Steve & The Rocket
看看 看The year is 1984 and Prescott is still a sleepy little town in north-central Arizona. Steve LaVigne and Mike LaFlash are heading south on highway 69 on the hill outside of Prescott Valley. On the left side of the road is a really big field with a rocket in the middle of it. Mike and I get a wild hare across and decide that we just have to see the rocket up close. We drive off the highway and into the field to get a closer look.
看看 看Back then the rocket was all silver and the doors worked. We go up to the rocket and open the back door. Coiled up in the very back of the rocket is a baby rattlesnake. He is there rattling at us-we are disturbing his domain. We decide that seeing the inside of the rocket is more important than disturbing the rattlesnake.
看看 看The inside is really something! Up in front there is a big movie screen and a whole pile of old fashioned knobs and dials. There is also school bus type seats to hold about 24 adventurers inside. The interior is made of light blue plywood with a brownish red trim. There is a big old air conditioner in the back in the bottom of the back wall. (Behind the rattlesnake.) The interior is a mini movie theater with fun extras.
看看 看After stepping over the rattlesnake again and closing the three rear doors we check out the outside. The whole thing is a lowboy Utility trailer chassis with the rocket integrated into it. The trailer frame and the rocket are built very solidly out of heavy components and the workmanship is excellent. Someone had spent a lot of money to build this thing a long time ago.
看看 看In the rear is a big hatch that opens up to a big empty area. From the dials and electrical stuff in here we surmise that there was a big generator in here at one time. The back bumper is solid enough to stop almost anything!
看看 看Being a couple of crazy dreamers, Mike and I decide we just have to own this thing! Tracing the owner wasn蘗t all that hard. Mike knows a guy named Brad Newman who ran a handicapped workshop called Yavapai Rehab. Apparently Rodney Welch (Who owned Welch蘗s 看Mountain Fantasy-a small amusement park that was located where the rocket was parked) had an auction when he closed the park. He wanted a minimum bid of $7500.00 for the rocket. Nobody would pay that much so the rocket ended up still parked on the property.
看看 看It sat there for a year or two before we came on to the scene. Apparently Rodney Welch then donated it to the city of Prescott, who promptly donated it to Yavapai Rehab. Enter Steve & Mike! Brad Newman was really interested in getting rid of a problem that was thrown on his lap. We were the perfect answer to his rocket removal dilemma! Mike and I made him a deal that he couldn蘗t refuse and the rocket was ours!
看看 看Now came the fun part! How do we move the thing out of it蘗s swampy field?
看看 看Neither Mike nor I had a semi-tractor to pull the rocket home with. We got on the phone and started calling around to see who could move the rocket 看at a price we could afford. We finally ended up calling T&H Construction. They were willing to move the rocket at a price we could afford-FREE! There was one catch, though. They wanted to drive it around downtown first, before bringing it up on Sweetwater Drive. Well, since the price was right and the catch would be kinda fun, we agreed. We went to the DMV and got our permit to move the rocket to it蘗s new home. It was a one day permit that allowed us to move the rocket legally from Prescott Valley to Prescott.
看看 看Of course another interesting thing happened! 看T&H had an emergency that had to be taken care of. They couldn蘗t move the rocket on the appointed day, so our permit was no good. We didn蘗t have the money to buy another one so several days later we moved the rocket without a permit. It was really exciting towing an unregistered rocket around town!
看看 看Of course nothing bad happened. We rode with the rocket around Courthouse Square and had a grand time watching the drunks staggering out of the bars in the middle of the afternoon to see a one rocket parade in the middle of the street going by. One interesting side note here. as we were going toward Sheldon St. on Cortez, we stopped by the offices of the Prescott Courier. I ran in and told them that we had news parked right outside! They didn蘗t want to have anything to do with us. To them the rocket coming to Prescott was not news. Sadly we left. We figured that the local newspaper just wasn蘗t interested in local news. We did solve this problem, though! We called the weekly paper, the Prescott Sun, and they were very interested, and we ended up on the front page with pictures and all in the next edition!
看看 看After we went around downtown, we towed the rocket up my drive and parked it where it is today.
Over the next twenty years it would bring us much joy.
More to come!
The Rocket Arrives!