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Author Topic: US 160, end-to-end?  (Read 10614 times)

hbelkins

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US 160, end-to-end?
« on: July 20, 2020, 01:21:40 PM »

So, if the opportunity presents itself, I'm considering doing a trip end-to-end on US 160, then doubling back to US 163 and trying to hit Monument Valley, the Moki Dugway, etc. Return trip would probably be getting up to I-70 and just coming east from whatever point I get on the interstate, but that's subject to change. (My brother has mentioned going to Utah sometime, and I'm trying to convince him to make this trip; he had mentioned flying out west and renting a car to go to Monument Valley and the Dugway, but there's no way I'd get on a plane right now because of the virus.)

So, I'm trying to figure out realistically how long it would take to drive the length of US 160, and where logical overnight stopping points would be.

If we left early enough the first day, we could realistically make it to Springfield the first night. But if we didn't depart (he lives about 2.5 hours away in the Golden Triangle area) until later in the day, the first night's stop would likely be either in Paducah, Sikeston, or Poplar Bluff, which would put us getting beyond Springfield on the first full day of travel. And the trip would be complicated by an impending closure of the US 51 bridge between Wickliffe and Cairo; probably the best bypass would be I-64 to I-57 instead of trying to cross at Paducah and then trying to get over to Cairo, especially since the Dorena-Hickman Ferry has been beset by closures this summer.

I'm not sure exactly where in Kansas would be targets to shoot for when considering overnight stops. I'm guessing plenty of opportunities are available in Trinidad and Walsenberg, which are the beginning and ending points of the I-25 concurrency, but I'm also guessing making it from Springfield to I-25 in one day would be a stretch. (By contrast, on a trip back in the early 1990s, we overnighted along I-70 in Hays, Kan., and the next day made it to a point south of I-70 (Montrose?) on US 50 to prepare for a drive down US 550 to the Four Corners, and then-US 666 to Gallup.)

Thoughts/ideas/suggestions?
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2020, 01:45:02 PM »

Don't know how often you get the chance to take a drive-on ferry ride, but if you're on US-160 east of Branson, then you're just a few short miles down MO/AR-125 from the Peel Ferry across Bull Shoals Lake.  It's free and there's always a line, including usually a mess of motorcycles, but you'd have to stay in your vehicle these days due to Covid-19.  Shame too, as it's cool to take kids on it and have them stand near the front and back as it transits the lake and peer down into the engine room at the John Deere diesel engine tugging you across.
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2020, 02:03:41 PM »

West of I-25 isn’t really much a problem time wise since US 160 is either in rural areas, mountain passes, or the Navajo Nation. 
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2020, 02:12:17 PM »

Alamosa CO has an abundance of lodging (at least in the Hampton Inn etc. range) and shopping. That and Salida CO (on US 50) are the places I usually overnight and reprovision, before spending a few days at a hot springs resort about halfway between the two off US 285. Alamosa is near Great Sand Dunes National Park, worth a look even if you don't try to surf down one of the dunes.

Pagosa Springs CO is pretty skimpy on the usual lodging chains. Cortez CO has a few. I'm not familiar with your options in Walsenburg CO and Trinidad CO, at opposite ends of the overlap with I-25.

The west end of US 160 is within the Navajo Nation. Right now, it has COVID 19-related restrictions to navigate around (most notably night and sometimes weekend curfews, and closure of Navajo-operated parks like the Four Corners tourist trap), though they didn't stop me from traveling part of US 160 within the reservation last month.
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2020, 02:15:57 PM »

The closest major city near the east end of 160 is Poplar Bluff. I would stay there, so you could get on 160 soon after you depart that day. Springfield, MO is about five hours away from the terminus, and the road becomes much less crooked after Reeds Spring Junction. I'm not sure how much you want to drive each day, on the long end (7hrs) you could leave the state and stay in Pittsburg KS.
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2020, 02:49:19 PM »

Alamosa CO has an abundance of lodging (at least in the Hampton Inn etc. range) and shopping. That and Salida CO (on US 50) are the places I usually overnight and reprovision, before spending a few days at a hot springs resort about halfway between the two off US 285. Alamosa is near Great Sand Dunes National Park, worth a look even if you don't try to surf down one of the dunes.

Pagosa Springs CO is pretty skimpy on the usual lodging chains. Cortez CO has a few. I'm not familiar with your options in Walsenburg CO and Trinidad CO, at opposite ends of the overlap with I-25.

The west end of US 160 is within the Navajo Nation. Right now, it has COVID 19-related restrictions to navigate around (most notably night and sometimes weekend curfews, and closure of Navajo-operated parks like the Four Corners tourist trap), though they didn't stop me from traveling part of US 160 within the reservation last month.

That Econolodge in Alamosa in particular is huge.  It kind of gave me a 1970s vibe with the interior restaurant and sliding doors in the rooms the two times I stayed there. 
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2020, 03:04:43 PM »

Might not be the type of place you'd stay if you're travelling with your brother, but Ms1995hoo and I really liked the Valley of the Gods Bed and Breakfast, which is located right near the foot of the Moki Dugway (you can see headlights up on the cliffs if anyone's driving that way at night). Great dark sky area if you like to look at the night sky, too, as it's the only building within about a 14-mile radius. I think there are one or two places to stay about 15 miles away in Mexican Hat and some other places further east in Bluff. We had dinner at Comb Ridge Food and Drink in Bluff and it was excellent (we drove back to Bluff after checking in at the B&B, then drove back again; unfortunately, we didn't get the chance to do the 17-mile unpaved road through the Valley of the Gods). I would have liked to have tried the Cottonwood Steakhouse across the street from Comb Ridge, but we got there too early and it wasn't open yet, plus the B&B's owner recommended Comb Ridge so we figured we'd give it a try.

At the top of the Moki Dugway, there's a dirt road that goes off to the left that lets you drive over to Muley Point for a really good scenic view out to Monument Valley in the distance. Well worth the short side trip for the view. We didn't go any further north from there, instead turning around and heading back down the Dugway, because we were on our way to the Grand Canyon.
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2020, 03:12:17 PM »

Alamosa CO has an abundance of lodging (at least in the Hampton Inn etc. range) and shopping. That and Salida CO (on US 50) are the places I usually overnight and reprovision, before spending a few days at a hot springs resort about halfway between the two off US 285. Alamosa is near Great Sand Dunes National Park, worth a look even if you don't try to surf down one of the dunes.

Pagosa Springs CO is pretty skimpy on the usual lodging chains. Cortez CO has a few. I'm not familiar with your options in Walsenburg CO and Trinidad CO, at opposite ends of the overlap with I-25.

The west end of US 160 is within the Navajo Nation. Right now, it has COVID 19-related restrictions to navigate around (most notably night and sometimes weekend curfews, and closure of Navajo-operated parks like the Four Corners tourist trap), though they didn't stop me from traveling part of US 160 within the reservation last month.

Trinidad is an excellent spot to overnight - they have a great Super 8 and good food options. Downtown Trinidad is unique and cool, too - but not in the trendy hipster way. Can't say much about Walsenburg.

hbelkins

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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2020, 04:24:33 PM »

What's closed at Four Corners? The entire monument, or just the souvenir stands? I was there back in the early 90s, but that was before they rebuilt the facilities. Not sure that we'd go by there even if the marker was still open but the vendors were closed.

Our accommodations would be "clean but cheap." Motel 6, Super 8, Days Inn, Rodeway, EconoLodge, etc.
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2020, 04:35:26 PM »


Alamosa CO has an abundance of lodging (at least in the Hampton Inn etc. range) and shopping. That and Salida CO (on US 50) are the places I usually overnight and reprovision, before spending a few days at a hot springs resort about halfway between the two off US 285. Alamosa is near Great Sand Dunes National Park, worth a look even if you don't try to surf down one of the dunes.

Pagosa Springs CO is pretty skimpy on the usual lodging chains. Cortez CO has a few. I'm not familiar with your options in Walsenburg CO and Trinidad CO, at opposite ends of the overlap with I-25.

The west end of US 160 is within the Navajo Nation. Right now, it has COVID 19-related restrictions to navigate around (most notably night and sometimes weekend curfews, and closure of Navajo-operated parks like the Four Corners tourist trap), though they didn't stop me from traveling part of US 160 within the reservation last month.

Trinidad is an excellent spot to overnight - they have a great Super 8 and good food options. Downtown Trinidad is unique and cool, too - but not in the trendy hipster way. Can't say much about Walsenburg.

Neither Trinidad nor Walsenburg has any chain hotel/motel under $90 that gets more than 3.5 stars on Google.  Alamosa, OTOH, has three of them.  I'd pick the Days Inn, personally.

Durango, likewise the Days Inn.

Cortez has several options under $80.

There's not really anything between Winfield, KS (two options under $70), and I-25.
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2020, 04:37:22 PM »

So, if the opportunity presents itself, I'm considering doing a trip end-to-end on US 160, then doubling back to US 163 and trying to hit Monument Valley, the Moki Dugway, etc. Return trip would probably be getting up to I-70 and just coming east from whatever point I get on the interstate, but that's subject to change. (My brother has mentioned going to Utah sometime, and I'm trying to convince him to make this trip; he had mentioned flying out west and renting a car to go to Monument Valley and the Dugway, but there's no way I'd get on a plane right now because of the virus.)

So, I'm trying to figure out realistically how long it would take to drive the length of US 160, and where logical overnight stopping points would be.

If we left early enough the first day, we could realistically make it to Springfield the first night. But if we didn't depart (he lives about 2.5 hours away in the Golden Triangle area) until later in the day, the first night's stop would likely be either in Paducah, Sikeston, or Poplar Bluff, which would put us getting beyond Springfield on the first full day of travel. And the trip would be complicated by an impending closure of the US 51 bridge between Wickliffe and Cairo; probably the best bypass would be I-64 to I-57 instead of trying to cross at Paducah and then trying to get over to Cairo, especially since the Dorena-Hickman Ferry has been beset by closures this summer.

I'm not sure exactly where in Kansas would be targets to shoot for when considering overnight stops. I'm guessing plenty of opportunities are available in Trinidad and Walsenberg, which are the beginning and ending points of the I-25 concurrency, but I'm also guessing making it from Springfield to I-25 in one day would be a stretch. (By contrast, on a trip back in the early 1990s, we overnighted along I-70 in Hays, Kan., and the next day made it to a point south of I-70 (Montrose?) on US 50 to prepare for a drive down US 550 to the Four Corners, and then-US 666 to Gallup.)

Thoughts/ideas/suggestions?

Springfield and West Plains are your best bets in Missouri for accommodation, but I don't know enough about Kansas beyond Pittsburg and Independence.
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2020, 04:50:34 PM »

I don't know enough about Kansas beyond Pittsburg and Independence.

Nothing, really, between Independence and Winfield.
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2020, 10:40:05 PM »

What's closed at Four Corners? The entire monument, or just the souvenir stands?

Everything. Barricades block the access road (NM 597) at US 160.
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hbelkins

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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2020, 06:00:36 PM »

Springfield and West Plains are your best bets in Missouri for accommodation, but I don't know enough about Kansas beyond Pittsburg and Independence.

I'd want to stay at the Rail Haven in Springfield, just for the historical aspect of it.

I ended up staying there back in 2013 when I had to detour via Springfield on my way home from the Wichita meet because I'd had car trouble and had left my vehicle in Springfield on Friday to be fixed on Monday.

A morning departure from Kentucky would allow us to make Springfield on the first night; but if we ended up staying somewhere east of Poplar Bluff the first night, we'd obviously make it farther than Springfield the next day.
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2020, 12:50:03 PM »


Springfield and West Plains are your best bets in Missouri for accommodation, but I don't know enough about Kansas beyond Pittsburg and Independence.

I'd want to stay at the Rail Haven in Springfield, just for the historical aspect of it.

I ended up staying there back in 2013 when I had to detour via Springfield on my way home from the Wichita meet because I'd had car trouble and had left my vehicle in Springfield on Friday to be fixed on Monday.

A morning departure from Kentucky would allow us to make Springfield on the first night; but if we ended up staying somewhere east of Poplar Bluff the first night, we'd obviously make it farther than Springfield the next day.

Speaking of Poplar Bluff, the Motel 6 just northwest of town is fairly new construction and currently has an average of 4.1 stars on Google.  My best friends stayed there a few years ago on their way to South Carolina and had no complaints.
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2020, 01:16:00 PM »


Springfield and West Plains are your best bets in Missouri for accommodation, but I don't know enough about Kansas beyond Pittsburg and Independence.

I'd want to stay at the Rail Haven in Springfield, just for the historical aspect of it.

I ended up staying there back in 2013 when I had to detour via Springfield on my way home from the Wichita meet because I'd had car trouble and had left my vehicle in Springfield on Friday to be fixed on Monday.

A morning departure from Kentucky would allow us to make Springfield on the first night; but if we ended up staying somewhere east of Poplar Bluff the first night, we'd obviously make it farther than Springfield the next day.

Speaking of Poplar Bluff, the Motel 6 just northwest of town is fairly new construction and currently has an average of 4.1 stars on Google.  My best friends stayed there a few years ago on their way to South Carolina and had no complaints.

So they haven't had time to run it into the ground yet? ;)
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2020, 01:20:44 PM »

Speaking of Poplar Bluff, the Motel 6 just northwest of town is fairly new construction and currently has an average of 4.1 stars on Google.  My best friends stayed there a few years ago on their way to South Carolina and had no complaints.

That tip helps me out, since I might take the eastern part of US 160 on my way out to Colorado (I've covered everything west of US 83). Similar new-model Motel 6s have elevators, which I need for my lower back pain.

So they haven't had time to run it into the ground yet? ;)

More typical fate of that kind of Motel 6 seems to be conversion to a Quality Inn or better, as happened to the one I stayed at (pre-conversion) in Moncton NB.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2020, 08:52:45 PM by oscar »
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2020, 01:25:39 PM »


Speaking of Poplar Bluff, the Motel 6 just northwest of town is fairly new construction and currently has an average of 4.1 stars on Google.  My best friends stayed there a few years ago on their way to South Carolina and had no complaints.

That tip helps me out, since I might take the eastern part of US 160 on my way out to Colorado (I've covered everything west of US 83). Similar new-model Motel 6s have elevators, which I need for my lower back pain.

Photos on Google confirm that there is an elevator.
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2020, 01:28:12 PM »

So they haven't had time to run it into the ground yet? ;)

It was still under construction in early 2016.  Definitely new enough to still be good.
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2020, 05:20:20 PM »


Speaking of Poplar Bluff, the Motel 6 just northwest of town is fairly new construction and currently has an average of 4.1 stars on Google.  My best friends stayed there a few years ago on their way to South Carolina and had no complaints.

That tip helps me out, since I might take the eastern part of US 160 on my way out to Colorado (I've covered everything west of US 83). Similar new-model Motel 6s have elevators, which I need for my lower back pain.

Photos on Google confirm that there is an elevator.

One would think with multiple floors there would be an elevator, though that is not always true.
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2020, 09:56:00 PM »

West of I-44 in Springfield, there is lots of road construction as MODOT is widening US 160.
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2020, 10:46:49 PM »

West of I-44 in Springfield, there is lots of road construction as MODOT is widening US 160.
They recently opened some of the new roundabouts. Sure do love going from 60 to 20 mph on a highway like that.
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2020, 12:02:49 AM »

Your best bet for decent overnight stays on U.S. 160 in Kansas decrease as you go west. In southeast Kansas, there will be Pittsburg, Parsons and Independence. Then nothing for almost 2 hours until Winfield. Then practically nothing between Wellington and Ulysses.

However, on a road trip last summer, I discovered a surprisingly scenic area between Medicine Lodge and Coldwater. There's a kiosk about halfway in between that has a lot of history about the area.
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #23 on: July 30, 2020, 11:05:39 AM »

Your best bet for decent overnight stays on U.S. 160 in Kansas decrease as you go west. In southeast Kansas, there will be Pittsburg, Parsons and Independence. Then nothing for almost 2 hours until Winfield. Then practically nothing between Wellington and Ulysses.

That's what I feared. There are very few towns of any size, or with major intersections, west of the turnpike. I'm thinking it might be best to leave early the first day and stay in Springfield, and then try to get all the way to I-25 the second day.

When I went out west with my dad and brother years ago, we left very early and made it to Hays, Kan., the first day, and either Delta or Montrose, Col., the second night. Of course back then the speed limit on the interstates was 55 mph, so that slowed us down somewhat.

I'm also concerned about options west of the Four Corners. I'm thinking that if I could make it to I-25, I'd be looking at something in Arizona on the third night. Kayenta and Tuba City appear to be the largest towns along the route.
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Re: US 160, end-to-end?
« Reply #24 on: July 30, 2020, 11:34:48 AM »

I'm thinking it might be best to leave early the first day and stay in Springfield, and then try to get all the way to I-25 the second day.

Judging by online reviews, your choices along I-25 are either (1) over $100 a night or (2) dumps.

Google Maps tells me that it's 767 miles from Springfield to Trinidad using US-160.  That is a heck of a long day's drive on two-lane roads.

Honestly, it might be worth taking a 20-mile deviation into Liberal (link to Google Maps directions) and stay the night there.
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