In a previous post I wrote about the improper signage at the Meteor Crater rest stop in Arizona. At the first stop, I failed to obtain a picture. The rest stop is one of a pair of rest stops, one on each side of the freeway. On the return trip, I stopped at the sister rest area to see if it had the incorrect signage as well. It did. The sign appeared to be identical to the sign that I recalled on the South side of I-40 . . .
Note the location of the prohibition on carry of firearms in the rest stop, under the “PLEASE PLACE ALL TRASH IN RECEPTACLES” line. You can see that the signs appear to be quite new, with no weathering. Interesting that the “trash” line is a request, but the firearms line is a command.
I decided to check the other rest stops on the way back to Yuma. We thought that we had fixed this problem back in ’98. From Rick Destephens, who was there:
Have you noticed that there are no longer any signs at Arizona rest stops that read, “Keep all weapons in your vehicle”? That was Brassroots and S.A.F.E. combine effort back in 1998. We staged a forty-man protest at the Sacaton rest stop and five TV cameras showed up. We then got three hours of time on Bob Mohan’s show on KFYI. That resulted in Hull’s, ADOT’s and DPS’s phones melting down for two weeks. The signs came down later that month.
Notice the clouds in the top picture? The weather got worse as I approached Flagstaff. By the time I was heading south on I-17, the rain was falling consistently. The “scenic view” stop before the McGuireville rest stop did not have a sign. The McGuireville stop did.
See the space after the “PLEASE PLACE TRASH IN RECEPTACLES…” line? That’s where the offensive firearms prohibition was painted out. The fading on this sign shows that it is much older than the ones at Meteor Crater.
The weather had turned bad. As I left the McGuireville stop, the rain was pouring down in sheets. I saw a wreck on the way to the next stop. The shoulders were often narrow, and hydroplaning was a real concern, as were wet brakes on the steep down slopes. It did not help that I was pulling a good sized trailer.
The next stop was at SUNSET POINT:
No firearms prohibition here, either. Visibility was very restricted at this point. I picked up a stranded bicyclist, huddled in a doorway, wrapped in a space blanket. The stop was locked up because the power was out. We threw the bike in the back of the truck to get him down off the mountain. I gave him my card.
I saw two more wrecks by the time we got down. In some places, one-inch gravel was washed across both lanes. Sometimes the water was over two inches deep on the pavement. I later found that rain totals of 3-4 inches were common in the area. To compound the difficulties, windshield wipers dry rot rather rapidly in the Arizona desert, and are often neglected because they are used so seldom. Fortunately, I had replaced mine for the cross country trip.
We made it down without further incident, and I dropped off my passenger where he could catch a bus for himself and the bike. Just a few miles into the foot hills, the rain had stopped, and we drove out from under the cloud cover.
By the time I reached Gila Bend, the radio announced that I-17, both North and Southbound, had been closed due to weather. Only one rest stop was open between Phoenix and Yuma.
It was at Sentinel:
Same story: no prohibitions on firearms on this weather beaten sign. Same blank place. Call it progress.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.