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Old 06-16-2020, 03:47 PM   #1
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Arizona Wildfires - Which way to go?

If it wasn't bad enough that Arizona has a wildfire near Tucson, now there is a massive fire in the Tonto National Forest. It has zero containment.

Guess where I'm headed this week, yep Phoenix.

My usual route out of Holbrook is down Rt 87. It's now closed and appears that it will be closed for the foreseeable future. Logic says to continue over on I 40 to Flagstaff and head down I 17. I do not like that road. Granted, I've never been on it but that's because of all the postings I've read about it. The grades and the lack of guardrails is a bad combination. I've made it over Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado so I should be able to handle I-17. However, I'd rather not try.

So, I was searching for an alternative way in. I read in one search about US 60 from Amarillo into Phoenix. Anyone do that drive recently? I wouldn't try to drive it in one day, probably split it over 2 days.

How is I-17? Any other suggested route in for a 40 foot RV and toad?

Thanks

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Old 06-16-2020, 04:59 PM   #2
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we’ve done both although we haven’t been on 17 in 3-yrs. in 2017 the SB side was pretty rough between 40 and Camp Verde. no other problems beyond that. to be honest i don’t know if there are guard rails or not but IMO they’re not needed. don’t recall any treacherous drop-offs. it’s a mostly downhill drive just like 77/377/260/87 from Holbrook. we don’t do a lot of miles per day. when we leave Mesa in April we usually make Holbrook our first stop and so normally will use 87/260/377/77.

us60 thru Globe has one decent but doable climb. we’ve never been beyond Globe on 60.
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Old 06-16-2020, 05:02 PM   #3
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I drive I17 generally once a year. I just go into the right lane and do the speed I am comfortable with. Lots of grades but not constant. Just keep tapping the brakes and you will be fine.


If you have a copilot take pictures of the valley a you go down, awesome!!!
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Old 06-16-2020, 05:04 PM   #4
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hwy 60

We winter in Gold Canyon, east side of Phoenix. While I prefer 87 , we have done hwy 60. 60 is a little steeper and tighter but definitely do able in our 36ft gasser with a toad. Usually take 77 out of Holbrook to Sholow , 60 to Globe then into east valley. 60 between Sholow and Globe kind of twisty and steep at times but very scenic. A few up and down grades between Globe and Superior but not bad, Jim
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Old 06-16-2020, 05:58 PM   #5
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There are several road closures in effect due to the Bush Fire. State Route 188 is closed between State Route 87 (milepost 244) and State Route 88 (milepost 276). State Route 88 is closed between mileposts 229 to 242 (Apache Lake to SR 188). State Route 87 (Beeline Highway) remains closed from near Payson (milepost 251) to Bush Highway (milepost 199). There are no estimated times for reopening. These are expected to be lengthy closures. Motorists are asked to consider delaying travel or to use alternate routes. The best alternative is State Route 260 to Interstate 17. Real-time highway conditions are available on ADOTís Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov, by calling 511 and through ADOTís Twitter feed,@ArizonaDOT. When a freeway closure or other major traffic event occurs, our free app available at ADOTAlerts.com will send critical information directly to app users in affected areas Ė where possible, in advance of alternate routes.

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Old 06-16-2020, 06:29 PM   #6
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Wow! There's no problem with I-17 from Flagstaff. It's an interstate and yes, it has guardrails.

If you did Wolf Creek Pass then I-17 will be a piece of cake!

You probably won't like Hwy 60 in AZ if you're taking it from Show Low to Globe to Apache Junction/Mesa. You'll have Salt River Canyon with a long downhill and uphill for 7 miles. The grade is mostly 5-6% and stairsteps down and a 6-7% grade between Miami and Superior, a tunnel and an escape ramp if that tells you anything.

We've driven all the routes including Wolf Creek Pass and for you I would recommend I-17. You'll have 6% grades but it's an interstate; not two-lane like the others.

Just downshift before starting down; not in the midst. The semi trucks will be going very slow; join them in the right lane. It'll be over before you know it! )

Have a good trip.... all routes are doable with an RV. They are all popular roads for them.
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Old 06-16-2020, 07:45 PM   #7
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weíve done both although we havenít been on 17 in 3-yrs. in 2017 the SB side was pretty rough between 40 and Camp Verde. no other problems beyond that. to be honest i donít know if there are guard rails or not but IMO theyíre not needed. donít recall any treacherous drop-offs. itís a mostly downhill drive just like 77/377/260/87 from Holbrook. we donít do a lot of miles per day. when we leave Mesa in April we usually make Holbrook our first stop and so normally will use 87/260/377/77.

us60 thru Globe has one decent but doable climb. weíve never been beyond Globe on 60.
I usually do the 77/377/260/87 route but the fires are sending me to I 17. What's a trip without a new adventure, right? This is the first time I've taken 40 across the country from Tennessee. I usually take I 70 to I 44 to I 40. Santa Rosa was always my last stop before crossing over the continental divide and heading into Arizona and Phoenix.
This time I planned an extra day of travel and my last stop before Phoenix is Holbrook. It will make a shorter last day and I can take my time on 17.

Thanks

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Old 06-16-2020, 07:47 PM   #8
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I drive I17 generally once a year. I just go into the right lane and do the speed I am comfortable with. Lots of grades but not constant. Just keep tapping the brakes and you will be fine.


If you have a copilot take pictures of the valley a you go down, awesome!!!
No copilot but the dash cam should have interesting video once I get to Phoenix.
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Old 06-16-2020, 07:48 PM   #9
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There are several road closures in effect due to the Bush Fire. State Route 188 is closed between State Route 87 (milepost 244) and State Route 88 (milepost 276). State Route 88 is closed between mileposts 229 to 242 (Apache Lake to SR 188). State Route 87 (Beeline Highway) remains closed from near Payson (milepost 251) to Bush Highway (milepost 199). There are no estimated times for reopening. These are expected to be lengthy closures. Motorists are asked to consider delaying travel or to use alternate routes. The best alternative is State Route 260 to Interstate 17. Real-time highway conditions are available on ADOTís Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov, by calling 511 and through ADOTís Twitter feed,@ArizonaDOT. When a freeway closure or other major traffic event occurs, our free app available at ADOTAlerts.com will send critical information directly to app users in affected areas Ė where possible, in advance of alternate routes.

View more information

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Thanks for the app link, downloading it now.
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Old 06-16-2020, 07:56 PM   #10
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Wow! There's no problem with I-17 from Flagstaff. It's an interstate and yes, it has guardrails.

If you did Wolf Creek Pass then I-17 will be a piece of cake!

You probably won't like Hwy 60 in AZ if you're taking it from Show Low to Globe to Apache Junction/Mesa. You'll have Salt River Canyon with a long downhill and uphill for 7 miles. The grade is mostly 5-6% and stairsteps down and a 6-7% grade between Miami and Superior, a tunnel and an escape ramp if that tells you anything.

We've driven all the routes including Wolf Creek Pass and for you I would recommend I-17. You'll have 6% grades but it's an interstate; not two-lane like the others.

Just downshift before starting down; not in the midst. The semi trucks will be going very slow; join them in the right lane. It'll be over before you know it! )

Have a good trip.... all routes are doable with an RV. They are all popular roads for them.
It's good to hear that if I can do Wolf Creek Pass I can handle 17.

Thanks
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Old 06-16-2020, 08:09 PM   #11
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17 doesn't need guard rails.
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Old 06-17-2020, 07:24 AM   #12
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yep, 87 is closed! some evacuations have been ordered in the smaller communities along 87 and 188. it amazing how much lighter the traffic is in town. the drive down to phoenix from payson using 87 used to be a lovely drive. we're dreading what the scenery will be after this fire is extinguished! lots of smoke!

if you're on i-40 just take it to flagstaff and then used i-17 to get to phoenix. yes there are some downgrades but there are also downgrades on the 77/377/277/260/87 route through payson and you seem to handle those. just downshift and keep you speed under control. it's no different that any other mountain rode. there are some lovely scenic overlooks on i-17.
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Old 06-17-2020, 07:35 AM   #13
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We do both I-40 and I-17 all the time, in both cars and motor home. They are fine. They are interstates like twogypsies said.
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Old 06-17-2020, 06:46 PM   #14
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If I-17 makes you nervous, try to avoid the weekend. Less traffic.

I drove from Payson to Mesa this morning. (in the car) Had to take the long way around on 17 of course, due to the fire. I left Payson at 7:00am and arrived in far east Mesa at 10:00...with one quick pit stop along the way. From Camp Verde to Phoenix traffic was relatively light, and moving 75-80+ mph on 17.
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