Road trip novice requires info from Those Who Know
Nearly finished planning a roadtrip for me & bloke, early September for three weeks which is basically a round trip from Santa Monica to Amarillo on mostly I-40/66 then down south west via Roswell to Tombstone area, Tucson, San Diego and back up, well, you get the picture... Anyway, my questions are: the long(long)drag from Amarillo to Tombstone, could anyone suggest a couple of overnight stop locations en route? I'm thinking Ruidoso, then Benson. I've heard Ruidoso is pleasant - what about Benson or maybe Tombstone would be a better bet?
My other question is - the road condition on the Oatman loop between Needles and Williams on I-40 - is it strictly 4x4 territory?
Any advice will be gratefully received,
thanks in advance from a rainy London, Tori
What part of the road into Oatman are you considering a loop? None of the road is appropriate for 4x4, this a paved route that follows the historic Route 66. Oatman is a fun place to hang out and feed the burros, grab a snack and watch tourists. Be warned, the traffic cops are the burros and they expect duty in terms of food. The route over Sitgreaves Pass is awesome, take it slow, enjoy the views. If you have time, you might consider taking a tour into the working gold mine to the north of Oatman.
Ruidoso is a pretty spot and I am sure you can find some cool places to stay. White Sands is well worth a visit. Great bars at La Mesilla near Las Cruces. Chiricahua Mountains in SE Arizona is just about my favorite mountain range in America. 10,000 feet passes, unusual critters and flora an only 60 miles north of Mexico.
Tombstone, Ft. Bowie, Kartchner Caverns and the Saguaro National Park are all destinations you should consider. Over-night in Tombstone might be expensive, but plenty of reasonable options in Benson.
Editor, thanks for the useful info. Was planning to do as much of Route 66 (as still exists) as far as Amarillo, but we certainly won't have a 4x4 to drive, just bog-standard hire car. I was just checking a normal car would be up to the job cos the ascent would presumably take its toll on some...and i'd read somewhere the road is a little hairy in places...not paved throughout.
Still deciding about Tombstone or Benson, or indeed, elsewhere...Chiricahua definitely on itinerary though. Yeah, you're right Tombstone will be pricey and prob. very touristy too I imagine. But a lot of fun I'm sure!
Looking forward to the burros at Oatman, though they may bolt at the sight of a couple of pallid Londoners.
Summer 2003 -- Entire route traveled
Tori, There was caravan of sorts that transversed the entire Route 66 from Santa Monica, California to the Navy Piers in Chicago earlier this summer. Virtually all of the route (that you can still drive on -- easily) is paved. There are some sections that have been cut out of the greater highway grid that are back into dirt, but you have to look hard for them. Be sure to check out the Route 66 Resource page on RTA: http://www.roadtripamerica.com/links/route66.htm
AND in particular, look at the daily log of the Route 66 Caravan team, (http://www.cart66pf.org/66caravan/schedule.htm) if you do follow the route, the information contained therein will be invaluable in tracing the route yourselves.