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Old 05-06-2021, 11:34 PM   #1
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East Coast (NJ) to Grand Canyon, AZ via I-40

Hello,

Has anyone done it and can pass on any useful info about, I76, I70, I44 and I-40? We're going to be headed out this summer and staying at the Grand Canyon's Trailer Village RV Park. We've decided to leave the toad at home. Elevations? Areas to avoid? Winding roads? crappy roads? stretches without a gas station for miles? Most stop spots? There's four of us so we've decided to alternate with a night in a free parking lot and then a night in a RV park with with hookups to empty the tanks. I'm pretty good with driving 8 hours a day with a break in between. Our plan is to get there in 4 days, do 5 days in GC then two in Bakersfield, CA. We plan on renting a car while in Bakersfield and doing a day trip to Yosemite National Park. Hopefully if all goes we'll take 5 days via I-40 home.

Thanks!
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Old 05-07-2021, 04:09 AM   #2
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West of Oklahoma City --

40 isn't bad. Rough in spots, for example near Tucumcari NM and through Flagstaff. Between Kingman and Needles, although there's no alternative there.

Nothing "technical" of course. Long downhill run west of Flag, dodging trucks and stuff. Not difficult, just gotta pay attention

Once you get out west, there are some interesting side roads but if you've never been on 40 through NM and AZ it's really pretty and hits the easy button, *plenty* of places to fuel up, plenty of places to stay.

Services are a little thin between Flagstaff and Bakersfield, I guess. Fuel wise, there are a couple of places east of Kingman that are easy-in, easy-out. Kingman itself is pretty nightmarish, don't stop in Kingman, stop before. Seligman is a cool town, better for gas than diesel tho. We've stopped at Johnson's without difficulty. Plenty of on-street parking in town if you just want to take a break and get something to eat. Kramer Junction, where 58 crosses 395 is a good place to stop. Tehachapi is good. We don't usually overnight between Bakersfield and Flag. Stayed in Kingman once, I think at Sunrise, nothing to scream about. Usually kind of inclined to just get outa the desert. It's pretty but a little goes a long way To get all that done in one day, you might want to stage out of Flagstaff area. The Circle Pines KOA is *really* cool, I love that place.

Mornings are beautiful, sunrise over the desert is glorious. That's when it's cool out, not too much traffic. Late afternoons are torture, all the big trucks come out, it's hot and windy and you're out there dodging dust devils and stuff. Best way to grind it out is to get up early, and quit early IMO. To me that works anywhere on the 40, from Arkansas to California.

Don't put off your car rental reservation, huge shortage out there, especially in a small city like Bakersfield they can be hard to come by, and pretty much impossible at the last minute. And horribly expensive, not uncommon to see em going for $500 yikes. Alternative would be to take the rig up somewhere on 140, like El Portal maybe? And take public transportation. Or else bring the toad...
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Old 05-07-2021, 01:43 PM   #3
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I recently drove I-44 from STL to OKC. Road conditions are generally good, but not very good, in Missouri. In Oklahoma I-44 is a toll road. I donít know the cost for two axles, but it was about $25 from the state link to OKC for 4 axles. Pavement quality is OK, but not what you would expect for a toll road. There are surprisingly few rest areas and services are infrequent in Oklahoma. The section from Tulsa to OKC seems especially desolate. Donít skip an opportunity for a rest break, because there may not be another for a very long time.
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Old 05-07-2021, 08:55 PM   #4
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There are a few places you may want to stop along I-40 once you get out west:


If you stop for the night in Amarillo consider eating at the Big Texan, they have free Limo pickup at most of the area RV parks, though if you are going to do it, reserve your limo when you check in as it may be a 2-3 hour wait for a Limo pickup on a busy night, may also be an hour + wait for a table. Steaks are good, not great, you go there for the experience not so much the food.


As you leave Amarillo there is Cadillac Ranch (bringing your own spray paint and redecorating is encouraged)


From there heading west you should stop at Cline's Corner in NM for this bit of Americana, it is a 1950's roadside gas station, that have grown, and grown and grown (they even have their on RV park which has automated check in with online reservations). Its the sort of place where you can buy anything from fudge to cowboy boots.


From there going west you have the Petrified Forest National Park, the rock shop / gift shop just outside the south gate on the east side of the road has free dry camping with about half a dozen pull through sites with picnic tables, no water, or rest rooms, also they sell no food or drink items in the gift shop. The gift shop across the road has RV spaces too, but those are pay and have electric hookup only.


A bit further west just outside Winslow is Meteor crater (about 5 miles south of I-40), they same people operate the gas station and RV park by I-40 and have cross over discount coupons.


If staying in Flagstaff and if your coach is under 20 years old consider Black Barts RV park (strict 20 year age rule even though there are lots of ran down long term trailers in the RV park), which is next door to Black Barts Steak house, with the singing wait staff. Most of the staff are college students, they have a stage and perform various old show tunes, and broadway hits while you eat. Food is ok, and in our experience they are better singers than they are waiters
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Old 05-07-2021, 09:30 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by GMan2021 View Post
Hello,

Has anyone done it and can pass on any useful info about, I76, I70, I44 and I-40? We're going to be headed out this summer and staying at the Grand Canyon's Trailer Village RV Park. We've decided to leave the toad at home. Elevations? Areas to avoid? Winding roads? crappy roads? stretches without a gas station for miles? Most stop spots? There's four of us so we've decided to alternate with a night in a free parking lot and then a night in a RV park with with hookups to empty the tanks. I'm pretty good with driving 8 hours a day with a break in between. Our plan is to get there in 4 days, do 5 days in GC then two in Bakersfield, CA. We plan on renting a car while in Bakersfield and doing a day trip to Yosemite National Park. Hopefully if all goes we'll take 5 days via I-40 home.

Thanks!
I don't know what part of New Jersey you are leaving from but 76 is a toll road, and not a very good one. I'm assuming you are in a motor home, #30,00. I 76 is $154 end to end. If your in Norther Jersey, Like Edison or Patterson. You might want to route around it. Its about the same distance to go down 95, avoid the Jersey Pike and take 70 west from there. None of those roads are great but are ok. Or you could as far as Harrisburg and drop down 81 to Knoxville and go west on 40. That is better road and lots of services. It shows 100 mile further but is better road, less traffic, no tolls and better scenery.
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Old 05-07-2021, 09:34 PM   #6
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If staying near Amarillo, I highly recommend the Oasis RV park. It is right after Caddilac ranch. There is a Love's truck stop at that exit for fuel.


If staying near Kingman, I highly recommend Blake's Ranch RV Park and Horse Motel...yes, you read that right. Nice RV park.


On your way to Needles, get fuel at the truck stops at exit 9 in AZ just before the Az/Kalifornia state line. It't way cheaper than Needles or for that matter, Kalifornia. We just made the trip to NorCal the last 2 weeks.


For overnites, Tucumcari, Gallup (United RV park) and Holbrook have decent RV parks.
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Old 05-07-2021, 10:04 PM   #7
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I'll second the Oasis in Amarillo but suggest you skip the Big Texan steak house. I found it to be less than satisfactory. Also agree with getting to I-81 down to I-40, toll free and very scenic.
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Old 05-08-2021, 05:21 AM   #8
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We left from RI but did a two month trip. We picked up route 40 in TN. 20 miles from Amarillo is Palo Duro State Park. I would recommend staying there. It was a huge, pleasant surprise to us. Youíre camping in the canyon campground with fantastic scenery, not just an RV park. Enjoy. Thereís so much to see!
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Old 05-08-2021, 06:34 AM   #9
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Hello,

Has anyone done it and can pass on any useful info about, I76, I70, I44 and I-40?

We Commute to Denver all the time from Maryland - It is a lot longer drive than you can imagine. Just use your app to find the shortest /fastest Route, Long days of driving period.

We're going to be headed out this summer and staying at the Grand Canyon's Trailer Village RV Park.

Guessing you have reservations - if not not a chance.

We've decided to leave the toad at home.

No way I would do this trip without my Toad - But that is me.

Elevations? Areas to avoid? Winding roads? crappy roads? stretches without a gas station for miles? Most stop spots?

All of the above, except maybe gas.

There's four of us so we've decided to alternate with a night in a free parking lot and then a night in a RV park with with hookups to empty the tanks.

Wally*Mart is your friend - BUT - you need to Call as many are not allowing overnight Parking so these need to also be hard stops in the drive - We usually do two nights in Wal*Mart then a CG But in our two round trips last summer we found many Wally-s no longer accepting Overnights!

I'm pretty good with driving 8 hours a day with a break in between.

If you only drive 8 hours a day you will never make it - PERIOD - IMHO - it will be a test with 12 hour days - I've done it, if is a long way, requiring, really long days, it is not fun - JMHO.

Our plan is to get there in 4 days, do 5 days in GC then two in Bakersfield, CA. We plan on renting a car while in Bakersfield and doing a day trip to Yosemite National Park. Hopefully if all goes we'll take 5 days via I-40 home.

With the plan you have in your head - it's more like a dream - not reality - look at if honestly - read all the posts and then decide what is really possible.

Thanks!
Couple things - Longer drive than you think - will need more than 8 hours per day to make it in 4 days - 2400 miles + - - you will if lucky average 55-60 miles per hour - meaning you will need 10-12 hours of DRIVING per day to make your schedule!

Think you would be better served to look for some low priced Flights.

Sorry, I've done it and yes it is possible, just not fun and far from a vacation. Seriously look at this without the Rose colored Glasses - If you do try it I'd try to leave the afternoon after work and get at least three hundred miles in that first night it will help, but still a lot of driving.

Sorry but this ai the voice of experience having done much crazier things it is a long way to cali and Back.

Last thing is Yosemite in the summer - is just REALLY CROWDED - very much just a drive through, not a tour - JMHO.

Best of Luck,

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Old 05-08-2021, 06:36 AM   #10
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From there heading west you should stop at Cline's Corner in NM for this bit of Americana, it is a 1950's roadside gas station, that have grown, and grown and grown (they even have their on RV park which has automated check in with online reservations). Its the sort of place where you can buy anything from fudge to cowboy boots.

Ever been to Russel's? Right as you cross from TX into NM. Pretty cool museum, classic cars and such. Very Rte 66. Nice views of the llano. Big rig diesel access. Love that place.
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Old 05-08-2021, 07:21 AM   #11
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Couple things - Longer drive than you think - will need more than 8 hours per day to make it in 4 days - 2400 miles + - - you will if lucky average 55-60 miles per hour - meaning you will need 10-12 hours of DRIVING per day to make your schedule!



That's what I was wondering.

What google says is a six hour drive, usually winds up being an easy 8 hr in the RV in my experience. By "easy" meaning fun, enjoyable, low stress, plenty of rest. Looking forward to getting on down the road of a morning; that kind of "easy."

I've pushed across country a couple of times -- one way -- and it's hard to over-state the effect of that kind of exhaustion on mood, judgement, even visual perception. Things get kinda weird at night.

Perspective is funny. First time ya cross the Mississippi on the way out west, you think, "we're halfway there!" Nope. Not even close.
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Old 05-08-2021, 07:33 AM   #12
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That's what I was wondering.

What google says is a six hour drive, usually winds up being an easy 8 hr in the RV in my experience. By "easy" meaning fun, enjoyable, low stress, plenty of rest. Looking forward to getting on down the road of a morning; that kind of "easy."

We come from Fla which is a little closer I guess, it's usually four days to albuquerque, usually with one good day of gettin down the road in there. ABQ to Flag is an easy day but all the way to Grand Canyon in four days... and all the way home from Ca in 5 days? Wow.

I've pushed across country a couple of times -- one way -- and it's hard to over-state the effect of that kind of exhaustion on mood, judgement, even visual perception. Things get kinda weird at night.
Sort of wondering if anyone noticed that 8 hours per day - as I see it he will still be in Texas when he thinks he should be looking into the Grand Canyon - add to that most replies are suggestion places to see and thing to visit - Guys have you ever really done this drive? With his driving schedule he is just gettin out of Oklahoma when he thinks he should be arriving, Even in a sports car this is a drive with Little to No time to stop and smell the Roses.

JMHO,
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Old 05-08-2021, 08:05 AM   #13
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i also think the drive schedule will be tight unless multiple people take shifts driving. but then you won't have sightseeing time.

i'm assuming you have a diesel bus. fill up in arizona before you enter california. the diesel prices in california are obscene. also, in arizona if you fuel a rv with diesel at a commercial pump you can go inside and request an $.08/gal tax rebate. commercial diesel is taxed at $.26/gal, non-commercial is $.18/gal.

hwy 58 between barstow and tehacapi has been rerouted. i have not been on it but it should be much better than the old route.

while there are grades on i-40 they are not anything to be concerned about. same with the grades on hwy 58 around techacapi.

the potholes around flagstaff were horrendous. there has been some work on the road in that area but i don't know how much has been repaved. we'll find out for ourselves in a month.

check on the entrances to the grand canyon. the east entrance has been closed for a while.
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Old 05-08-2021, 08:22 AM   #14
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There is a KOA in Grants NM where the lady makes dinner for you and brings it to the RV. Great pie too. Agree about too ambitious a trip.
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