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  1. Default I-40 West: Alabama to California

    I am moving back to California. I am planning on driving from Alabama to California the 2nd or 3rd week in November. Anyone have any tips on weather, road conditions, or landmarks I should keep my eye out for?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Ask as You Go

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Some of my favorite spots along (or near) I-40 west of Memphis would include the Memorial in Oklahoma City, Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque, Petrified Forest in eastern Arizona, and Walnut Canyon outside Flagstaff. As to weather and road conditions, they are too changeable to give you any meaningful advice this far in advance of your trip. The best source of construction information is the Welcome Centers as you enter each new state, and for weather, you can usually check the Weather Channel from you r motel room each night.


  3. #3

    Default I-40

    I-40, especially west of Little Rock, is one of my favorite routes to travel. Downtown Little Rock is rather quaint, yet cosmopolitan, and is nice for a walk, especially after being in the car for several hours. Heading through western Arkansas, the rolling hills of the Ozarks give some very nice scenery.

    West of Oklahoma City, I-40 starts to follow much of old Route 66, which makes for some interesting side trips, even if you only get to veer off the interstate for a few minutes to see 'downtown America'. In Amarillo, I always stop at the famous "Big Texan Steak Ranch" at Exit 74. Although I've never tried the giant 72-ounce steak, the ambiance (not to mention good beef) is satisfyingly Texan.

    After Amarillo, the vastness of the American West begins to become more apparent. Glenrio, at Exit 0 on the Texas/New Mexico border, is a testament to a town left behind when Route 66 was abandoned. Tucumcari, New Mexico, still has plenty of neon, and is worth a look, especially if you pass through at night. It's also a good place to stop for the night, as the motels are abundant and seem to be fairly inexpensive.

    I've stopped in Albuquerque, as well as Gallup and Grants. At the "Continental Divide" exit in western New Mexico, which is obviously at the top of a hill, there is a sign that announces the location of this famous split between east and west. Meteor Crater in eastern Arizona is a nice spot for a walk. If the museum and observation deck are not enough, you can take a guided tour around the rim of the 50,000-year-old crater. The cost for admission to the location is about $15 per person.

    West of Flagstaff, I-40 crosses the desert, so be prepared. I-40 is a good route with little mountainous terrain, but higher elevations could experience bad weather. Ice is fairly common throughout New Mexico and the Texas panhandle, but the middle of November will probably be early enough to avert the worst of it.

    Happy travels!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    The Great Midwest, Illinois to be precise

    Default Route 66

    Hey, let's not forget to get off the interstate and do a little Route 66 cruising.

  5. Default hi

    Hi AJT,

    I drove from AL to CA twice. That is nice long trip. I took my own sweet time the first time I went on I-40. I think AZ is the place where you should spend most of the time. The petrified forest and the painted desert are fantastic. The closest town is Holbrook. North of flagstaff is the meteor crater and Wupatki national monument. Well worth a dekko. You could also take a detour to the Grand Canyon, would be worth it (might have started snowing). Also, if you don't mind going a bit more away from I40, you could go to page, AZ and also monument Valley. Also when you enter CA, you could go to the Mojave reserve and the Joshua tree NP. Also worth the detour.

    Have fun.

  6. Default

    Thanks so much for the fantastic advice. I am so excited to see this part of the country, especially during the fall.

  7. #7

    Default Just completed this one

    With my son, I just completed running I-40 from Raleigh, NC to California. We did it starting Sunday, 28 October and arrived at Port Hueneme on 31 October.

    By putting in one extra long day on Monday, we were able to ride through the Grand Canyon on Tuesday afternoon, spending about 3 hours in the park, and we went on to Kingman, AZ that night. We left early Wed morning and took the first Hoover Dam tour of the day at 9am. Leaving there about noon, we tried to go through the mountains to Parumph and into Death Valley, but were stopped at the edge of Las Vegas by a truck wreck which closed Rt 160 for the entire afternoon, so we just came on down to his Navy base in CA.

    The road was wide open the whole way. We avoided rush hours by traveling on Sunday evening through NC and TN, and leaving early enough to get through Memphis on Monday am before 6am. I was quite pleasantly surprised at how little traffic we encountered.

    Construction was evident generally west of Amarillo, starting with single lane for much of the distance from there to the NM border. Not too much construction in AZ, but when we dropped down I-15 from Vegas into CA, there were quite a number of places where I-15 median work was being done, creating about a dozen short single lane stretches.

    All in all, an easy and uneventful trip. Nice ride. BIG COUNTRY! We put 2,820 miles on my son's truck, with the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam having added about 200 of those.

    Have a safe and enjoyable ride.


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