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Old 09-16-2019, 04:32 PM   #1
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GA to AZ drive questions

We are driving in a 40 ft MH w/Jeep wrangler toad from Trenton GA to Cottonwood AZ. My question is, how is the drive on the I-40? We are on RV trip wizard & see it climbs to 7000 ft in a short distance or at least it looks like it. We drove through the mountains in Blairsville GA & that was a nightmare. Is this going to be similar to that or is it a lot easier?

Any help is much appreciated.

Thanks much
Justin n Beth
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Old 09-16-2019, 04:43 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Webeschrockn View Post
We are driving in a 40’ ft MH w/Jeep wrangler toad from Trenton GA to Cottonwood AZ. My question is, how is the drive on the I-40? We are on RV trip wizard & see it climbs to 7000 ft in a short distance or at least it looks like it. We drove through the mountains in Blairsville GA & that was a nightmare. Is this going to be similar to that or is it a lot easier?

Any help is much appreciated.

Thanks much
Justin n Beth
You will be fine but watch the weather. Most of it west of New Mexico is a 4 lane highway. Flagstaff, AZ can be pretty nasty in a snow storm.
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Old 09-16-2019, 04:48 PM   #3
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Interstates generally don't do extreme climbs, I've heard that they are limited to 7% grades. If you are worried about climbs drop down to I-20. We just traveled I-40 from Amarillo to the Arizona border and I didn't notice any major grades. But I have to admit I'm immune to that sort of worry.
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Old 09-16-2019, 04:51 PM   #4
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We haven’t been east of TN for awhile, but the drive west from Nashville to AZ Is very easy. The road surface in OK may be rough but the rest isn’t bad. As for the climb, it is very gradual, hardly noticeable. Even I17 down to Cottonwood is an decent drive.

Not sure when you’re traveling, but you can get wind in TX and NM so check the forecast. You have to stop at the Big Texan in Amarillo for a good steak and some fun.

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Old 09-16-2019, 04:57 PM   #5
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You won't have snow this time of year!

I-40 is good - gradual climbs.

To get to the Cottonwood exit you will be taking I-17 south (don't take 89A). It's in a valley so you will be coming downhill. You will have 6% grades. There is a rest area in case you want to stop and catch your breath! It's perfectly doable and is a popular route. Downshift before you start going down steep hills. Don't try to do it in the midst of a downhill. It's multi-lane so just stay in the right lane with the semi trucks if you feel anxious.

Are you staying at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood? It's very nice.

When leaving if you're heading to the Phoenix area from the Cottonwood exit you will have a steep uphill all the way to the Prescott exit. Then a steep downhill into the Phoenix area.

Your motorhome is very capable of these grades so don't worry about making it uphill!!

Have a good trip!
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Old 09-16-2019, 05:04 PM   #6
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No biggie Overall a good drive

Oklahoma roads suck Slow down, Firelake Casino outside Shawnee is 1 night free Mustang RV Park in Yukon is very nice. The OKC Memorial is worth the trip.

Amarillo, Big Texan it's a blast for non-Texans. Oasis RV on the far west side is our preference.
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Old 09-16-2019, 05:18 PM   #7
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It would help a bit to know exactly what routes you plan to take....

If you went to Blairsville via US19/129 over Blood Mtn / Vogel State Park, well, um, it’s one of the best sports car drives I’ve ever done, but no way in the world would I take any sort of large RV on that route (take US23 to Clayton then west on US76; yes it’s the long way, and the road can get a bit narrow, but that’s the way to get to Blairsville / Hiawassee from this side of ATL).

That being said, I will also say do NOT even think about taking a “larger” RV on AZ89A west of Cottonwood to Prescott Valley. West of Jerome, AZ89A reminds me of a western version US129 between Deals Gap and Chilowee at the NC/TN border on the west end of SMNP, also known as The Tail of the Dragon. Do NOT even think about taking your RV on either...

Getting back to your question, if you go west, at some point you are probably going to have to drive in the “real” mountains. And you need to learn how to drive your specific RV in the appropriate safe manner to do so; moreso how to control your downhill speed using the engine / tranny and NOT use the brakes descending grades. Use the brakes too much, and you’ll overheat them and have some serious trouble to deal with when you all of a sudden have no brakes. There are threads discussing mountain driving techniques that you may want to search for, or start a specific thread as it relates to your RV if necessary.

At the same time, if interstate mountain grades make you uncomfortable, you are not going to have much fun in the western mountain states. You may / will also run across US or State Highways in the west with grades of 9% or even 10%. In some cases, they are a lot easier to drive than some of the secondary road grades back east (like US19/129 ) as it seems that they are not as tight, and much more suitable to driving a “larger” RV, but of course that’s not always the case either, and drop offs can be breath taking (or nauseating). But, if your not comfortable on interstate grades, you’ll be way over your comfort level on those roads.

Everyone has to understand their comfort level; it’s different for everyone, and what may be a “white knuckle” drive for some, is just plain fun for others. Plenty of folks here can provide helpful info on specific road sections / routes; twogypsies one of those folks .

twogypsies, a bit off topic, but US191 from I80 to Vernal was awesome (it’s one of those roads that many may not find much fun in a larger RV)

Good luck and be safe.
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Old 09-16-2019, 05:27 PM   #8
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If you are driving a gasser watch which pump you use in Texas and New Mexico. They sell 86 octane that does not run well in either of my motorhomes. The first MH was a 454, the current is a Ford V-10. What is advertised on the signs is the cheap fuel, the good stuff coasts about $.40 more per gallon.
Just completed a trip from Michigan to Arizona. Take I-17 down to Cottonwood from I-40. The other routes going south are thru steeper grades and narrower roads.
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Old 09-16-2019, 06:01 PM   #9
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If you are driving a gasser watch which pump you use in Texas and New Mexico. They sell 86 octane that does not run well in either of my motorhomes. The first MH was a 454, the current is a Ford V-10. What is advertised on the signs is the cheap fuel, the good stuff coasts about $.40 more per gallon.
Just completed a trip from Michigan to Arizona. Take I-17 down to Cottonwood from I-40. The other routes going south are thru steeper grades and narrower roads.
Since 86 octane is only sold at higher altitudes, it's no problem. My 8.1 runs fine on it.
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:37 PM   #10
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Thx so much ����
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:39 PM   #11
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Thx for the great response ���� You made a lot of great points.

Much appreciated
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:41 PM   #12
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You won't have snow this time of year!

I-40 is good - gradual climbs.

To get to the Cottonwood exit you will be taking I-17 south (don't take 89A). It's in a valley so you will be coming downhill. You will have 6% grades. There is a rest area in case you want to stop and catch your breath! It's perfectly doable and is a popular route. Downshift before you start going down steep hills. Don't try to do it in the midst of a downhill. It's multi-lane so just stay in the right lane with the semi trucks if you feel anxious.

Are you staying at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood? It's very nice.

When leaving if you're heading to the Phoenix area from the Cottonwood exit you will have a steep uphill all the way to the Prescott exit. Then a steep downhill into the Phoenix area.

Your motorhome is very capable of these grades so don't worry about making it uphill!!

Have a good trip!
Thx so much ����������
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Old 09-19-2019, 04:45 PM   #13
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re: Oklahoma and I-40 We drove I-40 across Oklahoma, west to east a few years ago. Wind was out of the south pretty strong. I was exhausted when we finally got to the Arkansas state line. All day long it was like landing a 150 Cessna in a strong cross wind. Road was not bad as I recall, but I was too busy to pay attention to the scenery.

Liked Amarillo but there was a tornado watch that made us a little nervous when the lady in the office said the shelter was the shower house.
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Old 09-20-2019, 03:31 PM   #14
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i40 is a good road all the way, but a lot of road construction. lots of places to stop along the way. big texan is a good place as long as you realize its a tourist trap.
good food though.
petrified forest if very interesting.
ive driven that route so many times that its like a local road to me. the wind west of amarillo get bad sometimes. keep an eye out for the storms in oklahoma and texas. we've been thru several tornadoes and hail storms in those states.
the wind west of winslow can also be a real bear.
we have also been thru blizzards, but not this time of the year..
when you get to cottonwood, dont forget to go to jerome. its a fun day there.
i live in paulden arizona and have relatives in blasirsville.
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