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Old 08-04-2016, 11:00 AM
 
2,973 posts, read 1,354,134 times
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We'll be driving from San Diego to Santa Fe in late September. We will most likely be driving on a Thursday We initially were thinking of driving to Phoenix then spending the night then going on from there. But, now we're considering pushing a little farther past Phoenix and spending the night somewhere so that our trip the second day is shorter.

Our choices are to go up through Payson, stay there, and connect to 40 at Holbrook OR go to Flagstaff and go on 40 from there. (We don't want to do the southern 10 route).

This is a vacation, so we would like to take the more scenic route and see parts of Arizona we haven't seen before (We've been to Flagstaff and Sedona a number of times).

Question: How is the road to Payson? Is it a freeway or more of a slow mountain road? We may hit that stretch of road late in the day after a full day of driving, would this be a problem? Any reasons not to go that way? Will it take us a lot longer to get to Santa Fe the next day going that route vs. through Flagstaff?

Any interesting stops or things to see that would be quick stops on the Payson to Holbrook stretch?

On the way back we will probably take the opposite route, but we probably will prefer going through Flagstaff on the way home, since we'll be vacationed out at that point. Could do the same route both ways of course, if it will be easier and faster.

Thanks in advance to anyone who may respond!
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Old 08-04-2016, 11:12 AM
 
1,145 posts, read 709,059 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RosieSD View Post
We'll be driving from San Diego to Santa Fe in late September. We will most likely be driving on a Thursday We initially were thinking of driving to Phoenix then spending the night then going on from there. But, now we're considering pushing a little farther past Phoenix and spending the night somewhere so that our trip the second day is shorter.

Our choices are to go up through Payson, stay there, and connect to 40 at Holbrook OR go to Flagstaff and go on 40 from there. (We don't want to do the southern 10 route).

This is a vacation, so we would like to take the more scenic route and see parts of Arizona we haven't seen before (We've been to Flagstaff and Sedona a number of times).

Question: How is the road to Payson? Is it a freeway or more of a slow mountain road? We may hit that stretch of road late in the day after a full day of driving, would this be a problem? Any reasons not to go that way? Will it take us a lot longer to get to Santa Fe the next day going that route vs. through Flagstaff
Going through Payson is a a little faster. It's not a freeway, and the risk is that an accident can completely close those roads for hours. I once sat in stopped traffic just south of Payson for a couple of hours.

Might as well take two different routes. There's not a big difference in the time either way.
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Old 08-04-2016, 03:09 PM
 
Location: In a State of Chaos
5,898 posts, read 4,982,304 times
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Why not go through Tucson and then up through NM on (I think) the I 25?

Driving through the mountains is long and tedious. DO NOT take the 191 through Alpine, it is six hours of 15 mph hairpin turns.

The 68 from Phoenix through Globe to Holbrook is a nice route, and the drive through the Salt River canyon is pretty spectacular. That might be the best route.
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Old 08-04-2016, 05:05 PM
 
Location: A to the Z
3,635 posts, read 1,943,844 times
Reputation: 2177
Quote:
Originally Posted by RosieSD View Post
We'll be driving from San Diego to Santa Fe in late September. We will most likely be driving on a Thursday We initially were thinking of driving to Phoenix then spending the night then going on from there. But, now we're considering pushing a little farther past Phoenix and spending the night somewhere so that our trip the second day is shorter.

Our choices are to go up through Payson, stay there, and connect to 40 at Holbrook OR go to Flagstaff and go on 40 from there. (We don't want to do the southern 10 route).

This is a vacation, so we would like to take the more scenic route and see parts of Arizona we haven't seen before (We've been to Flagstaff and Sedona a number of times).

Question: How is the road to Payson? Is it a freeway or more of a slow mountain road? We may hit that stretch of road late in the day after a full day of driving, would this be a problem? Any reasons not to go that way? Will it take us a lot longer to get to Santa Fe the next day going that route vs. through Flagstaff?

Any interesting stops or things to see that would be quick stops on the Payson to Holbrook stretch?

On the way back we will probably take the opposite route, but we probably will prefer going through Flagstaff on the way home, since we'll be vacationed out at that point. Could do the same route both ways of course, if it will be easier and faster.

Thanks in advance to anyone who may respond!
I am going to Santa Fe in less than two weeks from Phoenix and I will most likely be driving through Payson until Holbrook and then going over. I think this drive is scenic especially as you climb up the Rim. The I-40 near Holbrook supposedly has some good views to the north on the Rez.

The I-17 is cool but I don't recommend if you are looking for the fastest route. It's one of the more scenic ones but the I-17 is rather messy with traffic. I believe the leaves will start falling during the time you are going, which may lead to Phoenicians clogging up the I-17 for fall Sedona pictures.
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Old 08-04-2016, 05:07 PM
 
Location: A to the Z
3,635 posts, read 1,943,844 times
Reputation: 2177
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamies View Post
Why not go through Tucson and then up through NM on (I think) the I 25?

Driving through the mountains is long and tedious. DO NOT take the 191 through Alpine, it is six hours of 15 mph hairpin turns.

The 68 from Phoenix through Globe to Holbrook is a nice route, and the drive through the Salt River canyon is pretty spectacular. That might be the best route.
It's an extra two hours to do this route. Ironically, taking this route from Tucson is the exact same time amount spent from Phoenix to take the I-17 to the I-40. So the extra length of time is spent on the Phoenix-Tucson segment. I'm not sure if this is a more scenic route though than going by the Rim or near Greer however. Las Cruces is pretty on its own but as a whole I'm not sure.
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Old 08-04-2016, 11:05 PM
 
2,973 posts, read 1,354,134 times
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Thanks everyone for your advice. I read your replies to my husband and, after talking it over, we will probably push through to Payson the first night after leaving San Diego, and then follow the route to Holbook and across to Albq. and Santa Fe the next day. I so appreciate hearing from you about the roads and driving conditions. Thanks again!
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Old 08-04-2016, 11:29 PM
 
1,268 posts, read 1,464,308 times
Reputation: 2478
Quote:
Originally Posted by RosieSD View Post
We'll be driving from San Diego to Santa Fe in late September. We will most likely be driving on a Thursday We initially were thinking of driving to Phoenix then spending the night then going on from there. But, now we're considering pushing a little farther past Phoenix and spending the night somewhere so that our trip the second day is shorter.

Our choices are to go up through Payson, stay there, and connect to 40 at Holbrook OR go to Flagstaff and go on 40 from there. (We don't want to do the southern 10 route).

This is a vacation, so we would like to take the more scenic route and see parts of Arizona we haven't seen before (We've been to Flagstaff and Sedona a number of times).

Question: How is the road to Payson? Is it a freeway or more of a slow mountain road? We may hit that stretch of road late in the day after a full day of driving, would this be a problem? Any reasons not to go that way? Will it take us a lot longer to get to Santa Fe the next day going that route vs. through Flagstaff?

Any interesting stops or things to see that would be quick stops on the Payson to Holbrook stretch?

On the way back we will probably take the opposite route, but we probably will prefer going through Flagstaff on the way home, since we'll be vacationed out at that point. Could do the same route both ways of course, if it will be easier and faster.

Thanks in advance to anyone who may respond!
The Beeline Highway (Hwy 87) up to Payson is two lanes in each direction from Phoenix. It is definitely is windy and does feature some pretty steep climbs, but it is well worth it. I have taken that route many times and have never experienced a backup from any accident. Your alternative, Interstate 17, can be less than enjoyable with trucks, aggressive drivers, and frequent accidents. The freeway is only two lanes in each direction once you the Phoenix area. People don't always obey the "slower traffic keep right" signs, which can result in dangerous passing, which can be unnerving even if you are just cruising in the slow lane. Using Hwy 87, you could stay in Payson, although I think Phoenix would be a better stop. You could even stay in Tempe or Mesa to be closer to Highway 87. If you take 87 to Payson, 260 to Heber-Overgaard, and 277 to 377 to Holbrook you will get to Santa Fe in about the same amount of time as if you had just taken I-17 to I-40. There is not much in the way of tourist attractions between Payson and Holbrook. It's mostly extremely rural Ponderosa Pine forests with campgrounds and a few buildings scattered about between Payson and Heber. Once you pass Heber the landscape transitions quickly from pine forests to open grassland all the way to Holbrook. It is a well-traveled route, so don't think you're going to be the only vehicle on it for miles in case something happens.
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Old 08-05-2016, 07:26 AM
 
Location: Phoenix
2,540 posts, read 3,936,923 times
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If you're not in a hurry go thru the Salt River Canyon to Show Low. Then get on US 60 heading east.

Enjoy some different scenery, Springerville, Quemado, Pie Town, Datil Wells, the VLA (Very Large Array). All too soon you'll come to Socorro and I25. From there head for Santa Fe.
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Old 08-05-2016, 04:18 PM
Status: "Finally home!" (set 20 days ago)
 
Location: Pinetop, AZ
841 posts, read 845,842 times
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new2colo and locolobo13 already have posted some great info and ideas, ones that I was going to post as well.

For sure though I hope you plan on taking I-8 east out of Sandy Eggo. Then go north from Gila Bend on SR 85 to hit I-10. Much better than driving to I-10 from SD or from Tucson. Then if you want to go through Payson, take Loop 202 to the Beeline Hwy (SR 87) north to Payson and proceed as new2colo said.

But if you do want to see more scenery, do proceed to US 60 east through Superior, Globe and then to Show Low. The Superstitions are cool, the Salt River canyon is cool, but there's also Devil's canyon between Superior and Globe. And actually, Google says for that route to continue on I-8 to Casa Grande, then cut through Florence and Florence Junction to hit the US 60 east. Goog says it's about an 8-1/2 hour drive. There's plenty of lodging and restaurants in Show Low, I think maybe more than Payson. Then from Show Low, you can further as locolobo13 suggests, or beat feet straight up SR 77 to Holbrook to I-40.

Actually, Goog suggests that latter route as about thirty minutes longer overall over Payson, though it does have you leave US 60 in Quemado. If you go that way you should go on ahead through Pie Town, NM. Be one of the few, the proud, the unknowns, to say you know where Pie Town, NM is! I was just through there about a month ago. After all, you're on vacation!
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Old 08-07-2016, 11:09 PM
 
2,973 posts, read 1,354,134 times
Reputation: 3214
Quote:
Originally Posted by new2colo View Post
The Beeline Highway (Hwy 87) up to Payson is two lanes in each direction from Phoenix. It is definitely is windy and does feature some pretty steep climbs, but it is well worth it. I have taken that route many times and have never experienced a backup from any accident. Your alternative, Interstate 17, can be less than enjoyable with trucks, aggressive drivers, and frequent accidents. The freeway is only two lanes in each direction once you the Phoenix area. People don't always obey the "slower traffic keep right" signs, which can result in dangerous passing, which can be unnerving even if you are just cruising in the slow lane. Using Hwy 87, you could stay in Payson, although I think Phoenix would be a better stop. You could even stay in Tempe or Mesa to be closer to Highway 87. If you take 87 to Payson, 260 to Heber-Overgaard, and 277 to 377 to Holbrook you will get to Santa Fe in about the same amount of time as if you had just taken I-17 to I-40. There is not much in the way of tourist attractions between Payson and Holbrook. It's mostly extremely rural Ponderosa Pine forests with campgrounds and a few buildings scattered about between Payson and Heber. Once you pass Heber the landscape transitions quickly from pine forests to open grassland all the way to Holbrook. It is a well-traveled route, so don't think you're going to be the only vehicle on it for miles in case something happens.
Thanks. We are still going back and forth about making the first day an "easy" day from San Diego and stopping in Phoenix. I hadn't thought about staying in Tempe or Mesa, and that is a good suggestion. Then we could get up early the next day and enjoy the drive through Payson to Holbrook. (We are convinced now that is the way to go!). Also, that will put us in an area with more options for dinner; if we push on to Payson, we may arrive too late for dinner. I appreciate your thoughts on this -- thanks!
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