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  1. Default Route suggestion from Philly to Phoenix with a day trip in Grand Canyon in 5-6 days

    Hi All,

    My fiancee and I live in Philadelphia, PA and have family moving to Phoenix. We plan to take a 12 day trip and want to spend atleast 6-7 days with them. That leaves 4-5 days to cover the distance since one day will be spent at the Grand Canyon. We're undecided on which route to take and hope to hear suggestions. We'd like to enjoy a scenic route, soak in some culture and visit landmarks.

    Option 1 would be west on the I-70, stopping at Pittsburgh, Columbus, Indianpolis and St. Louis then taking the I-44 south to Oklahoma City.

    Option 2 would be south on I-81 to Knoxville then west on I-40 to Nashville, Memphis, Little Rock to Oklahoma City.

    The difference between the two will be about 150 miles. Once we get to OKC, the route will be the same: Amarillo, Albuquerque, then spending the night in Flagstaff. We'll have an early start the next morning and visit the south rim of the Grand Canyon, spend most of the day there, then make way towards Phoenix in the evening. We have never been to any of these cities and any input and suggestions would be apprectiated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Default one way?

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm a little confused, you're talking about a 12 day trip, but the last 6-7 days are in Phoenix. So basically this is just a 4-5 day, one way trip, right? Are you not planning to return home?

    With your plan to visit the Grand Canyon, you basically need to plan to get to Flagstaff in 4 days. That's the minimum amount of time you need to do this safely) (Making a brief visit to the Grand Canyon and then heading into Phoenix on day 5. I'd take the shortest route so you can at least make a few short stops along the way to enjoy your trip, as you'll already need to be on the road for at least 10-12 hours a day before siteseeing stops just to make it there on this timeline. 150 miles isn't that much more in the scope of things, but it does work out to another 45 minutes or so on the road each day.

    Be sure to check out the Map Center to get lots of ideas for things to see along the way.

  3. Default

    I'm sorry, I totally left that return portion out. Since my family will be moving to Phoenix, I wanted to spend as much time as possible with them. We will be driving there and leaving our car with them, taking a one-way flight back to Philly. It will just be the two of us, but she can take the wheel for a good portion as well. Maybe I was being a little too ambitious with the time frames. If we split the road trip to 6 days, 1 day for the canyon, and 5 days to visit, that would probably make the entire trip much more enjoyable.

  4. #4
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    Default another option

    If you do decide to add at least one (and possibly two) more days to the trip, I might look at approaching Grand Canyon from the North.

    Take I-70 across Colorado, then cut down through Moab/Eastern Utah going past Arches, Canyonlands, and Monument Valley on your way to Grand Canyon. It would certainly provide a great look at western scenery, although it does add a few more miles that you'd have to take into account.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
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    Default

    If you take Michael's suggestion, it would take you 4 days to get to Moab, driving 10+ hours a day including stops. This would give you overnights near Dayton OH, Columbia MO, and Limon CO. Then your only decision would be where to spend the next 2 nights. For planning purposes, it's about 2.5 to 3 hours from Moab to Monument Valley, then about 3.5 hours from there to the GC. It's about 4.5 hours from the GC to Phoenix.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
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    4,546

    Default

    Another thought entirely: I-78 to I-81 in PA, dropping down to I-40 in TN. Then I-40 all the way across to Williams, where you take the route up to the Grand Canyon. Back-track to Flagstaff where you catch I-17 down to Phoenix.

    Overnights in Roanoke VA, somewhere in mid-Tennessee, Ft Smith AR or Sallisaw OK, Santa Rosa or Albuquerque NM, and then at the GC.

    That's a long haul 5 days on the road. That's extremely similar to our plan eastbound in a few weeks: leaving from my parents home near Phoenix, overnight stops in Santa Rosa, Sallisaw, Cookeville (TN), Harrisonburg VA, and then into NJ on the 5th day. We tried for a 4 day haul, but it meant 650-700 mile days every time. Our max is 600.


    Donna

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    If you take Michael's suggestion, it would take you 4 days to get to Moab, driving 10+ hours a day including stops. This would give you overnights near Dayton OH, Columbia MO, and Limon CO. Then your only decision would be where to spend the next 2 nights. For planning purposes, it's about 2.5 to 3 hours from Moab to Monument Valley, then about 3.5 hours from there to the GC. It's about 4.5 hours from the GC to Phoenix.
    Thanks Michael and GLC for this recommendation. We've looked at it a bit more and the extra 200-300 miles definitely seem worthwhile so we will be going with this route. Are there any online resources we can use for the trip to Moab/Monument Valley/Grand Canyon after our visit to Denver? Also, we will be traveling with a Garmin GPS as well as a cell phone with 3G access. How much reception will we have during that leg or would it be wise to bring along some kind of off-line road map?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    Default Essential!

    Quote Originally Posted by palmxp3 View Post
    ... or would it be wise to bring along some kind of off-line road map?
    Not only is it always wise to bring along an off-line road map, it is essential! Digital devices and maps are fine for giving those last minute instructions to a location, or to give some idea how far to the next place... but they cannot replace a map which gives an overall view of where you are going and where you have been.

    Check this and other threads on the topic.

    Lifey

  9. #9
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    Default

    Technology is nice, and they can be a helpful addition to supplement your trip, but they should never be considered your primary tools.

    A paper map is absolutely essential and far more important than a GPS.

    You'll likely have cell service for most of your trip, but most of the time it likely won't be at 3G levels, and certainly there will be gaps in coverage from time to time.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
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    Default

    A suggestion to get to Moab from I-70 - instead of taking US-191 in, get off at Exit 212 and take UT-128 (Upper Colorado River Scenic Byway).

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