October 30th 2021
Ok lets just forget all about the frustration and the waiting for this to actually happen, it’s time to start to roughly layout out a bit of a travel plan, for our route to Arizona this winter when the border finally opens in less that ten days. And I say roughly because there are a number of unknowns on this trip, our time to cover this distance has been reduced, we are late enough in the season for some weather delays at elevation, along with a section of new route to avoid back tracking, our driving days are going to be extended so stops will have to be found on the go instead of planned out ahead of time.
So we know where we are going, all we have to do is pick a suitable route to get us there in timely manner.
And while that may sound easy, it does take a little time and thought to pick the most suitable route to take our 40 foot coach towing our toad.
Like the route mapped out on the right here, that is actually a section of US-60 in Arizona, in actual fact this is part of the route that all three of my mapping programs picked out as our best route. We have never traveled this section of highway before but it is obvious the shortest route to our destination.
Of course besides the switchbacks, there is lots of elevation change, our destination is at 2400 feet elevation, and Albuquerque New Mexico the last large centre we pass through is at 5300 feet, and we peak out at around 7000 feet. Which brings up all the grade warnings, for most people in cars they see the grade warnings signs and just drive on, but we take a lot more interest in those signs, the usually show a truck on a hill with a percentage, and usually include a distance one can expect to enjoy that grade.
So when your as heavy as our coach, the downhill sections get my attention more than the uphill areas, but with an engine brake there is little if any need for using the brakes that can start to fade over miles of downgrades.
So once the programs pick the route, and keep in mind that one device was our RV Garmin GPS that knows how long, high, wide and heavy our coach is, so it avoids low clearance tunnels and weight restricted bridges, all of that considered the route has been picked.
That is when I start research on the route, this under normal conditions would be laying out the travel days by mileage and scouting for good overnight spots and possible points of interest in each area, and the days can be shuffled if something peeks our interest or the weather isn’t cooperating. I also would like to check out the highways for any road conditions or construction, most of that information can be found by visiting each states DOT website.
I have to admit most of this route is one we have traveled before, and because of our time constraints most of it is interstate highway, but this last section of the route will be new to us. So then I jump on to a few RV forums to ask fellow RVer’s about their experiences on the route, and on this particular route terms like scenic, switchbacks, extended grades and tunnels were very common in the descriptions, but any suggestions to avoid this route would add a hundred miles or more, and that’s not going to happen on this trip, again because of time restraints.
So all this information tells us about what to expect, where we are best to fuel up for areas with no services, the grades aren’t going to be an issue either up or down, we have lots of power for the up-hills and have a two stage engine brake for the downhills, the main concern will be weather, because at 7000 feet of elevation it will be colder and we run the risk of snowfall, and that is the one thing that could possibly change our route, I will be sure to document the trip as we head west.