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Old 01-12-2021, 07:40 AM   #1
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Phoenix, AZ to Gallup, NM

I'm still working on our trip to see our daughter and family in Mesa, AZ mid-late April.

One thought was we might come home (DFW) a different route than I-10. One of which is going up to I-40 and then dropping down on 287 after Amarillo.

So far it appears there are 2 ways to get up to I-40 out of Phoenix/Mesa. One is to run up to Flagstaff on I-17 and hang a right.

The other is to go through the National Forest on 87 catching I-40 in Holbrook. The idea of going through Tonto and Apache-Sitgreaves NF is appealing. That said we have had some very "interesting" drives over the years when we get off the interstate.

If you could provide some experience and insight to either route I would sincerely appreciate it.

Or an alternative not considered so far.
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Old 01-12-2021, 07:58 AM   #2
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We go camping east of Payson several times a year and take 87. It is a nice drive through the desert. Once you get to Payson you are in the mountains and the drive is pleasant. While going that way I would stay a couple nights at a NFS campground and take the drive across the Mogolion Rim, 50 miles of dirt road but well worth it.



Another nice drive is Show Low to Globe, and I have heard that the road from Springerville south is a great scenic drive.
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Old 01-12-2021, 08:06 AM   #3
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well, we live in payson which is right in the middle of the hwy 87 route. i recommend it totally. it is the shortest route from mesa to i-40 at holbrook. from mesa you would have to go west to phoenix to catch i-17 then take it up to flagstaff to catch i-40. the hwy 87 route is much shorter. it's around 80 miles from mesa to payson and then 100 miles from payson to holbrook. elevation wise mesa is around 1300 feet, payson 5000 feet, and holbrook up over 6000 feet. you will crest at over 7000 feet at forest lakes which is just before you get to heber. you will encounter a few upgrades and downgrades on hwy 87. there is one downgrade of 7% for about 5 miles coming off of mt ord. but is is entirely doable and is done by all types of rv's and semis.

hwy 87 from mesa to payson is a full 4 lane divided hwy. watch out as the highway patrol is always on this hwy! at payson you will take hwy 260 east to heber. portions of this hwy are 4 lane divided and parts are two lane. once you get to heber you've pretty much gained all your elevation. from heber you will take hwys 277, 377, and 77. these are all 2 lane highways in flat wide open country. you'll go through a couple of city blocks in holbrook before you reach i-40.

you will go through several different ecosystems. the low desert, the saguaro cactus region, the scrub oaks, the ponderosa forests, and then the wide open rangeland. weather should not be a concern in late april.

fuel is available in mesa, payson, heber, and holbrook.

enjoy!
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Old 01-12-2021, 08:38 AM   #4
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we usually take the 'scenic' route thru Payson when we leave Mesa for home.

- SR 87 north to Payson
- SR 260 from Payson east to Heber
- North on SR 277 at Heber
- North on SR 277 to SR 377
- SR 277 to SR 77
- SR 77 into Holbrook

there will be a few decent-but-doable climbs on 87 south of Payson...no worse than the climbs on I-17 into Flagstaff. should be about 3-hrs +/-.

IMO the easiest place to fuel in Holbrook is the Maverik station in Holbrook. they have dedicated truck/RV fuel lanes. the Maverik station is located on I-40 BUSINESS just after you pass UNDER I-40 heading into town.
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Old 01-12-2021, 09:14 AM   #5
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i would second the suggestion of the maverick station in holbrook. again they are just north of i-40. very easy access. if you use diesel they have diesel truck lanes that you can use. there is also a regular TA truck stop a mile or two west on i-40.

one thing about using diesel in a rv in arizona. arizona taxes diesel at two different rates depending upon whether the vehicle is a commercial vehicle ($.26/gal tax) or non-commercial ($.18/gal tax). an rv by definition is non-commercial. the tax rate of each pump is posted on the pump (silver sticker). if you fuel a rv at a pump with the commercial tax rate after fueling go into the attendant and ask for an $.08/gal refund. the big truck lanes will all have the commercial tax rate but you can fuel you rv in them and then get the rebate. they are easier access.
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Old 01-12-2021, 09:37 AM   #6
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So if we go that way Payson is the way to get to I-40. The diesel tax thing is good to know.
We have the TSD card and almost always use it when fueling but we'll check out Maverick in Holbrook.

Thanks folks so much
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Old 01-12-2021, 09:47 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by DKRITTER View Post
So if we go that way Payson is the way to get to I-40. The diesel tax thing is good to know.
We have the TSD card and almost always use it when fueling but we'll check out Maverick in Holbrook.

Thanks folks so much
"best" is subjective but, yes, we think the route thru Payson/Heber to Holbrook is "best".

oh, and for gas RVs...some of the truck/RV lanes at the Maverik station have gas.
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Old 01-12-2021, 10:17 AM   #8
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Nope, Diesel

The Dutch Star has a Cummins
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Old 01-12-2021, 11:19 AM   #9
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We have made many trips to and from Phoenix to Fort Worth. We like I-17 to I-40 to Amarillo to 287. Several nice Rest areas on 40 and 287.
Fuel Stops in Winslow, Alb or Amarillo.
There is a statue in downtown Winslow standing on the corner... I waited a long tine for the girl in a flatbed Ford, She never came by.
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Old 01-12-2021, 12:25 PM   #10
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I'd recommend the beautiful drive of 87 to Payson then east on 260 through Show Low to 60 to Springerville then 60 east to Socorro at I-25 in New Mexico and continue on the secondary roads all the way to Dallas. It's a more pleasant drive than I-40.
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Old 01-12-2021, 12:37 PM   #11
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I'd suggest 87 to Payson which is one of my favorite drives in the state and divided 4 lane, 260 then 277 to 377. Heber is the end of the scenic drive. Showlow to Springerville on 60 is boring, although my may shows it as a scenic drive.


However you go watch for Elk There have been a lot of accidents and deaths from Elk, in the high country.
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Old 01-12-2021, 09:42 PM   #12
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We left Mesa last April 23rd and took the 87 route through Payson to Holbrook pulling a 40' fifth wheel. I'm a rookie and if I did it anybody can. Very nice wonderful scenic drive.
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Old 01-13-2021, 08:19 AM   #13
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We left Mesa last April 23rd and took the 87 route through Payson to Holbrook pulling a 40' fifth wheel. I'm a rookie and if I did it anybody can. Very nice wonderful scenic drive.
RoadEyePie, Did you go to Pie Town, NM
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Old 01-13-2021, 11:12 PM   #14
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Showlow to Springerville on 60 is boring, although my may shows it as a scenic drive.
Hmmm. That road at least has some trees. Plus, if you wanted to spend some time to explore the area you'll find lakes and hiking. Fools Hollow State Park in Show Low is very nice as a base. To us it sure beats I-40 east to Gallup which is wide open nothing.

Everyone's idea of beauty is certainly different... and that's OK.

We typically avoid interstates and really see the country.
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