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Author Topic: Road Trip/Comparing Travel Routes Between Holbrook & Phoenix...  (Read 1507 times)

thenetwork

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Heading to see my "snowbird" parents in Phoenix next weekend and we are planning to hit part of the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert area along I-40 before we start heading south into Phoenix. 

I see 3 viable routes to take between Holbrook and the Phoenix area, and I was looking at advice as to which is the better choice this time of year using I-40 to:

1) Flagstaff, AZ: Then I-17 South to Phoenix
2) Winslow, AZ:  Then AZ-87 South into Phoenix
3) Holbrook, AZ:  Then AZ-377/277 to Heber, then AZ-260 to Payson, then AZ-87 South to Phoenix.

Probably not looking at stopping much to visit stuff on the way down to Phoenix, except maybe an interesting store along the way.

Any advice, suggestions, etc would be appreciated.  Thankx in advance.

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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Road Trip/Comparing Travel Routes Between Holbrook & Phoenix...
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2017, 09:34:58 PM »

I'd say go for route three since it offers the most road scenery on the Mogollon Rim and probably honestly is the fastest route out of the three you selected.  There is actually a really nice overlook of the Rim directly west of Young Highway on AZ 260 before it starts descending to Christopher Creek.  87 on the Beeline between Payson and Fountain Hills can be an absolute blast to drive given it is an expressway that hugs a mountain grade, you can definitely hold 70-75 MPH the entire time if you wanted to push it. 

As far as Interstates go I-17 is pretty high up on the list but really it isn't worth doing over 260 or 87.  87 out of Winslow is heavily forested to Strawberry and I always thought 260 was a better route off of 277/377.  My preferred route to get from Phoenix to I-40 was always 87, 260, 277, and 377 personally since it offered a good balance of speed, lack of traffic, on top of scenery.

If you got an extra hour or two I would suggest taking AZ 77 and US 60 to Phoenix instead since you'll go through Salt River Canyon, Globe, and Queen Creek Canyon.  Definitely not the fast way to get to Phoenix but you have a lot of really cool road geek stuff like the switch-backs in SRC and the modern/and old Queen Creek Tunnels.  It doesn't hurt that US 60 passes the Superstitions also through Gold Canyon and Apache Junction. 
« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 09:38:47 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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pumpkineater2

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Re: Road Trip/Comparing Travel Routes Between Holbrook & Phoenix...
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2017, 10:14:54 PM »

Either non I-17 route is great if you want scenery and speed. The 87 is a lot like I-17 except the terrain is more intense, and like stated above, It's loads of fun to drive. Just watch out for Elk!
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howlincoyote2k1

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Re: Road Trip/Comparing Travel Routes Between Holbrook & Phoenix...
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2017, 12:40:52 PM »

You'd do well on pretty much any of those routes, including the AZ 77/US 60 suggested by Max. If you're heading to north Phoenix or the West Valley, I might suggest taking I-17 so you're not having to backtrack up through Scottsdale or slog through downtown Phoenix.

But as Max said, if you have the extra time definitely check out US 60. It's one of my favorite drives in Arizona. And yes, beware of elk.
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The High Plains Traveler

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Re: Road Trip/Comparing Travel Routes Between Holbrook & Phoenix...
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2017, 06:40:28 PM »

Route 3 is really the alternative preferred by snowbirds. I've been amazed at the number of upper Midwest plates I've seen as I drive down that highway in fall or spring. It is also the route I prefer going either way to get from the Phoenix area to I-40 headed for New Mexico. Very scenic, you don't have to climb as high as I-17, and except for a few areas the road provides passing opportunities.
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sparker

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Re: Road Trip/Comparing Travel Routes Between Holbrook & Phoenix...
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2017, 05:04:00 PM »

I've used options (1) and (3) to go between Phoenix and Denver; (3) via Payson is my preference; unless you get caught up in commute traffic getting to 87, it's quite a bit faster as well, at least in my experience -- if you leave PHX early in the morning, you'll be ahead of the game!
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ztonyg

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Re: Road Trip/Comparing Travel Routes Between Holbrook & Phoenix...
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2017, 12:56:40 AM »

I've done route (1) and route (3) and I agree with others. Route (3) is clearly my preferred choice.
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Zonie

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Re: Road Trip/Comparing Travel Routes Between Holbrook & Phoenix...
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2017, 01:20:51 PM »

Route 3 -- especially since Star Valley had to remove that obnoxious speed camera on AZ 260.
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thenetwork

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Re: Road Trip/Comparing Travel Routes Between Holbrook & Phoenix...
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2017, 07:42:19 PM »

So I just got back from our 1600-mile adventure to the Tucson/Phoenix area.  Thanks for the suggestions.  We did option 3 on the way down and option 1 on the way back up.  Some observations:

US 191 South from Mexican Water to AZ-264:  Nice scenery, but there were a few times coming down the final big hill into Round Rock that I thought I was going do be doing some "Dukes Of Hazzard" jumps off the pavement because there was little to no signage announcing some rough/dip patches coming down there, nor was there any reduced speeds (which there should've been). 

Indian Routes 15 and 6:  I was planning to continue to follow US-191 to I-40 (wouldn't have had time to hit the Petrified Forest NP anyway), but the GPS suggested I take Indian Route 15 to Indian Route 6 to AZ-77 to Holbroook.  I wasn't sure what to expect.  It definitely had its moments of "why did I take this way" due to the rough road stretches, but it did save some time & mileage.  IR-6 was much better as far as road condition.

AZ-377:  This road needs to be improved for safety's sake.  I don't think I (or the other southbound traffic) went below 75 MPH on this entire stretch, and it was all a two-laned road, with no occasional 2nd-lane passing zones.

AZ-260:  One of my favorite stretches on the way down.  Saw 4 elk just off the road (so YES -- watch for them).  Plenty of 2nd-lane passing zones. Coming down the mountain, I thought I was back in the Appalachians  again.

AZ-87:  By the time we left Payson, the sun had set, so I really only got go fully see the first downgrade out of Payson with some daylight.  South of Sunflower, I could not tell how or when northbound traffic was to the right of us on the one mountain grade as it was too dark.  Would've loved to see that in the daytime.

Loop 202/Loop 101/US-60/I-10 in Phoenix  The freeway changes were fast & furious, I didn't really get a chance to take it all in.

I-10 -- Phoenix to Tucson:  Last time I was through here (7 or 8 years ago), most of this stretch was only 2 lanes in each direction between the two metro areas and the road was rougher than the average highway.  I was pleasantly surprised on how much widening and overall improvements (resurfacing, etc,...) was done, yet there were a couple of stretches on either side of I-8 where the road reverts back to two lanes for only a few miles before opening up again. 

What is the current timeline for three-laning the remainder of I-10, including that 30+ mile "Strict Enforcement/Zero Tolerance" zone (which is a lie...I was doing 77-79 MPH in front of a cop in the zone!!!)?  There is no sign of any near-future construction in that area at all (except just North of Tucson).

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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Road Trip/Comparing Travel Routes Between Holbrook & Phoenix...
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2017, 09:06:18 PM »

How is the new expressway on AZ 260 at the bottom of the Rim?  When I lasted lived in Arizona ADOT was still building the section from Star Valley to Christopher Creek.  Wasn't exactly fun driving through blast zones at 45 MPH with DPS eying you for a ticket.

thenetwork

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Re: Road Trip/Comparing Travel Routes Between Holbrook & Phoenix...
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2017, 09:26:44 PM »

Wasn't sure what was new and what has been around.  The overall expressway was nice, but the ending at the bottom back to two-lane traffic was a bit abrupt.  Looks like it will be a while before they extend it any further.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Road Trip/Comparing Travel Routes Between Holbrook & Phoenix...
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2017, 09:43:34 PM »

Wasn't sure what was new and what has been around.  The overall expressway was nice, but the ending at the bottom back to two-lane traffic was a bit abrupt.  Looks like it will be a while before they extend it any further.

Really the whole thing is relatively new but the section west of the Christopher Creek Loop Road to where it drops to two lanes was largely constructed this decade:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Christopher+Creek/@34.3160198,-111.0296105,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x872ea0b59885e1ad:0x7c999e0cea0a84ad!8m2!3d34.3375729!4d-111.0420123?hl=en

Hell I remember when 260 ran through Christopher Creek itself on the Loop Road, that was usually a slog getting to Show Low.  I would say that AZ 260 and AZ 87 has surpassed US 60 as the preferred route to get Phoenix from Navajo County.  That's why I keep throwing rerouting US 60 onto it in the Fictional Board and extending US 70 west through Globe to I-10.

kdk

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Re: Road Trip/Comparing Travel Routes Between Holbrook & Phoenix...
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2017, 07:31:07 PM »

So I just got back from our 1600-mile adventure to the Tucson/Phoenix area.  Thanks for the suggestions.  We did option 3 on the way down and option 1 on the way back up.  Some observations:

US 191 South from Mexican Water to AZ-264:  Nice scenery, but there were a few times coming down the final big hill into Round Rock that I thought I was going do be doing some "Dukes Of Hazzard" jumps off the pavement because there was little to no signage announcing some rough/dip patches coming down there, nor was there any reduced speeds (which there should've been). 

Indian Routes 15 and 6:  I was planning to continue to follow US-191 to I-40 (wouldn't have had time to hit the Petrified Forest NP anyway), but the GPS suggested I take Indian Route 15 to Indian Route 6 to AZ-77 to Holbroook.  I wasn't sure what to expect.  It definitely had its moments of "why did I take this way" due to the rough road stretches, but it did save some time & mileage.  IR-6 was much better as far as road condition.

AZ-377:  This road needs to be improved for safety's sake.  I don't think I (or the other southbound traffic) went below 75 MPH on this entire stretch, and it was all a two-laned road, with no occasional 2nd-lane passing zones.

AZ-260:  One of my favorite stretches on the way down.  Saw 4 elk just off the road (so YES -- watch for them).  Plenty of 2nd-lane passing zones. Coming down the mountain, I thought I was back in the Appalachians  again.

AZ-87:  By the time we left Payson, the sun had set, so I really only got go fully see the first downgrade out of Payson with some daylight.  South of Sunflower, I could not tell how or when northbound traffic was to the right of us on the one mountain grade as it was too dark.  Would've loved to see that in the daytime.

Loop 202/Loop 101/US-60/I-10 in Phoenix  The freeway changes were fast & furious, I didn't really get a chance to take it all in.

I-10 -- Phoenix to Tucson:  Last time I was through here (7 or 8 years ago), most of this stretch was only 2 lanes in each direction between the two metro areas and the road was rougher than the average highway.  I was pleasantly surprised on how much widening and overall improvements (resurfacing, etc,...) was done, yet there were a couple of stretches on either side of I-8 where the road reverts back to two lanes for only a few miles before opening up again. 

What is the current timeline for three-laning the remainder of I-10, including that 30+ mile "Strict Enforcement/Zero Tolerance" zone (which is a lie...I was doing 77-79 MPH in front of a cop in the zone!!!)?  There is no sign of any near-future construction in that area at all (except just North of Tucson).

I liked your report, haven't made it lately on some of those areas in the NE part of AZ.

As for your comments on the I-10 widening between Phoenix and Tucson- the last stretch between I-8 and Tucson begins next year.  They had to plan in the reconfiguration of the AZ 87 interchange and a river crossing, so that's why that stretch got left behind.

The worst part, that safety corridor area, north of Casa Grande and just south of Phoenix will be the last part.  It's discussed a lot more in some of the Phoenix threads, but the problem is it's on reservation land, and the Gila River Tribe has been against it due to some unfulfilled promises that were never delivered years ago (frontage roads, more interchanges etc for development).  As of right now there is no plan in the works for this stretch.  However, the did approve adding a third lane for the 8 miles from Maricopa Road/AZ 347 down to Riggs Road.  It would be an extension of the lane that was added a couple of years ago just to Maricopa Road.  I believe that will start next year too, should help at least for now.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2017, 04:35:57 PM by kdk »
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dfwmapper

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Re: Road Trip/Comparing Travel Routes Between Holbrook & Phoenix...
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2017, 12:41:04 PM »

The couple miles of I-10 between Earley Rd (just south of AZ 287) and I-8 is also scheduled for FY '18, which will make it a continuous 6 lanes until just short of the reservation. Wish they would at least extend the 6 lanes to north of the rest areas, because there's just enough of a hill there to slow down trucks.
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