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Author Topic: AZ 95S/Former AZ 172 over Parker Dam  (Read 1563 times)

Max Rockatansky

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Re: AZ 95S/Former AZ 172 over Parker Dam
« Reply #25 on: September 29, 2018, 11:40:58 PM »

^^^^^^^^
While US 66 is iconic in Northern Arizona history and lore (but probably wouldn't even be there if not for the parallel Santa Fe RR main line), US 80 is, of all the highways that are or have been situated within the state, the "bloodline" of the area.  It connects the two cities that have always outstripped any others in terms of metro centers and sheer population -- Phoenix and Tucson, as well as the historic #3, Yuma (at least until the PHX suburbs kept growing and growing).  And it passes through historic Tombstone as well -- how much more iconically Arizonan can a highway get?  It hit virtually everything in the southern half of the state -- the Douglas border area, Tombstone, Tucson, Apache Junction, Phoenix, and then on to the Gila River agricultural zone.  And before US 60 (and, later, 70) were paved into CA, US 80 was the main roadway to get from Texas to California, its convolutions in AZ allowing travelers to take in as much of the south state as possible.  Since the main SP rail line bypassed Phoenix in favor of a more direct line between Yuma & Tucson, it's likely that without US 80 passing through the area that Phoenix wouldn't have developed as it did over the decades without it.
I'm thinking the huge reason US 66 is the moee well known road is because of Bobby Troupe's song and The Grapes of Wrath. US 80 never had a hit song or popular book written with it playing a key or central role. But I most definitely agree US 80 was the better representing highway for Arizona and our state's true Main Street. Not to bash US 66, it's still a great old highway. Though there's no doubt in my mind more of US 80 is intact than US 66 in terms of roadway.

VS988

On a national scale I'd still say that US 66 had more importance than any of US Route.  It doesn't hurt the cause of 66 to the casual traveler that it crossed the Colorado Plateau which has two National Parks and several National Monuments within short distance of the highway.  There is something to be said about the charm of the small rail siding communities of Northern Arizona and places like Arizona...they pretty much bleed Americana.  The trouble with Phoenix and Tucson is that they basically just resemble the rest of suburban American which works against 80 in terms of being interesting...at least IMO.  Probably the most interesting places on US 80 were places like; Bisbee, Tombstone, and the stretch following the Gila River west of Phoenix.
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sparker

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Re: AZ 95S/Former AZ 172 over Parker Dam
« Reply #26 on: September 30, 2018, 03:37:09 AM »

^^^^^^^^
Steinbeck pretty much got it right with the Grapes of Wrath; US 66 was the route of choice for migration to California -- it was a lot closer to the points of origin for most of those folks.  Also remember that those old flathead engines of those days ran a hell of a lot hotter than modern ones; the low desert from Las Cruces west to the Imperial Valley would have been a point of avoidance when the destination could be achieved more directly.  Of course, winters might have driven some seasonal stragglers further south (crossing the Continental and Arizona Divides at 7K+ elevation in winter would have posed quite the obstacle to travelers barely scraping together the means to travel at all), but all in all US 66, for 9 months out of the year, would have been the route of choice.  And since at least half of those migrants segued onto US 466 at Barstow for the final leg to the CA areas most likely to provide employment, enduring the Mojave Desert from Kingman west would have been a "grit your teeth and just do it" situation.  Obviously, US 80 would have been a better choice if the migrant wanted to check out the AZ agricultural situation as an alternative to those extra 300-odd miles to CA's San Joaquin Valley (and even more to Steinbeck's archetypal Salinas setting); but AFAIK there's little in the way of statistics to ascertain whether that occurred on a regular basis. 
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707

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Re: AZ 95S/Former AZ 172 over Parker Dam
« Reply #27 on: September 30, 2018, 04:04:02 AM »

This discussion of US 66 vs US 80 reminds me of an article written by a reporter for Phoenix Magazine. The article was in support of US 80's historic designation, but the reporter for sone reason decided US 66 needed to be put down and bashed. She referred to US 66 as I quote:

"Route 66’s popularity lies with the nostalgic freedom it represents. This mindset was highlighted in the early 1960s TV series Route 66, wherein pals Tod and Buz roamed America in a Corvette looking for adventure. But from a practicality viewpoint, “America’s Main Street” falls short. Starting in Chicago and ending at the Santa Monica Pier, Route 66 doesn’t provide coast-to-coast passage. American Heritage magazine named it the most overrated highway in October 2002. And the Route 66 TV series wasn’t even filmed on the actual road."

I did not appreciate that. US 66 is probably one of the best if not the best road trip in the country and is still a great highway. I appreciated the support fir US 80 but trashing 66 was way uncalled for. I agree with Max that on a national scale, US 66 is the best there ever was US Highway wise. You just cant beat US 66 (except maybe with the Lincoln Highway, depending on the person and reasons). Here is the article that so unapologetically attacked 66:

http://www.phoenixmag.com/history/the-other-road.html

VS988

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