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  1. Default December road trip from Northern NJ to Scottsdale AZ

    Looking for the most scenic route with interesting towns, cities, historic places; places to visit along the way. Thinking of the "southern" route - south on I-81 out of PA to I-40 west; although open to any and all suggestions. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
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    4,546

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    How long do you plan to be gone? Is this a round trip or one way?

    The route you mentioned is good road -- we did that, going in the opposite direction, in summer 2011. First there would be Skyline Drive, which runs parallel to I-81 in Virginia, going through Shenandoah NP. Of course, you need to have time to do this -- it's 105 miles, but it takes about 4-5 hours to do the drive because there are a number of scenic pullouts. There's Nashville and a lot of its history of country music, Memphis and its influence on music (not to mention, Elvis' last home, Graceland). A little further on is OKC and the OKC Memorial. Near Amarillo is the kitschy Cadillac Ranch -- a bunch of old Cadillacs pointed nose down into the dirt, and anyone is welcome to spray paint them. Albuquerque has quite a bit of things to see and do. Further on, there's Petrified Forest National Park and the Painted Desert.

    There you have a choice. You can head south after touring PFNP, on US-180 toward Showlow -- a beautiful ride. Then take US-60 the rest of the way into the Valley of the Sun (US-60 is called the Superstition Freeway once in Maricopa County.) If you don't want to go through PFNP, you can turn south at Holbrook on AZ-77, go through Snowflake and Taylor, and at Showlow, turn west on US-60 as above. US-60 will take you through some amazing country, including the Salt River Canyon area.

    If you don't want to take that route, and want to stick to freeways, you keep on I-40 till Flagstaff, then turn south on I-17. Between Holbrook and Flagstaff are the Meteor Crater and Walnut Canyon Natl Monument. On I-17, you could detour over to US-89A through Sedona and Cottonwood (beautiful scenery) then take AZ-260 back to the interstate. You would miss Montezuma Castle National Monument that way, but if you had the time to do that too, at Sedona, turn south on AZ-179 instead of going to Cottonwood.

    That's just a few things, but a lot will depend on the amount of time you have.


    Donna
    Last edited by DonnaR57; 06-28-2015 at 12:31 PM. Reason: County, not highway.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

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    you can turn south at Holbrook on AZ-77, go through Snowflake and Taylor, and at Showlow, turn west on US-60 as above.
    The quickest way from Holbrook to the eastern Phoenix area is also very scenic - AZ-77 to AZ-377 to AZ-277 to AZ-260 to Payson, then AZ-87 on into Scottsdale.

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

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    That is another pretty drive. I am not sure how affected it was by last year's fires, though. Besides, my favorite is always Salt River Canyon. 😎.


    Donna

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
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    It's actually quicker than I-40 to I-17, because it enters the Phoenix area right around Scottsdale. If you take I-17 in, you actually have to go back east and then south on the 101 loop to get there.

  6. Default

    Thanks for all the info Donna; I really appreciate it. It is a one way trip. I figure 5 - 7 days for the trip depending on side trips (your suggestion of Skyline Drive sounds great) and exploring around Nashville, Memphis, OKC, Albuquerque and Flagstaff.

  7. Default

    Thanks for the scenic route info from Holbrook to Scottsdale. It sounds like a very nice ride.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
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    Check the weather and road status before taking the Skyline Drive - if there's snow it won't likely be open. There is a $20 fee for entering the park.

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