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rfsod48

Michigan to Arizona

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rfsod48   

We are looking for a different route to Arizona for our winter trip. Typically we go thru Ohio to Nashville, then to Memphis, Little Rock and Texarkana. On to Dallas, El Paso and up to Phoenix. On the way home we plan to go to Big Bend, San Antonio and Austin. We will leave Michigan January 1 and have site reservations north of Phoenix for the 15th.  Since weather at this time of year can be big factor and not knowing the quality of the roads other than those we have traveled just asking for suggestions.

Roland

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Try this route:

I-69 to Indianapolis

I-465 west and then south to I-70

I-70 to I-55 south

I-55 to I-275 west around St Louis

I-275 to I-44 west

I-44 to Kilpatrick Turnpike around Oklahoma City

Kilpatrick to I-40 west

I-40 to I-17 south

I-17 to Phoenix

Indianapolis to Phoenix is 1800 miles

The Oklahoma turnpike and the Kilpatrick are toll, but going around the toll roads will cost more in fuel than the tolls.

I have traveled this route for 15 years 

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rfsod48   

How much is weather a problem in early January? We have gone thru Terre Haute before,  can be really cold. That is why we try to head straight south. How are the roads going to St. Louis and Oklahoma? What time of year do you go?

Thanks,

Roland

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TBUTLER   

Lived in the St. Louis area all my working life.  The roads can be fine in January or they can be impassible.  Storms are pretty well forecast these days.  You can check before you start out, look at the weekly forecast on the Weather Channel to see what will be affecting the various routes you are considering.  Make your choice based on the weather.  If you encounter bad weather, you can either change your route to avoid the worst weather as you travel or you can find a campground and sit it out until the storm passes. 

We are very fortunate that the US has the robust road system that it does.  That and the generally competent road department personnel and first class snow clearing and road treatment equipment ensures that you shouldn't be delayed more than a few days if caught in a storm. 

Several things to watch out for in winter driving.  Fog will obscure the roadway and the traffic ahead.  Especially in a large vehicle, you need to be very cautious about traveling in fog.  It usually doesn't last through the day so you can wait for the fog to lift before going on.  I would be very cautious about traveling in fog that restricts your view. 

Fog can also freeze on roadways, particularly on bridges and overpasses.  This can make an invisible sheet of ice which will put you in a spin in a second.  If temperatures are near freezing be very aware of the road conditions and watch for black ice (which you really can't see).  Even when the air is clear and temperatures are above freezing, the bridge surface may still be cold and may have a coating of ice.

If you travel more northern roads, the above may be something to consider.  Again, these kinds of things can be pretty well forecast and taking a northern route may turn out to be very interesting.  If not in the winter, perhaps in the spring on your return when cooler temperatures may be desirable.

We always try to travel with options for delay.  It is best not to get into a situation where you feel you have to be somewhere on a certain time.  If that is the case, plan to leave early.  If the trip goes smoothly, you can enjoy some of the roadside attractions along the way.  The National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, the Will Rogers Memorial and Museum in Claremore, OK, the American Quarter Horse Association Museum in Amarillo, TX, are all right along I-44 and I-40.  Each of these is worth a day if they interest you.  All have sufficient parking for RV's.

I can give you a number of "on the way" attractions in the St. Louis area or in other locations if  you are interested.  What matters most here is to know what your interests are, what do you want to see?

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rfsod48   

Tom,

You bring up my main concern, snow and ice. That is why we have always gone further south thru Memphis to Dallas and then over. This way we have been lucky and not encountered bad weather except for Texas winds. It adds up to being 200-300 miles further but we don’t travel in a hurry. As I said we plan to go to big bend on the way home in late March. I was just trying to see others experience when going at this time of year.

Thanks,

Roland

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X-2 on tbutler's comments.

With the all the weather apps you can have on a smart phone (I like the iPhone), you can avoid bad weather.  The route I previously suggested, you can turn south at Indianapolis, Effingham, St Louis, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, and Albuquerque.  Any of those southern routes will add 200-280 miles to your trip.  10 of the past 15 years I have traveled the route between Dec 26-Jan 1st.  Only once did I have to turn south and that was at Amarillo due to an ice storm in New Mexico.  One time the whole trip was 11-14 degrees until Flagstaff where it was 32 and then became higher as we traveled south on I-17.

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rfsod48   

Ross,

Do you travel using bottled water instead of on board fresh tank? Are there campgrounds open along this route? My wife is disabled so we don’t boondock or stop at Walmart overnight.

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Yes, we use gallon milk jugs to flush and bottles to drink. I have heated bays using the gas furnace. Camp grounds are open. We have three preferred sites that we use. Ozark, MO behind LAMBERT’S Home of Throwed Rolls Resturant. Sayre, OK at their city park. Sky City Casino. There are others that have used that I could recommend if you send a PM to me to answer. 

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Roland,

I used that southbound route a week before Christmas in 2014.  Actually picked it up in Columbus since I lived in Pittsburgh.  Snow and ice started in Ohio and didn't let up until after Memphis.  Fortunately I was in my truck and towing the Harley on a trailer and not driving the coach.  Return trip was the same.

Suggestion,  once in Texarkana, you might consider dropping down south on hwy 59 through Houston then on to Phoenix via I-10.

Blake

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manholt   

X2 !  I-40 or I-30 can easily become a nightmare that time of year...we don't get many inches of snow in Texas, but we do get white outs a lot and on I-30/20 we make up for the lack of snow by having ICE RAIN...nasty stuff !  Going thru Texas is 50% of your journey! :) 

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rfsod48   

 

We have been fortunate for the past 4 years that we have had good weather except for Texas winds going down to Nashville then to Memphis. On to Texarkana, Dallas and west to El Paso, then up to Phoenix. Ross has given me the route they use from Indiana and it would also work for me but as he told me daily monitoring of the weather is a must, greater risk of cold weather. Fortunately we have the luxury of time and can sit out bad weather. If we need to we can always go south at Memphis and come across 10, but have heard that this way has poorer quality roads.

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On 10/8/2017 at 8:15 PM, rfsod48 said:

Tom,

You bring up my main concern, snow and ice. That is why we have always gone further south thru Memphis to Dallas and then over. This way we have been lucky and not encountered bad weather except for Texas winds. It adds up to being 200-300 miles further but we don’t travel in a hurry. As I said we plan to go to big bend on the way home in late March. I was just trying to see others experience when going at this time of year.

Thanks,

Roland

I would recommend Big Bend in January instead of late March.  Not sure you can change your plans for AZ though. 

Late March in BB is starting to get warm.  You could have nice days with highs around 80-84 degrees or it could be close to 100*

January is usually nice, but not always.  Most days along the Rio Grande (Rio Grande Village (RGV) CG) are bright and sunny with highs in the 60's & low 70's and lows near freezing.  There are lots of snowbirds in the park so make reservations.  If a winter storm comes though you may get a little rain and high temps in the 30's.  After the storm comes through and you have a clear night with no wind, I may drop below freezing for a few hours.  At RGV you almost never see a day time high below freezing. 

Temps in the 60's or even 50's with little wind and bright sun makes for great sightseeing by auto, short or long hikes as well. 

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15 hours ago, rfsod48 said:

Probably better to park in Lajitas and drive Jeep to Presidio?

The steep grade is a 14% 1/2 mile grade, up and about the same down the other side.   The width of the road is the normal width of highways. 

Should you take your RV?  It all depends on how you feel about the short steep incline.  There is a nice pulloff at the top with great views. 

I don't remember there being much in Presidio to see.  However a stop at Fort Leaton Sate Historic Site some several miles east of Presidio is well worth while.

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wolfe10   

Yup, we did that drive in our 1993 Foretravel many years ago.  No problem at all. With the Allison 6 speed/Caterpillar diesel: second gear, torque converter locked going both up and back down (exhaust brake on). 

But in a heavy gas coach, the torque converter/transmission will not appreciate that grade. And curve at the bottom means no "running start".

If you do take the coach, strongly suggest on that stretch driving the toad separately.

Totally agree it IS a beautiful drive.

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manholt   

This time last year, we where at Maverick RV park, Lajitas.  Since they shut down the crossing to Lajitas, Mexico, we now use Presidio, Mexico for it's restaurants and shopping!  We go by Jeep.  We also like to stop by Big Bend State Park (Not to confuse with Big Bend National Park) on the way back to Lajitas.  We do take the coach and toad thru BB National Park on the way home...short drive in miles, long in time...speed limit is 45mph!  All areas of that part of Texas is beautiful to me and Linda and if you play golf, Black Jacks in Lajitas is among the 10 best and scenic in Texas!

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