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  1. Default Tucson, AZ to Amarillo TX with a dog in summer!

    So, I'd like to get into the spirit of the road trip, but I'm traveling alone with a dog (who has never been on a long trip) and am more nervous than excited. I'm also limited in what I can enjoy since the dog has to stay with me and it'll be very, very hot (going late June).

    I'd like to get from Tucson, AZ to Amarillo, TX in the shortest time as possible. I was just going to go the standard route through Albuquerque, but AAA suggested a short-cut route that takes routes 70, 54, and 60, going through Las Cruces and Roswell, NM.

    I'm not sure this is actually any faster though- and I'm very concerned about getting stuck on some smaller road, one lane, 55 MPH speed limit, with no gas stops. Mostly, I don't have any sense of these alternative routes and would like some input on them.

    Anyone have any experience on picking the fastest route with a decent amount of places to stop for gas (my car is NOT gas efficient)? can anyone give me a better sense of the potential routes from experience? Also, dog friendly stopping points would be an added bonus.

    Thanks for any help, I'd like to be able to feel more confident about the trip!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default the bigger concern

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    While people frequently worry about gas, it really is one of those things that is not an issue - unless you are really careless and not paying attention to your fuel gauge. People live in all the areas you'll be visiting, and they need fuel for their day to day lives. Plus, if you are thinking of going through Alamagordo, Roswell, and Clovis, it would never be more than about 100 miles between major towns.

    Having said that, if you are nervous, I'd probably stick to the Interstates, with the exception of the NM-26 shortcut at Deming. You'll always be around plenty of traffic, plus you'll be up at a higher elevation for much of the trip, which could bring you some lower temperatures. The faster speeds should offset most of the extra miles.

    The biggest concern, to me, is the distance. It's a 735 mile drive, which is a really long day on the road. It is going to take you about 13 hours minimum, with that number likely going higher because of extra stops for a dog. Professional drivers are limited to about 600 miles a day, and that's what we recommend for a multi-day trip. Doing this as a one day trip isn't impossible, but at the very least, make sure you are very well rested before you get on the road, and plan to be pretty tired still the day after you arrive.

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    While people frequently worry about gas, it really is one of those things that is not an issue - unless you are really careless and not paying attention to your fuel gauge. People live in all the areas you'll be visiting, and they need fuel for their day to day lives. Plus, if you are thinking of going through Alamagordo, Roswell, and Clovis, it would never be more than about 100 miles between major towns.

    Having said that, if you are nervous, I'd probably stick to the Interstates, with the exception of the NM-26 shortcut at Deming. You'll always be around plenty of traffic, plus you'll be up at a higher elevation for much of the trip, which could bring you some lower temperatures. The faster speeds should offset most of the extra miles.

    The biggest concern, to me, is the distance. It's a 735 mile drive, which is a really long day on the road. It is going to take you about 13 hours minimum, with that number likely going higher because of extra stops for a dog. Professional drivers are limited to about 600 miles a day, and that's what we recommend for a multi-day trip. Doing this as a one day trip isn't impossible, but at the very least, make sure you are very well rested before you get on the road, and plan to be pretty tired still the day after you arrive.
    Hi,

    I'm surprised you said it would be a 13 hour drive! Yikes. Google maps AND AAA estimated 10 hours and 40 minutes and the route AA gave me was slightly less at 676 miles (I know only about an hour difference in terms of driving time). For that route I was planning on it being 12-13 hours WITH stops.

    I am aware it's a super long day, but unfortunately it's unavoidable. I do appreciate the good advice about thinking twice, but I don't have the flexibility.

    I guess I don't mind being off the major interstates if the route goes through some towns about every 100 miles, but would this mean lower speeds on those roads? Is there anyway to look up speed limits of various highways?

    Thanks for your reply!

    Amy

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    Online mapping programs live in a computer generate fantasy world, that doesn't ever need to stop for fuel, food, or a restroom, never sees any traffic slowdowns, and never has a red light.

    The 676 mile route you are looking at involves many miles of 2 lane roads, and you'd have to average 64 mph to achieve that in under 11 hours. The speed limits on 2 lane roads in NM is 65. Even if you are driving about 70, you won't be able to average anywhere near that, especially when you are driving through towns with stoplights and traffic.

    There are 2 rules of thumb. First, that you need to add about 20% to online map program travel time estimates to adjust for real world conditions. Second, on a full day trip on the freeway, you'll average just under 60 mph once you factor in minimum stops. Both of those guidelines put your likely travel time right about 13 hours.

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Online mapping programs live in a computer generate fantasy world, that doesn't ever need to stop for fuel, food, or a restroom, never sees any traffic slowdowns, and never has a red light.

    The 676 mile route you are looking at involves many miles of 2 lane roads, and you'd have to average 64 mph to achieve that in under 11 hours. The speed limits on 2 lane roads in NM is 65. Even if you are driving about 70, you won't be able to average anywhere near that, especially when you are driving through towns with stoplights and traffic.

    There are 2 rules of thumb. First, that you need to add about 20% to online map program travel time estimates to adjust for real world conditions. Second, on a full day trip on the freeway, you'll average just under 60 mph once you factor in minimum stops. Both of those guidelines put your likely travel time right about 13 hours.
    Thanks for the info. Looks like I might just want to stick with my original plan of going through Albuquerque and estimating fifteen hours from leaving my house to my destination. With losing two hours of time due to time zones that means, even if I leave at 3 AM, I won't arrive until 8 PM in Amarillo, correct? I was hoping for a 6:00 PM arrival... but it seems like I'd have to start at 1:00 AM to get that!

    I'm pretty bummed about that.

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