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Leave Tempe, AZ east on US Hwy-60. At Florence Junction, go south 15 miles on AZ Hwy-79 to Florence, AZ. Florence has numerous old buildings like the General Store, the Pinal County Building and a Visitor Center. Florence has an active Main Street although most stores were closed on Sunday. Leaving Florence took us pass a water tower.
Continue south on AZ Hwy-79 and visit the Tom Mix Memorial.06 January 1880 to 12 October 1940 In Memory of Tom Mix whose spirit left his body on this spot and whose characterization and portrayals in life served to better fix memories of the old west in the minds of living man.
The memorial area had a gate into the surrounding lush desert prompting Kathleen and Thurman to briefly wander around. Although it was clean, the Tom Mix Memorial did suffer from litter. Continue south to the end of AZ Hwy-79 (also called the Pinal Pioneer Parkway) to Oracle Junction.
At Oracle Junction go east on AZ Hwy-77. AZ Hwy-77 goes east past Biosphere 2. Shortly past the town of Oracle, AZ Hwy-77 turns north. Continue AZ Hwy-77 north until Winkelman and go north on AZ Hwy-177.
AZ Hwy-177 is 34 miles of scenic drive. Downtown Hayden had a dead theater, we got stopped by a train, saw amazing colors caused by mining. AZ Hwy-177 was popular with motorcycle riders.I found it interesting to read the Arizona Adopt-A-Highway sings encountered along AZ highways 79, 77 and 177.
The town of Superior has people living in it, but the downtown is mostly dead. The east end of the town is butted-up against a mountain. At one point and time, the Magma Hotel was probably a happening spot. Superior's Main Street has a working traffic light and a lot of handicap parking spots. A few of the buildings have murals; here is a mural by young people and here is a mural that's getting old. We stopped at the World's Smallest Museum located on the west-side of Superior, but it was closed.Here another Superior mural picture taken on a previous road trip.
Go west on US Hwy-60 back to Florence Junction and continue US Hwy-60 back to Tempe. [The Valley of the Sun is experiencing major urban sprawl.]
More pictures from 05 December 2003
Created: 13 January 2003