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  1. Default Oklahoma City to Tucson

    Working out the details of a shorter leg of a MUCH longer trip... Oklahoma city to Tucson

    If I drive Oklahoma City (stopping for the night in Albuquerque NM) and then on to Tucson AZ it would be 2 very long 8 hour days of driving, and since I'm the only driver I'd prefer not to push that.

    I'm wondering what interesting locations you would recommend stopping, if I end up split it into 3 days of driving.

    I was looking at spending the first night somewhere beyond Amarillo closer to Albuquerque (Unless there is something compelling to stop at before then) and then the 2nd night somewhere in Southern NM (maybe near one of the NP).

    Any suggestions for National Parks (Santa Fe National Historic Trail or Petroglyphs) or other cool places to stop would be appreciated.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Skip Albuquerque and Relax

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I've done that segment as part of much longer RoadTrips between the East Coast (family) and Tucson (home), and I've never gone by way of Albuquerque. There is a much shorter route if you're willing to leave the security blanket of the Interstates. From Amarillo take I-27 a short way to the south and pick up US-60 west through Clovis NM and switch over to US-70 west through Roswell and Alamagordo to Las Cruces where you'll get back on the Interstates, I-10 west to Tucson. That will lower your driving time to about 14 hours. Now, with stops (food, fuel, mental health breaks) this is still two full days, but they'll be considerably more restful. A good overnight stopping place would be Roswell. This will be your first sizeable town since Clovis with enough lodging choices to find something you'll like at a reasonable price. Plus it has a certain 'mystique'. Your second day's drive will include an Indian Reservation (Mescalero Apache), the home of quarter horse racing in America (Ruidoso NM), and White Sands National Monument.


  3. Default

    Hey AZBuck,

    Thanks for the information... I'll probably take that route and hope to see some aliens. :)

    A couple of questions...

    If I'm going to be stopping at The Great Sand Dunes in Colorado is it still worth a stop at White Sands NM? If you had to recommend one, which would you choose? How are they similar or different?

    Also, do you have any thoughts about Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument? Apparently they just re-opened. Is it worth trying to spend a half day there as a detour?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Matters of Personal Choice and Logistics

    It is very hard to recommend one site over another as what one likes depends as much (if not more) on the 'one' as on the 'what'. That's why we take great pains around here to avoid the terms "best" or "must see". There is also the problem of the constraints that your trip will put on you in terms of time available, extra miles you're willing to drive, etc. So with those caveats in mind, here's my take on the sites you asked about. White Sands is an incredibly unique spot for a number of reasons. First of all there is the composition of the sands. Most sand dunes (the beach, Great Sand Dunes, and others) are composed of quartz grains. I don't mean to denigrate them, but quartz is possibly the most abundant mineral on the Earth's surface and its production is the normal result of typical rock erosion. The White Sands, on the other hand, are composed of gypsum. So there is the unique geology of there formation, and the dazzling effect of that particularly bright white mineral. There is simply no other place on Earth like White Sands. At the same time, if you take the route I recommended, you will be literally driving by the entrance to the Monument. You will never get closer. One item of additional interest. You may have to stop even if you don't intend to as US-70 is occasionally closed (for short periods) when there is to be a launch at White Sands Missile Range.

    And while I have not been to Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, I have never been disappointed in any early Puebloan site that I have visited. Many require significant hikes to get to while Gila Cliff seems to be within a mile of the trail head. There are also hot springs in the area that you can hike to. However, it is a bit off your path, and forces you to add a hundred mile drive on a couple of two lane roads besides the detour to get into the Silver City area. I just don't see where you have the time for it on this trip.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    When hubby and I were first married, we had to take a road trip to move ourselves from MO to AZ. Because we were driving two vehicles (a car and a U-Haul truck), we decided to stay off of Interstates as much as possible. You could do as we did:

    We left I-40 on US54 towards Vaughn, Carrizozo and Alamagordo. We stayed one night in Alamagordo, leaving the UHaul at the motel and taking the car to White Sands NM. As AZBuck said, the gypsum sand was just incredibly white -- worthwhile to look at. Of course hubby was also fascinated by the Air Force's use of the White Sands area.

    From Alamagordo, it's an easy trip into Tucson.


  6. Default

    Thanks AZBuck

    I appreciate the feedback and will check out White Sands for sure! I'll need to gather more info about the Gila Cliff Dwellings... I may want to make some more time for that area, especially if we can hit some hot springs!! So I'll have to gather more info on the hot springs as well!


  7. Default

    Thanks Donna,

    I was looking at Alamogordo for a stop too! I'll take a look at the route you suggested as well.


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