Dwight Watt - Watt Thoughts #157 3/31/2008

#157 - Thoughts from travels to the southwest US (Watt Thoughts)

Having traveled to the southwest of the United States last week i made several observations. I drove from Georgia to Arizona and back. Traveling thru the states reminds me of what a wonderful country America is, although there are a few areas we still need to work on improving.

In eastern Texas they are building concrete walls in the median. I assume these are to reduce head on collisions. What I wonder is, why do they build them so close to the lane of traffic in one direction that there is not enough shoulder for a car to pull off on the left. They have a large amount of grass area on the other side of the concrete wall so traffic the other direction can pull a disabled vehicle off to to the center. I have seen similar in other states but it was where there was no room for a shoulder wide enough for a vehicle on either side of wall. I wonder why right shoulders are large enough for vehicles, but left are not.

Speed limit in western Texas on I-10 and I-20 was 80 miles per hour. First time I saw a speed limit so high. I did 80-82 and was still passed by cars making me seem to stand still.

Signs at entrances to interstate highways in New Mexico and Texas allow bicycles but not motor driven cycles or pedestrians. I realize the reason for the bicycles allowed is there is nowhere nearby for cyclists traveling across that area to ride. However that combination raises several questions, Are only allowing people in non motorized vehicles on Interstate who have a slim chance of avoiding being hit versus no chance?

Sign on one door on northern Arizona "Door broken, Use other door". Sign on glass door beside that door was "This is that other door".

On this trip I saw several firsts. I saw a Smart car on the interstate in Tennessee and they are truly small. In Arizona I had tumbleweed blow across in front of me and I do not re-call ever seeing it blowing before.

Price of gas at volume stations varied from $3.02 to $3.36. highest was in the rural area near grand Canyon and the lowest was in Mississippi and Alabama. 3.05-3.15 was teh overall norm you could usually find in anywhere within 50 miles.

Having visited Arizona a number of times since I was a baby I have decided what spots are the most impressive to me. The first would be the bottom of the Grand canyon. The Grand Canyon was always impressive as a hole from up top but to truly experience it,m you need to go to bottom. I hiked from south rim to bottom in 1979. The second is Canyon de Chelly. It is east of the grand canyon, but you can get the feel for the interior of the Grand canyon in a short walk here. Third I would put Montezuma's Well and Castle. I had visited the ruins at Montezuma's castle a number of times and they are impressive. This time I went to the Well for the first time and it is more beautiful and very impressive also. The copper pits would fit next and the Grand Canyon from top. This trip the canyon looked the best from the top I ever recall.

Other impressive locations (and I have enjoyed all) are San Xavier Mission, Oak Creek Canyon, the missile site (you go down in the hole and see where the crew stayed to launch missiles, the plane museum and the storage area in Tucson, the Arizona-Sonora desert museum may be the best living museum, the Chiricahuas in southeast Arizona , the white mountains and the Saguaro cacti. Driving thru the reservations you experience the truly desolate areas of our country and realize people live here.

If you only had a short time in Arizona the three things i would suggest is see the Grand canyon, walk in Canyon de Chelly and visit Montezuma's Well.

I have never been to the north rim of the grand Canyon and want to go there one day. It is only open may to October and so was closed last week and had closed 5 days before I arrived in October 2005.



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