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  1. Default St. Louis to Phoenix. Where to stop and what to see?

    Hi,

    I need to be in Phoenix for ideally Tuesday afternoon and I need to be well rested.

    I've only ever driven Chicago to St. Louis.

    I'd really appreciate some help planning my trip. I've heard it's a nice drive. The only attraction I can think of seeing is the Breaking Bad house, lol.

    For some reason I want to leave tomorrow morning around 7am (Saturday) and drive to Amarillo Texas (assume I'll arrive 5pm). It seems like once I'm in Amarillo I have two options. I could get a motel and work until 10pm (I work online so this might make the most sense). The problem is the next day I will feel like driving all the way to Phoenix and it seems far. It doesn't seem like there is a good place to stop after this.

    I can't figure out a good place to stop to make it a 2 day trip.

    On Day 1 I could rest in Amarillo for an hour then go for Albuquerque and sleep there. Is that realistic? Then on Day 2 I could go to the Grand Canyon and see Flagstaff. If I sleep in Amarillo I wont be able to see the Grand Canyon.

    That would be driving about 14 hours on Day 1. I'm using Google maps to figure this out and I think I might be making mistakes and the information they provide might not be accurate.

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

    Default Not Even Close to Accurate

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    St. Louis to Amarillo is over 750 miles, about a day and a half's drive, and far far more than can be safely or even physically done in 15 hours no matter what your software mapping is telling you. You have to remember that such programs assume that you will always be traveling at or above the speed limit - every second of every minute of every hour, will never have to stop for gas, will never need a bathroom break, will never need to eat, will never have to slow down for traffic, for construction, or even for a motorhome passing a semi, and most importantly that you will never get so tired, no matter how many hours you sit behind the wheel, that you will become a danger to yourself and others. Not a single one of those assumptions is true.

    You need to budget three full days for this drive and pace yourself appropriately each day, taking a break from driving every few hours to get some fresh air and exercise and to clear your head. Plan on two overnights in (roughly) Oklahoma City and Albuquerque. If you want to add stops and detours such as the Grand Canyon, then you'll need to add even more time.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 08-31-2013 at 09:53 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    209

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck
    You need to budget three full days for this drive and pace your self appropriately each day, taking a break from driving every few hours to get some fresh air and exercise and to clear your head. Plan on two overnights in (roughly) Oklahoma City and Albuquerque.
    Buck is absolutely right. This should be a three-day trip, not two.

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

    Default

    I've done this trip solo in the reverse direction, Phoenix to St Louis years ago, driving it in THREE days and avoiding a lot of interstate driving. My stops were in Albuquerque and Hutchinson, KS. (I took US 60 and then some AZ routes through Globe and Snowflake to get up to Holbrook, AZ, then I-40 to Tucumcari where I picked up US-54. That's why Hutchinson, KS was my 2nd stop. If I'd have used the interstates more, back then, I would have stayed in Albuquerque and Oklahoma City, as suggested earlier.

    My husband drove Columbia MO to San Diego in 4 days. He overnighted in El Reno, OK, Albuquerque, and Kingman (roughly the same distance as Phoenix). He was driving a U-Haul truck.


    Donna

  5. Default

    I think if I had got to Amarillo today I could've got to Flagstaff on day 2 and then on day 3 see the grand canyon and then go to phoenix. Oh well, I was 220 miles short!


    Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately I just saw it now lol. It looks like I've also stopped a little past Oklahoma City. I ended up leaving St. Louis at 2pm. Very late but I almost didn't go. I think I made it to Weatherford in Oklahoma, I'm about 220 miles from Amarillo Texas. I could have made it there but I was getting tired and the towns are really spread out.

    I also recently bought my car and I've only driven 500 miles prior to this trip and did not have the time to have a mechanic check it before I left. That was the main reason I decided to stop. It was a pointless risk to continue.


    Early on my drive a large SUV with Arizona plates passed me. I decided to follow them. They were doing 85 almost all the time. I followed them for about 5 hours. Two other cars joined and gradually they took exits. After this I stayed roughly 8mph over the limit.

    I averaged 37mpg doing 85. So I was happy.


    -------
    Tomorrow (day 2) I plan to drive to Albuquerque and sleep there. Leave here around 11am and arrive 5 or 6pm. I plan to take it easy and do 65-70mph.

    Does anyone know somewhere safe to stop in Albuquerque for around $50/night? I do not want to stay in a shady area. If someone knows of a cheap motel in a safe area I'd really appreciate it.

    Day 3 I'll head to Phoenix and take it easy.

    I don't see anywhere to really stop after Albuquerque and after Albuquerque it looks like mountain roads?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    A good bet in ABQ would be on the west side at the Coors Blvd exit. Grants is another hour west, there is a good selection there. Gallup is another hour west of Grants.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    209

    Default very quickly

    Quote Originally Posted by stl2az
    Does anyone know somewhere safe to stop in Albuquerque for around $50/night? I do not want to stay in a shady area. If someone knows of a cheap motel in a safe area I'd really appreciate it.
    I can’t tell you exactly how much any hotels would cost, but I can tell you where I would look.

    The first area I would look would be the area known as “I-25 North”, which is a few miles north of the I-25 / I-40 interchange. It’s a few miles extra driving, but worth it IMO.

    Next I would probably look in the “Midtown” area, with a few notable exceptions.

    Just to give you a quick list of what’s on/near I-40, coming from the east:

    First, there will be a bunch of hotels at the first exit as you come in to town (Tramway Blvd.). Keep going, this is not really where you want to be.

    Next there will be some hotels at the Eubank Blvd. exit. This area is a mixed bag. Some of the hotels are fairly new or have been renovated, a few are pretty much dives. Not the worst area, but not the best, either.

    At Louisiana Blvd. there are some nice hotels, but nothing in the price range you’re looking for.

    At San Mateo Blvd. there is a La Quinta Inn. This would be OK.

    At Carlisle Blvd. is where the “Midtown” area starts. A lot of hotels around here, two that you want to avoid are the Motel 6 at the Carlisle exit, and the Rodeway Inn on Menaul Blvd.

    I probably wouldn’t look at anything farther west on I-40. There are quite a few hotels at the Coors Blvd. exit, some new, some old. Too much "stuff" goes on in that area for me to recommend anything around there.

    Two hotels that are very popular with Route 66ers are the Monterey Non-Smokers Motel and the Sandia Peak Inn, both on Central Avenue near Old Town. Both get rave reviews, although the neighborhood ain't the greatest. Good restaurant across from the Sandia Peak Inn is El Charritos.

    Hope this is helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Or you could stop before you even get to ABQ and stay in Moriarty. I've stayed at the Super 8, it's in your price range and it's not bad. It's very safe, there's a truck stop right across the street.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    We stayed at the Sandia Peak Inn back in 2010. It's a couple of miles off the interstate, but it's a decent place!!!! Dinner can be found across the way, or down in Old Town which is only a mile or so down the road. We stayed there because it was one of the closest and most reasonable places to a friend - we were taking him out to dinner while we were there in ABQ.


    Donna

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    I've never spent much time in ABQ, but I've stayed there a few times while passing through. I don't have any specific recommendations of hotels, but I have found it to be a place where you can find some pretty good deals and some pretty nice places. I'd certainly be taking a look at the coupon books you'll find at truck stops and rest areas, and I think you find some nice places (unless rooms are booked up because of the holiday weekend.)

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