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  1. Default Palm Springs to Santa Fe and return

    We'll be making this drive in early April and have never been in this part of the world before, so have no idea which route would be the best. We like the idea of making it a circle tour, stopping off at the Grand Canyon on the way there, and taking a different route back. We have about a week for the driving part, staying in SF with family for another week.

    --Should we stick to main highways, or are the smaller roads better for scenery and ambience?
    --Which places are worth a detour?
    --Jerome, Sedona and Chandler have been suggested to us. Any thoughts on these or other stops?
    --Anyplace you think we should avoid?
    --Any charming but budget-friendly accommodations to suggest?

    Thanks for any help you can give....

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

    Default Only a Week?

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I may be reading your post wrong, but it seems that you'll be going from Palm Springs to Santa Fe and then on to San Francisco, Or are you really returning to Palm Springs before going on to San Francisco? If the former is the case, then a loop tour makes perfect sense, but with the Grand Canyon on the return, and with the caveat that with only a week, you'll have to skip a number of the best sites on the way or limit your time in Santa Fe. You should also plan on sticking to the Interstates for the most part, using the smaller roads when necessary. After all, you'll need to cover over 2200 miles. In any event, here's a routing and some suggested stops for such a loop.

    On your first driving day, head east out of Palm Springs on I-10 using AZ-85 south and I-8 east to avoid Phoenix and the worst of I-10 between Phoenix and Tucson. I-10 through Tucson is under construction (and will still be in April). You'll be fine as through traffic, but all the exits and entrances in the city are closed. Your goal for this first day's drive is just to get past Tucson and stop for the night either southeast of the city or in Benson. On Day 2, you begin your sightseeing with two of southeastern Arizona's best: Kartchner Caverns and Tombstone. If you do decide to do these, reservations are recommended for Kartchner, and do go through the Birdcage Saloon in Tombstone. Other stops in this general area include the San Pedro Conservation Area, Fort Bowie, and the Chiricahua National Monument.

    The next stretch would be I-10, NM-26, and I-25 up through New Mexico to Santa Fe, passing Elephant Butte Lake and the Very Large Array. If you happen to be here on the first Saturday in April, you can also join the twice a year tour of the Trinity Site. on at least one of your legs between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, use the Turquoise Trail rather than I-25.

    From Santa Fe to the Grand Canyon, take the time (if you can) to see Petroglyph National Monument, and the Petrified Forest. The best way to see the Grand Canyon in your case is to go north out of Flagstaff on US-89 and then use AZ-64 west through the park and south to Williams. This puts the canyon and most of the pullouts on your right, making it easier to pull off and get going again. While in the Canyon area, see if you can fit in some of these other side trips. And for some info on Jerome and Sedona (and still others) check out the links in this post.

    Your final leg, then would be back to either Palm Springs via I-40, US-95 and CA-62 or on to San Francisco via I-40, CA-58 and I-5. As you can see, your problem is not finding enough to do, but deciding which limited number of your many options to fit into your limited time.

    AZBuck

  3. Default Oops - not SF as in San Francisco.....SF as in Santa Fe!

    That would be a really long trip for the time we have.....I forgot that you Yankees call San Fran SF. No the loop trip we have in mind is from Palm Springs to Santa Fe and back to Palm Springs by another road where reasonable so as to see more of the area.

    I guess this will change your advice, but I appreciate your detailed answer!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    Default Not Really That Different

    Everything I said up to the Grand Canyon still holds. It's just that now you might be able to devote some more time to Sedona, Jerome, etc. In that case, you'd return to Flagstaff after seeing the Canyon and then head south on AZ-89A through Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona and beyond to Jerome and Prescott before returning to Palm Springs. You still wont have time for it all, but those should give you an idea of what's available.

    AZBuck

  5. Default Accommodation?

    Thanks for your reply -

    Are there any sites you can suggest to find out more about accommodation options in this area? We'd love to find interesting, even charming, hopefully thrifty places that might not be well-known enough to have made it to TripAdvisor, etc.

    Thanks again.....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Tucson, AZ
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    9,358

    Default Tougher Than You Might Think

    Finding a web site that lists B&Bs, resorts, motels, cabins, spas, etc., without being overtly commercial is a trick in itself, but I think this one will at least let you survey what's available. When my wife and I were up there a couple of years ago, we stayed at the Junipine and quite enjoyed it. It's out of town just a short way up into Oak Creek Canyon. But look around a bit - I'm sure there are others that might serve you as well or better.

    AZBuck

  7. Default Next question.....

    Thanks, AZ Buck, for your detailed replies. I've narrowed down the trip to Santa Fe, and will be stopping at the Grand Canyon, Cameron and Gallup on the way there. What is the scenery like if we take route 264 to Gallup?

    And the next question after that.....on the way back to Palm Springs, we'd like to stop in Sedona for one night, and somewhere around Phoenix for the second night (We were told Chandler and Scottsdale were nice, but can't figure out why!) Do you have any recommendations? Or would it be more interesting to skip Phoenix and stop somewhere between Prescott and Quartzite?

    Thanks again for your help.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Tough Question

    I have driven AZ-264, and the scenery is like a lot of the southwest - magnificent desolation. Remember that you're going to be driving through the high desert and the Navajo and Hopi Indian Reservations. The road is fine, but there will not be a lot of development of traveler's services. While we're on the subject of Indians, there is an excellent source of handcrafts in Cameron, the Hubbell Trading Post. By going by way of AZ-264 to Gallup, you bypass both the Wupatki National Monument and the Petrified Forest National Park.

    To be honest, you're now getting to the point where I'd recommend that you stop asking questions, not because they're bothersome, but because you want to have some sense of adventure and discovery left for your actual RoadTrip. Planning certainly has its place, but not knowing what's around the next bend is what separates these great individual excursions from the pre-packaged group tours

    AZBuck

  9. Default I'd certainly agree....

    with you about not having everything planned out. Just trying to figure out which road has the most interesting bends, since time is short....

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Been answered

    Quote Originally Posted by pbjelly View Post
    with you about not having everything planned out. Just trying to figure out which road has the most interesting bends, since time is short....
    I agree with AZBuck -- you have more than ample information to proceed.

    Mark

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