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Author Topic: Greater Phoenix - Greater Los Angeles and back  (Read 3441 times)

JKRhodes

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Greater Phoenix - Greater Los Angeles and back
« on: March 22, 2014, 12:25:01 AM »

Here are some observations from a recent trip my wife and I took to California:

Construction of the Loop 303 and I-10 interchange near Goodyear is well underway, with portions of the flyover ramps over the interstate complete and waiting to be connected to their respective counterparts, pillars erect and waiting for their decks. Last time I was out there was in 2012, and 2008 prior to that. Makes me feel like an old man to say that I can remember when Loop 303 was a two-lane road surrounded by cotton fields.  :biggrin:

The Flying J travel plaza in Ehrenberg is extremely busy, with travelers either stopping to make a pit stop and top off their tanks before entering California, where the price of gas jumps up 40 cents, or conversely, filling up after running across California on fumes(that's what I did in 2012). A billboard in Blythe with a huge electronic number board informs eastbound travelers on I-10 of the cheaper fuel on the other side of the river. Gas is even cheaper 17 miles east in Quartzsite, and the gas stations there are equally busy. I wonder how the gas stations in Blythe survive, with such competition just a stone's throw away. We stopped at Daniel's Really Good Fresh Jerky in Quartzsite on the way home, and the name didn't disappoint. I liked the cowboy flavor.

We stayed in Lake Arrowhead for several days. From San Bernardino, there are two ways up the mountain: Ca 330 and Ca 18. For our initial trip up, we took 330, which starts as a 4-lane freeway for a mile or two, then transitions down to a two-lane road, with several turnouts and a couple 4-lane sections along the way. Ca 18 is a nice four lane road with a painted median for much of the way up, reducing to two lanes at the 138 interchange. We took that road down the mountain a couple of days later.

We went to Universal Studios Hollywood: took the 18 down the mountain, to the 210. Would have taken that all the way to the 134 to get to the park, but a VMS with estimated travel times showed the travel time to Pasadena via 210 to be 5 minutes longer than LA via I-10, so I figured I'd shave a few minutes off by going through LA. I used the 57 to slide over to I-10, and it was pretty smooth sailing aside from a bit of slow and go around the 605 interchange, and the usual congestion on the 101 by Downtown LA. Between the dense development surrounding the freeway, and the public transport being promoted as an alternative to driving, I gather the downtown freeways more or less finished, as far as any future widening improvements are concerned. The 210 is a nice road. I remember when it only went to I-15. Even then, it was a nice way to get from Arizona to Magic Mountain without going through the headache of downtown LA.

We visited the la brea tar pits. I found the park surrounding the pits to be a nice quiet reprieve amid the ratrace. Later on that night, we had dinner with friends who live in the neighborhood just north, and the parking situation is horrendous there.

On the way home, we decided to take a detour through Palm Desert. Took Bob Hope Dr to the 111, stopped for lunch at Olive Garden, then continued down past the Salton Sea to Brawley, then east on the 78 past the Glamis sand dunes and Gold mine, onward to Blythe, where I eventually rejoined the I-10 and headed home. The Salton Sea area is interesting, definitely worth reading up about. Apparently it was once a major tourist destination, but now it's a big stinky, polluted lake.

Other things to note:

I actually live in Morenci, which is about four hours east of Phoenix. Aside from a handful of bridge replacements, there's not much in the way of major road improvements going on here lately: ADOT broke ground a decade ago on a four-laning project on US 191 between I-10 and US 70. It's been completed up to State Route 266, and the remainder of the project is on hold while several realignment proposals are evaluated.

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hm insulators

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Re: Greater Phoenix - Greater Los Angeles and back
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2014, 02:10:56 PM »

Lake Arrowhead is beautiful. When I was a kid growing up in California, my parents used to rent cabins near there in the summer, and later bought their own in a place called Cedar Glen.
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mrsman

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Re: Greater Phoenix - Greater Los Angeles and back
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2014, 11:00:36 PM »

Here are some observations from a recent trip my wife and I took to California:



The Flying J travel plaza in Ehrenberg is extremely busy, with travelers either stopping to make a pit stop and top off their tanks before entering California, where the price of gas jumps up 40 cents, or conversely, filling up after running across California on fumes(that's what I did in 2012). A billboard in Blythe with a huge electronic number board informs eastbound travelers on I-10 of the cheaper fuel on the other side of the river. Gas is even cheaper 17 miles east in Quartzsite, and the gas stations there are equally busy. I wonder how the gas stations in Blythe survive, with such competition just a stone's throw away.


There are great websites like gasbuddy.com that lets you know what gas prices are and allows you to find the cheapest stations along your travel route.  They have a mapping feature that allows you to see different regions (either by zip code for close zoom or county for less zoom) based on gas prices.  When looking at the map, CA is always dark red, the most expensive gas (except for Hawaii).  Everyone knows that it's much cheaper to buy in neighboring states.  I guess the station in Blythe may get people who are running low and need just a few gallons before they make it to AZ.  CA can get away with such high gas taxes because most of its population is far from a state border.

Here on the East Coast, I do something similar.  I have relatives in NYC who I visit a couple times a year.  I almost never buy gas in NY, since it is much cheaper to buy it in NJ.  I fill up in NJ and ususally that's enough gas to last my entire time in NY, before it's time to head back to MD.  In NY, many people go to NJ to buy gas, but NY gas stations still make money because it's usually takes a long time to travel on a busy bridge or tunnel between NY and NJ.


We went to Universal Studios Hollywood: took the 18 down the mountain, to the 210. Would have taken that all the way to the 134 to get to the park, but a VMS with estimated travel times showed the travel time to Pasadena via 210 to be 5 minutes longer than LA via I-10, so I figured I'd shave a few minutes off by going through LA. I used the 57 to slide over to I-10, and it was pretty smooth sailing aside from a bit of slow and go around the 605 interchange, and the usual congestion on the 101 by Downtown LA. Between the dense development surrounding the freeway, and the public transport being promoted as an alternative to driving, I gather the downtown freeways more or less finished, as far as any future widening improvements are concerned. The 210 is a nice road. I remember when it only went to I-15. Even then, it was a nice way to get from Arizona to Magic Mountain without going through the headache of downtown LA.


That's odd, usually the 134 is a lot better. 


We visited the la brea tar pits. I found the park surrounding the pits to be a nice quiet reprieve amid the ratrace. Later on that night, we had dinner with friends who live in the neighborhood just north, and the parking situation is horrendous there.


I grew up in that area (Hollywood / West Hollywood, just a bit further north) and you are right, the parking is very difficult there.  Immediately north of the park is ParkLabrea, which is a gated community.  Many of the regular neighborhoods nearby have parking permits and it is uniformly difficult to park at night unless you have a permit.  The Tar Pits is great for kids.  One of my favorite activities as a kid was rolling down the grass hills in the park.  I took my kids 2 years ago on a CA trip and they had fun doing the same thing.

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andy3175

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Re: Greater Phoenix - Greater Los Angeles and back
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2014, 01:01:21 AM »

I actually live in Morenci, which is about four hours east of Phoenix. Aside from a handful of bridge replacements, there's not much in the way of major road improvements going on here lately: ADOT broke ground a decade ago on a four-laning project on US 191 between I-10 and US 70. It's been completed up to State Route 266, and the remainder of the project is on hold while several realignment proposals are evaluated.

Has the routing of US 191 through Morenci been finalized? When I visited Morenci several years ago, US 191 was signed on a temporary alignment due to the planned expansion of the copper mine. I wasn't sure if US 191 was routed away from the mine or not. We did have to stop when passing by the mine to allow one of those big haul trucks to cross over the roadway.
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JKRhodes

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Re: Greater Phoenix - Greater Los Angeles and back
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2015, 10:57:39 PM »


Has the routing of US 191 through Morenci been finalized? When I visited Morenci several years ago, US 191 was signed on a temporary alignment due to the planned expansion of the copper mine. I wasn't sure if US 191 was routed away from the mine or not. We did have to stop when passing by the mine to allow one of those big haul trucks to cross over the roadway.


As of a week or two ago, official word from ADOT hit the local paper about the planned reroute around the mine. I've known about it for about two years, but now that ADOT is making it official, I suppose the project will move forward rather soon.

My guess is that the new alignment will ultimately follow the San Francisco River past the mine then take a westerly jog and tie in at Sardine Saddle. From what I've seen of the topography(and the graded dirt road that has already been built), it makes the most sense.
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KG909

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Re: Greater Phoenix - Greater Los Angeles and back
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2015, 11:51:09 PM »

For Big Bear there's the 38 too
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JKRhodes

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Re: Greater Phoenix - Greater Los Angeles and back
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2015, 12:25:45 AM »

For Big Bear there's the 38 too

True, though for our purposes of traveling between Arrowhead and San Bernadino and points beyond. the 38 was pretty far out of the way.

The view of all the city lights is breathtaking once you get up the mountain a ways on 18.
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KG909

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Re: Greater Phoenix - Greater Los Angeles and back
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2015, 09:19:40 AM »

For Big Bear there's the 38 too

True, though for our purposes of traveling between Arrowhead and San Bernadino and points beyond. the 38 was pretty far out of the way.

The view of all the city lights is breathtaking once you get up the mountain a ways on 18.
Oh yes it's pretty far out, though it does have great views and a waterfall. I like the 18's view too, but have only seen it at day.
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