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Old 10-23-2012, 08:56 AM
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We are driving from Oakdale, MN to Tempe AZ any way to avoid the mountain drive? What is the best route to take? Thanks!
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:06 AM
Location: Minnesota
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How about I-35 south to Dallas/Ft. Worth, west on I-20 to I-10 and into Tempe? West Texas and New Mexico are desolate but beautiful drives.
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:26 PM
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This is what I have driven (through the "storm of the century" and only the Minnesotans were on the road):

Mpls., to Oklahoma, to Amerillo TX, to Albuquerque, to Flasgstaff and down through Phoenix.
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Old 10-26-2012, 11:05 AM
Location: Minneeeesoootah
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We just made this trip in August, we drove I -35 down to Oklahoma and caught the 40 to AZ. You'll hit the Kansas turnpike which is a toll road, it's long and boring, and the only gas stations are in the median, which cost more, so fuel up before you hit the toll road.
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:04 PM
Location: M I N N E S O T A
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Minneapolis - Oklahoma City - Take 40 west to Albuquerque - take 25 south to Las Cruces - than take 10 west into Phoenix.
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Old 10-28-2012, 07:23 PM
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The most common route from Oakdale-to-Tempe route is I-35 to Oklahoma City then I-40 to Flagstaff, the head south on the I-17 for 144 miles to Phoenix, then go east on the I-10 for ten miles. The Tempe exits include: Broadway Ave, Southern Ave, US 60 Superstition Freeway, Baseline Rd., Elliot Rd, Warner Rd, Ray Rd, Chandler Bivd. I like that drive however the mountains become an issue just west of Albuquerque where even during my travels in October and late April I have had to deal with winter weather in Grants, NM, Gallup, NM and Flagstaff. In fact one year, in late April, we stopped for the night in Gallup, NM which is only 16 miles from the AZ/NM state line on I-40 the temperature was in the teens and it was lightly snowing as we were driving west. The drive from Flagstaff to Phoenix on I-17 (Black Canyon Freeway is Georgious however even in Fall and Spring, I don't take off my winter coat until I stop in Anthem which is 34-miles north of Downtown Phoenix; this is due to high elevation

One year we stopped in Dallas- Fort Worth to visit family on our way from Phoenix-to-Minneapolis, so I took the I-10 through Tucson, Las Crusces, NM, El Paso, TX to I-20 east to Dallas then I-35 north to Burnsville MN and the 35W/35E split just like the split I-35 split in Denton, TX That route is about 200-300 miles further than driving I-35 to I-40 to I-17 to I-10, but it is a southern route at lower elevations meanning less liklihood of winter driving. The drive on I-10 through Arizona, New Mexico and west Texas from El Paso through Van Horn, TX to I-20 is very pretty,but the rest the trip to Dallas is pretty flat through Midland Odessa and Abilene.

Another good way to take is I-35 south from the Twin Cities to Wichita, KS then take US Highway 54 west to Tucamcari, NM where you will join-up with I-40 west. That is a flat route which also reduces time by not having to travel through Oklahoma City and Amarillo, TX, however last November we were shaking our heads as I had to turn on the windshield wipers between Liberal, Kansas and Guymon, Oklahoma while driving on US 54 during a light snowstorm all while the Twin Cities were warmer than the southern plains that day.

My travels on I-25 south from Albuquerque to Las Cruses, NM have been fewer than on other routes, but I have liked it each time I have taken that route. It is not as heavily traveled, a flat route which parallels the Rio Grande River all the way to I-10 in Las Cruses, NM. Also the route west on I-10 from Las Cruses, NM through Demming, NM, Benson, AZ, Tucson, AZ, Casa Grande, AZ, Phoenix, AZ in fact really almost to L.A. and Santa Monica, CA has fewer and more gradual elevation changes along with a more southern route meanning less liklihood of winter driving.

One year driving north on I-25 between Albuquerque, NM and Denver, CO we encountered dense fog in the mountains between Raton, New Mexico along the NM/CO state line all the way through Colorado Springs until Denver;that was in April or May. Without the fog, or snow in some instances, that is a beautiful drive.

On the flip side, I have made these same trips in December and January sometimes and have had no issues with the weather at all. One year I was going from Minnesota to Arizona in June and was driving through some horrible severe thunderstorms with tornadic activity somewhere in the listening area of the radio station I had on between Elk City, Oklahoma and Amarillo, Texas along I-40 heading west. On that same trip in June, I had to put on a heavy sweatshirt on when I stopped in Santa Rosa, New Mexico in Gallup, NM and again in Flagstaff, AZ. It is interesting driving from Phoenix-to- Flagstaff (which is at 7,000 ft elevation) when the signs on I-17 tell you to turn off your air-conditioning so you'll be able to climb the steep grade all while the temperature outside is already closing in on 110 degree's.

Last edited by mn55110; 10-28-2012 at 07:39 PM..
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Old 10-28-2012, 08:21 PM
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I drove down there once. I took Interstate 35 to Des Moines. Then I followed Interstate 80 to Colorado, and took 76 into Denver. I went south on 25 to Albuquerque, and then 40 into Flagstaff. Interstate 17 goes from there to Phoenix. I had to drive through some Mountainous areas, but you have to anyways to get there.
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Old 10-31-2012, 11:30 AM
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The least mountainous route, though longer, is to go south to Dallas and then west on I-10. There's a bit of mountains after you enter Arizona, but a lot less than the northern route across I-40 and south on I-17 at Flagstaff.
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Old 10-31-2012, 11:39 AM
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bgray9 is right on the route if you want to minimize mountain impact

I guess the different question would be, why?

It's really not that bad - probably the worst of it is coming down from Flagstaff ..... the only thing I would keep in mind is storm potential, but there are ways to work around it if you follow a forecast ......... I was coming back from Albuquerque to Phoenix a couple winters ago and there was a big storm coming through the north of the state ...... made the decision to avoid flagstaff and run a combination of 60/260 across NM and AZ in to Payson and then on down - glad I did as they had to close the freeways near flagstaff due to the snow ..... just going that little bit south we missed the entire storm until Payson where we had rain all the way into Phoenix
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