Taking It Easy In Winslow, AZ

Published 9:04 am Thursday, November 9, 2017

WINSLOW, ARIZ. — That new marijuana processing plant, greeted two years ago with open arms because of the chance to bring good-paying jobs to this dusty town in Navajo County, quite literally stinks. To high heaven.

It’s a skunk smell, neighbors say. Unpleasant. A smell that wafts out a half mile in all directions …

Offended neighbors were back at the Winslow town council meeting last month seeking help.

Charcoal filters installed to abate the smell may have helped some at first, but the stink is back, according to the report in the Navajo Tribune-News.

Lured by dreams of more tax revenue, some western states are trading in their moral disdain of the drug culture for government controlled sales of marijuana. Winslow is discovering that pot money is tainted with an odor.

Interstate 40 is hard by Winslow, population 9,754. Unless the car’s gasoline tank edged toward “E”, there was no reason to stop here until the rock band Eagles mentioned it in a song, “Take it Easy,” in 1972.

Well, I’m a standing on a corner

In Winslow, Arizona

And such a fine sight to see

It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed

Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me

The Eagles were a sensation for the Baby Boomer generation. Fifty years after the band ruled the rock music charts, my children have never heard of them. The Davie County Arts Council hosted an Eagles tribute band recently before a packed house at the Brock Auditorium — packed by my generation. The Eagles spoke to us.

Boomers are still taking it easy by pulling off I-40 to stand on the corner in this town for a selfie. The big industry here is tourism. In summer, tourists line up to take pictures on The Corner beside two statues of Eagles band members on this section of old Route 66. There’s a red flatbed Ford always parked on the curb.

Eagles music blares from a speaker.

By no coincidence, there’s a gift shop on the opposite corner.

Elizabeth and I got there at 7 a.m. before the glare of the sun fell on the statues. We had the place to ourselves. We sat on the benches for that “Peaceful Easy Feeling” the Eagles sang about.

We stayed in the hotel two blocks away — the hotel beside the double railroad tracks with BNSF trains running day and night on this major east-west corridor. Elsewhere in town, there’s a quaint Wigwam Motel where guests stay in their own tiny teepee. Maybe next time.

All along Route 66, tiny towns are looking for ways to revive themselves with tourist dollars. The Disney movie “Cars” dramatically describes the towns’ demise after the interstate was built. Winslow, Ariz., with a huge assist from the Eagles, has found a clever way to lure tourists off the 75 mph speedway.

– Dwight Sparks