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Author Topic: Arizona  (Read 2616 times)

Truvelo

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Arizona
« on: February 10, 2013, 03:01:36 PM »

Just come back from eight days in Arizona. As usual I've taken 100's of photos and I'll post a handful of them here. For me the main attraction of the area is the huge Saguaro.

Definitely the star of the trip has been the Saguaro. You don't realise just how big they are until you see them next to something like a car.


Again, more giant cacti towering over the car.


A wide section of divided highway snakes its way across the Saguaro infested landscape. Such a well engineered road seems a little over the top for the handful of vehicles it carries.


Salt River Canyon where US-60 switches back several times to climb each side of the river. At the bottom are two bridges of similar designs which the one nearest the camera is older and narrower.


This bridge over I-10 east of Tucson is being replaced with a new structure. I assume the existing bridge has insufficient room to take extra lanes. There's only a mile or so of I-10 with such a narrow median.


Route 260 east of Payson is in the process of being widened. Here was the former end of a divided section.


A little further east on route 260 and the higher elevation is now cool enough for snow. Long gone are the Saguaro who wouldn't like the climate.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2013, 02:50:58 PM by Truvelo »
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AsphaltPlanet

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Re: Arizona
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2013, 10:20:03 AM »

That makes Arizona look awesome!  Thanks for sharing.

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Re: Arizona
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2013, 07:19:56 PM »

that last segment of narrow I-10 dates back to 1957.  I believe it is the oldest freeway segment in Arizona which is substantially unmodified from its initial configuration.

the widening is about to change that.
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Truvelo

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Re: Arizona
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2013, 12:56:39 PM »

So the standard median of that era is about the width of a car? Over here we still build them like that.
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J N Winkler

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Re: Arizona
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2013, 02:02:06 PM »

So the standard median of that era is about the width of a car? Over here we still build them like that.

No, it wasn't, and actually central reserves in Britain are not normally quite that narrow.

Median widths are measured from edge of traveled way to edge of traveled way (the left shoulder stripe on each carriageway delimits the traveled way).  From the mid-1950's onward, the standard median width in many US states was forty feet; Missouri, for example, used this standard when upgrading US 40 to I-70.  In Kansas about 80% of the freeway network has been built using a standard width of sixty feet.

Arizona worked to a forty-foot minimum for median width early on, but because most of the rural lengths of Interstate are routed through land which is of very poor value for any agricultural use, much greater median widths were frequently used--I have, for example, plans for parts of I-40 with median widths of 84 feet.

I think the Marsh Station length of I-10 is a special case, forced by the railroad overpass, and probably required a design exception at the time of original construction.

In regard to Britain, typical median ("central reserve") widths vary somewhat but I believe DMRB still requires that at least two feet be provided on either side of a safety fencing system whose nominal width is two feet, which translates to a six-foot minimum.  (DMRB, of course, expresses these nominal widths in metric units.)  Typically, however, provision is more generous than this.  The M1 opened in 1959 with a fifteen-foot central reserve.  Early in the 1960's there was discussion within the Ministry as to the merits of providing median widths comparable to those used in the USA (such as forty feet), but because land costs in Britain were (and still are) so high, this would have been as expensive as providing two additional paved lanes (one in each direction) while retaining a fifteen-foot central reserve.  After some early experiments with glare screening and catenary lighting, safety fences were adopted as the standard solution.
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AsphaltPlanet

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Re: Arizona
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2013, 05:17:26 AM »

Where are the Seguaro's?  I could cocievably visit that area in a few weeks.

J N Winkler

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Re: Arizona
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2013, 11:18:55 AM »

Where are the saguaro?  I could conceivably visit that area in a few weeks.

They can be found in desert areas above 4,000 feet.  In Sonora and southern Arizona they are common enough to be described as ubiquitous, but there are very few north of the Mogollon Rim.  The challenge is not to find saguaro cacti so much as it is to find specimens for photographing that have not been worked over by birds (lots of saguaro cacti have holes lined with scar tissue where birds have pecked at them to get at the moist interior).  Most saguaro are on private land, but Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (north of Lukeville) and the Rincon district of Saguaro National Park (near Tucson) can be driven through without charge.
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The High Plains Traveler

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Re: Arizona
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2013, 01:11:33 PM »

Where are the saguaro?  I could conceivably visit that area in a few weeks.

They can be found in desert areas above 4,000 feet.  In Sonora and southern Arizona they are common enough to be described as ubiquitous, but there are very few north of the Mogollon Rim.  The challenge is not to find saguaro cacti so much as it is to find specimens for photographing that have not been worked over by birds (lots of saguaro cacti have holes lined with scar tissue where birds have pecked at them to get at the moist interior).  Most saguaro are on private land, but Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (north of Lukeville) and the Rincon district of Saguaro National Park (near Tucson) can be driven through without charge.
I think you mean below 4000 feet.
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Truvelo

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Re: Arizona
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2013, 01:55:41 PM »

I think you mean below 4000 feet.

I would suggest they are found at lower elevations. On all the routes I drove, AZ-87 south of Payson in particular, the Saguaro were found at lower elevations. Indeed, at Payson the vegetation was mostly pine forests and there was snow on the ground last month.
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Re: Arizona
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2013, 02:05:10 PM »

I think you mean below 4000 feet.

I would suggest they are found at lower elevations. On all the routes I drove, AZ-87 south of Payson in particular, the Saguaro were found at lower elevations. Indeed, at Payson the vegetation was mostly pine forests and there was snow on the ground last month.
If you want to see them disappear quickly, drive I-17 north from Black Canyon City. On that steep grade, they become sparse and then non-existent before you get to the top. I would say the critical elevation there is about 3000 feet. Saguaro do not thrive where they are subjected to extended periods of sub-freezing temperatures.
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Truvelo

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Re: Arizona
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2013, 02:10:14 PM »

If you want to see them disappear quickly, drive I-17 north from Black Canyon City. On that steep grade, they become sparse and then non-existent before you get to the top. I would say the critical elevation there is about 3000 feet. Saguaro do not thrive where they are subjected to extended periods of sub-freezing temperatures.

Yes, I saw that. The rest area at the top of the summit on I-17 looks more like Kansas than Arizona.
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J N Winkler

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Re: Arizona
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2013, 02:32:01 PM »

I think you mean below 4000 feet.

Sorry, yes--below 4,000 feet.  I remember doing the westbound drive on Mex. 16 between Cuauhtémoc and Hermosillo (which crosses the Sierra Madre Occidental) and that is the approximate altitude on the western side at which saguaro become plentiful.

Yes, I saw that. The rest area at the top of the summit on I-17 looks more like Kansas than Arizona.

It does look a bit like the shortgrass prairie you find in far western Kansas, but I don't think we have any creosote bushes (which have an uncanny ability to suppress other plant life in their immediate surroundings).

Arizona SR 83 north of Sonoita

Landscapes such as the above look a bit like the Flint Hills (tallgrass prairie) in eastern Kansas--except we don't have vistas of distant mountains or those electric-green creosote bushes.
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Truvelo

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Re: Arizona
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2014, 02:21:38 PM »

I returned to Arizona exactly a year after my last trip. Again, the Saguaro was the main attraction although I didn't spend as much time taking photos of them as previously. Click on each picture for a full size version.

Route 238 between Gila Bend and Maricopa.


The hotel where I spent a couple of nights. I just had to capture the lights around the palm trees.


I also ventured out of state. This is I-15 taken from California looking towards the Nevada state line. The town in the distance is Primm which is 10 miles from where I was standing although it appears much closer in the picture.


This structure marks the entrance to Williams, AZ on the former route 66.


In Williams itself there are numerous references to route 66 including this mural painted on the side of a building.


The abomination that is Clearview seems to have infected virtually all of Arizona. Sorry, I prefer the classic look of Highway Gothic.
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AsphaltPlanet

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Re: Arizona
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2014, 04:43:25 PM »

Awesome pictures, yet again.  Thanks for including the full size photos.

hm insulators

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Re: Arizona
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2014, 11:09:50 AM »

Fantastic pictures! James and I went to an insulator collector's show and sale in Yuma on the 8th so I met him there.

Seeing the picture of I-15 brought back memories of the last time I used it Christmas Eve of 2006 I believe it was. My game plan was to make a big loop from Phoenix to Las Vegas to see a friend (no, I didn't put any money in the machines or at the various tables--roulette, craps, blackjack and so forth--Las Vegas hates people like me! :-D), then drive to Los Angeles Christmas Eve, spend Christmas day in south Orange County, then spend a day or two in San Diego, back to LA for the big parade in Pasadena, then home to Phoenix. This was done but with one complication: Heading toward L.A. Christmas Eve, I had just topped the first mountain pass south of Primm when something hit the windshield, cracking it and putting a quarter-size hole in it. I saw something metal rolling around in lanes, then saw another car pulling off the freeway and I pulled in behind them. The elderly couple in the car had run over the object (which remains unidentified) and gotten a flat tire. I helped them change their tire, then continued on my way with the wind whistling through the hole in my windshield. Barstow was my first stop to try to find some duct tape to put over the hole but the town was already buttoned up for Christmas, so I continued to Victorville, where I finally scored some to do what I now call my "Red Green" act (you Canadians will know who I'm talking about, as well as some Americans lucky enough to have him on their PBS station). Of course being Christmastime, no repair place was going to be open. I made it safely to L.A. with the hole duct-taped (fortunately, it was located real close to the bottom of the windshield where the tape wouldn't interfere with vision), then even on to Orange County for Christmas dinner. The day after Christmas, I tried to get the windshield fixed near the motel I was staying in Orange County but it would take a few hours before they would even get to it. So I inquired about their store in San Diego and could I get the windshield fixed there? They made a quick phone call to San Diego, got me an appointment and I finally got a new windshield in San Diego. Thus ended my window-shopping trip. :D
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Re: Arizona
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2014, 08:24:56 PM »

The backwards Super 8 sign is intriguing.
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Re: Arizona
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2014, 08:37:56 PM »

The backwards Super 8 sign is intriguing.

I think the ENTIRE photo is bass-ackwards to  show the Welcome to Williams sign (notice the white car in the distance and the back of the BGS on the right).
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Re: Arizona
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2014, 09:15:15 PM »

I think the Marsh Station length of I-10 is a special case, forced by the railroad overpass, and probably required a design exception at the time of original construction.

As an aside, about 10 years ago I stood on Marsh Station Road and watching two trains pass over each other at Cienega Creek just north of the I-10 segment in question. It was incredible to see the quiet desert erupt when two trains passed by right next to an old highway bridge.

The area I'm speaking of is here:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Marsh+Station+Rd/@32.0195064,-110.6458383,146m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x86d6f4feef181ec7:0x11fd6c3c733e6890

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Truvelo

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Re: Arizona
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2014, 02:24:02 PM »

I flipped the Super 8 picture as I was heading out of Williams and the archway would look stupid with the writing facing backwards. For me it appears I am now driving on the correct side of the road :)

As for the Marsh Station bridge over I-10 how is that getting on? I didn't go that way this time.
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Re: Arizona
« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2014, 08:18:22 PM »

The abomination that is Clearview seems to have infected virtually all of Arizona. Sorry, I prefer the classic look of Highway Gothic.


The good ol' days...

photo by me, taken sometime in 1996.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2014, 08:25:20 PM by BakoCondors »
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Truvelo

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Re: Arizona
« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2014, 01:18:36 PM »

Very nice. I see on Google Street View the southbound signs were still Highway Gothic in 2011. I can't remember what they were when I was there as I tend not to take southbound photos when it's sunny as the exposure comes out poor.
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J N Winkler

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Re: Arizona
« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2014, 02:32:16 PM »

Very nice. I see on Google Street View the southbound signs were still Highway Gothic in 2011. I can't remember what they were when I was there as I tend not to take southbound photos when it's sunny as the exposure comes out poor.

Assuming that trip happened in February 2012, I think the odds are quite good that the southbound signs had been changed out to Clearview by then.  This length of I-17 was covered (in both directions) by Arizona DOT TRACS H771001C (short description:  I-17 Rocky Park-McConnell), a sign rehabilitation job that was one of several which ADOT put under contract through a special procurement process in 2010.  Construction plans for H771001C were finished in June 2011--the sheets dealing with southbound Exits 340A-B were sealed on June 24, 2011.

Compared to the StreetView (September 2011), the new signs have similar messages but are in Clearview and the destination "Sedona" is in slightly smaller type than "Phoenix."  The signs that were replaced had primary destination legend in Series E Modified at 16" capital letter height, while the new signs have it in Clearview 3-W (not 5-W) at 20" capital letter height, except for "Sedona," which is still at 16" capital letter height.  Several freeway-to-freeway interchanges in the Phoenix area are similar in this respect.  The intention is to arbitrage type condensation against height, which is essentially similar to what Georgia DOT used to do with the FHWA series by using 20" Series D in place of 16" Series E Modified.  Unlike GDOT, however, ADOT seems to adopt this approach only at system interchanges where space is constrained.  Elsewhere on Arizona freeways, Clearview 5-W remains the default for primary destination legend.

Regarding south-facing sign photography:  this is what fill flash is for, though achieving the correct balance can be quite difficult with microprismatic sheetings.
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