November 28, 2023

Interstate 17 and Oak Creek Rerouted


For the last several years now, the residents of Baja Sedona have begun displaying the same ability, or should I say inability, to come to terms with the road building schemes of their resident member of the Yavapai County Triumvirate as their neighbors to the north.

Not to be outdone by the repeated demands of the citizens of Sedona, the Baja-Ha-Ha’s have discovered some truly innovative ways to upset the powers that be. It’s a dubious distinction that deserves a bit of a history lesson before we point out the recent errors committed by the hapless bandy-legged sots down on the south side.

It all started back in 1876 when some miscreant by the name of Al Seiber staked a claim to some copper deposits on the side of Mingus Mountain. Seiber was able to lay claim to the rich vein by having spent an innovative summer vacation the year before rounding up all the Indians in the area (the copper deposit was rightfully theirs) and leading them to their new promised land in the thriving desert adult community of San Carlos. Having efficiently relocated his native American friends, Seiber looped back around and laid claim to the rocky town site of Jerome, which would someday accommodate a modest population of gift store owners, Harley haunts, trendy trinket stores and the Asylum Restaurant.

Seiber’s discovery and subsequent invitation to dig the place up, resulted in a flurry of activity in the far end of the Verde Valley; nowhere near the planned course of U.S. Interstate 17. Monumental bad planning if there ever was.

Now let’s jump ahead a little more than a hundred years to the reign of Superdupervisor Chip Davis. Davis’s reign will be long remembered for his ambitious road building projects; not much of a bridge builder (with one notable exception in his hometown), but one hell of a road builder.

One day, while driving the infamous “Calle del Muerte,” AZ Hwy. Route 260, exiting from the previously designated mislocated I-17, on his way to his hometown of Cottonwood (home of the Chip Davis-Mingus Avenue Bridge) in his 1200 horsepower-blown (not sucked)turbo-fuel-injected-full-race-cherry-red-chrome-everything-1971-Chevy-chick-magnet, he came upon a 2-cylinder, 8-ton, Isuzu motor home.

Upon arriving at his office complex, some ten miles further on and three hours later, Davis swore he was going to build himself a high-speed, 16-lane super-duper highway from the as previously stated, and still misplaced, United States Interstate Route 17 to his home.
The kind of road the Third Reich made so popular.

Davis, in his usual fashion, called forth all of the well-known land barons, pundits, hacks and local hangers-on to discuss his dream and see if any of them had the slightest idea what he was going to do. All was well until the as not previously discussed, but equally misplaced, land barons along the route began to discover that their property would become land locked by Davis’s new drag strip.

For the first few months this year, the land barons gathered their forces and repeatedly marched to Davis’s office demanding unlimited access to Davis’s new road. Davis, knowing perfectly well that retired land barons eventually sprout recreational vehicles, drew a line in the guardrail, strictly forbidding any access to his road. Infuriated, the land barons began forming a political action committee, with the sole purpose of moving the highway.

It worked. But not the way the barons had in mind. Just last week, this intrepid reporter discovered Davis’s secret intentions to move Interstate 17, nine miles closer to Cottonwood, effectively eliminating any motor home traffic from Davis’s frequent evening excursions to Cliff Castle Casino and effectively making the greedy land barons along 260 the despondent owners of real estate on the road to Strawberry.

This news is brought to the good citizens of Sedona as a warning. A warning that the continued insubordinate behavior, repeated excoriations and displays of civil disobedience toward Davis will only lead to a bitter and barren future. The same source that informed this assiduous journalist of Davis’s highway relocation program resurfaced this last fortnight with the disturbing news that Davis, with the cooperation and assistance of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will soon begin the re-channeling Oak Creek away from Sedona and towards his hometown of Cottonwood.

If there is an upside to this whole sordid tale it is that the miscreant Seiber died when a boulder fell on him as he was hanging about at a road-building project near Roosevelt Dam.

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