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HERE’S SOMETHING TO WATCH FOR IN THE DESERT

 

 

Here’s something to watch for in the desert.

JUST WHEN YOU THINK YOU’VE HEARD IT ALL…. HOW ‘BOUT THIS….???

GIANT CONCRETE ARROWS THAT STRETCH ACROSS AMERICA .   EVER SO OFTEN, USUALLY IN

THE VAST DESERTS OF THE AMERICAN SOUTHWEST, A HIKER OR A BACKPACKER WILL

RUN ACROSS SOMETHING PUZZLING: A LARGE CONCRETE ARROW, AS MUCH AS SEVENTY

FEET IN LENGTH, SITTING IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE.  WHAT ARE THESE GIANT

ARROWS?SOME KIND OF SURVEYING MARK?LANDING BEACONS FOR FLYING SAUCERS?

NOPE. THEY ARE ACTUALLY ARROWS MARKING ……THE TRANSCONTINENTAL   AIR

MAIL ROUTE!    ON AUGUST 20, 1920, THE UNITED STATES OPENED ITS FIRST

COAST-TO-COAST AIRMAIL DELIVERY ROUTE, JUST 60 YEARS AFTER THE PONY EXPRESS

CLOSED UP SHOP. THERE WERE NO GOOD AVIATION CHARTS IN THOSE DAYS, SO PILOTS

HAD TO EYEBALL THEIR WAY ACROSS THE COUNTRY USING LANDMARKS. THIS MEANT

THAT FLYING IN BAD WEATHER WAS DIFFICULT, AND NIGHT FLYING WAS JUST ABOUT

IMPOSSIBLE.THE POSTAL SERVICE SOLVED THE PROBLEM WITH THE WORLD’S FIRST

GROUND-BASED CIVILIAN NAVIGATION SYSTEM: A SERIES OF LIT BEACONS THAT WOULD

EXTEND FROM NEW YORK TO SAN FRANCISCO . EVERY TEN MILES , PILOTS WOULD PASS

A BRIGHT YELLOW   CONCRETE ARROW. EACH ARROW WOULD BE SURMOUNTED BY A

51-FOOT STEEL TOWER AND LIT BY A MILLION-CANDLEPOWER ROTATING BEACON.(A

GENERATOR SHED AT THE ARROW’S TAIL POWERED THE BEACON)!  NOW MAIL COULD

GET FROM THE ATLANTIC TO THE PACIFIC NOT IN A MATTER OF WEEKS, BUT IN JUST 30

HOURS OR SO. EVEN THE DUMBEST OF AIR MAIL PILOTS, IT SEEMS, COULD FOLLOW A

SERIES OF BRIGHT YELLOW ARROWS STRAIGHT OUT OF A TEX AVERY CARTOON. BY

1924, JUST A YEAR AFTER CONGRESS FUNDED IT, THE LINE OF GIANT CONCRETE

MARKERS STRETCHED FROM ROCK SPRINGS , WYOMING TO CLEVELAND , OHIO . THE

NEXT SUMMER, IT REACHED ALL THE WAY TO NEW YORK , AND BY 1929 IT SPANNED

THE CONTINENT UNINTERRUPTED, THE ENVY OF POSTAL SYSTEMS WORLDWIDE.  RADIO

AND RADAR ARE, OF COURSE, INFINITELY LESS COOL THAN A CONCRETE YELLOW BRICK

ROAD FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA, BUT I THINK WE ALL KNOW HOW THIS STORY ENDS.

NEW ADVANCES IN COMMUNICATION AND NAVIGATION TECHNOLOGY MADE THE BIG

ARROWS OBSOLETE, AND THE COMMERCE DEPARTMENT DECOMMISSIONED THE BEACONS IN THE 1940S. THE STEEL TOWERS WERE TORN DOWN AND WENT TO THE WAR EFFORT. BUT THE

HUNDREDS OF ARROWS REMAIN. THEIR YELLOW PAINT IS GONE, THEIR CONCRETE

CRACKS A LITTLE MORE WITH EVERY WINTER FROST, AND NO ONE CROSSES THEIR PATH

MUCH, EXCEPT FOR COYOTES AND TUMBLEWEEDS.  AND NOW…   YOU KNOW THE REST Untitled attachment 00050Untitled attachment 00053 Untitled attachment 00050Untitled attachment 00065Untitled attachment 00059Untitled attachment 00062

Salome AZ ATV/UTV club. Rides, projects and comradery for off road enthusiasts in the McMullen Valley and Arizona's Outback.