Gillespie Dam Bridge – Gila Bend Arizona

The weather down here just inspires riding, especially in the winter.   It’s been over 70 degrees the last 2 weekends, and after finally having everything somewhat settled I had a chance to point the bike toward a new road.   I could hardly wait.

Scouting the perimeter:  Luckily, my wife knows I need to do it, even though she gives me a hard time about the saying.    Its maybe the biggest reason I moved to Arizona, as there is a whole lot of perimeter to scout.

I headed west through Phoenix and then a little south, toward Arlington Arizona.   I had somewhat of a destination in mind.

The Gillespie Dam – Built for flood control and irrigation by a local rancher in 1920 to tame the Gila River
Cars crossing the river on the skirt of the dam – 1920s


In the early days, cars used to have to cross the river at the base of the dam, which could be impossible during heavy runoff or floods.   


In 1927, they finally built a bridge with the advent of the US HIghway commission. It was the longest steel structure in Arizona at the time.   The road later became US Highway 80 and connected Savannah Georgia to San Diego California. 


In 1993, with unusually heavy rainfall the Gillespie dam failed.    It was never rebuilt, and the bridge was unaffected.

I found the fucker.   I’m a sucker for an old Rusty Bridge.

The Gillespie Dam Bridge.


She’s a beautiful old Gal. Fun to ride.


The Breached Gillespie Dam, unchanged since 1993. The Gila River had it’s way, as rivers usually do.


Remnants of old Highway 80 in Arizona.

The ride through old Highway 80 was a really nice ride.   Not much traffic as it goes into Gila Bend.    I was just scouting the perimeter, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be back as I noticed a lot of side roads I’d missed, old towns I’d bypassed and historic markers I wasn’t sure I’d have time to stop and read.   It’s why you scout the perimeter, or at least why I do:   when you go back, there’s always something new to see, learn and wonder about.

I figure it’s winter down here, so Ill see what I can in the southern end of the state while it’s still cool enough to see it.   Come summer, I’m going to want to head north toward route 66 and flagstaff where I don’t get heat stroke.

The ride through the Sonoran desert National Monument was beautiful.    I need more days.   I wasn’t ready to go home.

God, I love Arizona.

1 day, 1 state, 180 miles.





2 thoughts on “Gillespie Dam Bridge – Gila Bend Arizona”

  1. Pingback: The Border, Part Two – MrZip66

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.