From Arkansas To San Diego
I am travelling from north central Arkansas to San Diego. For the most part, I need it to be a direct route since I'm pressed for time, but it seems I can't pass up the Grand Canyon or the Petrified Forest.
The question is, which would be a better visit. Money isn't a huge constraint, but I'd prefer to be able to do a "drive-by" more than an in-depth all-day tour. So if I can drive to the edge of the canyon, snap a photo, and head back, that would be cool. Ditto for the forest. I would probably be pushing myself to get close to the attraction by the previous night, doing my visit, then desiring to be in Phoenix that evening around 7pm to stay before my final half-day into San Diego.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Let me get this straight -- You want to "do" Petrified NP, the Grand Canyon and still get to Phoenix by 7:00 pm the same day? At a minimum that would be 11 hours of driving. If you take the driving tour in Petrified NP at the speed limit ~ two hours, Holbrook to Grand Canyon Village is ~3.5 hours, a very stingy hour at the south rim and then 4.0 hours to Phoenix puts you close to the 11 hours. It is possible, and I don't know how to choose between those two parks -- both are great. Although there is nothing on earth like the Grand...
Just wanting to pick one
I wanted to pick one over the other. No way I can do both. Thinking of getting to Gallup, NM, then visiting NP, since it seems more suited to my "drive-thru" requirements for this trip. I researched some more since my first post and this seems better. This should give me ample time to look through NP, and will do GC sometime in the future for sure.
The Painted Desert is beautiful (especially near sunrise/sunset) and the self-guided drive through the park is pretty neat. However, as I recall the speed limit is 25 mph and so you will still need to allow a couple of hours.
I do have a suggestion for a scenic route -- it is slower in places, but I think you will enjoy it. Unless you have a serious reason for staying over-night in Phoenix check out:
When you reach Flagstaff turn south on AZ 89-A (instead of I-17 to Phoenix) this route takes you past Sedona and Jerome and then stay overnight in Prescott or Wickenburg. From Prescott you can reach San Diego in about 7.5 hours, whereas the distance from Phoenix to San Diego requires about six hours.
Have a nice trip.
If you DO decide to stay in Prescott, I recommend the Hotel Vendome** (you can find them on the web just by plugging in the name on a search engine). It is located a block or two south of the Courthouse near the corner of Goodwin St and Cortez St, and is an old turn of the century hotel, lately-restored, and even has a resident ghost (I think her name is Abby)! I'm fairly cynical about such things, but I have to admit the hair on my neck has stood on end in the Vendome once or twice! It's one of my favorite hotels! Bob
Gateway to Something special
One of the things I have always enjoyed about Prescott is its geographic placement. It is really something to be in the scrub juniper/pine forest of Prescott and than dive into the desert realm proceeding south on AZ-89.
Thanks for the news about Abby. We have been fortunate to have visited a bunch of places with unknown and unseen elements lurking about. RoadTripping is always a venture into the unknown at some level.
**Editor's Note: You can book reservations at the Vendome Hotel through <a href = "http://www.onetravel.com/index.cfm?Action=HomePage&HomePageModule=EHotel&DK =1000002462&TOKEN=RARE&CFID=1066355&CFTOKEN=6b107c-01b94df7-e3c7-4c97-9be8-4a744be5644d&Lang=English&PID=ac10060b&Style=1&Mod ule=www">RTA Travel Department</a> ***