopped. But it's been open at least 10 years.
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Max Rockatansky

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Yes, I've heard good things about the Vulture Mine tour. I have no interest in it (only been to Bisbee and Bingham Canyon), so have never stopped. But it's been open at least 10 years.

It's fantastic and usually pretty sparse on the people...basically it's something neat to do on a Saturday.  Apparently before the current company bought the mine people would haul all their junk up to Vulture City and just dump it there.  There are so many mine parts, car bodies, machinery and various things of a huge range of vintages with a ghost town in the backdrop.  It's actually pretty interesting how the place got shut down in WWII since it was mining a non-essential metal, in this case gold.  The same thing happened up in Oatman, Old Trails and Gold Road at the same time.  None of the mines reopened immediately after the war and in the case of the Oatman area that really was the push that was needed to get US 66 off of Sitgreaves Pass and routed through Yucca in 1953.  Another mine worth checking out that's actually active is the Morenci Mine along the Coronado Trail on US 191.  It's kind of nuts to think that you have a giant mine with huge open pits running up to the very edge of a US Route like that.

Funny speaking of roads west of Buckeye around I-10, I just brought up Avenue 75E and the Centennial CDP.  I was coming back home from California a good several years back when I was in AZ and noticed a VMS just east of Vicksburg Road that I-10 was shut down at exit 81 at Salome Road.  Apparently there was a trucker that had a heart attack who crossed the median and hit a van head on which killed a bunch of people.  I thought about turning around at Hovatter Road to go back to Vicksburg Road and US 60 west but I figured that I would take a chance since I knew Avenue 75E connected to Salome Road at exit 69.  Now that in of itself wouldn't have been a big deal since Ave 75E is well graded...what was interesting was seeing TRUCKERS following me off of I-10 thinking it was a good alternate.  :-D  You couldn't get back onto I-10 at Salome Road due to the accident so I just stayed on it until I hit AZ 85.  I heard from a friend when I got home that she got stuck in traffic behind the accident site for eight hours...almost ran out of gas trying to keep the AC going to boot.

The bridge you are thinking of on Old US 80 is the Gillespie Bridge which goes right past the ruined Gillespie Dam.  I want to say the dam was built in the early 20s but I know it failed in 1993 which surprisingly didn't take out the bridge.  I always thought it was interesting that nobody bothered to fix or demolish the dam and it just sits there to this very day.  Anyways, you can see the bridge and dam pretty well from this 2011 street view:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Historic+Gillespie+Dam+Bridge/@33.2275728,-112.7661255,3a,75y,270h,90t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1s2qepW4zAzMyhbmrASg8eJw!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo1.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3D2qepW4zAzMyhbmrASg8eJw%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D45.216763%26pitch%3D0!7i13312!8i6656!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x80d4cfd67b7d57db:0x87bb329be2368490!2sGillespie+Dam,+Arizona+85322!3b1!8m2!3d33.229167!4d-112.769444!3m4!1s0x0:0x8e5eebb4565ca862!8m2!3d33.2274654!4d-112.7660684!6m1!1e1?hl=en

Apparently there is a museum with stuff from the Castle Dome mining district on Castle Dome Road where.  I always wanted to check it out but I was always usually trying to get somewhere fast on US 95 back in the time when I traveled the area somewhat frequently. 
« Last Edit: July 29, 2016, 12:46:26 AM by Max Rockatansky »
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MarkF

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I just remember that by the time I got to Sore Finger Road on trips from California, my fingers were sore from driving that long.
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Max Rockatansky

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I just remember that by the time I got to Sore Finger Road on trips from California, my fingers were sore from driving that long.

I was hoping there was a much more grand explanation for that road name like some mining ramming a hammer into his finger or something....nope, just a rock formation.  :rolleyes:  At least Bloody Basin Road up on I-17 and Total Wreck Lane off of AZ 83 have interesting stories behind them.

DJStephens

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Yes, I've heard good things about the Vulture Mine tour. I have no interest in it (only been to Bisbee and Bingham Canyon), so have never stopped. But it's been open at least 10 years.

It's fantastic and usually pretty sparse on the people...basically it's something neat to do on a Saturday.  Apparently before the current company bought the mine people would haul all their junk up to Vulture City and just dump it there.  There are so many mine parts, car bodies, machinery and various things of a huge range of vintages with a ghost town in the backdrop.  It's actually pretty interesting how the place got shut down in WWII since it was mining a non-essential metal, in this case gold.  The same thing happened up in Oatman, Old Trails and Gold Road at the same time.  None of the mines reopened immediately after the war and in the case of the Oatman area that really was the push that was needed to get US 66 off of Sitgreaves Pass and routed through Yucca in 1953.  Another mine worth checking out that's actually active is the Morenci Mine along the Coronado Trail on US 191.  It's kind of nuts to think that you have a giant mine with huge open pits running up to the very edge of a US Route like that.

No one hauled off all that scrap, with the run up in prices in the 2005-2008 timeframe?  Unprocessed cars reached $275/ton in El Paso.   
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Max Rockatansky

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Nope, it's still all pretty much there to this day and probably isn't going anywhere with it all part of the mine tour now.  It used to be that the Vulture Mine had an open gate and was only about 15 minutes from Wickenburg.  It was probably just easier to throw your problems away somewhere nobody would look or much less care.  I'm not sure how many people outside the locals even knew that mine existed much less knew it was literally a place you could just take your pick of the litter with scrap.  Every once in awhile I used to find scrap piles like that out on older mine roads or anything that used to lead to civilization around the Phoenix area.  The strangest find that I had was a bunch of toilets sitting in a huge pile was off of AZ 87 heading east towards the Superstitions and Weavers Needle.  Basically that was a hike and I didn't really see any good way to get a vehicle that far out...but someone did to dump toilets.  :-D

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I used to use 355th/Vulture Mine Road as a way to reach 93 and avoid Phoenix completely. It's a strange road. Just absolutely nothing out there. They had some public notices up there years ago around the time of the housing crash, and I had read that they were looking to build a subdivision, but it obviously didn't materialize. It's still a good road to use. Completely paved. Just no exit off of I-10, so it's harder to reach. Drops you right at US 93, even with a traffic signal.
There's also the old US 80 routing, including the old truss bridge. I took a photo of that bridge and a band I was in in Tucson used an altered version of it for our album cover. https://www.amazon.com/Diagonals/dp/B009GMZGXY

I used to camp off of Castle Dome Road on my way to California. The first section is military, but then you cross the BLM boundary and it's just flat rock crust that you can easily drive on in any vehicle. Very, very quiet out there. It's just oppressively hot, so it gets you up pretty early. KofA also contains Palm Canyon just north of there, and I've always thought that was one of the most interesting places in the state, though no one seems to know about it.
I want to like this post so hard for the album art.
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coatimundi

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Re: Sore Finger Road and the other weird roads off of I-10 west of Buckeye
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2016, 12:58:18 AM »

I want to like this post so hard for the album art.

My little way of getting some road geek out there to the world. Just some info though: the CD is not worth what Amazon is charging. It's not worth $1, really. I'll send you some Mp3s if you really want to hear anything.
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