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  1. Default albuquerque, petrified forest, grand canyon, saguaro, carlsbad - road trip

    I'll taking a week long road trip with my family late May/Early June.

    Here's the working (subject to change) itinerary for Grand Canyon:

    Departure May 28 [from my parents place in Plano, TX]
    Pass by Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo
    Stay in Albuquerque night of May 28
    Pass by Petrified Forest in Arizona May 29 - 1/2 day? <
    Arrive Grand Canyon May 29
    Visit Grand Canyon May 30, 1 day enough or not?
    Leaving Grand Canyon May 31
    Arrive Tucson May 31
    Visit Saguaro National Park May 31
    Arrive Las Cruces June 1
    Visit White Sands NP June 2
    Visit Carlsbad Cavern June 2
    Stay in Carlsbad area June 2
    Return home June 3


    (©Microsoft Streets and Trips)

    I'm just wondering if anyone has any suggestions or tips for us, like anything in the route we shouldn't miss, or if we should take a day or two longer at each part, or anything special or unique about each of the sites that we should look at, or anything at all?
    Last edited by AZBuck; 04-13-2006 at 02:41 PM. Reason: Copyright notice added

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Too Much?

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America forum.

    I'm afraid that parts of your plan are overly ambitious, especially when travelling as a family (kids?). For example, it is 650 miles from Plano to Albuquerque. When you factor in time for food, gas and rest stops, as well as slow downs for traffic, this will take almost 12 hours to drive. You cannot plan on having any time to even pass by Cadillac Ranch. Similarly, Albuquerque to the Grand Canyon is just a bit over 400 miles and will take at least 7 and a half hours, so you won't have a half day to see Petrified Forest National Park. Grand Canyon to Tucson is another full, hard day's drive, leaving no time to visit Saguaro National Park during that day. The rest of your trip seems to have adequate time, but basically you've planned a 7 day trip where you'll need to devote a good 5 days to just driving. Perhaps if you could either scale it back a bit or add a couple of extra days?

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck
    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America forum.

    I'm afraid that parts of your plan are overly ambitious, especially when travelling as a family (kids?). For example, it is 650 miles from Plano to Albuquerque. When you factor in time for food, gas and rest stops, as well as slow downs for traffic, this will take almost 12 hours to drive. You cannot plan on having any time to even pass by Cadillac Ranch. Similarly, Albuquerque to the Grand Canyon is just a bit over 400 miles and will take at least 7 and a half hours, so you won't have a half day to see Petrified Forest National Park. Grand Canyon to Tucson is another full, hard day's drive, leaving no time to visit Saguaro National Park during that day. The rest of your trip seems to have adequate time, but basically you've planned a 7 day trip where you'll need to devote a good 5 days to just driving. Perhaps if you could either scale it back a bit or add a couple of extra days?

    AZBuck
    That was the plan my dad had made so far [pretty much so far it's all his plans, so I have no idea how it's going to work.] I'm going with my parents and my sister, who is the kid of the family at 12 years. How many more days do you think would be good for this route?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Virtual Reality Versus Reality

    I know that if you plot this out in MapQuest or similar on-line mapping software, they will tell you that you can drive the 650 miles from Plano to Albuquerque in a shade over 10 hours, and that sounds like a reasonable (strenuous, but reasonable) amount of driving to accomplish in a day. And that you'd have time to see a few things along the way besides. But think about it. In order to cover that many miles, you'd have to maintain 65 mph every second you're on the road. No stops for gas. No stops for food. No stops to use a bathroom. Never slow down for anything. That may work fine in the world of software where all they do is divide miles by some 'average speed' (and 65 for the interstates is not a bad guess for the times you're actually driving) to determine how long it will take you to get from point A to point B. In the real world, however, nasty things like hunger, boredom, empty gas tanks, and other traffic have a way of interfering with that idealized view. The rule of thumb that we adopt here (based on many, many, many miles of experience) is that one can make good about ~55 mph over a day's driving. I've had days where I've only managed to average 36 mph, even though most of my driving was on interstates!

    So, since this is a vacation, and you want to enjoy the drive and see a few things along the way, I wouldn't try to cover much more than about 400-450 miles in a day. That means you'll need to take three days to get to the Grand Canyon, but it also means that you can stop and see some things along the way. Besides Cadillac Ranch and Petrified Forest National Park, worthwhile stops include Petroglyph National Monument outside Albuquerque (with a possible side trip to Salinas Pueblos National Monument), Meteor Crater near Winslow AZ, and Walnut Canyon National Monument just before you get to Flagstaff. I think it would be a shame to just zoom by all these great places in a rush to get to the Grand Canyon, when by adding a day to your westbound journey you can see most of them. Similarly, if you can add a day to your return journey you'll have time to enjoy the trip and sights along the way. Now, having said that, everybody's tastes and stamina are different, and what your family decides works best for you is up to you.

    AZBuck

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