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  1. Default Advice about trip from Seattle to Tucson, probably late February

    Hi! I'm hoping to get advice here. I have this bizarre phobia involving passes/traversing elevation if there's a drop off on one side of the road. Even if there's a guard rail and the road is well-maintained, I get a full blown panic attack. Much worse if the road is narrow and doesn't have multiple lanes each direction.

    I'm moving from Seattle to Tucson in late winter or early spring depending on sale of my house, late February or March. I need to know about the highway and whether I'll need to try to re-route at any point with my little Subaru. If there are even options?

    Can you please share anything you know about this route? I'm looking at highway 84 based on Google maps, through Oregon, southern bit of Idaho, then down through Utah into Arizona.

    This is embarrassing but unfortunately reality. I don't want to be on the way and freeze up and be unable to go forward.

  2. Default

    OH. I am more than willing to add significant time to the trip if that matters. Thank you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default ASAP: As Safe As Possible

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    If you're "more than willing to add significant time to the trip", that's great. But you don't really need to. The fastest/most direct, more or less all Interstate route from Seattle to Tucson is I-90 to Ellensburg WA, I-82 to Hermiston OR, I-84 to Tremonton UT, I-15 to Las Vegas NV, I-215/I-11 to Hoover Dam, US-93 to Kingman AZ, a short stretch on I-40 east (co-marked as US-93), then US-93 again to Wickenburg AZ, US-60 to the Phoenix area, and finally, AZ-303 around Phoenix to I-10 to Tucson.

    It's important to note that the Interstate Highways, officially called the Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, are built to design standards that allow trucks laden with tanks to quickly and safely travel where needed. There are strict limits on grades (steepness) of any climbs/descents, on how tight any curves can be, how many lanes (4 minimum) there are, and the presence (yes) and width (ten feet minimum) of shoulders. Those requirements should help to allay any anxieties you might have.

    The only place I see along the route suggested above that might not meet all your needs is a very short stretch at the end of I-11 where US-93 crosses the Colorado River. Just on the bridge, the right shoulder is narrower than interstate standards, but there are formidable concrete walls (not just guard rails) on both sides of the roadway. After that US-93 and US-60 are pretty much flat four-lane divided highways, often of Interstate or near-Interstate quality, to Phoenix.

    If the prospect of a short drive over the Colorado River and through the desert still seems too much for you, you can take a slightly longer (about 100 miles) ALL Interstate route. That would just be I-5 down to San Fernando CA, in the Los Angeles area, then using I-210/CA-210 to connect to I-10 to Tucson. Note that CA-210 is built to interstate standards and is more like a typical urban beltway. This route also has the advantage of staying closer to the coast and at generally lower elevations, lowering but not eliminating the chances of seeing snow, sleet, or ice.

    Depending on how far you are willing or comfortable to drive in a day, and the weather conditions you encounter, you might have to add an overnight stop, but I suspect that whether you take three (minimum) or four (maximum) days for this drive will depend far more on you than the roads or conditions. I hope this all helps, but if you have further questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 10-13-2020 at 09:27 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Note that if you take US-60 to Loop-303 to I-10, you can then take Loop-202 around downtown Phoenix back to I-10. 202 was just recently completed around that side of the city.

    If you decide to take I-5 instead, this is what I would do to avoid most of LA. At Lost Hills, take CA-46 east to CA-99, take that south into Bakersfield. Take CA-58 east to Kramer Junction, then US-395 south to I-15. Take that south to I-215 to CA-210 east to I-10.

    No matter how you go, you cannot get from Seattle to Tucson without traveling through some mountains.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Ft. Collins, CO.


    Have your car transported and take an airliner?
    Take someone with you who doesn't have this issue and put on your blindfold for the scary parts? (my late wife had some of these concerns when driving in the Colorado mountains)

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