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  1. Default Winter Roadtrip from Phoenix to Alabama

    I am moving back east next week and am trying to find the best route for my red dakota and it's little engine. It's a good truck but doesn't do well on the steep upgrades. Coming into Phoenix on the 17 from Flagstaff often my little engine could only get up to about 35 mi.
    I would also like to avoid the border route. Anyone have any suggestions on routes that I could take to avoid the steep upgrades and the border?
    What about taking the 60 into New Mexico? I also know I have to possibly contend with winter weather and need to keep in mind the safest route for winter travel. Would love to avoid that long stretch through the Texan panhandle, but avoiding steep upgrades is more important. Gosh, I don't know if there are any routes left to the east with these limitations :). All suggestions welcome.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default If I-17 Gave You Problems...

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    US-60 from Phoenix over to New Mexico has a couple of stretches where the grades are going to be far steeper than anything you saw on I-17 (climbing out of the Verde Valley), in particular the Salt River Canyon, which while scenic will wreak havoc on an underpowered vehicle. Actually, the Interstates are built to specifications which limit any grade to 6% or less, so they really are your best choice. And there's no real reason not to take I-10, the "border route". While it comes close to the border in a couple of spots, notably around El Paso, it never crosses it and any Border Patrol checkpoints will result in very minor delays.


  3. Default

    Thanks AZBuck! Although the scenic route sounds fun with the right vehicle your advice is very sound. My concern with I-10 through southern AZ to TX is possible delays by interior border checkpoints as I have never traveled the I-10 between AZ and El Paso so I am not familiar with the process. Most of my traveling hasn't taken place near the border and I prefer to make good time. The farthest west I have traveled on I-10 was to San Antonio coming from South Carolina which was a smooth ride. In the past when traveling to the west coast I have come from more northerly routes. This will be my first trip through Southern AZ if that is the route taken.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Where exactly are you going in Alabama?

  5. Default

    Final destination Athens, Al

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Your best way to Athens avoiding I-17 would be I-10 to I-20 to I-30 to I-40 to Memphis, then US-72. This only adds about 50 miles to I-40 all the way. I've never been delayed more than about 15 minutes at border control checkpoints. Take I-20/I-635 south around DFW to avoid downtown Fort Worth and downtown Dallas.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    We did a lot of the I-10 route going east this past summer. We went through about 4 Border Patrol checkpoints. The LONGEST one kept us waiting for less than 15 minutes. The rest were less than 5 minutes each. You do get near to the border but you will never cross it. In El Paso you can look out and see the other country; it made me appreciate my own country a little more.

    I've done the US 60 and I've done the I-10 and I-40. You're better off on the interstates, when it comes to grades, as Buck suggested.

    Unless you jump up to I-40 (and there's really no reason to do so), Texas is never-ending. The good thing -- on the flat stretches, there are places where 80mph is the speed limit.


  8. Default

    Thanks y'all! Your input is much appreciated! Since I have never traveled so close to the border and with increased security over the last decade I wasn't sure what to expect. It seems that the checkpoints should be nothing compared to rush hour traffic, more like a wave and pass along.
    Thanks again! I'll be sure to leave some comments after passing through these areas. Looking forward to seeing parts of the country that are new to me :).

  9. Default

    AZBUCK you were right, Interstate 17 was a great route up to 40. The incline is gradual and really not bad at all. The descent through Camp Verde was pretty smooth too. My little Red truck did just fine. I did have to take it easy and go slow, shifting into third gear and maybe even second at certain spots, but everything went smooth. Thanks for all your help!

  10. Default

    PS--and luckily we faced no winter weather. It was sunshine the whole way to Alabama.
    Travel dates January 15-18, 2013.

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