Thursday, October 4, 2018

Death & Destruction on US 89

KNAU published Photo by Leland Jones, Coconino County provided by Supervisor Lena Fowler.

A 26-year-old French woman was killed on US 89 October 3-4 2018.  And then US 89 totally washed out and was completely closed.  Traffic was then detoured 190 miles through the Hopi and Navajo Reservations.

What happened & what's next?

The remnants of once Hurricane Rosa wrecked havoc in various Arizona areas.  A convective thunderstorm picked up some of those remnants and dumped unprecedented water into an no-name tributary of Fivemile Wash north of Cameron.

A simple box culvert was over-topped and the rushing runoff head cut the pavement into oblivion. "The woman was driving northbound on U.S. 89 and had just crossed a section that started to give way. Troopers say she then got out of the vehicle. That is when a 40-year-old Lakeside, Arizona, man crossed the collapsed area but lost control. His pickup truck struck the victim, who was standing outside of her car. The woman died at the scene."

KNAU published Photo by Leland Jones, Coconino County provided by Supervisor Lena Fowler.
It didn't take long for Coconino County officials to weigh in on the situation.  Two of them just happened to be attending a legislative convention in Phoenix. The massive wheels of ADOT's mighty machinery began churning to a resolution.  Meanwhile, the equally massive daily traffic flow on US 89 was diverted through Hopi Land and The Navajo Nation.

See also:
Photo obtained from Coconino County Twitter. 
 Both @CoconinoCounty Sups. Jim Parks & @lenafowler spent time with Gov. @dougducey today at @csaofaz Legislative Summit discussing the washout on US 89 near Cameron and the need for quick rebuild to move people and goods through Northern Arizona.
Photo obtained from Coconino County Twitter. 

ADOT's Twitter feed today was filled with the relentless hue and cry of impatient travelers demanding fast and easy access to their destination(s).  Only one Twitter respondent all day paid respects to the deceased French woman.

We are grateful for the Staff of KNAU for instructing us in how to add proper photo credits to some of the pictures.  THANK YOU, Aaron & Ryan!

The stretch of US 89 between Flagstaff and either Kanab or Page has always been problematic, dating back to the horse-drawn wagon days.
Photo obtained from ADOT Twitter.

Photo obtained from ADOT Twitter.
Photo obtained from ADOT Twitter.
 It is no real surprise that Rosa's Remnants wrecked havoc on US 89.  What's surprising is the insignificance of the drainage that caused the road failure.  And what's sad & tragic is that someone died because of  yet another fluvial event in the 200+ million-year-old fluvial zone of the Triassic Chinle Formation, a rewashed legacy of ash from ancient volcanoes in California and Nevada.

With the Arizona Guv's attention presumed to be  turned to this sad incident, it's highly likely the road will open "sooner" rather than later.  Soon, the scars will heal, rabbit brush will grow and no one will ever know or remember the name of a 26-year-old French woman who died in The Painted Desert on US 89.

US 89 in this historic reach between Utah and Flagstaff became a vital artery not long after Navajo Bridge was dedicated in June 1929. 

For a couple of Old US 89 Stories see:


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Museum Club alive again

The wildest, wooliest sometimes weirdest western bar alongside old US 89 is kicking up its heels once again in Flagstaff, Arizona.

The Museum Club dates back to the early days of both Route 66 and US 89 when both highways shared the same pavement from Ask Fork to Townsend, Arizona.  Naturally, Route 66 gets all the media hype but US 89 was right there in on the action, too, in that rough and tumble mountain town.

The history of the Museum Club reads almost like a Patsy Cline song's a series of unlucky lovers who tried their hand and then packed up and moved on down that lonesome road.

The latest jilted lover left the premises Labor Day weekend of Twenty Seventeen.  Luckily, a young buckaroo rode to the rescue and now the venerable, truly legendary Museum Club is gittin' righteously ready for some 21st Century rootin', tootin', boot-scootin' action.

Recent rumors about resurrection of The Museum Club were proven true and detailed in a January 9, 2018, article by the Flagstaff Business News (FBN).  We wish to thank US 89 Team Contributor Bob Miller for bringing the article to our attention in such a speedy manner.

We are reprinting the article in its entirety here below just in case the FBN link becomes inactive as so often happens with small market media websites.

The original story is found here:

By Betsey Bruner, FBN Copyright 2018 Flagstaff Business News

Since Labor Day weekend 2017, things have looked a bit dicey for the future of Flagstaff’s beloved Museum Club, a Route 66 icon for more than 80 years.

The club, which is on the U.S. Register of Historic Places, was closed and put up for sale in September by the last owners, Mary Butwinick and Bret Rios.

Good news for the historic roadhouse came recently in the form of Flagstaff resident Dru Douthit, who bought the club and became sole owner before the end of the year.

An Arizona native, born and raised in Mesa, Douthit came up to Flagstaff in 2006 to attend Northern Arizona University and major in business. He currently works as a real estate agent at RE/MAX Peak Properties in town.

“I’ve been negotiating since September, and I finally got the keys in early December,” Douthit, 31, said.

He reopened The Museum Club, fondly referred to as “The Zoo,” on Friday, Dec. 29.

The realtor and former Camp Navajo police officer saw this as a new adventure.

“There are generations of memories here. I have memories here from years of living in Flagstaff. When it closed, it really took a toll on the community. I was in a position to do something about it, so I decided to try – and it worked out.”

For years, a mixed clientele, from 21 to 90 and even older, have enjoyed the casual, fun environment of the dance hall.

Douthit has been receiving emails from folks who are very happy that the Route 66 landmark will survive and thrive.

“I had a lady get in touch with me from Chicago,” he said. “She was so sad. Her father brought her here for her first legal drink. She was planning to come with her son when he turns 21. She was so thankful [it was saved].”

If the log walls in the old structure could talk, they would tell a long saga with many strange turns and twists.

From its start, The Museum Club has been pulling in folks for both odd and exciting entertainments.

The 72-foot by 42-foot, two-story log house was built in the early 30s as a “museum to house many strange and curious relics” by Dean Eldredge, a taxidermist from Wisconsin, according to a story from the National Registry of Historic Places.

Eldredge had purchased a piece of land and hired local lumberjacks to build what he dubbed, “The biggest log cabin in the nation.”

His dream was to establish a showcase for his huge collection of 30,000 items, including stuffed animals, Indian artifacts, Winchester rifles and weird animals like two-headed calves and a lamb with six legs.

The museum opened on March 13, 1931, as the Home of Fine Taxidermy and was written about several times in the local Coconino Sun, the newspaper of record.

After Eldredge died, the venue morphed during Prohibition into a rough-and-tumble nightclub run by a saddle maker, Doc Williams, eventually evolving in the 1960s into a country music dance hall.

Today, nearly 87 years after its start, The Museum Club still reigns supreme as a premiere roadhouse for live music and dancing, food and libations.

Since 1978, the Zanzucchi family, long-time owners of the popular Granny’s Closet on South Milton Road, has owned the building and property.

According to a Sept. 6, 2017 business story in the Arizona Daily Sun, Butwinick and Rios ran into difficulties with expenses bringing the building up to current fire and health codes and with generating enough income from ticket sales.

Douthit is hoping to maintain the famed traditions, including planning a string of live entertainment that will begin with a performance by the local Ty-one-on Band at the end of January.

He also has hired a new bar manager, Lesli McAnally, who is already at work preparing the establishment’s three bars, including an antique mahogany bar in the back that dates to the 1880s and traveled to Flagstaff by way of New Orleans, San Francisco and Scottsdale.

Some decorating is taking place on the premises, mostly “just some minor stuff,” Douthit said, but there are more changes in the future.

“One of the big changes is the Zoo Club membership – so you can be a member of the Zoo Club,” he said. “We’re going to cap it at 100 members – happy hour prices all day, every day, special prices on show tickets, two members-only parties or shows each year, at $200 a year.”

Radio spots are bringing in members at a good clip, he says. “I imagine we’ll sell out fast. I am anxious to make this happen. It’s exciting, to try a new adventure.”

The Museum Club has a new phone number and email address: 928-440-5214 and FBN

Mammoth makeover in Yellowstone

The legendary Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel's first phase of remodeling is done and open to the public.  You can read about all the details here:

Now, a word about a Yellowstone oddity. US 89 doesn't technically exist inside Yellowstone National Park.  Nope.  There are no signs denoting US 89.  Of course, we all know that US 89 transects the park from Gardiner to Flagg Ranch.  The National Park Service does not carry state or federal road numbers inside National Parks.  All roads inside parks are simply "park roads" going hither and yon as they are wont to do.

Anyway, the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel is THE most luxuriousness, historically significant hotel that sits right smack dab beside the roadway that  we all know to be US 89 even if it's not signed.

The only other contenders for "most luxurious" would be Old Faithful Inn and Prescott's Hassayampa Inn.  However, the Mammoth Hotel has both of those beat hands down.  No contest.

Old Faithful Inn is a wonderful, endearing property  but we doubt you would ever find anyone to call it "luxurious."  The Hassayampa Inn is much smaller than the Mammoth Hotel and while it has a slightly luxurious ambiance, it simply can't compare to The Mammoth property.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Saving elk beside US 89

Here's a Heart Warming Story to end Year 2017.  Passersby on US 89 near Alpine, Wyoming stopped to become Good Samaritans and helped save a small herd of elk that had fallen through the ice of Palisades Reservoir.

Wyoming Game and Fish biologist Gary Fralick chalked up the successful rescue to the large contingent of people who stopped to help. Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputies, the Wyoming Dept. of Transportation and about 25 residents who were passing by assisted, Fralick said.

Here's the news article from "The Jackson Hole News & Guide"

An here's a Facebook video from Dusty Jones of Alpine.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

UDOT to expand US 89 in Davis County

Yesteryear's US 89 long ago lost its bucolic, rural character in Utah's Davis County between Farmington and South Weber.  However, local residents opposed UDOT's plans to further widen US 89.   The comment period ended in late September and few observers thought UDOT would scale back the $275-million project slated to get underway in 2019.  Plans entail adding a third travel lane in each direction and turning the nine-mile U.S. 89 section into a limited-access, freeway-like roadway.  The impacted section passes through parts of Farmington, Fruit Heights, Kaysville, Layton and South Weber.

The news article below contains many other links to learn about the project.

Below is a clip from a 1940 Shell Utah road map showing how US 89 was configured back then.