Day 13: August 8, 2014
Signs: Good, Bad, & Missing

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This is the wash where movie star Tom Mix died in 1940. Not far away is a small park with a monument to the actor. I've visited the monument before but this may have been the first time I've stopped at the wash. Aside from a little more rust, the monument looked the same as I remember but there was a small addition. A newspaper article from the fiftieth anniversary of the Mix's death was taped to the side. Another half dozen copies were available held down by rocks on a nearby table. I didn't take one but I took a picture.

In Tucson, the Roadside America app alerted me to a 30 foot neon cactus. I saw it but didn't take a picture. This cactus looks about the same height to me and there are plenty more just as tall. I have no idea what, if anything, the motorcycle sculpture is supposed to mean. It does kind of stand out, though. There aren't too many bright things to distract you out here.

The only thing on my radar as I drove through Mesa, Tempe, and Phoenix was a motel sign. This isn't it but the big Bickhorn sign is pretty hard to miss. I'd definitely like to see it at night.

This was the sign I was looking for. I'd heard about its crash to the ground in 2010 and its resurrection in 2013 and that made me want to see it in person. It went onto the agenda as soon as I realized that it was on the route for this trip. I still haven't personally seen it at night which means I haven't personally seen it in action but I can now better relate to nighttime video. I can also relate to the Starlite Motel a little better now that I know there is much more to it than a fancy neon sign. It really does look like a place I'd like to stay.

Between today and my last visit to the Gillespie bridge and dam in 2011, an interpretive plaza has come and partially gone. There is now a nice parking area on the south end of the bridge and a pedestrian ramp leads to some nice views of both dam and bridge. I was becoming increasingly aware of the interpretive plaza's lack of interpretation when it struck me that those three metal posts looked as if they might have once held something. An internet search turned up evidence that they did and that what they once held was very interpretive. I'm guessing the panels were stolen but I've found nothing th support that.

A couple of favorites from Gila Bend.

Following a recommendation from three years ago, I spent the night at the Yuma Cabana Motel. Although I ended up quite happy with the place, my room was not very welcoming initially. The reason, which probably won't be a huge surprise (It's August. It's Arizona.) was temperature. The 1960ish Yuma Cabana is cooled and heated by a central unit. Each room has only a fan control. It was off and turning it to high brought relief at a pace that prompted me to walk to dinner in 104 degrees rather than wait in the room. I understand and accept this. Cooling a building of empty rooms in this weather would no doubt be an outrageous expense. Updating to more responsive individual units would be even more outrageous. As I said, I understand and accept this but I can't ignore it.

Nor can I ignore the condition of the sign and I'm not quite as accepting of it, either. The Cabana has a wonderful sign. I've seen pictures of it glowing at night and looked forward to taking some of my own. But there was more burned out neon than there was working neon so I didn't even bother.

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