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September 21, 2012


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Thanks Jon - -
That really brought back some memories of the 3am road-trip departures.

Jon, the old motels are making a comeback along Miracle Mile here in Tucson. Artists studios, performance spaces, and yes, accommodations.



Side note: a new reply to Mr. Talton (Petro too) in the previous thread, regarding federal stimulus spending.

Side-note: a couple of additional comments now (ditto).

Side note: two new comments in the previous thread.

Jon, good piece on the Blue Highway or as when I was a kid hanging out downtown, older Hispanic females called it Van Burey.

I spent a year at the State Hospital in 62, hanging out with the likes of Winnie and convicted murders up from Florence to insure they were sane enough to understand the state was going to murder them.

Later I worked Van Buren as a cop, and was referred to by the men and women plying their sexual wares, as the Red Dude. “Here comes da Red Dude.” And as a narc and later working robbery I took down the “evil” resident drug lords and armed robbers. My detective partner had all robberies committed by “blacks” east of Central Avenue and I had the same job west of Central. Last I knew the PD had gone to a system where they assign cases as they come in. So they might assign you a robbery on Baseline Road and the next one you are assigned might be Sunny slope. There is no separation by race.

I remember a Captain that made rank as a result of his talent for arresting Chicago and east coast fugitives on Van Buren. Like many of us his best sources were the hookers on Van Buren. If you were a smart male John, if that’s possible, and you were not into men, you should always check to make sure that very attractive woman on the corner didn’t have a set of gonads.
Grand Avenue was where Gruber Underwear factory was located and was a great source of beautiful young Hispanics, Aztecs and Mayans in town from Mexico to make some money to send home. And before you got out to the Japanese and Russian Glendale farmers acres you could stop at the ? Diner at 59th Avenue and Glendale for America fare and catch up on the latest rural politics.
And on the east side of the Black Canyon Highway slightly North of whats now Deer Valley road I met my first wife at the "Curve" cafe and bar owned by Susie Worsham’s mother. Beautiful cowgirls. And you could drink there with “Monk” and his over sized friend, “Bear” that played the gorilla in chains on the Wallace and Ladmo show.

Thanks for the trip.
Da Red Dude

I just saw an appropriate nickname for one of our worst governors, now head of Homeland Insecurity.

Janet Incompetano

I remember in the 60's the gas station in the middle of nowhere past 52nd street on Van Buren that had a sign that said "Last chance to gas up in Phoenix" I'm sure they charged a few cents extra per gallon and I can only imagine how many tourists were upset when they drove a another mile over the hill and hit downtown Tempe and Mesa.The Western Village was a great lunch spot on Grand that a lot of local vegetable and fruit growers frequented.Great food and cheap prices.Van Buren and Arnold's Pickles was the center of the Phoenix riots in the 60's and scared the hell out of the white elite.
Central Ave. had palm trees for cruising,Camelback had orange groves and Baseline had what seemed like unending flower gardens.It was a great time to be young,but then isn't it always.:>)

I wrote and produced a video for the Tempe History Museum a few years ago. The theme was a day in the life of Tempe in 1910. That was the year the Adams Hotel burned down. Phoenix fire dept asked Tempe for assistance to fight the fire. Tempe FD put a fire truck on a railroad car to send to Phoenix. By the time they did that, it was too late. Fascinating because in 1910 it would have taken much too long to drive the truck from Tempe to Phoenix to be effective. Tempe was never a "suburb."

That would be the "Range" cafe at 59th and Glendale.

Reb: may I join you on your tangent? Russell Pearce called Janet by the name of "Veto-litano" because while she was Gov., she put the kibosh on several of his pieces of legislation. That came after he circulated a "She Lied" t-shirt.
So Jon's title of "St Janet" is rather mild by comparison. For me, I'd trade her for Bruja in a heartbeat!

Van Burey: I remember the Arnold Pickle deal. Within a few blocks of Arnolds was a great Mexican food factory and outdoor café, Slim Sarwarks used cars, Al’s Book store and 12th Street Auto Parts where many years later I learned the mob ran a wire out of the back room. In 68 I had finished booking a prisoner at 17 S 2nd Avenue in the County Court House and Phoenix Police building and then gone to the Busy B for a Greek breakfast. As I started up my police car a “suspicious” person went west bound in a vehicle on Jefferson. All moving objects at 2 AM were suspicious. I stopped the car and after skilled interrogation got the driver to deny he had a bag full of money spilling out on the back floor board. I was ordered by a superior to release the man and his money. At the time I didn’t sort out what this was about but 20 some years later I learned from my divorce attorney that his dad had worked the wire in the back room of 12 street auto Parts for Gus Greenbaum and Bugsy Siegel.

Nice trip down Memory Lane. I remember the Hiway Motel at 32nd and Van Buren. It's where the acts at the Celebrity Theater used to stay. I also remember the stench of the Tovrea Stockyards (went to grade school and high school within sniffing distance). There also used to sand-rail / dune buggy races down in the river bottom just below what was left of the cattle pens.

"cal Lash" wrote:

"Later I worked Van Buren as a cop, and was referred to by the men and women plying their sexual wares, as the Red Dude."

Bad case of rosacea?

Side note: two new replies to Mr. Talton in the previous thread, on the subject of federal stimulus and its success or failure. (Read these and see if we don't agree after all.)

Here's an interesting headline for the "you didn't build that (alone)" file:

"Fed Aid Helped Gas Drilling Success: big subsidies paid since 1970s"


One of the pioneers of "fracking" notes that at the time, 90 percent of the private sector didn't believe it would be profitable.

The article also compares gas and oil subsidies for 2010 (direct expenditures and tax credits) with those for renewable energy ($2.8 billion versus $14.7 billion, respectively).

"The combined effects of voter roll purges, demands for proof of citizenship and photo identification requirements in several states may hinder at least 10 million Hispanic citizens who seek to vote this fall, civil rights advocates warn in a new report.

". . . Hispanic voters are considered pivotal to the presidential election this November, and are being heavily courted by both Democratic incumbent Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. If they turn out in large numbers, Hispanics could sway the outcome in several swing states.

"In an analysis based on government data, civil rights group The Advancement Project identified legal barriers that could deter voter registration and participation among eligible Hispanics. In some of those states, the group's researchers said, the number of voter-eligible Latino citizens potentially blocked by those barriers exceeds the margin of victory in the 2008 election."


These new voter registration laws are the product of Republican dominated state legislatures, and were introduced by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (which is why they've popped up in so many states at the same time); the ball is now being passed to right-wing lobbying, public relations, and activist-organizer operatives:

"Right-Wing Operatives Take Up ALEC's Voter Suppression Agenda"


538, which is the polling gold standard, now places Arizona as solid Romney.


Side-note: two new replies to Mr. Talton (same subject) in the previous thread. I double-dog dare ya to read 'em.

I took your double dog dare and I shot your dog.

Yarnell Hill is not terrifying. It's a feat of engineering. Try driving the road to the summit of 14,265-foot Mt. Evans, east of Denver: This two-lane blacktop hugs the side of the mountain for approximately 6 miles. The crumbling, narrow road has no centerline, there are sudden drop-offs that plunge over 1,000 feet with no guardrails for protection -- or peace of mind -- and freak snowstorms can strike at any time during the summer, leaving you praying to God that you make it down the mountain in one piece.

I have driven both roads and should have been more precise. I meant the old Yarnell Hill highway, which was nothing like its current-day replacement.

Some of the old motor lodges are still delightful, and they linger where blue highways intersect. My friend the former trucker says the good ones tend to have either petunias in flowerboxes or religious tracts in the office -- these indicating clean, quiet, inexpensive, sometimes quirky lodging.

An idea I first saw in WLHM's Blue Highways: in any small town, you can measure the locals' opinion of the diner by the number of free insurance/feed-and-grain/realty/travel-agent calendars hung somewhere behind the counter. A three-calendar restaurant is ordinary, a six-calendar restaurant will be always busy. I have seen eight and have heard rumors of twelve (the legendary Restaurant in Derby, IA).

Down Yarnell, either side, on a bicycle is a real kick.

Too many great AZ roads have been engineered into blandness -- Yarnell Hill, the Beeline between Saguaro Lake turnoff and Payson, and the stretch between Wickenburg and Kingman.

I believe South Mountain is close to an illegal grade. And down Mingus to Jerome is a fly off the cliff bicycle ride. Of course thats on a steel frame bike with NO brakes

You got me. I never had the chance to drive the old Yarnell Hill Road. Glad you got to experience Mt. Evans; I hated it.

I had Blue Highway by William Least Heat Moon in my back pack when I camped from here to DC in 95/96. Got to DC on earth day after a short ride in a decorated VW bus occupied by two aging flower children.

Another white-knuckle drive is the back way (east) out of Aspen. Especially as a passenger!

"Another white-knuckle drive is the back way (east) out of Aspen. Especially as a passenger!"

Are you referring to the road over Independence Pass? I hear that one's a frightening drive -- again, sans guardrail. Same applies to U.S. 6 over Loveland Pass, and Trail Ridge Road.

Trail Ridge Road is fairly reasonable. It has some nice views over the edges of hills and things, of course. Fall River Road, which Trail Ridge replaced, is a gravel road with many switchbacks, one-way (up) only. I was a passenger once when a friend — who at the time was taking too much of the wrong drug — showed how easy it was to speed up the road in his compact car. His method was to gun it up a switchback, then throw on the brake, causing the car to swerve around so that it was pointing up the next switchback. Then repeat until we were at our destination.

Though I've only been in Arizona twice (1977 and 1978, or something like that), I enjoyed reading your descriptions.

"cal Lash" wrote:

"And down Mingus to Jerome is a fly off the cliff bicycle ride. Of course thats on a steel frame bike with NO brakes."

That's nothing! I once rode down the slopes of Olympus Mons on a longboard!

That's not too bad Topper, since the slopes of Olympus Mons rise at an angle of 5°. ;-)

Interesting history; I've never really seen any of these hotels but many remind me of those you find in Flagstaff along Route 66 and in Tucson along the "Miracle Mile"; I'm not sure why it is named the Miracle Mile since it is an ugly area. I also am not really a fan of these places since the infrastructure is much too car oriented.

I once heard Bruce Babbitt say that when he was a kid taken on road trips down from Flagstaff, he knew his family was getting close to Phoenix when they hit "The Curve" diner on Grand.

Does the Caravan Inn or UMOM New Day Center, 3333 E. Van Buren St. Phoenix, AZ 85008 have any history of hauntings?

I'm not aware of any. What about others on the thread?

What was the name of the Motel that was on 1338 East Van Buren the sign remians but the letters are gone.

I don't know, Michael. But the Arizona Room of the Burton Barr Central Library might be able to help. They have City Directories going back many decades.

I remember when Phonix had 64000 pop and Tucson had 45000. 1950 lived in Eloy 1949-1954.

Jon, If you haves already, you might enjoy Alfredo Vea’s novel, La Maravilla, set on West Buckeye Rd. during the pre-freeway days. It explores, celebrates, the culture and characters of that part of Phoenix.

Loved reading about the PHOENIX that I grew up in. These roads were driven every day and I even worked at the State Hospital as a secretary in the Personnel office right out of HS at Phoenix Union. Spent my honeymoon at one of those motels on Van Buren. Can't remember the name. That was in 1956. Phoenix was a great place. So safe to walk around anywhere even at night. Couldn't do that now. Riding the city bus downtown to shop at Penney's and Korricks. Rode the bus everywhere. Downtown and then transferring to another bus that went to Nelson's swimming pool. Took all day but it was so fun.

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