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Old 01-26-2022, 10:03 AM   #1
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Gallup, NM to Benson, AZ the Back Way

Wondering if anyone has traveled from Gallup to Benson on what might be called "The Back Way" thru Fence Lake, Quemado, Alma, and Safford? The route includes many different State and US Highway numbers, which I thought might be more confusing than helpful

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Old 01-26-2022, 10:41 AM   #2
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Lots of switchbacks/hairpins on 191 going thru the Apache National Forest
(Springerville to Clifton)
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Old 01-26-2022, 11:22 AM   #3
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Being my home state have traveled it many times. It is interesting and very scenic but can be challenging in a larger rig, you will make very slow time between Morenci and Springerville but entirely doable if you have the time and patience. 191 is the old Coronado Trail and was called 666 (for the 6th branch of US 66) with the nickname "Devil's Highway" but the 666 designation was dropped in the early 2,000's for numerous reasons:

WHEREAS, people living near the road already live under the cloud of opprobrium created by having a road that many believe is cursed running near their homes and through their homeland; and
WHEREAS, the number "666" carries the stigma of being the mark of the beast, the mark of the devil, which was described in the book of revelations in the Bible; and
WHEREAS, there are people who refuse to travel the road, not because of the issue of safety, but because of the fear that the devil controls events along United States route 666; and
WHEREAS, the economy in the area is greatly depressed when compared with many parts of the United States, and the infamy brought by the inopportune naming of the road will only make development in the area more difficult.

Back when I used to drive it more regularly it was not maintained regularly North of Clifton all the way to Springerville in the Winter and you were on your own if it snowed.

It's a beautiful drive though if you are prepared, I would not attempt it in any kind of Winter weather though.
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Old 01-26-2022, 01:10 PM   #4
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Do not take 191 any farther than Eagar, AZ. You won't like it!!!! Very steep, narrow with turn after turn.

If you get to Eagar you could take 60/260 west to Show Low then pick up 60 south to Globe then 70 to Safford & 191 to I-10 then west to Benson. It's a pleasant drive. We've done it both directions with our 40' MH.
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Old 01-26-2022, 02:54 PM   #5
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Thanks, everyone! I had ruled out US191 between Eagar and Morenci long ago, and am glad to read everything written above, which validates that decision.

What I was considering is NM602 and NM36 south of Gallup to Quemado, then NM32 and NM12 to US180 south to Glenwood, then NM/AZ78 to US191 south of Clifton on to Safford and Interstate 10.

Having lived in New Mexico years ago, I'm guessing that once south of the turnoff to Zuni Pueblo, traffic is pretty sparse until approaching Clifton.
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Old 01-26-2022, 04:30 PM   #6
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Agree with staying away from 191 (AKA Devil's Highway) between Springerville and Morenci. It was a great ride on the motorcycle but if I remember correctly nothing over 35' is recommended. There is something like 1100 curves in 110 miles, all two lane road.
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