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Old 02-19-2013, 07:34 AM
52 posts, read 156,262 times
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I was wondering if anyone has driven from Denver to Austin, TX? Which route did you take? I have never driven to Texas, and though I have looked at Google Maps, I know that sometimes there are better routes to take that people might know. I am driving with my family, so we will stop off in Amarillo, Tx to rest and then get back on the road. If anyone can give me some advice on which route to take that would be helpful. I do not want to get lost or end up on a back road in traffic. It is going to be a long drive already!

Thank you,
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:40 AM
Location: Aurora, CO
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Hey there - I went ahead and responded to your post in the Texas forum.

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Old 02-19-2013, 03:52 PM
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Wink Denver to Austin, TX

There is no way around it: you'll be using backroads unless willing to make long detours. Although, these are more state highways than true backroads.

I've been to all the points, although not always on the roads in-between you'll likely use. If any consolation, that from Denver to Amarillo, TX should prove the simplest part of the trip.

I have driven between Albuquerque, NM and Amarillo on I-40. There is nothing wrong with that route at all, but it represents a huge detour if aiming for Amarillo. Thus far more direct to take US 87 southeast at Raton, NM through Dalhart, TX to Dumas, TX, thence south to Amarillo.

I suppose one could drive through Oklahoma City, OK, thus remaining on interstates the entire way to Austin from Amarillo. Really? From looking at the Texas road network, it seems no one envisioned a great deal of travel between Amarillo and Austin. Were it me, from Amarillo I'd head for Abilene, TX, on I-20, via US 287 and then US 83. Abilene might make a good waypoint, if so desired. One could head south for there, but to keep it simple perhaps first drive east on I-20, and then southeast to Austin via US 183. Alternatively, Google suggests via Lubbock, TX, and that route works as well. Either way, a good portion will be via backroads.

As said, I haven't driven all those various roads, but some and many like them. Consider in part that there is no alternative, unless wishing a long and unnecessary detour. But also that these backroads can present some of the finest driving on offer in the United States. A good part of Texas may, yes, not offer the finest scenery. Although just a pleasure in itself finding oneself king of the road with little other traffic and wide open vistas in every direction.

A few caveats in doing so. Unlike within urban areas and on interstates, one will not find the level of services accustomed to in the vast spaces these backroads can traverse. For instance, while surely encountering other options in lodging (if desired) between Amarillo and Austin, Abilene almost definitely with the widest choice and most modern, if via that route. In part precisely because it does lie on an interstate. Smaller towns generally offer far less. And may not have fuel as well, or at least not open late at night. Plan this accordingly, and KNOW where your next fuel stop will be, and that it can be counted on there. Depending on the vehicle, one might make it between Amarillo and Austin on one tank of gas. But particularly out in the open nowhere, it is a good idea to maintain some reserve, so probably plan on a fuel stop somewhere in-between.

Navigation is another matter. It is rather hard to get lost on an interstate (save through the maze of some city), but easier to do so on an unaccustomed backroad, particularly if not used to such things. With that said, your probable route from Denver to Austin should be simple enough and pose no real problems. Nevertheless, be prepared with at minimum a good road atlas and some prior sense of the roads you intend to use. Beyond that much of this is paying attention and following the posted road signs. GPS, if you have it, will prove another tool that even a fool could more usually follow. But at times even they have strange ideas, so best to retain the role of lead navigator yourself and know where you wish to go, and how.

As an interstate, you'll often be on long stretches with few options in detours, but watch critical junctions closely. For instance, in example that between Dalhart and Dumas, TX. From Dalhart the road southeast is dually marked and used by both US 87 and US 385. Not quite halfway between these towns these two designations diverge, with US 385 continuing on straight, and US 87 veering sharply left to due east to Dumas. To confuse matters further, there is another road crossing your path shortly before this intersection. It is a simple thing, and both surely marked, but the kind of junction to become confused by if not paying attention, and particularly if at night. Missing the turnoff and continuing on US 385 would in the end work as well, but an unpleasant feeling if suddenly realizing you are no longer on the intended path. With the sense of navigation as a bird flies one can often just find their way at last to where intended. But those less adventurous, or unsure, are advised to make a point of remaining on the intended path.

This is a long way of saying you'll surely have a long and even at times pleasant drive. If in winter, avoid storms, and plan accordingly. It will depend on your route, but Austin lies just east of some beautiful hill country which you may pass through.

Last edited by Idunn; 02-19-2013 at 04:08 PM..
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by bluescreen73 View Post
Hey there - I went ahead and responded to your post in the Texas forum.

So did I
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