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User Content => Road Trips => Topic started by: 404inthe404 on January 01, 2014, 11:19:05 AM

Title: Impromptu Roadtrip: Atlanta, GA to Phoenix, AZ
Post by: 404inthe404 on January 01, 2014, 11:19:05 AM
I really need to get over my fear of flying. Christmas is supposed to be a fun time spent with friends and family, except I got spooked looking at the weather maps and cancelled my flight opting to drive instead.

In route to Phoenix: I took the more direct I-20 to I-10 route. I left at about 5 PM and the storm in Mississippi was pretty terrible. Very low visibility on account of rain, but fortunately those were only for brief periods. Lightning also struck very close to my car (which was really unlucky, since nearly all of the lightning was cloud-to-cloud). It wasn't as loud as I thought it would be, undoubtedly thanks to the insulation of my car, and it sounded more like an explosion than a "clash" that we are used to hearing. The lightning bolt itself was far thicker up close too. It probably struck 250-500' from the car.

That was pretty much it for excitement. I spent the night at Boomtown in Shreveport for $130 (weekend rate). Sadly I was only there to sleep and couldn't have much fun. The next day I drove the remaining distance to Phoenix.

I'd rather shoot myself than take the same way back, so I opted to take AZ 87 / AZ 260 / AZ 277 / AZ 377 / I-40 / I-22, US 78 / I-20 route. Google reports that it is an hour longer but I actually think it turned out to be slightly faster. Google seems to have a terrible bias against non-freeways in terms of average speed.

I stopped in northern New Mexico to pick up some pottery as a late X-mas gift. The pottery was very expensive and I was considering picking up a authentic Navajo rug, but a 5 x 7 rug was $3,600!! (I was a good boy and withheld making a small pox joke). I had heard there was direct drive-way access to rural I-40 in New Mexico and Texas; however I only saw one in NM (labelled "Temporary") and none in Texas, although I really wasn't looking through it. Texas was uneventful. There is no 80 MPH stretch on I-40 in Texas, which is a pity.

In Mississippi, US-78 is signed as "future I-22." In Alabama, it is signed as I-22. The connection to I-65 is not yet complete, but over labor day I drove I-65 where the future interchange will be and it looks like it should be done in 2014. Does anyone know if I-22 will continue past I-65 to make a direct connection to I-20?

I didn't stay at a hotel on the way back, I just slept in the back of the car. It would have worked out well except it was too cold and I didn't bring a blanket, so I had to frequently turn on my car to reheat it, and then get back to sleep. Progress because of this was significantly slowed around Little Rock as I had to take frequent naps to keep myself focused because of the interrupted sleep. I left Phoenix at 6:30 AM on the 26th and made it back to my place in Atlanta by 3 PM the next day. There is a 2 hour time zone difference; both times listed are local times.

Speaking of Little Rock, it was my first time there (well driving through anyway) and was surprised how small it was.

Phoenix area observations:

AZ 24 looks like it will be ready to be opened very soon. The entire freeway save the ramps to the 202 appear to be complete, although I couldn't tell if it was completely cemented. The 202 ramps were probably 70-80% done. I have a feeling it's going to be a sleepy little freeway for a long time.

They are not messing around with the 303. This guy from I-10 to US 60 will be done by end of year, so that's a whole freeway segment done in less than 3 years! It looks like near the future interchange there are signs that say "I-10 NB" and "I-10 SB" which was very strange. I didn't have my phone with me to take a picture unfortunately.

They are adding HOV on/off ramps on the 101 near the Glendale Sports Complex. This is going to be a godsend. Unlike every other HOV ramp in Phoenix, this one is bidirectional, so you can get on and off going either north on 101 and south on 101. Interestingly, for football games, the HOV lanes are "full access" because they are mostly on Sunday. Even for Coyotes games that may start during rush hour, after the game anyone would be able to use the HOV lanes.

That's pretty much it? I drove the Sun Valley Parkway on a whim because I hadn't for maybe 10 years. Nothing really different; there's a Del Webb or Pulte retirement development out there that  I'm pretty sure wasn't there last time. Besides that though, it was actually eerily quiet in Phoenix in terms of freeway construction. I think the next major widening project is going to be 101 from Scottsdale to the 202.

It was a fun trip and I had got some I-40 miles that I hadn't driven before, but hopefully next time I just fly.
Title: Re: Impromptu Roadtrip: Atlanta, GA to Phoenix, AZ
Post by: 404inthe404 on January 01, 2014, 11:24:09 AM
Oh by the way, the Navajo stuff was I-40 exit 16 near Gallup NM. I have reason to believe that is the most expensive place to buy authentic Navajo gear. But they had a really good selection too and they were nice. It's worth stopping at least to look around