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Old 04-07-2013, 10:12 PM   #1
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Travel San Diego to Iowa

Best way to travel from San Diego to Iowa class A MH pulling dingy.,going to Phoenix up mountain to flagstaff? Or up freeway 15 Thru cajon pass to 40 to flagstaff. Also concerned gas stations for RVs. One more thing toll rd in Kansas can RVs go thru auto toll booths. Hope this not to much
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:03 PM   #2
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If it were me I'd take I-8 to I-10 to Phoenix then up to Flagstaff. As for the toll road booths in Kansas I don't know.
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:20 PM   #3
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For your first leg of the trip (San Diego to I-40 in AZ and NM) I suggest I-15 (I actually prefer I-215 north of Temecula) thru the Cajon Pass on to I-40 for a pretty easy drive.

The I-8 then North to Phoenix on I-10 and on to Flagstaff on I-17 is a very pretty drive (especially along the I-17 section)...but remember that Phoenix is a big city with big city traffic during the commute hours.

There are LOTS of fuel/service stations along both routes.

Sorry, I don't have any RV driving experience to share for the rest of the route to Iowa.

Best of luck
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Old 04-08-2013, 01:02 PM   #4
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Best way to travel from San Diego to Iowa class A MH pulling dingy.,going to Phoenix up mountain to flagstaff? Or up freeway 15 Thru cajon pass to 40 to flagstaff. Also concerned gas stations for RVs. One more thing toll rd in Kansas can RVs go thru auto toll booths. Hope this not to much
The best way, meaning shortest, is via I-15 up through LV and St. George UT, Pick up the 70 to Denver, 76 to Ft. Morgan, then I-80 into Iowa. No tolls and shorter than going through Kansas, and it's interstate all the way.

You will, on I-70, have to go through the Eisenhower/Johnson tunnel west of Denver. No big deal, but some people do not like tunnels.

There is no issue for gas along any of the possible routes, really, and it depends more on what type of scenery you prefer and when during the year you intend to travel. If you are going during snow season, you might want to stay south longer. I have done that several times over the years not wanting to buck the snowfall in the Rockies.

If you take I-40 you can cut across the panhandles by taking US-54 out of Tucumcari, NM through Liberal, KS, picking up the Interstates again in Wichita. A lot of it is boring 2-lane going that way, but I never ran into any traffic to speak of. If you are going to drive that section at night, it would be a good idea to fill up in Tucumcari as 24-hr fuel stations will be harder to find off the interstate. I kinda like that route as it makes short work of both TX and OK and there is a good New Mexican food spot I like to stop at out near the NM/TX border.

Main consideration is weather, meaning snow, and traffic. I-15 really jams up on the Northbound side in between the Inland Empire and Las Vegas on Fridays and especially towards the start of holiday weeks. Sundays are the exact opposite for the Southbound side. I avoid that stretch of road whenever possible if traveling during the weekender rush. One more thing if you head north on the 15 out of San Diego. If the map software tells you to take the 215 cutoff towards San Bernardino, don't do it. Just stay on the 15 and loop around through Corona. The 215 is often jammed up with traffic, is only 4 lanes most of the way, and it slows down a lot. The 15/215 join up again below Cajon Pass and I always have better luck staying on the 15 when traveling back and forth to San Diego.
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Old 04-08-2013, 01:33 PM   #5
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Would like to know best route from San Diego.Cal. To Iowa. Do not like mountains like Denver area. Lower southern route or Norther route interstate 80 or 90.
I have driven a truck and heavy flatbed on the east bound I-70 thru Denver and would agree that the southern route would be better if you don't like mountains. Going all the way up to I-80 is no better because you're still going through the Rockies in Utah.

Best of luck
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Old 04-08-2013, 02:27 PM   #6
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Best way to travel from San Diego to Iowa class A MH pulling dingy.,going to Phoenix up mountain to flagstaff? Or up freeway 15 Thru cajon pass to 40 to flagstaff. Also concerned gas stations for RVs. One more thing toll rd in Kansas can RVs go thru auto toll booths. Hope this not to much
I recommend I8 to I10 to Phoenix. Thence up Hwy 87 through Payson and 260, past Heber to 277 (about 5 miles). Keep on 277 to 377 to I40 at Holbrook.

Take I40 to West OKC to I44. Loop around the city and pickup I35. Now go north to Wichita and your choice of routes to Iowa. I Have taken this general route annually for 40 years. It has proven to be the best (shortest, also). No mountains to speak of.

If you have questions, let me know.
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Old 04-08-2013, 03:15 PM   #7
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That is a beautiful route, through Payson and Christopher Creek, but you are in the White Mountains and the Mogollon Rim going that way. I got snowed in there once. Check the weather during wintertime.
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Old 04-08-2013, 03:45 PM   #8
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I have traveled San Diego to Wisconsin every spring for the past 9 years.

I have taken several routes. Here are my comments and milage for three routes from Santee to Iowa city.

Easiest driving all freeway route: (easy driving ... 3 significant grades to pull .... scenic= blaaah) Mileage 1903
I-15 from San Diego to Salt Lake City, UT
I-80 east from Salt Lake City to Iowa City, IA

Most Scenic freeway route: (scenic - great ... higher elevation ... more grades ...) Mileage 1861
I-15 from San Diego to middle of UT
I-70 east to Denver
I-76 northeast to Julesburg, CO
I-80 East to Iowa City, IA

Most two lane roads: Mileage 1906
I-8 to Gila Bend
AZ-85 north to I-10
I-17 north
I-40 East to Tucumcari, NM
US-54 ENE to Wichita
I-35 to Des Moines
I-80 East

As you can see there is a mere 50 miles difference in length of the route.

I think everyone should travel the I-70 route at least once in their life ... it is quite spectacular ... be prepared for some long uphill pulls and long downgrades which require you to keep your rig under control. I have gone that way three or four times. There is a very scenic rest area on eastbound I-70 just after the crest of Vail Pass ... make sure you stop there.

I now take the northern route through the corner of UT and across the lower part of WY. The drive that way is much easier but about as exciting as eating day old oat meal




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