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!

Skeleton of a cardboard box.

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.

One last photo from 159.

An old US-260 bridge.

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.

State highway 12.

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.

An automotive bargain.

A fishy look at old 32.

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.

Approaching sunset.

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!