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Author Topic: Advice: Trip this fall to Albuquerque and Phoenix  (Read 11162 times)

1995hoo

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Re: Advice: Trip this fall to Albuquerque and Phoenix
« Reply #25 on: September 10, 2015, 08:20:33 PM »

Thanks again to both of you. I think corco's advice clinches it on the New Mexico segment unless something happens in the next two weeks to close the road.

Regarding the observatory, my gut tells me we won't have time, but I'll try to squeeze it in because it'd be interesting. I've only been to one observatory, the McCormick Observatory in Charlottesville at my reunion this summer, and it was almost closing time so I didn't get to see much. But it'll all depend on timing because when we pass Flagstaff we will be en route to my brother-in-law's house in the Phoenix are and we will need to be there by dinnertime. Thanks for the tip, though, because it'll give me a reason to keep an eye on the time and figure out what we can do.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

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Re: Advice: Trip this fall to Albuquerque and Phoenix
« Reply #26 on: September 10, 2015, 08:25:39 PM »

I second the Lowell Observatory.  Of course, you want to go at night, and on a night when they have the big telescope(s) open to the public.  I've done it twice and was very impressed both times.  10+ years ago when I was last there, it was just a few nights a week and weather-permitting.  I got lucky with the timing.  Sounds like it might not work out for you on this trip if you'd be going on the way to Phoenix and want to get there for dinner...
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1995hoo

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Re: Advice: Trip this fall to Albuquerque and Phoenix
« Reply #27 on: September 10, 2015, 08:55:13 PM »

I still appreciate the advice because I don't know what the evening plans are for the nights when we're in Phoenix. I'm not averse to a late trip back up to Flagstaff (assuming suitable weather, of course), but since we hardly ever get to see these relatives due to the distance involved, I think it's reasonable to make the visit the higher priority.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

froggie

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Re: Advice: Trip this fall to Albuquerque and Phoenix
« Reply #28 on: September 11, 2015, 03:46:49 PM »

Some photos of US 550 from my own trip 10 years ago, to give you an idea of what to expect. 
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1995hoo

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Re: Advice: Trip this fall to Albuquerque and Phoenix
« Reply #29 on: September 11, 2015, 08:31:17 PM »

Some photos of US 550 from my own trip 10 years ago, to give you an idea of what to expect. 

Thanks for that. I haven't had time (nor, candidly, the patience) to click through on Street View or the like, so I appreciate that link. Knowing it's four lanes is good information.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

froggie

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Re: Advice: Trip this fall to Albuquerque and Phoenix
« Reply #30 on: September 13, 2015, 09:53:10 AM »

Yep.  Except for the first few miles from I-25 and a couple of towns it passes through, it's a 4-lane undivided and 70 MPH.
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1995hoo

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Re: Advice: Trip this fall to Albuquerque and Phoenix
« Reply #31 on: September 13, 2015, 11:04:10 AM »

The four lanes will make the missus happier, too. I enjoy two-lane roads from time to time, but she gets annoyed with them on longer drives. (Of course, she'll have to put up with them in Utah and Arizona, but Monument Valley plus way less traffic than we get in Virginia will help!)
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

1995hoo

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Re: Advice: Trip this fall to Albuquerque and Phoenix
« Reply #32 on: September 25, 2015, 06:31:31 PM »

We've been in Albuquerque since Wednesday. Flew in that afternoon. It took half an hour to get the rental car, allegedly due to an inventory issue in the computer, but it got squared away. Drove to the hotel and simply had dinner there, didn't drive anywhere.

Didn't drive anywhere yesterday either due to the schedule for my wife's convention. Instead she and a friend of hers and I walked to Old Town Albuquerque, about a 1.5-mile walk via the route my phone plotted (took a different route back and the total worked out to around 3.75 miles, including walking around Old Town). The schedule issue was that last night her group had chartered a bus to go to the Sandia Peak Tramway and to have dinner at the restaurant at the foot of the tram before riding up. Nice idea in theory, didn't work so well in practice. I was hoping to be up at the top of the tram in time for sunset, but because they scheduled dinner first for a group of about 40 people, that didn't work. Took forever to get food, I shoveled it down in ten minutes, and I was riding up the tram when the sun set. Wasn't a great sunset anyway, no clouds in the sky to create color and texture, but it would have been nice to have been at the top ahead of time. I guess I have to remember it's a group of secretaries and they aren't thinking about photo opportunities. I had time for a drink at the top and then a few photos before we had to come down all too soon because my wife was cold and was getting chest pains, presumably from being at 10,300 feet of altitude (I doubt the margarita helped either). She was fine once we were back at the bottom for a while, at least.

Today she was at her convention so I drove to Santa Fe. Took Turquoise Trail up and I-25 back. I enjoyed Turquoise Trail more despite the much slower drive (and I stuck to the speed limit because I'd been warned about cops, though I didn't see any). There was almost nobody on the scenic route so I wasn't holding anyone up or being pushed from behind, and I could pull off to take pictures as it suited me. Very nice drive. Thank you to those of you who recommended it. I-25 coming home was less enjoyable because of fairly heavy traffic, although maintaining the speed limit wasn't a problem until a short distance north of I-40. I presume it was a combination of afternoon traffic combined with it being Friday afternoon.

Tomorrow I'm staying in Albuquerque due to the schedule again (dinner plans). May hit the Unser Racing Museum and Petroglyph Monument. Sunday we drive to the Valley of the Gods. I'm going to use US-550 per the suggestions up the thread. Beyond there, we'll see what time it is. The bed and breakfast's owner called yesterday and she recommends getting there before dark because she says it's hard to find. It's on the dirt road through the Valley of the Gods near the foot of the Moki Dugway.

The rental vehicle is an SUV, a Nissan Armada, because that was by far the lowest price. It has low-range 4WD, so I'm REALLY not concerned about dirt roads and the like!

This is a really nice area to visit. Thanks again for the recommendations in this thread.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

1995hoo

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Re: Advice: Trip this fall to Albuquerque and Phoenix
« Reply #33 on: September 27, 2015, 11:17:35 PM »

Greetings from the Valley of the Gods Bed and Breakfast. We're about two miles from the foot of the Moki Dugway. The night sky here is unbelievable, especially with the lunar eclipse. Major bright Milky Way directly overhead. I just hope some of the pictures come through. Right now I'm inside and my camera is outside shooting in bulb mode triggered by remote control. I'm going for a half-hour exposure.

THANK YOU for recommending US-550. Great drive. I stuck to the speed limit and was glad I did when someone passed us entering Cuba and then got pulled over within five minutes.

Tomorrow we go up the Moki Dugway and out to Muley Point. Back down the Dugway to Goosenecks State Park. After a stop for gas, we'll head to Monument Valley and then on to the Grand Canyon South Rim. Unfortunately, I think we will skip the 17-mile dirt road through the Valley of the Gods due to time: It takes an hour or more to drive.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

1995hoo

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Re: Advice: Trip this fall to Albuquerque and Phoenix
« Reply #34 on: October 02, 2015, 07:16:58 PM »

We're on our final day before flying home to the rainy East Coast and I just wanted to say thanks again for the advice. Since my last update, we've done the following:

(1) The day after my previous post above, we drove up the Moki Dugway and out to Muley Point. Took loads of pictures and then went back down the Dugway (used low-range 4WD and a low gear; may not have been necessary, but it made me more comfortable because the vehicle was a lot heavier than I'm used to). Video of the Dugway to follow later this month after I download and sort through the hundreds of photos.

(2) After the Dugway we skipped Goosenecks, put gas in the vehicle in Mexican Hat, and headed for Monument Valley. Stopped at Forrest Gump Hill (there is a sign off to the west side of the road) and at several other locations. What a magnificent road that is in terms of scenery. Continued down US-163 to Kayenta, completing the clinch, and then took US-160 west. Stopped for lunch at McDonald's in Tuba City and then headed on towards the Grand Canyon.

(3) US-89 has a major construction project going on near Cameron and we were delayed some 20 minutes by a flagman. Glad we stopped for lunch earlier. Once we broke clear, we got stuck behind some doofus who stopped at the roundabout at AZ-64 even though nobody was on the roundabout. He earned a loud, long blast from my horn. Headed west on AZ-64 to the Grand Canyon. That drive feels insanely long. We stopped at the watchtower and one overlook but skipped most of the others due to a desire to reach the Maswik Lodge in time for sunset photography. I had never been to the Grand Canyon before. What an amazing sight. Words and photos can't do it justice.

(4) The next day (Tuesday) we headed south to Phoenix. I was a bit surprised to see two seemingly new roundabouts in Tusayan. These were not to be the last roundabouts on our trip and I was surprised Arizona has a lot of them (more on this later). The sat-nav wanted us to go down AZ-64 to Williams, but I instead opted for US-180 to Flagstaff even though it cost me the clinch of Route 64. I was more interested in the scenic route. Stopped for lunch at a Jack in the Box in Flagstaff. They used to have a location near where I grew up in Virginia but it closed some 35 years ago after the E. coli thing and my mother had never been willing to take us there. Now that I've visited one, I can't say I had missed all that much.

(5) We continued straight down I-17. What an interesting road. The northern part near Flagstaff felt sort of like portions of the Adirondack Northway part of I-87 due to the pine forest and the high elevation. Then the long downhill segments reminded me more of Colorado or New Mexico. Once we reached Black Canyon City the terrain began to look more like what I had envisioned for Arizona, rocky desert with cactus all over the place. I had planned to continue down I-17 and then cut east on Thunderbird Road to try to help ensure I might manage the clinch, but as we neared Phoenix the Jack in the Box lunch came back to haunt me and I decided just to take the fastest route, which meant AZ-101 east and then south through the streets. As it turns out, I likely won't manage the clinch unless we take I-17 to dinner tonight: A segment south of here will be closed tonight and tomorrow. Oh well. The steakhouse is near the airport, but since my brother-in-law will likely be driving, we'll take whatever route he prefers and I won't raise the idea of clinches or the like.

(6) Wednesday we went up to Sedona, which meant going back up the same segment of I-17 we used the day before. But it was worth it to see the scenery in Sedona. I'd heard the town's name but had never seen pictures and all I can say is "wow." Regarding roundabouts: Loads of them throughout the Sedona area. My brother-in-law and his wife grumbled about them because they don't like slowing down for them, though they conceded I had a valid point about how you stop less often. Bigger issue I noted is that NOBODY here uses their blinkers at the roundabouts. That slows things down because you have to stop more often when you don't know whether someone is exiting.

(7) Leaving Sedona we were going to go to a restaurant in Cornville but instead stopped at the Up the Creek Grill on Page Springs Road. Absolutely outstanding meal, five-star quality but without the five-star price. I highly recommend it to anyone who's in that area. After dinner we returned to I-17 via Cornville Road and thence back to Phoenix. My brother-in-law plowed into a huge piece of truck tire debris at the top of the climbing lane south of AZ-69. Amazingly, there was no damage.

(8) Thursday we headed up to Jerome. My brother-in-law drove again, I-17 to AZ-69 with the intent of connecting to AZ-89A. His wife was attempting to navigate using a AAA map. I had my iPhone and knew she was missing tons of turns, but I decided not to say anything and the result was I got the AZ-69 clinch. Route 89A is a wild mountain road, twisty as heck and it would have been loads of fun in a different vehicle. Their van is too heavy and slow to allow you to appreciate the twisty stuff, and the tint job on the front right window is poorly-done, but I got some good photos I may upload or perhaps send in to AARoads to update that route's page. Jerome was an interesting little town, a former mining town that's turned into a bit of a hippie art area. It's on the side of a mountain and the road in and out has lots of hairpin turns and major elevation changes. Dropping out of Jerome on the east side, we encountered another series of four roundabouts before picking up AZ-260 back to I-17 (Route 260 being another clinch). As I said, I was really surprised to see so many roundabouts. I didn't think most Western states would be building many of them.

(9) Didn't really go anywhere today other than a UPS Store to ship some purchases home and the gas station to fill up the rental vehicle before returning it tomorrow. Tonight we are going to the Stockyards Steakhouse, which I gather is a local institution that's been around since the 1940s.

Interesting things:

—Arizona advises of an upcoming speed limit decrease with yellow diamond signs saying "SPEED REDUCED AHEAD" instead of the white rectangular signs used elsewhere or the signs telling you what the limit will be. I found them weird because I've never seen that style elsewhere.

—Most of the roundabout signage is kind of crummy in my opinion because most of the ones we've seen don't have the diagrammatic sign showing the exits and saying what each road is/where it goes. Instead, they have an LGS in advance that has multiple lines of text with arrows next to them (eg, a curved arrow pointing straight ahead, thus denoting to take the second exit, with a street name, and an arrow pointing right, thus denoting to take the first exit, with a different street name) and then, at the bottom of the sign, the words "NEXT ROUNDABOUT." I prefer the diagrammatic signs used in the UK and in most other states. They're easier to read quickly. I'll have a picture or two of the Arizona style sometime next week after I download stuff.

All in all, we've had a great trip and, as I've said before, I appreciate all the advice from everyone. I'll have a final route log and map sometime after we get home.


Edited to add: Here's an example of the roundabout signage from Sedona. In this case, the road we were on went straight. When that road ended, there was a more conventional diagrammatic sign.

« Last Edit: October 02, 2015, 07:34:54 PM by 1995hoo »
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

1995hoo

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Re: Advice: Trip this fall to Albuquerque and Phoenix
« Reply #35 on: October 09, 2015, 04:51:05 PM »

I'm still sorting pictures since I unexpectedly have today off, but it will come as no surprise that I gave priority to the Moki Dugway videos. The second one includes still photos taken from the cliffs.



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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

1995hoo

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Re: Advice: Trip this fall to Albuquerque and Phoenix
« Reply #36 on: October 09, 2015, 05:05:56 PM »

Heh, two more.



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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

1995hoo

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Re: Advice: Trip this fall to Albuquerque and Phoenix
« Reply #37 on: October 16, 2015, 10:21:53 AM »

Two compilations of scenery for those who might find that sort of thing interesting. I found the roads in southeast Utah to be particularly scenic.



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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

 


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