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  1. Default Chicago to Phoenix

    Hey all! I'm relocating from Chicago to Phoenix area in mid December. Driving my Ram truck with a medium sized trailer, not entirely sure how much I'm trying to bring down there but it's not gonna be a big trailer.

    I wanted to make a couple stops before I get out west, looking at stops in Nashville and somewhere along the gulf coast (Alabama?) then shoot west across Texas and new Mexico. Maybe last stop in Austin then long drive to Phoenix???

    This would be my longest drive and first time thru many of these southern and Western states. But I wanted to see a bit of America. Any advice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,860

    Default At a Cost

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Certainly what you want to do is feasible...depending. The 'direct' route from Chicago to Phoenix is roughly 1,750 miles or four days pulling a trailer over an all-Interstate route. Adding Nashville and Austin takes that up to 2,325 miles/five days, while also reaching the Gulf makes it 2,550± miles or closer to six days. And those mileages/times assume no other major detours or stops, or even 'extra' time spent in Nashville and Austin or along the Gulf Coast. Also remember that not only will you be paying for extra days on the trailer (I'm assuming you're renting one) but also for the extra gas to pull the trailer those extra miles and the for the extra nights' stays in motels along the way.

    So before we get down in the weeds of specific routing(s) and things to see or do, are you comfortable extending your trip to a full week or more? If not, how long can you actually devote to the drive? Is the cost of the drive a serious consideration? And finally, what are you interested in seeing besides two cities and a body of water?

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 11-16-2019 at 01:25 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    366

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by billy999 View Post
    Maybe last stop in Austin then long drive to Phoenix???
    Howdy! (And welcome to Arizona, a wee bit in advance! ;-)

    Austin is a great town, highly recommended, but if you do go that way, don't even think about making the "long drive to Phoenix" in a single shot. It's an easy drive, straight and mostly flattish, but it's 1,000 miles, and that's two days, regardless of what Google Maps tells you. Pulling a trailer, especially, you're not going to want to push yourself, so plan on an overnight stop, somewhere near the middle. Headed to Phoenix from Austin on I-10, a good option is Van Horn (still in Texas). Beyond Van Horn, there's nothing else until you get all the way to El Paso, and that would be a seriously long day on the road.

    Anyway, let us know a bit more about your inclinations and time limits, as AZBuck suggested in his earlier response to you, and we'll be able to give you more specific advice!

    Rick

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,332

    Default

    Is the medium sized trailer a recreational type, or a U-Haul type?

    If it's a U-Haul, they may either tell you that they have to have it turned in at Phoenix by a certain date, or you will be charged a lot for each day of extra use.

    The other two things to factor in, while trying to decide about this trip (if it's a U-Haul): parking it. It's not just as easy as unhitching it and leaving it at the motel while you go gallivanting around doing your sightseeing. It's easily stolen, broken into (buy your own lock for it!), and trying to park it in some venues is just going to be plain difficult.

    And then, as AZBuck indicated, you've got the extra fuel to pay for while you're towing it.

    My husband and I have said this to many that were contemplating this kind of this: moving is stressful enough. Trying to add sightseeing into it, makes it more stressful. Oh, if something's right along the way, good! But going out of your way to do that sightseeing is going to cost you, in time, money, and stress.


    Donna

  5. Default

    Thanks for the replies! So I'd like to stop in Nashville to see someone and I love the Tennessee mountains, and wanted to go thru a couple cool towns after that. I really don't want to drive thru cornfields for two days, I can do that in Illinois. Austin to Phoenix does sound like way too much, and I don't want to get stuck anywhere.

    I was thinking like 4 nights, 5 days on the road, but it sounds like I would need more. If I trimmed back the whole random body of water, because there's a bigger one kinda closer to Arizona, what would be a good route to take?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,860

    Default Pretty Simple

    If you drop any attempt to the Gulf of Mexico, then Chicago to Phoenix by way of Nashville and Austin is 2,350 miles or five solid days of driving with a trailer. You could visit your friend in Nashville but only by spending your first overnight with him. You'd have to be back on the road the next morning headed for Austin. But doing this just swaps "driv[ing] thru cornfields for two days" for driving hour after hour, day after day on monotonous four-lane superslabs. All you could experience of Austin is navigating through it on I-35 and US-290, while pulling a trailer.

    If you also drop Austin from your itinerary, then your total mileage gets reduced to just over 2,150 miles and you could spend the better part of a day with your friend in Nashville and still have time for a few few short interesting breaks along the way. Your basic route would be I-40 west to Flagstaff and then I-19 south to Phoenix. I would not recommend using the 'shortcut' on AZ-377/AZ-277/AZ-260/AZ-87 through Payson as those are all two-lane roads and currently are experiencing a lot of construction. That's the best you can do with just five days, I think.

    AZBuck

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,612

    Default

    If 5 days is your limit, and stopping in Nashville is a must, then I think you're pretty much limited on driving directly to Nashville, and then driving pretty directly from Nashville to Phoenix.

    As Buck indicated, that's already more than 2300 miles, which is a good 5 days on the road when factoring the slower speeds needed while towing.

    So you're looking at I-57/I-24 to Nashville (or I-65) and then I-40 to AZ and down I-17. You could also, I suppose, use I-30/I-20/I-10 through Dallas. That adds about 50 miles, and also the significant chance of traffic through DFW.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,332

    Default

    I think Buck means I-17 south from Flagstaff down to Phoenix. I-19 goes from Tucson to the Mexican border at Nogales. :-) Easy error, they're both short interstates!

    You still need to get U-Haul (or whomever you're renting the trailer from) on board with this idea. Generally, the rental companies give you a certain amount of days to account for loading, driving, and unloading. I'm thinking you'll be lucky to get 6 - 1 for loading, 4 for driving, 1 for unloading. *Maybe*, just *maybe*, you'll get a 7th day. You'd have to negotiate that.

    You're also going to have to think about how weather could possibly affect this trip. Chicago until about 50 miles south of Flagstaff can be affected by snow. One year, I drove from mid-MO to Phoenix, on I-35 to I-40 to I-17. Snow chased us the whole way. If I'd have gone east first, I might have driven the entire way in a snow storm. That was also in December, btw.

    Donna

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,860

    Default The I-1X State

    Donna: Yes, I've made that error on these forums before. Even though I live in Arizona, and I-17 runs between Flagstaff and Phoenix while I-19 runs between Tucson and Nogales, both those Interstates are relatively short 'connectors' and I avoid them like the plague. Now they're talking about adding yet a third such Interstate, I-11, between Phoenix and Tucson. And yes, I know that I-10 already connects Phoenix and Tucson.

    AZBuck

  10. Default

    I might not need the trailer, a few pieces of furniture aren't really needed, I kinda sized out the boxes that were necessary to bring down with me and it looks like I can get most of what I need in the truck bed and cab. Bed frame and a couple things were kinda messed up and I think it might actually be cheaper to buy something off Amazon for the time. (Recently divorced so gave up a bit of stuff). And I have a bed waiting for me in AZ. If I'm not towing, maybe Chicago-Nashville-Dallas-El Paso-Phoenix? Keeps me under 10 hours on the road per day, maybe. Gives me an extra day for any issues, then a day to relax after all that. I think that keeps me south of major snow threats for a good portion of it.

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