The third day of the Gila River trip, in which I return from New Mexico back home to San Diego.
Campfire from the night before. I don’t remember why we decided that Frosty the Candle Snowman had to go, but we certainly sent him off to Valhalla in style.
An old alignment of New Mexico state route 32 yields this tilted, decrepit junction assembly. It dates to the late 1960s or so.
This grassland – just east of Springerville, AZ – burned in the Wallow Fire just a few weeks after I took these photos. But, it will grow back, as that is how these things tend to go.
Sunset through Telegraph Pass, just east of Yuma on I-8.
This is not a ball of tinfoil – it is just paper, but somehow it ended up looking reflective.
Dale always brings the most interesting things to toss into a fire!
One last bit of pyromania. The fire is almost out for the night.
Elk at sunrise. US-180 on the way to Arizona.
Sun glint on a cow warning sign.
One of two bridges in the US that I know of that are painted this particular shade of orange.
Different view of the orange bridge. The road is an old alignment of US-260, which was renumbered to US-180 in 1961.
On the bridge itself. It is closed to vehicular traffic, but is easily walkable.
US-180 switches back and we are suddenly heading into the morning sun, despite generally making our way westbound.
New Mexico state highway 159 goes to – and past! – Mogollon. On this historic marker, the 159 patch has worn off, revealing the old route number of 78.
On the road to Mogollon. The first few miles – between US-180 and the town – are relatively civilized.
These old-style mailboxes are getting harder and harder to find. I think their original design goes back to the 30s.
Past the town, the road turns into a very narrow dirt track. Yep, that is an officially sanctioned state highway! We do not follow it this time, instead turning around to return to 180.
Heading back to 180. I do not know what those buildings are in the foreground.
The bridge is so old that even the sign which marks it as historic has been overgrown.
The road is new enough to have received yellow stripes, which were made a federal standard in 1978.
This wooden fencepost once held a glass cateye reflector. Alas, it was gouged out by scavengers years ago. At least a bit of the old silver paint remains.
I do not know whether the 1165/40 sign is a bridge inventory marker or a mile post. The new US-180 is seen in the background.
The view off the bridge to the east.
And one last view of the bridge itself, from the current road. The bridge contains of two separate segments.
We turn off 180 here, at this classic shield on a spindly, somewhat shaky-looking gantry.
Apparently, I have gone into the food-and-chainsaw business. Neato.
And state highway 32, which have just turned onto.
And now, old 32. A high-quality dirt road – but with all signs having turned black from age. The road was bypassed sometime in the 1970s.
Okay, maybe not all. Some have simply had the background fall off, revealing bare wood.
Just after the old JCT US-60 assembly is this formerly white guide sign. The topmost destination is Red Hill – 18 miles away, just before the Arizona state line.
We are now in Arizona, where we come across this old US-60 alignment.
Old enough to have received a double white stripe.
The road is sometimes barely passable.
The red asphalt is starting to go.
Road suddenly impassable. The sort of obstacle that the map does not show.
One more view of the high plains of east Arizona.
Not often you see the Arizona state outline completely accurate on a route marker. Usually the western (Colorado River) boundary is turned into a straight line. Until about 1973, though, the correct outline was used – and it seems this construction company pulled an old manual off the shelf when it came time to put this sign together.
We’re in the Phoenix area now. Button copy is getting rare. The blue 101 shields are getting even rarer.
Getting close to Yuma. And this is our last photo on the night, as it turns dark, the wind picks up, and there is a dust storm on I-8… but we’re too busy flirting with death before our time to bother taking photos. Next time, perhaps!
Jake, Regarding the mail box photo, on SHORPY.COM there is a photo taken in Indiana in 1904 of a same style but more elaborate post mounted mailbox. They do show up on Ebay occasionally, thats where I got mine. Sam
that old, huh? wow. I should probably know where more of these mailboxes are, but I do not actively look for them – so I know of one other offhand. It’s in eastern Oregon on US-95. Can’t remember the name of the town, but it begins with “A” and google maps is not showing it. Makes sense, since it’s a pretty small town. Has a post office and a zip code, though.
“The road is new enough to have received yellow stripes, which were made a federal standard in 1978.”
Do I detect a white broken stripe between the two solid yellow lines? That was the standard “no passing either way” stripe in many states before the nationwide standardization around 1973. The white broken stripe was continuous, with solid yellow lines on neither side, one side, or both depending on where passing was allowed.
yep – you do detect that. I think it was not carefully overpainted, so both stripes were visible.
where did you get “1973”? I had thought it was 1978.
My dad and I ran across 2 of those old mailboxes near Socorro – 1 at Valley of Fires and the other in the historic town of Lincoln. And… my dad requested his photo taken by both 🙂
good to know someone’s looking for them!
Always enjoy looking at your travels. Great pictures.
If a bridge isnt going to be maintained, wouldnt it make more sense to tear it down instead of blocking it off with a fence and letting it rot?
Excellent mix of road photography, history and art. By the way, what is the other orange truss bridge that you know of?
the other orange bridge is not a truss bridge.
these are absolutly beautiful. i just stumbled onto your website, amazing.
Yellow striping as standard was introduced as part of the MUTCD 1971 edition, mandated in Oct 1971. The MUTCD stated conversion to new standards by 1978 for all states, but most repainting to the full yellow scheme was done in 1973 and 1974.
thank you for the info, Allan! I hadn’t taken a good look at the ’71 MUTCD in a while.