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Author Topic: Max's Mountain West Roads  (Read 6012 times)

Max Rockatansky

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Max's Mountain West Roads
« on: October 14, 2016, 10:07:15 PM »

Alright, finally about time I got around to opening this thread up.  Basically this first section is going to be a continuation of the Southwest thread from reply #126:

http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=18621.0

Basically I'm just uploading 2016 stuff going forward.  So when this trip concludes I'll upload the rest of my Mount West stuff for the year and keep building on it going forward.  So with that in mind I'll start where I left off at the Arizona state line on I-15:



It was actually an internal debate all day whether to take CR 91/Old US 91 or take the Virgin River Gorge:



Ultimately decided on the Gorge given the sun was about at the perfect position to get good from the car pictures:



I haven't been through the Virgin River Gorge since 2012.  The repairs made in the last couple years by ADOT made one hell of a difference, the road felt completely different than I remember.  I would go as far to say that the speed limit needs a boost to 65 MPH from 55 MPH finally:







I always like the "Welcome to Utah Sign."  No trace of that rest area that burned down earlier in the year...maybe I missed it?



Snagged a UT 7 which I didn't have from the last trip through St. George:



Took UT 18 to UT 8 and followed the old pre-1999 alignment to Snow Canyon:




Seems odd to me to switch UT 300 to UT 8 in the early 90s only to truncate the route or relinquish it so quickly.  I seem to recall that this was a big deal to recylce the "8" at the time.  Regardless I wouldn't really say a 25 MPH park road is really worthy of being on a state highway log.  Nice to see some coral pink dunes again...figured this would be a nice side trip since Zion is on the book for tomorrow morning and I was early:




Of course the best view can be had right off of UT 18 on a dirt road above the canyon:



I had some shield collecting heading to Springdale.  I hit UT 34 from UT 18, I-15, followed UT 9 to Springdale but got a UT 59 and UT 17 along the way:







Zion is basically unapproachable this time of year mid-day.  I had a miserable time getting to the hotel with all the people trying to park along the side of the road. I'm staying in Green River tomorrow so I plan on hitting the Mount Carmel Highway early and getting to the canyon overlook maybe 20-30 minutes before sunrise.  Bryce might have big crowds too but I don't have to fight hand and fist for a shuttle ride....beautiful canyon with Zion but not worth sticking around for the wriggamoral.  Assuming UT 12 is (going to check tonight) I'll be taking that to UT 24 which will take me through Capitol Reef and if time permits Goblin Valley:




Anyways I hope that the plan works out.  Last year I did this trip around the same time of year but I came from Kanab and US 89 to Zion early in the morning.  Things went fine that time, I guess that I'm edged up because of the traffic volume.  Really I should have done this like I did back in 2012 and try this in the winter again.  That trip was unreal with all the snow covering all the red rocks up.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2016, 09:38:47 AM by Max Rockatansky »
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Max's Mountain West Fury Road Reports
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2016, 11:14:36 PM »

Looks like I had the right plan for the day, basically I tried to knock out Zion and Bryce Canyon early in the morning.  I got up past the Zion Tunnel by 7:10 AM and managed to get some views of Zion Canyon before sunrise:




I forgot how fast the sun rises in Utah on a clear day, there was plenty of light to get a clear look at the hairpins below:



I managed to get back down to the Zion Tunnel by 7:50 AM.  The main reason I wanted to get up here early was due to the tunnel being traffic controlled one-way by 8 AM this time of year.  Apparently the Zion Tunnel along with the entire 25 Miles that make up the Mount Carmel Highway (UT 9 east to US 89) was first surveyed in 1923 and built from 1927 to 1930.  The Zion Tunnel is about 5,600 feet long and has a height of 13 feet.  It's narrow as all hell inside but wide enough for two large light trucks to fit through provided they go the posted 25 MPH speed limit. 



After leaving Zion I went to the eastern terminus of UT 9 and picked up US 89 north:



On the way north to UT 12 I managed to snag some shields for UT 14, UT 20, and even I-70:




Last year I drove up from US 89A in Arizona to southern Utah.  I took UT 14 up to Cedar Breaks...I might have to share that trip on this page.  The weather was awful and murky last year until I got up to I-70, Bryce Canyon was basically a bust.  Since I checked out the Swell on I-70 last year and all of UT 24 the year prior, this year was UT 12 given the nice weather:



UT 12 is about 123 miles and honestly one of the prettier highways in the entire country.  For the most part the highway is between 6,000 and 9,600 feet above sea level as it traverses the Grand Staircase.  The route existed as UT 12 at least from Tropic to Bryce Canyon since the 1920s and it was cobbled into a singular route from other state highways.   The area between Boulder and Escalante was some of the most isolated parts of the lower 48 states to finally be bridged by a paved highway.  Apparently Boulder didn't even get power until just after World War II.

But with that in mind heading east from US 89, UT 12 passes through Red Canyon which has some neat sandstone tunnels before entering a plain where I turned south on UT 63 for Bryce Canyon:





Of course Bryce Canyon wasn't a bust this year with the nice weather.  Last year there was fog all over and I just got a couple glimpses of the hoodoos from Sunset Point.  You can see Tropic and UT 12 in the valley below Bryce Canyon:






Thankfully I do distance running so getting past the overlooks at Bryce was a snap before the tourist brigade poured in.  When I was leaving Sunset Point had no parking spots left, I guess you'd have to rely on luck or the bus.....no thanks.  Doubled back to UT 12 where I managed to get a UT 63 "end" and UT 22:



UT 12 has a ton of overlooks that are worth stopping at.  East of Tropic you can look back towards Bryce and there are plenty of plateaus to see on the Grand Staircase:





Really the only "real" town around here is Escalante.  I say "real" since it has some of the modern services a lot of the road going public would really expect.  The area is remote as all hell and probably some of the most unique in the entire country.  Most of the villages along UT 12 follow the only Mormon street grid (central, 100 N, 100 S, ect) and really haven't changed much since they were settled.  The first road through from Escalante to Boulder was the Hells Backbone Road which I remember was built back in the 1930s.  A couple buddies and I took the Hells Backbone about 10 years back, it's not exactly easy but high clearance shouldn't have an issue.  The road leading into Escalante has a large cliff face leading in from the west while east of town has all the National Monument fanfare:





I probably should say that UT 12 from US 89 to the Escalante River is pretty fast, usually 60 MPH plus.  From the Escalante River to UT 24 the road slows down a lot as it traverses canyons and plateaus.  There is only one place I know of that has a 10% grade, the roads around the Escalante River are usually 8% and straddle ridges:






After getting through the gorges around the Escalante River you'll come into Boulder which is the last trace of civilization until UT 24.  Basically this is about as remote as you can get as I mentioned above.  Apparently they didn't get power here until 1947, about the only place I can think of that's like this is Young down in Arizona:



The elevation at Boulder is about 6,700 feet above sea level but UT 12 climbs to about 9,600 feet before descending back down to 6,800 at Torrey and UT 24.  There are some decent views of the high mountains to the east and the Water Pocket Ford out in Capitol Reef National Park:







I cut east on UT 24 towards Capitol Reef and Green River.  Unfortunately the UT 12 kind of came out blurry:




I stopped at Capitol Reef to get a couple photos, I'm fairly certain this is the first time I've done three national parks in a single day.  Regardless I checked out the town site of Fruita before heading east on UT 24.  Fruita was a founded in 1880 and it was abandoned when the Park Service took over the land in 1955.  What's left of the town is maintained by the Park Service which ain't much:





UT 24 east of Fruita seems to have gotten a recent repave.  There was some pretty nasty winds out today on 24 that had some RVers going about 35 MPH in a 65 MPH zone.  For some reason nobody wanted to pull a pass so I took the opportunity to get by the six vehicles in front of me.  :rolleyes:  Oddly I didn't see any of the RVs or cars that I passed when I got the Giles ghost town site.  Giles was a town founded in the 1880s along the Fremont River.  Apparently in the early 20th century the town was flooded several times which led to it being abandoned by 1919.  Word is that there is a second building but I only know of the one on the side of UT 24:



Snagged a UT 95 in Hanksville before heading northeast along UT 24 to the turnoff for Goblin Valley:



There is an actually decent vista overlooking the San Rafael desert from UT 24 a couple miles south of the Goblin Valley turnoff.



I want to say Goblin Valley is maybe a dozen miles off of UT 24.  Basically these are hoodoos also but they are much more weathered than Bryce Canyon or Cedar Breaks.  This is where some idiots made a Youtube video pushing a hoodoo over which got them prosecuted.  Apparently the park road for Goblin Valley is actually an unsigned UT 303.  I could have sworn there was a sign somewhere out here years ago but I could be thinking of Dead Horse Point:





After Goblin Valley I jumped back on UT 24 to I-70/US 50.  Wasn't long before US 6/191 got picked up but the weird thing is that US 191 is silent for some reason.  I stopped for the day in Green River on the I-70BL/UT 19.  The weird thing is that the BL has a State Route number on it...why not just make it UT 19 as a stand alone?  This would be a left over portion of the US 50/6 surface route before I-70 was built:





« Last Edit: October 16, 2016, 09:31:54 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Max's Mountain West Fury Road Reports
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2016, 09:26:24 PM »

Little more localized day out in southwest Utah.  Started the day bright and early and got my butt onto I-70.  Wasn't too long before I hit the split for US 191 south and UT 313.  Made my way all the way down to the Grand View for sunrise over the La Sal Mountains and the Canyonlands National Park:



Hit a couple Green River overlooks on my way back towards UT 313:




Stopped near the Island of the Sky Visitor Center to get a view of Shafer Canyon Road.  You can actually take this down to Potash Road which will eventually become UT 279 at the Colorado River or White Rim Road which takes you around the Island of the Sky in a loop...incidentally you can see the latter in the two previous photos.  Incidentally UT 279 was planned originally back in the 1960s to reach Dead Horse Point from the Colorado River.  I'm fairly certain that the proposed alignment was much closer to the actual state park rather than taking Shafer Canyon Road.  Apparently there was also a UT 278 that was planned to follow basically possibly to Shafer Canyon Road or perhaps part of White Rim Road, I don't actually have much data on the subject and it was never built anyways.  UT 313 was apparently plotted out in 1969 after the saga of UT 278 and UT 279 which honestly seems like a much more rational compromise.  But....it would be pretty cool to see cars come up a paved Shafer Canyon Road:



UT 313 basically is the defacto access road to the Island of the Sky while it dead ends with a southern terminus at Dead Horse Point.  You actually have to travel several miles to rejoin UT 313 to head to Dead Horse:



Dead Horse Point is named due to corral owners abandoning a pack of horses at what is now the state park.  Apparently Dead Horse Point was used as a natural corral in the 19th century and despite the owners opening the gates for the horses, they just stayed and...well died.  :ded:  Dead Horse is the only clear view of the Colorado River and somehow never got absorbed by the National Park Service.  Potash Road from UT 279 west to Shafer Canyon can actually be seen below where I took this picture:



Coming back down to US 191 you are greeted with a UT 313 "END" sign.  I always liked how Utah even on the most minor of routes seems to be up on "End" markers for whatever reason.  US 163 used to run through here from 1970 to 1983 when it was cut back to Monticello and then finally Bluff in 1985.  Even when US 163 went all the way to Crescent Junction in 1970 the route number still made not a single lick of sense.  Prior to 1970 US 160 ended at Crescent Junction...which I want to say was a thing back first in 1954?  Regardless it's interesting to see how much this section of US 191 has picked up in importance, decent road too with mostly a wide four-lane near Moab.  Took US 191 south to Arches National Park via the Arches Scenic Drive:



Usually I make my way to the back side of Arches well to the north of the park entrance, it seems to mitigate the tourist crowd somewhat.  I encountered this sign at the bathroom (yes I took a pic of a bathroom sign, either you'll find it funny or be mortified like my wife was :rolleyes:) at the long 1.5 mile trail to the Delicate Arch.  Now....I'm not one to judge, but seriously someone had to do what was described on the signs...or not for that thing to be posted.  :-D  I can picture some form of calamity where someone was standing on the toilet which is probably a legend in National Park Service work circles.  For some reason I'm picturing some new age hipster who was wearing a knitted sweatshirt and a beanie who just happened to see a news article in the Huff Post about "proper" position when things went sideways.  I've never seen a sign like this in 44 National Parks so I thought it was humorous:



I didn't really "hike" per se up to the Delicate Arch but basically ran 2.75 miles of the 3 mile round trip.  I do distance running and I felt up for a challenge.  There is a sandstone rock face that probably has a 30-40% grade that I would have had to zig-zag up which actually made walking faster....coming down not so much.  There is an easier path to see the Delicate Arch to the east but it looks wimpy since it's a distant overlook.  Also...pretty obvious that I was fighting the tourist crowd by now, I'm honestly surprised that I didn't see any other runners since I usually encounter a couple:




Took the trail to the Sand Arch and Broken Arch.  I got at least 5 miles in running today, but I might have been closer to 6?  That would make 18 miles so far on a conservative estimate which means I'll have to tone it down for the rest of the week once I get to my family destination. 



Also had a couple looks at some panorama points before bugging out of Arches:




Arches Scenic Drive Actually climbs the Moab Fault from US 191 entering the park itself.  There is a hell of a view to be had of US 191, Arches Scenic Drive, and the railroad even from the top of the fault:



From Arches I took US 191 south to Blanding.  I managed to get a ton of shield pics along the way.

-  A blurry UT 279...for some reason my phone doesn't like moving shots at times.  I can't seem to figure what the formula is that's causing it:



-  UT 128 which heads to I-70/US 6/US 50 at the ghost town of Cisco.  I took this last year along with UT 279, so when time permits I'll probably post photos from both routes.  Cisco is a must visit along with Thompson Springs for US 50 fans with the old alignments along with people who like Vanishing Point:



-  UT 46 which will take you to CO 90:



-  UT 211 which will take you to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park:



-  A biggie with US 491 and the long saga of US 666 which proceeded it:



And finally I cut west at UT 95.  The route is in terrible shape at the eastern terminus but it levels out after a couple miles.  The wind was driving me nuts through this section but the road was otherwise good....and climbs fast.  There is actually a crap ton of 5-8% grades all in a row heading west uphill:



UT 261.....we'll explore this one a little further, just not today.  ;-)



And UT 275 which I turned off on to head to Natural Bridges National Monument:



Stopped by Natural Bridges National Monument to see the Natural Bridges which are basically just really big arches.  The biggest is the first on in the following pics, the Sipapu Bridge which is apparently the 13th largest in the world.  This would be National Monument number fifty for me.  I'll have to make a trip back to New Mexico sometime since I could easily bump that figure up to 60 with all the ruins that I haven't been to:





Back tracked my way to Blanding for the night.  Had an encounter with the first US Bike Route sign I've seen in the field, apparently US 191 carried US Bike Route 70:



So tomorrow I hit up UT 261 which would probably be better known on the forum by it's name the Moki Dugway.  I'll have to see if I can replicate another user's avatar on the way down.  I'll be hitting the Arizona State Line tomorrow via Monument Valley and US 163.

« Last Edit: October 16, 2016, 09:28:47 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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Re: Max's Mountain West Fury Road Reports
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2016, 05:26:56 PM »

Since it will be a pain to get to comment on specific pictures as I'm at work, I'll drop a few observations:

- Good to see USBR 70 shields in the field so soon. Hopefully USBR 70 (south)west of--and USBR 79 south of--Cedar City won't be too far off in designation and signing.

- Looks good that US 50 is finally getting some love on I-70, but not sure why US 191 is (still) not. My best guess is that the BGS on EB I-70/US 50 looks to be a bit older, given that parts of it are peeling. WB I-70/US 6/50 and NB US 191 shows both WB US 6 and NB US 191 for the route split. US 191 is also signed to an extent at Crescent Jct.

- Notice the smaller "South" placard on US 491, probably covering up the "East." It seems that UDOT in general is moving away from the multi-directional route directions (like how the primarily N-S UT 68 has been listed as E-W for a brief run in Davis County). I kind of liked the practice, though it makes sense for 491, providing continuity for the route in Colorado and New Mexico.

- It is common practice for Utah/UDOT to maintain business routes (or parts thereof), thereby giving them a State Route number, even if they serve no other purpose. Other such routes I can think of off the top of my head are UT 34, UT 274, UT 160, UT 99, UT 120, UT 55, and UT 58.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Max's Mountain West Fury Road Reports
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2016, 07:26:00 PM »

Since it will be a pain to get to comment on specific pictures as I'm at work, I'll drop a few observations:

- Good to see USBR 70 shields in the field so soon. Hopefully USBR 70 (south)west of--and USBR 79 south of--Cedar City won't be too far off in designation and signing.

- Looks good that US 50 is finally getting some love on I-70, but not sure why US 191 is (still) not. My best guess is that the BGS on EB I-70/US 50 looks to be a bit older, given that parts of it are peeling. WB I-70/US 6/50 and NB US 191 shows both WB US 6 and NB US 191 for the route split. US 191 is also signed to an extent at Crescent Jct.

- Notice the smaller "South" placard on US 491, probably covering up the "East." It seems that UDOT in general is moving away from the multi-directional route directions (like how the primarily N-S UT 68 has been listed as E-W for a brief run in Davis County). I kind of liked the practice, though it makes sense for 491, providing continuity for the route in Colorado and New Mexico.

- It is common practice for Utah/UDOT to maintain business routes (or parts thereof), thereby giving them a State Route number, even if they serve no other purpose. Other such routes I can think of off the top of my head are UT 34, UT 274, UT 160, UT 99, UT 120, UT 55, and UT 58.

Oddly US 50 doesn't appear again on the actual Interstate nor does US 6 and obviously US 191.  I really don't get the lack of US 191 since it's such a major route through the immediate area that you'd think continuity through reassurance markers would be a thing.  I'll have to check my photos from last year but I'm fairly certain further west in the Swell there are some US 50 shields on I-70.

Don't get me wrong, I've always liked how anal Utah is about signing everything that I'm all on board with the signing the state route number with Interstate BL shield as well.  It's just such a weird practice to see since almost no other state does it, much less with consistency.   :-D

Speaking of consistency, I forgot to mention that I didn't see an "end" UT 275 yesterday.  I was actually in shock that there wasn't anything there at the UT 95 junction.

More to come later tonight with the Dugway and lots of Arizona Shields.

Max Rockatansky

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Re: Max's Mountain West Fury Road Reports
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2016, 10:15:26 PM »

This morning was a little bit of a backtrack, instead of UT 275 I followed UT 95 and cut south on UT 261.  For those familiar with Utah, UT 261 includes the Moki Dugway which is a three mile segment of gravel state highway descending a cliff face.  UT 261 is otherwise pretty normal for it's other 31 miles but UDOT sure wants you to know what's coming up ahead:



Interestingly when I turned around I noticed some error UT 95 signs with US 95 shields:



There is even a reassurance shield right before the gravel section on the Dugway....I kind of wish it was on the Dugway itself:



Just for good measure UDOT gives you a double warning about the gravel, twisties, and 10% downhill grade:




When the asphalt ends you get a nice little sign indicating you are on the Moki Dugway:



The Moki Dugway was constructed by Texas Zinc as a short cut to the uranium mine up at Fry Canyon in 1958.  UDOT adopted the alignment of UT 261 the year prior, really the 50s and 60s seemed to be the zenith for rural highway building in Utah.  I've never done the Dugway before today, really this was the only thing left for me in southeast Utah along with the Natural Bridges yesterday.  Given that I'm very experienced with dirt and off-roading I found the Dugway to be one of the best maintained gravel roads I've been on....it's very impressive considering the terrain it traverses.  The Dugway is wide enough for two cars almost completely with only a couple narrow points near the top.  There was some minor wash boarding in places but it was extremely soft and mild.  I would kind of compare it AZ 88 down in Arizona if I could draw an accurate analogy.  I noticed some of the tighter curves are even asphalted and there was on-sight grading truck.  Honestly, I'm kind of at a loss as to why the Dugway never got paved.  The terrain is seems to be stable enough to allow for something like that.  But then again it probably doesn't add really much to the route nor would speed things up.  I would speculate the grade is almost always below 10%, it only seemed steep in small segments.

But I digress near the top there a really good view of the Valley of the Gods to the east and even Monument Valley to the west:



It seems the signature pictures for the Dugway itself are usually taken from the first major hairpin.  Incidentally...why are they calling the hairpins switchbacks?  I always associated a switchback with railroad grades where the train would literally pull into a switchback and the track would switch....weird.  Anyways....one zoom-in of the hairpins along with a panorama:




Really I would suggest taking this route in as much as you can because it ends fast:




It might not look it but the final hairpin is asphalt which gradually becomes better in the next following mile:



Passed UT 316 which would take you to the Goosenecks on the San Juan River:



UT 261 ends at US 163 just a couple miles from Mexican Hat and Monument Valley:



US 163 is a weird route...not only because of the BS route number.  Despite being out in the middle of nowhere in the Navajo Nation it seems to be a favorite shortcut for truckers to take from US 191 to US 160 in Kayenta in Arizona.  It seems like to me that the road is under perpetual construction, this year wasn't too bad but I still ran into a flagman.  Last year was extremely bad with 20-30 minute flagman waits.  Unfortunately this year's construction included mile marker 13 which is where all the car magazine photos are taken from US 163 itself.  I had to settle for the overlook that's sign at a Navajo trade post...which is still a really good view:



One more view back the other way from the Arizona side:




It would seem Diversion Dam Road now is signed as Navajo 106 in Kayenta....weird I don't remember this being here before:



And US 163 has a decent "end" sign on the Arizona side.  Hopefully one day this route will be incorporated into the US X91 family:



I turned west on US 160 and picked up some shields:

-  AZ 564 which takes you up to Navajo National Monument.  Trust me on this one...don't go on this route when it's snowing, you'll have a bad time.  :rolleyes:



-  AZ 98 which will take you to Page.  Really I think this route is kind of overrated and I really don't understand why there is such a hype train behind.  Asides from Antelope Canyon there really isn't much else of significance:



-  Navajo 21 which takes you up to Kaibito and AZ 98:



-  AZ 264 which will take you out to NM 264 via the Hopi Nation.  If you are noticing a theme with the X64 routes it's because AZ 64 used to run all the way to the state line along what is now US 160.  Personally I like Rover_0's idea about US 64 being extended through here to US 395 along with my idea about US 160 ending in Williams or Prescott.  Even AZ 264 could become a US X60 something since it crosses state lines:



There is actually a decent end sign for US 160 at US 89:



Of course I turned on US 89 south towards Cameron and the Grand Canyon:



In Cameron you can still check out the 1911 to 1959 Cameron suspension bridge which is now used for a pipeline.  This would have been the original alignment of US 89:



I turned west on AZ 64 and was greeted with "Bushmaster" Highway?  What the hell?...  This would be the quiet route into the Grand Canyon since most people tend to come in from Flagstaff or Williams:



Stopped at the Desert View overlook and noticed these strange looking AZ 64 shields on a guide sign:




Had my fill of a couple more overlooks west to Mather Point.  Pulling out of Mather I noticed a modern style AZ 64 on a guide sign but no mention of US 180:







Which is strange since almost immediately once you exit the National Park boundary south you are greeted by both AZ 64 and US 180:



I'm not clear on when this change was made but this used to be just AZ 64 from Valle north to the Grand Canyon.  The signage seems to be improving even more over time, it's still weird that AZ 64 and US 180 are co-signed like this.  Not that I have an issue with a US Route ending at the Grand Canyon I would just prefer it if ADOT pursued US 160 for the entire AZ 64 corridor and cut back US 180 to Valle.  This would be the first northbound reassurance marker north for AZ 64/US 180 in Valle:



I'm calling it a night in Williams with some friends who were visiting the Canyon today.  AZ 64 ends right where Historic US 66 and the I-40 BL begin:




Of course being a US 66 town Williams is pretty proud of having US 66 signs all over the place.  Some of the more notable ones I saw passing through town:


Max Rockatansky

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Re: Max's Mountain West Fury Road Reports
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2016, 12:31:21 AM »

Found this on Youtube:


Okay so what am I missing here?...Dugway is at roughly 17:00.  The Dugway is a perfectly decent road for what it is....graded gravel and dirt.  If it's so much of a problem as the video and the people who work on the road present it to be....then why not just pave it and call it a day?  :eyebrow:  Seriously I thought it was adequate as all hell considering how remote the area is.  Maybe it's just me....I mean if anyone has checked out the Pacific Southwest counterpart thread to this one it's pretty obvious I've been on far worse roadways.  Not exactly the most well advised thing to be traveling anything but asphalt in snow...the video is shot in the winter time.  I'm not saying it's the safest road in the world but it certainly doesn't deserve mention with roads of the likes of the Yungas.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2016, 12:59:07 AM by Max Rockatansky »
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Re: Max's Mountain West Fury Road Reports
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2016, 04:35:26 AM »

I lived in Williams for 10 years, and yes, they certainly do love their Route 66 shields!! Hope you enjoyed your evening there. I now live in Prescott, but Williams will always be considered my hometown.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Max's Mountain West Fury Road Reports
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2016, 08:28:08 AM »

I lived in Williams for 10 years, and yes, they certainly do love their Route 66 shields!! Hope you enjoyed your evening there. I now live in Prescott, but Williams will always be considered my hometown.

Yeah I ended up recommending it to the friends I mentioned other Flagstaff.  I always like how it was more mellowed out over in Williams while you had all the college kids from NAU on top of the I-40/I-17 traffic staying overnight.  Not that I'm saying Flagstaff is bad, I just prefer something a little more quaint the back side of this trip.  Basically today is really just 89A to my brother's house for a couple days.  I might head down to the Valley to check some stuff out, namely AZ 88 if I can arrange it.  I actually lived in Arizona for over a decade, I'm fairly certain about the only state highway I haven't clinched here is AZ 366 up Swift Trail to Mount Graham.

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Re: Max's Mountain West Fury Road Reports
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2016, 10:36:00 PM »

Short day since I was only heading to Prescott.  Conventional sense would have had me taking the easy way via I-17 and AZ 169....but that's boring.  I ended up one of my favorite Arizona Highways with AZ 89A...or if you prefer Old US 89A.  Started the day out with jumping on I-40:



Wasn't too long until I hit I-17/AZ 89A.  89A used to run Beulah Blvd south from Milton but now seems to be multiplexed with I-17 to exit 337:




I followed AZ 89A off of I-17, through a roundabout, and south to towards Oak Creek Canyon:



The road through Oak Creek Canyon wasn't part of the original construction on what became US 89A.  The route was originally designated AZ 79 in 1927 and originally ran only from Prescott via the Black Hills to Clarkdale.  The extension to Flagstaff through Oak Creek Canyon was completed in 1929 but it wasn't paved completely until 1938. 

The road through Oak Creek Canyon was repaved a couple years back. Despite the 20 MPH speed limit the road grade is pretty mild at 7% and I would suspect it has more to do with the rampant tourists and retirees who traverse the area:




Oak Creek Canyon is roughly 2,000 to 2,500 feet deep depending on which rim you measure it from.  Sedona is roughly at 4,300 feet so it's about a 2,100 foot drop via 89A over the course of about a dozen or so miles:



Coming down into Sedona you'll encounter AZ 179 in downtown.  Given that AZ 89A was the original AZ 79 the X79 makes more sense, as did AZ 279 to the south which was replaced by AZ 260.  Honestly I think the AZ 279 designation still makes more sense from Cottonwood to AZ 87 north of Payson:



There are some good views of the red rocks that Sedona is known for via Airport Road.  Granted Sedona is pretty....but the last twenty years it has become increasingly pretentious and picky.  There are all sorts of weird ordinances here that really give the city a snobby vibe.  Most of the people who live here fall into two camps; the first would be yuppies from Phoenix who are on a Theodore Roosevelt kick and think that they are living "rugged" by moving to Sedona:



The second would be the hipster crowd like this guy in front of McDonalds.  He burned up, wearing no shirt, obviously intoxicated, but yet didn't forget his beanie on a 70 degree morning.  I wish that would have captured the moment he started waving at traffic...all the more ironic that this is in front of the green McDonalds which was my original target in the picture.  This would be an example of the weird ordinances of Sedona...McDonalds wasn't allowed to use the yellow arches:



Yavapai County is one of the few Arizona Counties with substantial County Routes.  CR 50 carries Page Springs Road which heads south to CR 30/Cornville Road:




The original alignment of AZ 79 and US 89A didn't follow Cottonwood Street.  Instead it stayed on Main Street through Cottonwood to Clarkdale.  I took a shortcut via Mingus Road but the historic signage is substantial:



This would have been US 89A through downtown Cottonwood:



The Historic signage for US 89A is all over the place along Main, they really want to make sure you get to Clarkdale.  The old alignment of 89A would also take you to Tuzigoot National Monument on the Verde River:






Clarkdale was founded as a company town for a smelter mill for processing copper from nearby Jerome in 1912.  The copper smelter shut down in 1953 and Clarkdale incorporated in 1957.  Strangely Clarkdale has kind of hung on post mining days to the population boom in Verde Valley.  The old high school has even been converted into a copper museum:



Heading down Main in Clarkdale you'll encounter this sign directing you onto 11th Street to Jerome:



Then onto Clarkdale Parkway where you rejoin modern AZ 89A:



http://i1255.photobucket.com/albums/hh630/MadMaxRockatansky73/23_zpseaev1yvc.jpg

I believe that this is the last US 89A Historic sign on the accent to Jerome.  I find this odd given there is a huge variety of signage and that this sign is located on modern AZ 89A whereas the others are not:



There is a really good overlook of Jerome as you are entering the city.  The first mining claims around Jerome were made back in 1876.  The city in incorporated in 1899 and has a "claimed" population of over 10,000 by the 1920s.  Jerome was largely a copper mine operation that was run primarily by the United Verde Mine which operated until 1953.  Jerome basically fell apart after the mine closed and really only exists as a relic.  I would speculate US 89A would have been converted to mainline US 89 had the road through Jerome been a little better:



89A takes a strange path where the north and south directions split at this intersection with Main Street and Hull Avenue:



The southbound lane uses Hull Avenue through the first of three tiers of town, then the southbound lane turns left on Jerome Avenue to the second town level:



Where it converges back with the northbound lanes by taking a right turn at Main Street on the 2nd town level:




Where as the northbound lane would turn left on Main and intersect Hull Avenue at the first town level:





But continuing southbound there is one more hairpin at the Fire Station on Main which takes you to Clark Street on the third town level:



From here 89A rises into the Black Hills fairly quickly.  There is evidence of former mining activity above the signed vista point that can be seen from a hairpin:






I'm not sure of the name of the pass 89A uses but it does cap out about 7,000 feet above sea level which is pretty high for a road south of the Colorado Plateau:



The descent into Prescott Valley is pretty tame.  The modern 89A uses the Pioneer Parkway to a terminus with AZ 89...I'm actually surprised that it never got a total AZ Highway number with all the improvements along Fain Road.  I actually have no idea how US 89A used to reach US 89 in Prescott.  My speculation would be that it used Robert Road and maybe what is now AZ 69 to what was US 89?...if someone has the answer I would love to know.  Regardless US 89A was demoted to AZ 89A in 1993 along with US 89 south of Flagstaff....for reasons...  Really I'm not seeing why there isn't a US 89 all the way to Wickenburg to this day, it seems kind of silly to hang onto the designations as state route numbers that were identical to the US Routes:




I'm going to park it for a couple days before heading home.  I might head down to the Valley to see some friends possibly and go out to AZ 88.


Sonic99

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Re: Max's Mountain West Fury Road Reports
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2016, 02:04:02 AM »

I've got your 89A/89 answer for you. If you click the Google Maps link you will find a very interesting intersection, and if you follow the road that leads to the northeast from there, that is "old" 89A before the modern freeway was constructed in the 2000's.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/4288+AZ-89,+Prescott,+AZ+86301/@34.6106291,-112.4211994,640m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x872d257999ce3bfb:0x2029885b0166372f!8m2!3d34.6106256!4d-112.4193704

Also, I have heard that the current Robert Road/89A intersection will get a controlled-access interchange with 89A sometime in the next 5 years or so. Basically, the interchange will make Fain Rd/89A a continuous freeway from AZ 69 over to the 89 interchange where the road becomes Pioneer Parkway. And I believe for a while, that freeway segment had a designation of AZ 48, although it was never signed, and ultimately changed to an unmarked 89A Spur (signage simply says "TO AZ 69/I-17"). I had thought it would make sense to designate the freeway at its own number, but then it would cut off 89A from reaching its parent, so I don't know what the implications of that would be.

Another interesting thing I've learned since living in Prescott is that the original routing for Robert Road itself in Prescott Valley was different than it is today. Basically Robert Rd went north from AZ 69 and turned west at Long Mesa Rd, around the curve onto current Fulton Dr, then west again on what is now Roundup Dr, and curved to the north on what is now Viewpoint Dr. Hence why the market at 89A/Viewpoint is Roberts Marketplace, as this used to be Robert Rd. The current Robert Rd extending to 89A was built when the freeway was constructed and also the Humbolt Unified School District built the facility out there. That facility was slated to be a second High School for the district (to take burden off of Bradshaw Mountain High School) with the expected housing boom, and was built as such. When the economy tanked, the need for the second High School never materialized, so the district uses it as their District Office today. If you look out there on Google Earth, you can clearly see what would have been the football field (complete with goalposts) and a set of outdoor basketball courts.

Some fun Prescott area facts for you, sir!
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Max's Mountain West Fury Road Reports
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2016, 07:36:36 AM »

Interesting, I'm surprised that I never noticed that old alignment of 89A....it even has a derelict bridge to boot.  Yeah I seem to recall something about AZ 48 but it never happened.  Funny how basically an almost full freeway can go even without a County Route number in a county that is actually known for doling out signed numbers.  You'd think it would at least get the CR 215 treatment Clark County Neveda does.  Personally I thought AZ 69 would work better while the older alignment of current 69 becomes an extension of AZ 169.  The weird thing is that I don't think it really matters if AZ 89A connects to it's parent anymore since it technically really isn't an alternate route anymore given it doesn't connect back to an 89 (AZ or US) in Flagstaff.  It probably would have made more sense to give 89A a new number when it was downgraded to a state highway.  I also don't understand why the route stops at Milton at the I-40 BL when it could meet US 180 at Humphreys Street?  :eyebrow:  It's not like US 180 doesn't follow the I-40 BL from I-40...although the signage is terrible.

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Re: Max's Mountain West Fury Road Reports
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2016, 08:44:29 PM »

Moved things down to the Valley today.  Started out with a quick jaunt down to I-17, snagged a AZ 169 on the way:




I-17 wasn't that bad this morning, generally it seems to stay tame until about 4 PM on Sunday when everyone and their dog starts racing home from Sedona and Flagstaff.  Snagged a picture of Bumble Bee and Bumble Bee Road from Sunset Point.  Bumble Bee was a stage coach stop back in 1863 and it largely remained due to the gold rush in the Bradshaw Mountains, specifically in Crown King.  Apparently the buildings currently in Bumble Bee were built in the early 20th century, so it's not really an authentic ghost town but still old.  A standard railroad used to run up Bumble Bee Road through Bumble Bee and Cleator which would then ascend through some switch backs to Crown King.  So basically to get to Crown King you have to take an old switch back railroad grade, it's actually a fun trip if you have a vehicle that can handle some wash boarding.



Snagged an AZ 74 shield on a guide sign...why not?....  I used to take the Carefree Highway/AZ 74 when I would travel between Clark County, Nevada and Phoenix before the post-9/11 US 93 expansion.  AZ 74 isn't a bad road but it could have used some upgrades from I-17 to at least Lake Pleasant at minimum twenty years ago:



Not too far south is AZ 303, weird to see this out here when I remember this used to be all empty desert.  I find it strange that the 303 got built with a substandard interchange just like AZ 143 did with I-10:



From here I jumped on the 101 east which took me to the East Valley and past the northern terminus of AZ 51:



I remember when the Loop 101 project was finished.  The 64th Street Exit was part of the original project but it was always blocked off with no road built to Mayo Blvd.  Seems the exit is open so I took it go get some breakfast down in Scottsdale:



Funny I was living in Phoenix when the 51 was only a couple miles long and you could take Northern Avenue all the way through the Phoenix Mountains to 32nd Street.  Back in those days if you wanted to get from Scottsdale to Tempe your best bet was likely either Scottsdale Road, Pima, or even Hayden on a good day.  Things were sure a crap ton easier to get around when the Loop 101 was finished, the odd things that at least on the surface roads in Scottsdale the Blue 101s are making a comeback.  This one was from Shea Blvd but I've seem them on several other streets in Scottsdale:



This is where I jumped back on the 101 which seems to be almost completely blown out to a ten-lane freeway if you include the HOV Lanes.  I was a little surprised to see the Brown 202 signs at the interchange in Tempe where I took 202 east:




Picked up an AZ 87/Beeline Highway shield from the 202.  AZ 87 has an interesting backstory, I'll have to see what old photos I have before it was built as an expressway all the way to Payson:



I picked up some friends and headed east in the Mesa and Apache Junction back roads to reach AZ 88 or as it's more famously known as AZ 88:



Basically this is Lost Dutchman Country with the Superstition Mountains as the backdrop:




The Lost Dutchman's Mine story refers to a supposed gold mine located near Weavers Needle in the Superstitions.  Basically the story apparently dates back to the 1870s but with all the growth in the Phoenix Area and ease of access it likely was never a true account.  That's not to say that there wasn't ever gold found in the Superstitions given that the gold mine ghost town of Goldfield is located on AZ 88.  Goldfield first operated from 1893 to 1898 when the town died for the first time.  Mines were reopened from from 1910s to 1926 when Goldfield was renamed "Youngsburg."  Basically the town site is a semi-real tourist attraction.  Some of the buildings are completely of modern construction meant to look like stuff that might have been in Goldfield.  There are some mine tours that are pretty neat to see:



AZ 88 was one of the original Arizona State Highways that was signed back in 1927.  Originally it had the highway number of AZ 66 which appeared on maps but I'm unsure if it was signed in the field as anything other than 88.  Apparently the change to AZ 88 was made the same year, likely due to duplication with US 66:



Basically the Apache Trail was a road built to the Roosevelt Dam site likely from 1903 to 1905.  The Roosevelt Dam was built at the confluence of the Salt River and Tonto Creek.  The dam was completed in 1911 but a proper wagon route had to be built along with a stage station halfway which was Tortilla Flat.  Supposedly the Apache Trail is was run down Apache Blvd in Tempe, Main in Mesa, and of course Apache Trail in Apache Junction where it would cut north into the Superstitions.  Apache Blvd, Main, and Apache Trail eventually became US 60/70/80/89 with the last designation being US 60 before the US Route was moved onto the AZ 360 freeway in 1992.  Basically AZ 88 used to run from US 60/70/80/89 on Apache Trail but it has been extended to the US 60 freeway via Idaho Road.  AZ 88 despite being state maintained is still 23 miles paved and 22 miles dirt.

North of Goldfield AZ 88 starts to get twisty and the speed limit drops to 25 MPH.  The asphalt is terrible shape from this point to where the pavement ends:



If you were ever wondering what the mountains on the Arizona License plates are located, you can see them just fine from AZ 88....they are the Four Peaks.  I always through it was strange that the license plate was the Four Peaks rather than the Grand Canyon....at least it says "Grand Canyon State."



AZ 88 passes three of the four Salt River Project lakes.  The first would be Canyon Lake which was formed by the impounding of the Salt River at Mormon Flat Dam in 1925:



Which of course led to the construction of a couple bridges due to the waters of Canyon Lake the first up would be the 1924 Mormon Flat Bridge:




Followed by the 1937 Boulder Creek Bridge:



Apparently this used to be a hell of a view before Canyon Lake was formed:



Tortilla Flat was built in 1904 for the Roosevelt Dam construction.  Basically this is "kinda" considered a community by Arizona since it has a post office.  Basically Tortilla Flat had a reason to survive since it was the roadway to the Roosevelt dam and was really the only way you could reach Payson before AZ 87 was built north to Payson in the mid-20th century.  Basically Tortilla Flat basically survives on tourism due to AZ 88 and the Apache Trail.  Tortilla Flat was much larger before it was flooded in 1942 and a fire in the 1980s took most of the original structures, although they were rebuilt on the foundations.  I asked the Phoenix PD Motor-Cops what they were doing out in Tortilla Flat, apparently it was a training exercise for them to take AZ 88.  Stopped in and had lunch myself, I always enjoyed the "buzzard strips."  :-D




Something interesting I noticed in the Tortilla Flat Saloon at lunch was a proposal to fix the asphalt by ADOT in 2017.  I wish that I took a picture of the notice, it didn't look like there was any work to be done on the dirt portions.  Heading east out of Tortilla Flat AZ 88 crosses a wash and begins to rise very quickly:




The asphalt ends at mile marker 220.  I did travel about three miles down the dirt section but it's in rough shape with really bad wash boarding.  I guess that it has been a busy tourist season, depending on the time of year the dirt section all the way up to Roosevelt Dam can be pretty good....ain't today I guess.  Nobody wanted to listen to 22 miles of clanging and bumping at 10 MPH given it was already 95F out so it was time to turn around:




Made my way back to Mesa where I dropped my friends off in Mesa.  I hit US 60 west, to the I-10 multiplex, north on AZ 143 since there is a full ramp from I-10 west, to downtown via AZ 202.  Funny how that full ramp with I-10 and AZ 143 never quite got finished, it probably is too late now.  Tomorrow I'll be heading out back for California and more of the desert before heading home:




« Last Edit: October 21, 2016, 11:46:45 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Max's Mountain West Fury Road Reports
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2016, 11:21:39 PM »

Alright time to wrap this up for the Mountain States.  Started the day early which didn't do my camera any favors taking pictures.  I did notice some heavy construction on the AZ 303 ramp by the old dog track and Cotton Road.  Mile markers 112-115 were getting a repave near AZ 85.  Good to see that construction speeds aren't the old school ADOT 45 MPH on the Interstate, at least 60 MPH is tolerable.  Snagged an AZ 85 for the scrap album:



Snagged a pic of "to" AZ 72 via Vicksburg Road.  Usually there is where I cut out of Arizona if I'm heading directly home via CA 62 and lands beyond.  Personally I think there is a missed opportunity to get US 60 back to being a coast-to-coast highway via AZ 72, AZ 95, CA 62, and CA 60:



Speaking of US 60, pulled off I-10 to get a couple pictures of the western terminus.  This would be the terminus for US 60 since 1974, it didn't use to have an "end" sign here.  Someone apparently jacked an I-10 sign for themselves it seems:




Quartzsite is weird....lots of shields to grab with the I-10 BL, AZ 95, and US 95.  AZ 95 and US 95 actually intersect right in the middle of town.  I never understood the appeal of parking an RV out in the desert for a winter just because there is "gems" to be had...or gambling in a run down town like Parker:




Of course US 95 runs along Main Street in Quartzsite and joins I-10 to cross the Colorado River.  US 60 and 70 used Main Street in Quartzsite also before they were truncated:



Speaking of California....there are some older baked enamel paint signage on the approach to the Colorado River.  I've always kind of ignored the speed limits dipping to 45 MPH here for the Agriculture Station.  I've never really found ADOT or DPS really to care about what California really wants....that's pretty evident with the ancient signs:



With that said I'll wrap this trip up in the Pacific Southwest thread.  Might not have been a big day in Arizona but it sure was on the California side.  I'll update here with the actually reply numbers that apply to this road trip when I have them:



Edit:

Replies 127, 128, and 129 would be the continuation of this road trip:

http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=18621.msg2182840#new
« Last Edit: October 23, 2016, 03:41:25 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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Pink Jazz

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Re: Max's Mountain West Fury Road Reports
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2016, 06:01:14 PM »

I'm surprised that ADOT hasn't replaced those old signs with brown Loop 202 shields as well, considering that massive construction project on the Loop 101 Pima Freeway that is just about complete.  Most of the other signs have been replaced.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Max's Mountain West Fury Road Reports
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2016, 06:25:55 PM »

I'm surprised that ADOT hasn't replaced those old signs with brown Loop 202 shields as well, considering that massive construction project on the Loop 101 Pima Freeway that is just about complete.  Most of the other signs have been replaced.

Yeah I'm fairly certain those are the original signs when the 101 was opened to the 202.  There is another brown 202 at the ramp from the southern terminus of the 51 that splits you either to I-10 west or 202 east. 

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Re: Max's Mountain West Fury Road Reports
« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2016, 01:40:34 PM »

Spent a week or so with my grandparents in Quartzsite one winter when I was a teenager.  It's not just about rockhounding.  It becomes a city during the winter and all sorts of stuff goes on (e.g., concerts).  All those retirees just like being around each other in one community.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Max's Mountain West Fury Road Reports
« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2016, 10:50:24 PM »

Spent a week or so with my grandparents in Quartzsite one winter when I was a teenager.  It's not just about rockhounding.  It becomes a city during the winter and all sorts of stuff goes on (e.g., concerts).  All those retirees just like being around each other in one community.

Yeah but in...Quartzsite?...yuck. :crazy:  I did some contract work in Parker, Quartzsite, and Yuma a couple years back.  It was interesting to find out how many of the businesses in the town actually did 75% of their business during the snow bird months.  I guess if people is the reason for going, why not the Florida Keys, Villages, Laughlin, or hell even Apache Junction?  I never understood the mentality of spending your retirement dragging a big honkin RV from Washington or Minnesota just to spend your winter on a dirt parking lot near the Colorado River.  Seems like it might be more viable to actually explore the country....but then again that's kind of the theme of a lot of my travels.  :eyebrow:

That said, I would probably classify Parker as the probably most "normalized" town in La Paz County given it has mainstream stores and food chains.  The weird thing is that it's actually technically on the Colorado River Reservation, I always thought that was kind of strange. 

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Re: Max's Mountain West Fury Road Reports
« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2016, 01:01:47 AM »


Snagged a pic of "to" AZ 72 via Vicksburg Road.  Usually there is where I cut out of Arizona if I'm heading directly home via CA 62 and lands beyond.  Personally I think there is a missed opportunity to get US 60 back to being a coast-to-coast highway via AZ 72, AZ 95, CA 62, and CA 60:



So I posted in another thread here http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=18772.0 asking if Arizona was done with Clearview. This looks to be a fairly new sign with the FHWA font, and after some investigation, it indeed looks like this used to be a Clearview sign: https://www.google.com/maps/@33.6254493,-113.7285757,3a,75y,278.65h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s7KZn-YRZJu8Xep2Zt_mgfQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Strange that Arizona seems to be going in the backwards direction all of a sudden with Clearview.

That having been said, I've enjoyed your pictures and writeups, and look forward to more  :cool:
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Max's Mountain West Fury Road Reports
« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2016, 10:09:12 AM »


Snagged a pic of "to" AZ 72 via Vicksburg Road.  Usually there is where I cut out of Arizona if I'm heading directly home via CA 62 and lands beyond.  Personally I think there is a missed opportunity to get US 60 back to being a coast-to-coast highway via AZ 72, AZ 95, CA 62, and CA 60:



So I posted in another thread here http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=18772.0 asking if Arizona was done with Clearview. This looks to be a fairly new sign with the FHWA font, and after some investigation, it indeed looks like this used to be a Clearview sign: https://www.google.com/maps/@33.6254493,-113.7285757,3a,75y,278.65h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s7KZn-YRZJu8Xep2Zt_mgfQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Strange that Arizona seems to be going in the backwards direction all of a sudden with Clearview.

That having been said, I've enjoyed your pictures and writeups, and look forward to more  :cool:

Yeah it's definitely something they've done in the last three years.  Seems like every time I'm back in the state there is something new to be found.  The thing that's really throwing me for a loop is why the 101 signage on surface streets in Scottsdale is blue again?  With that said really I shifted focus from doing these on individual threads after there was too many in the Pacific Southwest.  There was a big road trip that I did this summer in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and a little bit of North East Utah...plus the edge of the Dakotas:

http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=17644.0

Got some goodies like US 550, US 212, Pikes Peak, US 34/Trail Ridge, and SD 87 in that one.

When I get around to it I have some more from Utah with UT 279, 128, and 94.

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Re: Max's Mountain West Fury Road Reports
« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2016, 02:09:11 PM »

You were right in my neighborhood in Phoenix, just about. Truvelo from Birmingham, England once visited me in my house years ago, although it was for another hobby--he and I collect old telephone pole insulators.

A long time ago, I drove Utah 12. My favorite part was the segment through the trembling aspen trees.

I just used the road through Oak Creek Canyon just a few weeks ago.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Max's Mountain West Fury Road Reports
« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2016, 12:07:13 AM »

You were right in my neighborhood in Phoenix, just about. Truvelo from Birmingham, England once visited me in my house years ago, although it was for another hobby--he and I collect old telephone pole insulators.

A long time ago, I drove Utah 12. My favorite part was the segment through the trembling aspen trees.

I just used the road through Oak Creek Canyon just a few weeks ago.

Yeah my old neighborhood too, I lived in the Valley for well over a decade actually.  It's strange coming back to places that were really out in the boonies that are basically part of the urban core now.  Usually I still make it out that way three or four times a year just to see family up in Prescott or friends down in the Valley.  I'm debating foray out to Scottsdale for the Barret Jackson next year, I always dug the early week stuff.

Yeah ADOT really needs to boost Oak Creek Canyon up to 30 or 35 MPH.  Even the speed limit over the Black Hills south of Jerome is way too slow.  Basically ADOT went and repaved and regraded both mountain grades in the past five years but didn't boost the speed limit.  I was able to hold a consistent 50 MPH average over the Black Hills from Prescott Valley to Jerome a couple years back in a Camaro.  Definitely makes you want for the the free-for-all 55 MPH mountain speed limit California has.

Speaking of Utah 12, they kind of hold your hand a little bit too with the down hill grades being signed at 30-35 MPH.  I'm fairly certain that the climb up to 9,600 north from Boulder used to be 50 MPH but now is 40 MPH.  I suppose that's probably for the best considering how tall a climb is, it's definitely a consistent 8% grade. 

Looks like there might be a limit on Zion National Park and UT 9 over the Mount Carmel Highway by 2018:

http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2016/10/26/zion-national-park-may-start-limiting-tourists.html

I hate to say it but that's probably way over due.  The park has turned into a complete disaster the last five years.  This year was the worst, basically I had to get up at 6 AM just to fight off tourists to get up UT 9.  When I got back to the parking lot at 7 AM it was already full, that would have never happened 10 years ago.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2016, 12:21:14 AM by Max Rockatansky »
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Sonic99

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Re: Max's Mountain West Fury Road Reports
« Reply #22 on: October 30, 2016, 02:08:25 AM »

RE: blue 101 signs...

I would guess they're still leftovers from the original installation when they tried color coding the loops.

101 = blue state with white lettering
202 = red/burgundy with white lettering
303 = black state with white lettering

Many of them faded very quickly and got replaced because of that after ADOT abandoned the color thing and just did normal white state with black lettering. But depending on the angle of the sign placement, there's still a few that have survived the sun fade. I don't think there have been any new installations of the colored loop signs since the turn of the century if I had to guess.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Max's Mountain West Fury Road Reports
« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2016, 10:59:50 AM »

RE: blue 101 signs...

I would guess they're still leftovers from the original installation when they tried color coding the loops.

101 = blue state with white lettering
202 = red/burgundy with white lettering
303 = black state with white lettering

Many of them faded very quickly and got replaced because of that after ADOT abandoned the color thing and just did normal white state with black lettering. But depending on the angle of the sign placement, there's still a few that have survived the sun fade. I don't think there have been any new installations of the colored loop signs since the turn of the century if I had to guess.

Looks like you're right on the blues that I saw on Shea.  The GSV shows them still blue back in 2011, the only replacement of a blue I could find in Scottsdale was on a guide sign on McDonald:

https://www.google.com/maps/@33.5238647,-111.8890091,3a,75y,90h,90t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sdRCSwRrpbNVeMdVCFCmmow!2e0!5s20090401T000000!7i3328!8i1664?hl=en

What's interesting is that there is actually a stand alone shield in the east bound lane of McDonald that I used to pass all the time when the freeway was first built.  It even has the older design of the Arizona State Route shield which showed a bend in the Colorado River:

https://www.google.com/maps/@33.5237927,-111.8931408,3a,37.5y,90h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sD_PRHTdZAgFv1KG2nN0g9Q!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en

It would seem that the blue was actually a good pick since most of them have held up pretty well.  The browns definitely faded much faster which was interesting to see that guide sign on the 101 never had updated 202 shields.  The 303 had some black shields still right up to when the freeway was being built north of I-10.  In fact I managed to snag one for myself a couple years back:

Sonic99

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Re: Max's Mountain West Fury Road Reports
« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2016, 08:45:06 PM »

Just curious, does anyone know if any of the black 303 signs have survived in the wild since the upgrade to full freeway? Or did they all get replaced by the current spec?
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