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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
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    from MA, living in AZ, moving to NJ
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    7

    Default cross country trip- AZ/NM eastbound route suggestion

    Hello everyone,

    First time poster here looking for some trip planning advice. I am moving from Tucson, AZ to Maple Shade, NJ for a job opportunity. This is our first cross country road trip. I have it all planned out well enough so far but I am having a bit of a hard time on what best route to take out of Arizona.

    Typically you would take I-10 Eastbound through Las Cruces, then North on I-25 but I would like to take a more scenic route while leaving Arizona (we don't know when we'll be back here, if ever, so it's important to us to savor the state's scenery before we move back East). I am considering taking AZ route 77 Northbound through Globe, then take US-60/77 North to I-40 East where we will spend the first night in Albuquerque. I heard it is a beautiful route to take.

    Is it worth staying on US-60 through the NM desert (Quemado, Pie Town), then take I-25 North or am I better off hopping on I-40 in Snowflake, AZ like I originally planned? The way I figured, taking 77 North is enough of a scenic bypass as it is and adding US-60 would just add too much time to that leg of the trip (already pushing 6 days total)

    Any tips for this portion of the trip would be extremely helpful. Thanks in advance for your replies!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    162

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    Hello, and welcome to the RTA forums!

    You have quite a few options, actually, so don't be in too big a hurry to exit Arizona. From Tucson, you should head north toward Oracle Junction on Route 77 (Oracle Road). Stay on 77 through Oracle, and you'll have a pretty mountain drive toward Winkelman and Globe. From Globe, take US 60 through the amazing Salt River Canyon to Show Low, in the White Mountains (beautiful pine forest). From Showlow, you can stay on US 60 east into New Mexico, or you can go north on 77 to Interstate 40. If you're in a hurry, you can head east on I-40. If you're not? Go north through the Navajo Reservation. (Definitely)! You'd be in striking distance of Canyon de Chelly, just outside the town of Chinle, or Monument Valley, on the Utah border, north of Kayenta. From there you could go north into Utah, or east to the four corners area. From there? On into southwestern Colorado, and some of the prettiest mountains in the Rockies. So much depends on how much time you have. As far as scenery? Everything I've just described is SO much nicer than taking I-10 East out of Tucson! It's seriously beautiful country.

    I'm sure you'll get other suggestions as well.

    Enjoy!

    Rick (an Arizona native)
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 04-11-2016 at 04:46 PM. Reason: Removed Quote of Entire Previous Post

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    162

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    Hello again:

    I read your post a little more carefully, and it looks like you don't have much extra time (more's the pity). To answer your specific question:

    Is it worth staying on US-60 through the NM desert (Quemado, Pie Town), then take I-25 North or am I better off hopping on I-40 in Snowflake, AZ like I originally planned? The way I figured, taking 77 North is enough of a scenic bypass as it is and adding US-60 would just add too much time to that leg of the trip (already pushing 6 days total) - See more at: http://www.roadtripamerica.com/forum....kMY23Ek2.dpuf
    You're correct that taking US 60 East from Showlow would add additional time--I'd say at least an extra hour. The route north from Tucson to Showlow is pretty curvy and will take at least four hours, more if you stop at all. Since you're headed to Albuquerque? I'd head for I-40 from Showlow (It's north of Snowflake--more like Holbrook--one hour from Showlow). From there, you'll still have several more hours to Albuquerque, and it will have been a long day by the time you stop.

    Rick

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

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    The route that Rick described is one I've driven many times -- up 77 to Winkelman, stay on 77 to Globe, up US 60 through Salt River Canyon, then back on 77 after Showlow, through Snowflake and Taylor to Holbrook, where you catch I-40. You will cross Petrified Forest National Park, just east of Holbrook.

    Tucson to ABQ via that route is just under 500 miles. Because much of it is on 2-lanes, you will be taking your sweet time. Besides, you will want to stop in Salt River Canyon for a scenic view or two, and if time is good, perhaps a short trek into Petrified Forest to see the Painted Desert before you leave the desert.

    For the record, years and years ago, I left the Toltec area, headed up to US-60 at Superior, then through the Salt River Canyon, Holbrook, and made ABQ easily in a day. It was my very first solo road trip. So the SRC is near and dear to my heart.

    What did you have in mind for the rest of the trip?


    Donna (former Arizonan but not a native)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
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    from MA, living in AZ, moving to NJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    The route that Rick described is one I've driven many times -- up 77 to Winkelman, stay on 77 to Globe, up US 60 through Salt River Canyon, then back on 77 after Showlow, through Snowflake and Taylor to Holbrook, where you catch I-40. You will cross Petrified Forest National Park, just east of Holbrook.

    Tucson to ABQ via that route is just under 500 miles. Because much of it is on 2-lanes, you will be taking your sweet time. Besides, you will want to stop in Salt River Canyon for a scenic view or two, and if time is good, perhaps a short trek into Petrified Forest to see the Painted Desert before you leave the desert.

    For the record, years and years ago, I left the Toltec area, headed up to US-60 at Superior, then through the Salt River Canyon, Holbrook, and made ABQ easily in a day. It was my very first solo road trip. So the SRC is near and dear to my heart.

    What did you have in mind for the rest of the trip?


    Donna (former Arizonan but not a native)
    Quote Originally Posted by rcquinn View Post
    Hello again:
    You're correct that taking US 60 East from Showlow would add additional time--I'd say at least an extra hour. The route north from Tucson to Showlow is pretty curvy and will take at least four hours, more if you stop at all. Since you're headed to Albuquerque? I'd head for I-40 from Showlow (It's north of Snowflake--more like Holbrook--one hour from Showlow). From there, you'll still have several more hours to Albuquerque, and it will have been a long day by the time you stop.

    Rick
    Thank you both very much for your replies and insight. I will have my girlfriend, a small dog and a cat traveling with us so unfortunately I cannot go off the interstates as often as I'd like to. I don't mind taking the long way out of the state for the reasons you both mentioned but also because it seems as though taking the quick route only saves you a couple hours. We've always wanted to check out the Petrified Forest so that will certainly be on our list. Salt River Canyon looks stunning as well. US-60's long, quiet drive scares me a bit. No cellphone service and the potential of breaking down in The-Hills-Have-Eyes-Land with my little family is not something I'd like to risk! (yeah I know, los alamos is no where near US-60) ;-)

    The rest of the trip goes as follows in case any of you are interested:

    • Day 2- Albuquerque, NM to Weatherford, OK
      via I-40; 465 miles (my father mentioned this might be too much traveling but I believe we can get it done)

    • Day 3- Weatherford, OK to Rolla, MO
      via I-40 and I-44; 460 miles

    • Day 4- Rolla, MO to Springfield, OH
      via I-44 and I-70; 478 miles (seems unrealistic, may have to reduce distance)

    • Day 5- Springfield, OH to Harrisbug, PA
      via I-70 and I-76; 407 miles (this part of the route is still under consideration, since Maple Shade is only 2-3 hours from Harrisburg I may decide to stop somewhere further west in PA so we can get more rest)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

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    Anything under 500 miles a day should not be a problem as long as you get a reasonably early start in the morning. You should be off the road in time for dinner.

    I wouldn't be worried about US-60, it's well enough traveled. What did we do in the days before cell phones?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    Phoenix, Arizona
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    Good point, George. As I recall, it was a combination of smoke signals and the Pony Express.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    from MA, living in AZ, moving to NJ
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    7

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    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    What did we do in the days before cell phones?
    I miss pay phones, let's not talk about that!

    Joking aside, I don't worry about cell coverage as much as I worry about the cat and dog we'd be stranded with in the NM heat if I were to have a breakdown....I figure I-40 is the safer route by far but if 60 is as well traveled as you say I'm sure I wouldn't be stranded long. Expect the worst, hope for the best I always say. Really appreciate the tips for day/mile ratio. I think I could probably do more if not for the pets and the tiny truck we are driving in.
    Last edited by delta_tz; 04-12-2016 at 03:40 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
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    Most rest areas along I-40 have nice pet areas, so you should be able to get out of your truck to stretch the pet legs as well as your own. The ones in TX also have free wi-fi.

    A couple of hints here. You're heading eastbound, so make sure you stay on the east side of Albuquerque to avoid the morning rush hour when you leave. Exits 166 and 167 are the most eastern exits with lodging available. The next available is 20 miles later, in Moriarty, a smaller town. The Super 8 there seems to be pet-friendly.

    Weatherford, TX, is the home of Astronaut Tom Stafford -- Gemini 9, Apollo 10, ASTP -- and he has a museum there to honor him. That's on my husband's and my bucket list for our next trip down I-40. Weatherford is also an hour out of OKC, so plan that accordingly for your departure. Nobody likes to get stuck in Rush Hour traffic in OKC!

    Rolla is about 100 miles out of St Louis, so you'll want to plan that departure as well. Rolla has a major military installation ... Fort Leonard Wood ... but it shouldn't affect I-44 too badly, if at all. Most of Rolla's lodging is at exit 184, with a few at exit 186.

    Springfield OH has a nice Quality Inn that we stayed at, two years ago. It was pet-friendly, it had a nice indoor pool and hot tub, and a decent breakfast offering (though we weren't hungry enough at the time to partake). We didn't realize that Columbus traffic was going to be as heavy as it was, so when we pulled into the city, we found an exit with a Perkins and had a light breakfast while we waited out the traffic.

    As for Pennsylvania....why not go down to Lancaster, York, or Gettysburg? Beautiful areas, all of them, and of course you can't beat the history in Gettysburg...and avoid the traffic in Harrisburg.


    Donna

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    The Great Midwest, Illinois to be precise
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    527

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    Let's not forget Route 66 as part of your drive is along it, especially I-44 which parallels it through Missouri. You can always get back on I-44 to make up some time if you see anything interesting.

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