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  1. #1
    Snoopis Guest

    Default My quick trip from MD to AZ

    I drove this weekend from southern MD to Yuma, AZ and thought I'd share. It was an uneventful trip, but we made some good time(I think) and saw a few interesting things along the way.

    I loaded a few hundred pounds of stuff into the car (02 Golf TDI) and hit the road Saturday morning, heading towards my sister's house in east TN... I arrived about 7 1/2 hours later. I picked up my co-driver(Dad) there and we started heading west about 7am Sunday morning. We topped off the tank and got on I-81 south towards I-40, then drove I-40 all the way across TN. It started to rain just before getting to Memphis, and we decided to stop for lunch and fuel in West Memphis. After that, we hopped back in the car and continued west on I-40, with the rain not stopping until we got into OK. The next time we pulled off I-40 after West Memphis was Shamrock, TX. We crossed the entire states of AR and OK non-stop!

    At that point, according to GPS, our average moving speed for the day was 73.5mph and average speed including fuel/food/bathroom stops was 71.2mph. We had been cruising at the speed limit plus 6-7mph, according to GPS(speedo reads about 2.5-3mph faster) all day, so I guess that sounds about right. 1100 miles that day.

    Sunday morning we filled up at a gas station across the highway from our hotel in Shamrock and jumped on I-40. Nice clear day, and very little traffic except a little going through Amarillo, and some construction in Albuquerque. However, winds steadily increased across the western part of NM and into AZ. The low fuel ligth pinged just a few miles short of Holbrook, AZ, which is where I had planned to stop, so that worked out perfect. We just crossed the TX panhandle, NM, and maybe 80 miles of AZ- again, non-stop! I think the average speeds for Saturday and up to this point Sunday were 72mph over-all, and close to 75mph moving.

    After filling up in Holbrook, we continued toward Flagstaff. The winds were just plain crazy! It was a work-out just to keep the car between the lines. Finally we got to Flagstaff and headed south on I-17, and the winds were significantly less. Traffic was light on I-17 at first, but after a little while it started to pick up- so I turned off at 169(Cherry Rd?) and went to Prescott. Drove through the Embry-Riddle campus, wow, that place has changed a LOT since I graduated in 2001! We drove through town and headed south on White Spar Rd (89?), having a little fun in the twisties, but not too much with all the crap in the back of the car. We just took the backroads from there towards Quartzite and down to Yuma, getting into town about 9pm. That was right at 1000mi for Sunday.

    Average speed for the entire trip from east TN to Yuma, AZ was 69.6mph and moving average was 72.2mph(excluding the night in the hotel in Shamrock, of course). I was really hoping to have an over-all average of 70+, but my little tour through Prescott and ERAU probably knocked it down a bit.


    Hmmm, what did we see along the way? First, I thought the road surface in AR was awful, and only a little better in OK. AR almost made me wish I had a mouthguard. We saw several minivans and SUVs rolled over, and a few semi trucks that had gone off the road. Drive safe!

    We also saw a train that had derailed, I think that was a little west of Albuquerque, NM. You could see a few trucks and a bunch of guys working on the track, and several rail cars either laying on their side, or standing upright next to a pile of coal. For the next few hundred miles, we saw train after train, stopped on the tracks, presumably waiting for the rail to be repaired.

    We saw a few trucks headed east with what looked like those igloo dog houses, but these things were huge- the "door" was probably a good 8-10ft tall. I figured they were probably the hubs for wind generators, and sure enough a few minutes later I saw the big generator assembly that goes on the back of the hub/rotor. I'd like to know where these things are being erected, they must be massive. I remember a show I saw in Germany a few years ago about their generators, and they had some with a semi-span of 100m. I think the ones I saw will be at least that big, possibly larger.

    We saw a lot of police cars in NM, but other than that we only saw a few. I don't think we had much to worry about as far as tickets go at the speeds we were driving, but it's always a relief to finish a tip without any tickets. The only disappointment with the trip was that I averaged just under 43mpg. I had been expecting more like 46mpg. I guess being heavily loaded, the slightly higher driving speeds than I'm used to, and heading westbound into the winds, it all adds up. Maybe I'll make up the difference on the way back- which should be sometime between late June and September.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Snoopis
    ...Average speed for the entire trip from east TN to Yuma, AZ was 69.6mph and moving average was 72.2mph(excluding the night in the hotel in Shamrock, of course). I was really hoping to have an over-all average of 70+, but my little tour through Prescott and ERAU probably knocked it down a bit....

    ... The only disappointment with the trip was that I averaged just under 43mpg. I had been expecting more like 46mpg. I guess being heavily loaded, the slightly higher driving speeds than I'm used to, and heading westbound into the winds, it all adds up. Maybe I'll make up the difference on the way back- which should be sometime between late June and September.
    I hate to ask what your on-the-road speed (on the speedometer) was to achieve a 72.2 mph average moving speed. I find it incredible that you traveled such a distance and never got "caught"!

    Thanks for the field report -- sounds like a fun trip!

  3. #3

    Default

    Disappointed with 43 mpg? I wish I had a diesel!, sort of ;) I'll be pleased with 28 mpg on our 3000-mile trip in May/June.

  4. Default

    Hey, are you the guy we were talking to quite a few months ago about this trip (?) -- seems to me you wanted info on the shortest route across AZ because you were thinking about not having to stop for fuel with your VW. If so, hi again! Bob

  5. Default Tell me about it!

    "Otto" (my Dodge truck) only gets about 17.5 mpg with the wind behind him!

  6. #6
    Snoopis Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor
    I hate to ask what your on-the-road speed (on the speedometer) was to achieve a 72.2 mph average moving speed. I find it incredible that you traveled such a distance and never got "caught"!

    Thanks for the field report -- sounds like a fun trip!
    Except for passing a couple people, the speedometer usually read about 9-10mph over the posted limit, so 79-80 in a 70, and 84-85 in a 75. The only place I was faster than that (relative to the speed limit) was the backroads between Prescott and Quartzite.

    Hey, are you the guy we were talking to quite a few months ago about this trip (?) -- seems to me you wanted info on the shortest route across AZ because you were thinking about not having to stop for fuel with your VW. If so, hi again! Bob
    Yep, that was me, just over a year ago. I was supposed to drive out here last year, but then the @&&*!^@ at work bought me plane tickets and all that good stuff, so I ended up flying out here and having to drive around in crappy rental cars for four months. When they said we were coming out here again, I told them I was driving- if they really want to, they can still buy me a plane ticket, but that doesn't mean my butt will be in the seat! So they let me drive this time. Last time I was going to try to make it on 2 fuel stops- one in TN and one in NM. So that's why I was looking for slower/shorter routes through AZ, to save fuel on that last leg.

    But this time I didn't think I had the time to drive 70 all the way, and I have new tires that are a bit wider and aren't energy tires like I had last year so they take a slight hit on the mileage, and a heavier load in the car, so I figured with all that against me, the two-stop idea wasn't going to happen. Considering the mileage I got this year, even under ideal conditions I don't know that the 2-stop plan would have worked.

  7. Default Really good time

    Well, you made really great time. You must be a driver! How was your fatigue level? Bob

  8. #8
    Dr. T Guest

    Default

    This sounds like a wonderful trip! Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I live in Ohio and have a friend's graduation in Phoenix my husband and I will be attending in July. I am now thinking that perhaps I am a whimp for not simply driving out there. However, I wouldn't have the luxury of coming back in a few months -- I would need to come back in a few days. Well, 'guess I'll think about it.

    I am curious what you saw from the road of Quartzite. Isn't that the town where so many "snow birds" visit every year? I visited there a few years ago and there wasn't much there -- however, I heard that the town becomes quite large with the snow birds with RVs come in for the winter. I am sure that is a sight to see. 'Glad you had a good trip!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. T
    I am curious what you saw from the road of Quartzite. Isn't that the town where so many "snow birds" visit every year?
    Snow birds, desert rats, high-rollers, and everything in between can be found in Quartzite in the winter. Check out Jaimie Hall's article here

  10. #10
    Snoopis Guest

    Default

    There wasn't much to see in Quartzite, I think most of the snowbirds have already left. There are still some RV's around, but nothing like I've heard about in the winter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Moderator Bob
    Well, you made really great time. You must be a driver! How was your fatigue level? Bob
    One thing I think I forgot to mention is the fact that I did switch between driving and co-driving with my dad. Sorry, I didn't mean to make it sound like I drove the whole thing. I drove TN, he drove AR and OK. Then Sunday morning I let him start, so he drove TX and NM, then I drove AZ. So I think he actually drove about 1200mi and I drove about 900mi. It would have been a LONG trip by myself, especially without his GPS and Sirius to keep me occupied!

    I took a nap of about 30 minutes going through AR in the rain. The drive from Holbrook towards Flagstaff was the only part that really seemed like work, due to the strong and gusty winds.

    I felt great through the whole trip, never really got tired besides that one nap, and I think that was more out of boredom because of the rain. I was wide awake when we pulled into Yuma, but after checking into a hotel, and driving down the road to Red Lobster for dinner, and finally getting a chance to relax, it was like someone slipped me a pill- I was almost too tired to eat! But we got up early the next morning so I could take my dad back to Phoenix for his return flight and I was fine.


    I posted some info on my trip on the TDI forums, and it sounds like the mileage I got is pretty normal for a westward trip at those speeds. One guy said he averaged 40 going from Chicago to Bozeman, MT last year, but got 48mpg on part of the return trip. Thinking about it now, even though it would have been great to get 750-800mi to a fill-up instead of the ~620 we were getting, the range we had on this trip was a perfect match for my bladder! ;)

    I think the fact that neither of us drink coffee, and we really didn't drink much of anything else either, really helped with avoiding the bathroom stops. All I drank on the road for each day was one small bottle of water and a Dr Pepper from McDonalds filled about 3/4, and I only had a small glass of OJ for breakfast, small root beer with dinner. As much as I love them, no Red Bull or Mountain Dew this time. When we got to the Red Lobster in Yuma, I must have downed 3 or 4 glasses of lemonade before our food was served.

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