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Old 12-19-2015, 08:16 AM   #1
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Payson shortcut to Phoenix - your advice

Yah, leaving Jan 2nd for Quartzite's Big Tent Show from Iowa. Have plans to rest a few days in Fountain Hill, AZ. I'll watch the weather close and take a southerly route if needed but on the chance a friendly high pressure system blesses our trip, I'd like to stay on I-40, take the Payson shortcut that takes us right into Fountain Hills.

Used the Payson route 4 years ago in the winter and have very fond memories of the awesome vistas. I'm now a little worried to take this route with my Motorhome as I now remember the elevations changes.

Okay, here's what I got, Class A 34' 300HP Cummins, exhaust brake, with Jeep Wrangler on back.

I'd sure like to know how stressful this drive is. Will I be holding up folks behind me? Will the big rigs be blasting by us on the downhill's and making unsafe passes because I'm going 50mph?

Again, this is a fair weather only tip, I can always arrive through Tucson.

So If you've done this trip in an RV that's a little slower than most everyone else, I sure like to hear your review of the drive.

Thanks,

Robby and Donna
Iowa
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Old 12-19-2015, 08:56 AM   #2
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I have taken this trip many times but only once in my motorhome. Never again. many elevation changes. I have an old gasser and it was very taxing and slooow. You have a diesel and should have no problem. Alot depends on where you would be cutting from i-40. Winslow or Holbrook. It is beautiful country. Could be snow packed. Here is the poop on elevation changes.
http://www.mapmyride.com/us/star-val...route-14108830
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Old 12-19-2015, 08:58 AM   #3
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Not too much uphill before Fountain Hills but a long downhill once you leave Payson.
Two lane all the way.
No big rigs on that highway.
Been driving it up and down every summer in our gasser and diesel with towed for 12 years.
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Old 12-19-2015, 08:33 PM   #4
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It'll only be as stressful as you make it.

What southerly route would be your alternative? I-10? That's definitely easier if the weather is bad along the I-40 route.

So, if you're talking about I-40 to Winslow, AZ and Hwy 87 through Payson, as I'm reading the "Mountain Directory for Truckers and RVers" (a good purchase, by the way) it states:

"Just south of Payson there are two short sections of 6-7% downhills with 45 mph curves to Rye, AZ. Between Rye and Phoenix there are many 5,6,&7% grades with climbs and descents whichever way you are traveling. There is a 3 mile 7% and a 4 mi 6% and a 2 mile 7% and everything in between. From Payson southbound for about 30 miles it is four lane."

We've driven it with our 40' MH in good weather both directions with no issues.

However, I-40 is noted for hazardous winter storms between Albuquerque and Flagstaff and if I-10 is convenient for you, I'd take it. In fact, you could still come in a back way if your pick up Hwy 70 off I-10 at Lordsburg, NM and take Hwy 70 to Globe and pick up Hwy 60 into Apache Junction, AZ. You'll have a good size downhill around Superior but it's short and will be over fast! This way you'll bypass Tucson and the east Phoenix area. Good luck.
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Old 12-19-2015, 08:54 PM   #5
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I would like to add my 2 cents, I to have driven that route many times. With a 99' Discovery with a 5.9 L Cummins, and this year with a 40 ft. Beaver and 400 hp Cat. It is a beautiful drive, but it takes quite a lot of concentration, which turns into white knuckle driving. I tried a different route, in '09 because of a late start, and there was snow in the Payson, Show Low area, so I turned south at Amarillo, on 127 to 60, turned south at 70, that took us to Las Cruses, then I-10. My Discovery had frozen up before I got to Amarillo, and 30 to 40 miles south of Amarillo it thawed up, so what I'm pointing out is how far south I went to get to warmer weather. It's a nice drive smooth roads.

Dale
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Old 12-20-2015, 11:54 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies everyone, it really help me with this decision, we're going a more southerly direction and enjoy the trip.


Robby and Donna
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Old 12-20-2015, 12:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreaTOne65 View Post
I would like to add my 2 cents, I to have driven that route many times. With a 99' Discovery with a 5.9 L Cummins, and this year with a 40 ft. Beaver and 400 hp Cat. It is a beautiful drive, but it takes quite a lot of concentration, which turns into white knuckle driving. I tried a different route, in '09 because of a late start, and there was snow in the Payson, Show Low area, so I turned south at Amarillo, on 127 to 60, turned south at 70, that took us to Las Cruses, then I-10. My Discovery had frozen up before I got to Amarillo, and 30 to 40 miles south of Amarillo it thawed up, so what I'm pointing out is how far south I went to get to warmer weather. It's a nice drive smooth roads.

Dale
Hi Dale,

Thank you for your input, it really help me decide not to go the Payson rout.

I keep my coach winterized till I know for sure lines will not freeze in the event that we have any problems on the journey. We've learn to use limited business in the bathroom and when we do use the Pink stuff to chase. Bottled water for everything else. On the return trip we winterize at our last campground down south and return home as we left.

Robby and Donna
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Old 12-20-2015, 11:25 PM   #8
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Hi Robby, we have been making the trip to Mesa, since 1974. Have only missed 5 Christmas's in that time. We have driven it except those 5 times and have made that trip in 3 different cars, and 5 different Motorhomes. A 74' Tioga, an 84' Pace Arrow, a '99 Challenger, a 99' Discovery, this year in an 05' Beaver. I think we have used nearly every route you can. In May, when we started for home, (MI), I purchased a Good Sam GPS, when we pulled in the yard, it said our total miles was 2004.5 miles. I moved it over to the Beaver, and was really curious about close it would be on the way back. We took the identical routes, and when we turned to our Mesa home, the GPS read 2009 miles. Quite amazing, we used 87 out of Mesa, to Payson, Holbrook, I-40, I-44, I-70, I-55, hears where we make a change, because I dislike going around Chicago, we take Ill. 24 to I-69, to I-94 in MI.

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Old 12-21-2015, 11:32 PM   #9
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300hp Cummins

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robby W. View Post
Yah, leaving Jan 2nd for Quartzite's Big Tent Show from Iowa. Have plans to rest a few days in Fountain Hill, AZ. I'll watch the weather close and take a southerly route if needed but on the chance a friendly high pressure system blesses our trip, I'd like to stay on I-40, take the Payson shortcut that takes us right into Fountain Hills.

Used the Payson route 4 years ago in the winter and have very fond memories of the awesome vistas. I'm now a little worried to take this route with my Motorhome as I now remember the elevations changes.

Okay, here's what I got, Class A 34' 300HP Cummins, exhaust brake, with Jeep Wrangler on back.

I'd sure like to know how stressful this drive is. Will I be holding up folks behind me? Will the big rigs be blasting by us on the downhill's and making unsafe passes because I'm going 50mph?

Again, this is a fair weather only tip, I can always arrive through Tucson.

So If you've done this trip in an RV that's a little slower than most everyone else, I sure like to hear your review of the drive.

Thanks,

Robby and Donna
Iowa
We just completed this same run through Payson in 34' Palazzo with the 300 hp Cummins this afternoon. No toad, but it handled it well enough I can't imagine you having any problems. Watch your speed when signs announce a reduction, there was a Highway Patrol car strategically positioned right after every one of them today.
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Old 12-22-2015, 03:18 AM   #10
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There is no doubt that the subject route is a good one. IMO, highway 60 is even better (Show Low to Globe). I love the Salt River Canyon! I've done it in my 40' DS, without an engine brake it would probably be frightening. Assuming the weather had been good for the previous week(??) and road reports were good, I would would take that route any time of the year. Obviously, if a weather system has come thru recently or is about to, I-10 is the way to go.
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