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Thu Jan 10, 2019, 08:57 AM

Interstate 10: A Personal History

Journeys take place in the mind as much as they do in physical space, and I have noticed a recurring thought-pattern that unspools every time I travel Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson.

Lots of people are joining me out there: this is the state's most traveled piece of rural asphalt, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. But the state's busiest freeway is also its most reviled, crossing what many consider swaths of unattractive scrublands and cheerless little offramp villages. "At night and with a six pack," is how one historian friend of mine—a great lover of this state—described his only preferred way to travel I-10.

Nobody writes a poem to this section of expressway, completed in the heyday of the optimism of the Kennedy-Johnson New Frontier between 1961-1971. I have lived in both Phoenix and Tucson off and on and have probably traversed this road more than 800 times, looking at the same sunbaked landmarks and thinking the same reliable thoughts: about old friends, old happenings, old mysteries of my life here. How many others mark their I-10 journeys with a mental libretto of musings on the roadside spectacle?

My sequential reverie doesn't really start until I-10 breaks free from metro Phoenix at the buckle of viaducts that connect to the Santan Freeway and the road bends into the beige expanse of the Gila River Indian Reservation. The 12-story hotel at the Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino is the second-to-last tall building a motorist sees until Tucson, and I wonder "wild horse pass?" Is that an actual place name or just a faux-Western branding tool? I imagine the smell of bath soap and linens inside the rooms; the universal aroma of hotels. And I think of Ira Hayes of the Gila River Pima, whose people farmed the Phoenix Valley, in Arizona land, in the geographically fanciful words of Johnny Cash. The shy U.S. Marine was among the crew that raised the U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi at Iwo Jima, and he died consumed with survivor guilt and alcoholism ten years after the war.


https://www.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/interstate-10-a-personal-history/Content?oid=23471482

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Reply Interstate 10: A Personal History (Original post)
Ptah Jan 2019 OP
Mosby Jan 2019 #1
Kali Jan 2019 #2
Ptah Jan 2019 #3
Ptah Jan 2019 #4
Kali Jan 2019 #5

Response to Ptah (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2019, 01:30 PM

1. I used to stop at that diner by picacho peak.

There used to be a really good Mexican Restaurant on I10 towards phoenix, I don't remember the name.

For me, there seems to be a lot less traffic on I10 these days, in the 80s and 90s the road was packed. Then it seemed to slow down, the only area that has grown is oro valley, and Ina rd has been improved.

When I used to go to Tucson on my Mc, I had a lot of fun on Ina, but no more.

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Response to Ptah (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2019, 06:00 PM

2. I never knew the history of Eloy's name.

a significant part of my childhood travels were on this stretch of I-10 (and east to exit 318) - many years in a white with grey interrior 64 Ford wagon, no AC. I remember Nickerson Farms restaurant and the see-through beehive in the front wall. ate there when traveling with my Grandparents, when with my parents we picnicked at a long gone park near the pecan groves (I think???)

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Response to Kali (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 10, 2019, 06:20 PM

3. I took this picture when we scattered MFM's ashes



Four years ago.

In Memoriam

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Response to Kali (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 10, 2019, 06:23 PM

4. Also

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Response to Ptah (Reply #4)

Thu Jan 10, 2019, 06:47 PM

5. ...

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