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Old 01-19-2015, 10:27 AM   #1
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Headed to Tucson from Oklahoma

Woohooo, our first winter excursion after years and years of RVing. Leaving in two weeks, and have reservations in Tucson for a month. Everything else is " flexible".

Thinking about getting as far south ( warmer) as fast as we can, hence take southern route Dallas to El Paso. I-40 to Flagstaff can get blizzards this time of year.

But that is why am posting..........please share your thoughts and experiences. Things to do, routes to take, " don't miss this" - "you must eat at". And maybe some things to be aware of and avoid.

Thanks in advance for sharing. So many wonder people with boat loads of good information is why I read this site so often
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Old 01-19-2015, 11:12 AM   #2
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If I was making your trip I would take I20 out of Dallas and exit I20 at Pecos and go north on US285. Reason is so I could go to Carlsbad Caverns. For me that is the most must see place on your entire trip. Tour inside caverns takes us at least 1/2 day. Departing caverns take US62/180 to El Paso. Along this route you will pass Guadalupe National Park which probably could be used as overnight if needed. From the highway you will see the highest peak in Texas, the Guadalupe Pk. at 8749'. No that's no impressive other than you are driving across Chihuahuan desert.

If not going to caverns, I would still exit at Pecos to pick up couple dozen tamales at the La Nortena Tortilla Factory, 211 E 3rd St, Pecos, TX.
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Old 01-19-2015, 11:15 AM   #3
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Carlsbad Caverns if you have never been there. 180 between Carlsbad and El Paso is pretty good. Guadalupe Pass on 180 between El Paso and Carlsbad is a 6-7% grade for about 4 miles but well maintained. If you come that way, stop at May's Cafe in Cornudas for a burger.

You didn't say where in Oklahoma you are starting from. I would stay away from Dallas because of the traffic, but I don't like driving in big cities. I would take I 44 to Wichita Falls then US 277 to Abilene unless coming from the southeast corner around Ardmore. Mostly 3 lane or 4 lane and there are bypasses around all of the little towns except Anson. 180 west from Anson (5 blocks south of the courthouse) will go to El Paso or I 20 is a few miles south.

For 0soks suggestion, the only campground in Guadalupe is Pine Springs which is a parking lot behind the visitor's center at the top of the pass.
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Old 01-19-2015, 11:39 AM   #4
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Carlsbad Caverns if you have never been there. 180 between Carlsbad and El Paso is pretty good. Guadalupe Pass on 180 between El Paso and Carlsbad is a 6-7% grade for about 4 miles but well maintained. If you come that way, stop at May's Cafe in Cornudas for a burger.

You didn't say where in Oklahoma you are starting from. I would stay away from Dallas because of the traffic, but I don't like driving in big cities. I would take I 44 to Wichita Falls then US 277 to Abilene unless coming from the southeast corner around Ardmore. Mostly 3 lane or 4 lane and there are bypasses around all of the little towns except Anson. 180 west from Anson (5 blocks south of the courthouse) will go to El Paso or I 20 is a few miles south.
Frizzen, has an excellent suggested route. I was wrong about going through Dallas if driving I35. As you probably know I35 splits just S of Denton and you would take I35W towards Ft. Worth to get to I20. This route is only if not taking Frizzen's route. If taking I35W you will pass a very big Cabela's at Highway 170 & I35. Worth a rest stop if only to spend an hour looking at all the mounts on display. Very easy exit and super big parking lot, puts a wal-mart lot to shame.
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Old 01-19-2015, 12:25 PM   #5
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At this time of year Tucson will be your main attraction. Carlsbad Caverns is excellent if you want to make that stop.


50 miles east of Tucson is the Benson, AZ area. You could do some of these things from Tucson as a long day trip but it might be worthwhile just stopping in Benson for 3-4 days.


If you're not a member of Escapees RV Club called Saguaro you can stay at their park for $50/week to check it out. It's a beauty. There are many other parks in the area including Kartchner Caverns State Park and their campground is very nice. The Cavern tour is good, too. It's altogether different from Carlsbad in that Kartchner is a living cave and still growing.


Other things to do in the Benson area are Tombstone - Old West hokey and more festive on a weekend; Bisbee which is built on a hillside and very unique - the underground mine tour is informative and given by ex-miners - highly recommended; Sierra Vista has nice shopping and beautiful birding canyons to explore; Chirichuha Nat'l Monument is fabulous with mountain spires and great hiking.


Have a great stay in Tucson where you'll find many fun things to do - the Desert Museum, Saguaro Nat'l Park for hiking along with Tucson Mtn. Park and Sabino Canyon.
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Old 01-19-2015, 12:44 PM   #6
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The International Gem Show is in Tucson in February if you're into gems, minerals and fossils. No shortage of good eating places in town. The Hotel Congress (where the Dillinger gang was captured) is interesting. The art museum downtown is good. Lots of quirky shopping on 4th Ave- ride the new streetcar to get around town. Maybe catch a football game at the UofA (Go Wildcats). A trip up Mount Lemmon in the towed (don't try in the RV) is cool. 90 miles south of Tucson is the Nogales,MX border crossing. Park the car on the US side and walk across for a fun day. On Thursdays there is a free paper called The Weekly that's distributed around town. It has tons of notices for activities during the week and ads for shops and restaurants. Second the suggestion for Tombstone but after the gunfight at OK Corral you should head for Bisbee and do the mine tour. There's a nice little RV park at the mine if you want to spend a night, Cafť Roka in Bisbee is our favorite restaurant in Arizona and breakfast at Bisbee Breakfast Club is mandatory. Along the street there are some cool old shops with vintage cars and motorcycles. If you're not staying in a park long term you might try Catalina State Park. Stay is limited to 14 days and it gets booked but it is a gem.

Temps are now mid/low 70's and sunny during days. Perfect time to visit.

Don't forget to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated
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Old 01-19-2015, 02:29 PM   #7
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I am surprised no one mentioned White sands national park. I was told there is only one other place like it in the world.
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Old 01-19-2015, 02:39 PM   #8
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Okla to Tucson

I would travel I-35 South to Denton and then I35W to Fort Worth,Take Loop I820 West to I-30 West. I -30 West will merge with I-20 in far West Fort Worth.
Cowtown RV park is on the East bound Frontage Rd, near Willow Park Texas.

Here is a useful link I use for overnight Rest areas and Fuel Stops.
http://www.findfuelstops.com/truck-stop-interstate

A place to eat near El Paso

Cattle Manís Steakhouse at Indian Cliffs Ranch (915-544-3200)
Open M-F 5PM to10. Sat 12:30 PM Ė 10PM, Sun 12:30 PM Ė (PM
The exit is 35 Miles East of El Paso at the Fabens Exit 49 and go 5 miles North in the desert.
RVís are allowed to stay overnight in their parking lot.

Cattleman's Steakhouse at Indian Cliffs Ranch near El Paso, Texas
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Old 01-19-2015, 05:24 PM   #9
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Cattlemen's is good if you don't mind paying for it. Just went there once a long time ago. The road up to it has a few potholes for your entertainment.

If you like Italian, Montelongo's in downtown El Paso is good, even if it is supposedly haunted. It's on Gateway west, get off at Cotton street.

If you come into El Paso on 180 there is a Wal Mart than can take a motor home at the pumps about a quarter mile east of the Joe Battle loop. Its usually one of the cheapest places for diesel. $2.58 right now.
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Old 01-19-2015, 07:12 PM   #10
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How can I bypass El Paso and pick Up I-10 West without adding a lot of miles? I am planning a trip to the San Diego in April.
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Old 01-19-2015, 08:06 PM   #11
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While in Tucson, we visit the DeGrazia Gallery, 6300 N. Swan. Different and most interesting art, grounds and life story. Wonderful!


From just west of Tucson on I-10, I-8 branches west directly to San Diego. Good meal stop in Gila Bend with a space age theme. Sorry, I forgot the name but its in the center of town on the business route. We usually stop in the Yuma area on the trip from Tucson to San Diego.
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Old 01-19-2015, 08:17 PM   #12
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How can I bypass El Paso and pick Up I-10 West without adding a lot of miles? I am planning a trip to the San Diego in April.

Take 180 west to Carlsbad. North to Artesia then 82 west to to Alamogordo and 70 to Las Cruces. That will bypass El Paso but probably isn't as fast as taking I20 and I 10 all the way.


If you just don't want to drive through downtown take exit 35, Joe Battle, and follow the loop around the east side. It will take you to 54 in the north east. Go north and get off at Martin Luther King and go north about 8 miles to a roundabout. Take NM 404 to I 10 2 miles into New Mexico.
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Old 01-20-2015, 10:41 AM   #13
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El Paso really isn't bad if you do it like you would other big cities - between 9 & 3 and preferably on Sunday morning. We recently did it and it was a breeze.
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Old 01-20-2015, 05:16 PM   #14
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I live in Tucson! Send me a PM if you are interested in meeting up. I have been here all my life and know the area well and love to show it off.
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