We also avoid CA due to fuel costs and road conditions and the 55 MPH speed limit with a trailer. We also like to avoid Salt Lake City due to traffic and road conditions. We migrate from Morristown AZ (about 60 mi. NW of Phoenix) to Seattle each spring. This will be our 5th return trip so we've had 5 trips south and 4 trips north to explore. Done the I5 route once N and once S, never again. Rather go to the dentist and get a root canal than drive I5.
We like the desolate 2 lanes and our favorite is I93 N to NV 318 to US6. Then US6 to Ely and US50. Then US50 to Austin. There are some climbs to make on 50, and the run thru Austin is twisty, and good brakes are required, but nothing extreme and the scenery is worth it. The run from Ely to Austin is about 120 mi., and services are scarce.
We've made this run North twice and it is very beautiful this time of year. Anything that grows in the desert is in bloom, and colorful.
We continue N out of Austin on NV305 which is the most remote road I've ever seen, WAY more desolate than US50. 120 miles with a nice rest stop at 60 mi. Again, the desert is in bloom, and quite scenic. We enjoy seeing less than 25 cars in 120 mi. Then 80 to Winnemucca, 95 and 78 to Burns OR. Then 395 thru central OR (possible the most scenic drive I've ever been on including the very nice town called John Day) to Pendleton and over the Columbia at Umatilla. Then 82 and 90 to home. Many stretches of over 80 mi without services, but NO traffic. Great places to stop. About 1400 mi from Morristown AZ to Kent WA.
We also like I95 out of Las Vegas to Tonopah, NV 376 to US50 to Austin, 305 to I80 and Winnemucca. then north as above. NV376 is desolate, 120 miles without 1 rest stop at 60 mi. Nothing but straight, perfectly smooth blacktop.
We've avoided Lost Wages Northbound by going to Pahrump on 160 and then 95 thru Beatty to Tonopah and then NV376 N to 50 and into Austin, also nice. Then north via 305 etc. as above. Beatty is a great place to stop and explore.
Be aware the Silver State Classic Challenge runs on NV318 and occurs on May 15-18 and closures on NV318 will occur. 375 to 6 then Tonopah is a good detour.
A more travelled route, but still off the highways from Tucson to Seattle is I10 to US60 to I93 all the way to Twin Falls, then I84 to I82 to Yakima and then 90 into Seattle. This is also a very nice drive with great places to stop and less desolation. Twin Falls has great RV facilities.
We've also taken I84 to I15 southbound and this is a good freeway option.
We're taking the long way via Show Low and Moab, then 50 into Ely and north via 305-80-95-78-395-84-82-90 to Seattle as above. May 6-11. WA plate, 2013 Black F350, Arctic Fox Pickup Camper, enclosed black utility trailer. Say Hi if you like.
Erich Weinberg and Kathryn Whiting
Five Star DEF