US 60 East of Phoenix

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BernieD

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Early next month we will be traveling to Trinity in the White Sands (NM) Test range, the site of the 1st A-bomb test. It is only open to visitors twice a year, on the semi-annual anniversary of the test.

Looking at the map, the most direct route from Phoenix is US 60 to I-25, which is just north of where we will be staying. We have lots of time, probably leaving 2 days for travel. Anyone familiar with that section of road. It's about 100 miles shorter than I-10 to Las Cruces and I-25 north.
 

Betty Brewer

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BernieD said:
Looking at the map, the most direct route from Phoenix is US 60 to I-25, which is just north of where we will be staying.

Bernie,
We used that road a couple of years ago coming home from the Balloon festival in Albuquerque.  I recall it is scenic and that the roads just  inside the east  Arizona border are very bumpy!  We lost our ride height valve  on that road a which made for an even bumpier ride.  You should have no problems on it , you have been to Alaska!

Betty
 

Ned

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Don't forget the VLA just west of Socorro.  Worth a few hours and there's a Passport American park in Magdalena just east of the VLA.
 

DougJ

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Hi Bernie,

Because you're making this trip I assume that you have a considerable interest in the Manhattan Project.

On my "to do" list is to do a tour of the "Manhattan Project places," not only the scientific centres but also the places frequented by the scientists--the ones you read about in their biographies and books on the project.

You may well have your own list of articles and related web sites; but if not, perhaps this one, one of many, may interest you.

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cjas/print/nuclear_tourism.pdf

Ciao,

Doug
 

Lowell

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Bernie,
Route 60 is a pretty good road but the drop into Salt River Canyon between Globe and Show Low is exciting.  A suggestion would be to take 87 to Payson, then 260 to Show Low and pick up route 60 there. If your comfortable with a long steep descent and a fairly aggressive climb, the Salt River Canyon is very scenic.
Jake
 

Ken & Sheila

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Bernie,

The only parts of this road that I don't like are the expressway part through Mesa/Gilbert area and the steep drop into the Salt River Canyon and the climb back out.

I normally avoid the salt River by taking 87 North to 260 east out of Payson - but you have more HP. But I am taking a trip in October across 60 to Globe and then 70 to Safford, Az.

We just drove the reverse of your route from Riudoso to Showlow to Surprise. Really a much nicer drive than I-10.

Do stop at the Very Large Array east of Datil and stop for lunch  - or - at least pie in Pie Town at the Daily Pie Cafe (south side if the route) You can pull in and park on the side and then drive thru the "RV Drive thru" around back to get out.

There is a BLM campground just west of Datil and a really nice looking Campground (we did not stay there - just drove through) at the Valley of Fire five miles west of Carrizozo on route 380.

enjoy

ken
 

BernieD

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Doug
Not a real interest in things atomic (tho I started out in physics at the University of Chicago), but we were in Las Cruces a year ago and heard about the Trinity site and thought it would be interesting. Unfortunately, we didn't learn about the open house until the afternoon of the day open. We were going to be in the area next month and decided to spend an hour or two there.

Ken, Sheila and Jake
How bad is the Salt River Canyon? Can you compare it to I-17 in and out of the Verde Valley? I have no problem with that. If much worse I will probably do Rte. 87.

Ned, Ken & Sheila
Thanks for the reminder of the VLA, we'll be driving right past it I guess. I would expect that we'd want to stop overnite aroung Datil or Pie Town. We won't be getting as far east as Carrizozo, staying overnite at San Antonio at the Bosque Bird Watchers RV Park off I-25. That sounds like the closest to the Trinity site tour entrance. We head south to Las Cruces from there.
 

Ken & Sheila

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Bernie,

Never driven it in the Motorhome. Headed north from the high point there is a 2,000 ft drop in 12 miles with 800 ft of that in the last 3 miles. The last three miles also have 3 hairpin turns ( NOT real tight like 101 north to Leggett in CA or route 20 from Willits to Fort Bragg) Note: the Streets and Trips rendition of the route into and out of the canyon looks accurate.
The climb out is 750ft in three miles. Low point is about 3460ft and you will climb to Showlow at 6400. Pie Town is near the continental divide at over 7,000ft

As I remember the road from is generally pretty good. Its not a road I wouldn't take, but the combo of the canyon and worse the freeway through Mesa and the fact that I would have to drive through Phoenix to get to that portion of rt60 makes the 87 route a little better. Rt 87 is a good four mostly divided road, but Rt 260 is partly four lane divided but mostly two lane and can have heavy traffic from Payson to Showlow..

RT 60 from Showlow East  is two lane but low traffic (particularly in NM)

ken
 

joelmyer

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I did that this spring in the truck without the trailer.

Here's some pictures.

I wouldn't do it with the trailer on purpose.  I saw some RV's & 18 wheelers going through there.  We met a lady in Show Low who said she had no problem with her RV - just got tired turning the steering wheel back and forth.

You pays your money and takes your choice!

Joel
 

joester

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a little late for your trip, but while I was poking around, I thought I'd add my 2 cents on Salt River Canyon - US60.
I have a 27' class C, and it's no problem - but it is SLOWER than taking sr 87 to Payson, and then 260 east to Show Low as mentioned above.
sr 87 is now a 4- lane divided highway from Mesa to Payson, and even tho you'll climb from 1800-5000 feet, the drive is SMOOTH and easy. Salt River canyon is not dangerous, but more time-consuming, and can be frustrating at times.
do it at sunrise or sunset, and it can be jaw-dropping beautiful tho, the canyon is maginificent.
either way - it's a nice drive.
after reading this, I realize it's not a lot of help, but as a resident here for 29 years, I have travelled both roads dozens of times each, and lately, I stick with sr87 - just an easier drive. another idea - if you want to leave from Phoenix and head towards 4 corners - instead of I-17 to flagstaff,and then I-40 east--- take sr87 to Payson, east on 260 to Heber, then NE on sr 377 to Holbrook - a great shortcut for those heading phoenix, or the other way - much shorter - and short saves gas on this route!
 

Lowell

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Just wanted to add my 2 cents too.  I totally agree with the previous post by joester.  And the drive from Fountain Hills to Payson and from Payson to Heber has some great vista too.
 

Shayne

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Been there done that,  beautiful route. In the times we have taken it, very little traffic.
 

BernieD

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joester said:
if you want to leave from Phoenix and head towards 4 corners - instead of I-17 to flagstaff,and then I-40 east--- take sr87 to Payson, east on 260 to Heber, then NE on sr 377 to Holbrook - a great shortcut for those heading phoenix, or the other way - much shorter - and short saves gas on this route!

Joe

IMHO, an even better route to 4 Corners is I-17 to I-40, jog east to US 89, north to US 160 and east to 4 Corners. The diner in Tuba City (SW corner of 160 and 264) has the best Indian Fry Bread we've ever had. If you want to stop for the nite, the Tuba City trading post has a nice campground behind the motel. The Burger King coming into Kayenta has a museum dedicated to the Navajo Code Talkers (the owner's father was one). Continue on east and you pass right by the entrance to 4 Corners. We've driven the route to Kayenta on the way up to Moab for the last 8 years and it is beautiful and an easy drive.
 

Wendy

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Bernie,

That's the best way to go to the Four Corners area. We've driven it dozens of times. But the fry bread at Cameron and at Tsegi are better than Tuba's. The Code Talker display at the Kayenta Burger King is absolutely worth a stop. Places to stop overnight, if you don't care about being in a campground, include just outside the north entrance to Wupatki and Navajo Nat Mon (small sites at campground but several nice pullouts off the road in to the park). And if you go north at Kayenta, there are the tribal park at Monument Valley and the hookup park at Gouldings. As for the actual Four Corners site, it was kind of fun to stop when there as nothing there and it was free but now the tribe charges $3 a head to go in.
 

BernieD

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wendycoke said:
But the fry bread at Cameron and at Tsegi are better than Tuba's.

Wendy

Sounds very interesting. Can you be more specific in location? Cameron may be a good stop for lunch on the way to Moab next spring.
 

joester

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Bernie-
you're correct about the actual route to 4 coners itself - I was mainly commenting on the difference from Phoenix to Show Low/Holbrook using sr87/260/377 comapred to us60 thru salt river canyon.
the trading post at camreon IS a great stop for those who want to see a REAL trading post.
happy trails - now I need to find a different park near 6 flags valencia for the end of the month - VTV is booked up the 29th.
I should learn not to procrasinate, but I keep putting it off......
 

Wendy

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Cameron is on Hwy 89, north of Flagstaff. Actually, just north of the road that runs west to Grand Canyon (Hwy 64). Joester is right, it's a great real-live working trading post besides having great Navajo Tacos and Fry Bread.

Wendy
cold in Death Valley (low tonight supposed to be 30) but glad I'm  not in Denver
 

BernieD

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wendycoke said:
Cameron is on Hwy 89, north of Flagstaff. Actually, just north of the road that runs west to Grand Canyon (Hwy 64). Joester is right, it's a great real-live working trading post besides having great Navajo Tacos and Fry Bread.

Wendy

We've driven thru Cameron many times but only have stopped at Speedy's for fuel. Will have to stop at the Trading Post for Navajo Tacos next time.

Talked to our son last nite, he lives in Denver and Frisco, CO. He said that Denver is getting more snow than the ski slopes.
 
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