"Flattest" route from Mid-Atlantic to Grand Canyon area

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campn4kids

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Jun 3, 2006
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Smithfield, Virginia
Greetings! We are in the early stages of planning a cross-country trip from southeast VA to the Grand Canyon region. We hope to find a route that is easy to traverse and fairly kind to the rig. We will have plenty of time and the only place we have to see enroute is GRACELAND (Actually, we have good friends in Memphis--the King's homeplace is just a bonus). If anyone has travelled this route, or can recommend a basic route, let us know! THANKS and have a toasty summer!
 

Jim Dick

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Hi Campin4kids,

I just ran a profile on SA Topo from I81 to Williams, AZ on I40. Around 250 miles out from the start you will have climbed about 2000' or so. By the time you get to Williams you will be around 7400'. I have taken this route before we had a motor home and don't remember anything really steep. Albequrque, NM does have a long run downhill into town and then a fairly long climb out but I don't think it's much more than about 6%. Hopefully others will have more knowledge of the route. You will pass the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest in NM and AZ. Be sure to stop and take a look.

 

JohnSandyWhite

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England
:)Hi campn4kidsWe travelled from Nashville down to Memphis and then on to the Grand Canyon via the I40 last November. Great journey. Shame about the Snow storm on the way.  ;D
 

Carl L

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west Los Angeles
I-40 is your target route as Jim said.  Beyond the Grand Canyon, accessible either from Williams or Flagstaff, there are a number of side trips worth while.

1.  Santa Fe -- uber quaint but fun, great for Indian crafts.  There are accessible pueblos in the area.

2.  Petrified Forest -- just off the freeway, interesting but only for a few hours.

3.  Meteor Crater -- same as 2 but intrinsically more impressive, that was one heckofa bang that dug that hole.

4.  Canyon De Chelly -- the memories of a life time.  North of I-40 on US 191.  A vertical walled sandstone canyon with ancient cliff dwelling ruins and current Navajo ranchs.  A 4WD trip either your own with a hired Navajo guide or a 4WD tour run by the local resort.  Half your driving is on a hardbottomed river about 6 inches to a foot deep  Allow a day's layover for this.  Nice RV CG run by the Navajos. 

5.  Scenic tour of the Navajo and Hopi reservations on state 264 from Ganado to Tuba City and then into Flagstaff.  Couple this with the Canyon de Chelly trip.  You will gain the impression that you are in a foreign country.  You are. 

6.  Flagstaff.  Worth at least another layover.  Neat and tidy city grown up around a little old western downtown.  (Hollbrook and Winslow are a bit grotty.)  I like it better than Williams for a Grand Canyon base of operations.

And, of course, the Grand Canyon itself.  Do get your reservations in if you want to camp in or near the park.
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
I took the I-40 route myself last winter and had no problems with it save for a couple of wrong turns (My fault) which, as it turned out, were better than the pre-programmed route (More senic) (Sometimes a wrong turn is the best turn) Actually, going west I did not make any wrong turns.

While in the Grand Canyon area, how about a visit to Page Az  Antelope Slot Canyon is something to see

 

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GypsySooners

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Ocklawaha, FL
I agree with Carl about the stops on the way.  And I completely agree with taking I-40.

One place I'd like to mention though is Amarillo, Texas.  If you're planning on spending a night, or two, in that area then consider Palo Duro Canyon State Park just south of Amarillo.

You'll think I lied as you approach it but then you suddenly drive down into a pretty cool canyon with some great campsites.  Nice place to unwind and walk around.  And, if you've never seen Roadrunners except being chased by Willy Coyote, then you'll really be glad you stopped there.

Also, when you get to the Grand Canyon be sure to go to both the South and the North rims.  Very different and worth the day trip.
 

martinday

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Jul 20, 2006
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I did the I40 route in 1998 in a Class A and it was a great drive. You will get to
see the good parts of TN, Arkansas, Nort Oklahoma,  NorthTexas, New Mexico and Arizona. I would not however
suggest I10 I used it on the way home and it is a lot of Texas which is ok but not as scenic. My favorite
part however was New Mexico it is a very beautiful state.
 

Smoky

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The only problem I have with I-40 is the enormous number of 18 wheelers.  Going through Knoxville is the very worst.  But it is a good choice for a flat route.  Just don't get flattened in the process.  ;D

 

martinday

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I live in Knoxville and Smoky is right also there is a lot of construction but once you get thru it
is a beautiful ride from Knoxville to Nashville. Once you get to Nashville it will be flat until
you get to New Mexico for the most part. It was on this trip which was my first in an Rv by the
way that I learned the importance of how much weight you carry and how fast you can actually go in a
Class A. It was January and on the I-40 route it was cold until you got thru Texas so we had no problems. On the way
back we went I-10 and it was warm, we blew 8 tires in Texas ,2 of which we had put
on during the trip. We found out the hard way that the Class A with its 454 was capable
of much greater speed than it was rated to drive at with that amount of Load. Some lessons
I guess you have to learn the hard way. 8)
 

Smoky

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Martinday, nice to meet you.  Nashville is one of our favorite places in the country.  We found a campground almost within walking distance of the new Grand Ole Oprey and we love it there.  Also like going down town to see the Country Hall of Fame and also walk the main street at night and see all the lights.  But it is the Smoky Mountains that really grabs our hearts.  They gave those peaks a good name, of course.  :D
 

Wendy

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Monument Valley is about 3 hours north east of Grand Canyon and is worth a side trip, preferably overnight.

North rim of Grand Canyon offers a completely different perspective of the canyon but it is not a day trip from south rim, it's an overnighter. Absolutely have reservations for the NPS campground at north rim if you decide to go there. Don't know what time of year your trip will be but north rim closes down with the first snow.

If you go north to Canyon de Chelly, stop in Ganado at Hubbell Trading Post.

Smoky, what's the name of the campground in Nashville? We'll be there next July for a convention at Opryland Hotel and will need a campground before and after. Also a kennel for Mr Sam as the hotel is NOT pet friendly.
 

martinday

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Smoky,

Nice to meet you as well. We will be camping in Townsend this weekend and hopefully have better weather than last week's monsoon. I am hoping to take the camper to some Titan's games this year so I will remember the campground you suggested.
 

Jim Dick

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Wendy,

There are at least three campgrounds on Music Valley road. We have stayed at the KOA but didn't like their prices. We now stay at Two Rivers. Very friendly staff but there is a tour bus operation next door and sometimes they work late on the buses so you hear a lot of backup alarms. It's a very short drive to the Opryland hotel and theater. If you want to go to the theater or mall you take a right at the end of Music Valley road and then a left two lights down. That brings you right into the huge parking area. You can also access the rear entrance of the hotel that way. Be sure to remember what entrance you use to enter the hotel. If you don't it will take days to find your car!!!! :)
 

Smoky

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Jim:

Sounds like the Holiday we stayed at must be one of those three campgrounds you mentioned. 

I think Wendy carries bicycles with her motorhome.  If so, the mall (which is gorgeous and even has a boat ride inside it) and the Opry House are an easy, flat, bike ride from any of those campgrounds.
 

Wendy

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We still only have the bicycles as our 'toads' but maybe by next July the VW will be finished and towable.

I sure know about getting lost in the Opryland Hotel. Fortunately, our convention will all be in the Magnolia section of the hotel so I only need to remember that one entrance.

Will be there in October for a meeting and will check the campgrounds.

Thanks guys.
 

Alaskansnowbirds

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Wendy,

When Peg and I were in Nashville we also stayed at the Two Rivers Campground. We were in the middle of the campground so didn't hear the back-up alarms that much. Only after it got real quite at night.

Nice campground.

Not sure what route you're taking but if you're on I-40 I can recommend Tom Sawyer's Mississippi River RV Park in West Mempis AR..
 

Jim Dick

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Smoky said:
Jim:

Sounds like the Holiday we stayed at must be one of those three campgrounds you mentioned. 

I think Wendy carries bicycles with her motorhome.  If so, the mall (which is gorgeous and even has a boat ride inside it) and the Opry House are an easy, flat, bike ride from any of those campgrounds.

That's the other one. We've never stayed there. It is very close to the mall and the Opry House but traffic is quite heavy. One would just have to be careful. I think there is transportation from the campgrounds to the mall. There are several tour companies that seem to run shuttles but I don't know the cost.
 

Jim Dick

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Alaskansnowbirds said:
Wendy,

When Peg and I were in Nashville we also stayed at the Two Rivers Campground. We were in the middle of the campground so didn't hear the back-up alarms that much. Only after it got real quite at night.

Nice campground.

Don,

But you're used to those alarms. Probably even miss them!! ;D ;D

Yes, it is a nice campground and we always stay there when in Nashville. Very friendly staff. Even let me move my coach so I could access Directv to activate my new receiver. Parked right next to the pool. I did have to move back to my site and didn't get reception there. :)
 
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