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  1. Default Driving Phoenix to Kansas City, MO late December/early January- avoid Tonto Nat For??

    Hello! My wife and I are planning on leaving Phoenix around 8PM, late December, to get to Kansas City, MO as soon as possible for a local conference leading up to the new year. We will be driving thru the entire night, taking turns. Unfortunately we won't be able to leave much earlier than that. We will be driving our 2016 Toyota Corolla that has about 20k miles.

    Google shows us the fastest route of 18h 40min is thru Tonto National Forest to Holbrook, 40, 54, then 35 to Kansas City.

    My fear is that driving thru Tonto National Forest at night in late late December might be too dangerous. Should we instead take the 10 down to Tucson and all the way to Las Cruces? (And then take the 25 up to Albuquerque) That does add about 2hrs to the trip so we are not a fan but if that means avoiding dangerous road conditions, we are for it.

    Should we get snow chains?

    Also, from Albuquerque, should we take the 40 all the way to Oklahoma City instead of taking the 54 leading to Wichita? That does add about 30min but if that will give us a better road condition, we would want that.

    Has anyone done such a drive? We would absolutely appreciate and love your thoughts and tips, please. Thank you so very much!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default worrying about all the wrong things

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm sorry, but I have to say that you are just begging for a disaster based on what you've told us so far.

    Phoenix to KC is 1250 miles and you need a minimum of 2 full days to safely make this trip, and that's if you are lucky enough to avoid bad weather in late December (and lucky would be the key word there). Driving through the night - especially after you've already been up all day long - is extremely dangerous. Having 2 drivers does nothing to solve that problem. What you've proposed would be illegal for a professional driver, because the danger of doing it is every bit as dangerous as driving drunk.

    You also need to remember that online mapping programs travel time estimates are pure fantasy, that assume you'll never have to go below the speed limit, much less have to stop for things like food or fuel. There is no way on earth you can complete this drive in 18 hours, without a police escort. You're talking about a solid 22 hours of real world travel time here - again, assuming good conditions.

    Snow Chains? If the interstates are so bad that you need chains (at which you could only be going about 30 mph, if you knew how to drive with them) then you really should not be on the roads at all.

    I don't know why you would consider going all the way to Las Cruces when you could simply take I-17 to Flagstaff, but driving through the Tonto National Forest would be about the least dangerous part of the trip you proposed. If you can't take 2 full days (leaving after a night of sleep and stopping for another full night of sleep, then you really have no business even attempting this drive. Buy a plane ticket - it would be vastly safer for you, and everyone else on the roads.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I am going to agree completely with Michael. This is a disaster waiting to happen. When I was young (and stupid), I drove from NE MO to Flagstaff with 3 friends, no overnight stops. We took turns driving, and there were 4 of us, and STILL, no one was a safe driver after about the first 8 or 10 hours on the road.

    Phoenix to KC, if you can get the proper driving time, could be done all interstate: I-17 north to Flagstaff (forget the 260/87 cutoff that Google Maps is *very* fond of, and yes, it would be one of the last sets of roads taken care of in a snow/ice storm), I-40 east to OKC, I-35 north to KC.

    If the weather is uncooperative, there is I-10 to I-20 to I-35, but this is going to add yet-another-day to your travel.

    If you have to get somewhere in that much of a hurry, Southwest Airlines serves both Phoenix (it's their major hub) and KCI.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I do not recommend the US-54 "shortcut" in poor weather. There is too much 2 lane road to deal with. I don't even like it in good weather.

    In good weather in the daytime, the AZ-87/AZ-260/AZ-277/AZ-377 shortcut to Holbrook actually saves time, especially if you are leaving from the east side of Phoenix.

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