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Need Help Planning Christmas Road trip Austin to Phoenix

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Offline cjacob

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Need Help Planning Christmas Road trip Austin to Phoenix
« on: December 11, 2007, 10:55:28 AM »
Ok,

I need some imput on this road trip. Little background...

Me and the wife and 3 small dogs traveling from Austin to Phoenix.

Day one Dec 21st
Leave Austin @7am  Drive to Marfa Staying at the Paisano. (Hwy-290, I-10, Hwey-87, Hwy-90).  This route I am cool with and will be in Marfa 6-7 hrs latter.
Day two
Leave Marfa @ 9am Drive to Phoenix.  This is the funday.  We are planning this route Hwy-290 to I-10 to Tx-178 which becomes Nm-136 to Nm-9, to Nm-80 which becomes Az-80 to I-10.  We will be going though the following towns Columbus NM, Douglas AZ, and Tombstone AZ.  Has anyone done this and your thoughts.

Returning we plan on leaving AZ on the 27th.
We would like to stop in a place with nice hotels and food.  We love Marfa because they are dog friendly. So out there on the option list are Truth or Consequences Nm, Carlsbad, Nm or Marfa.  We are looking for ideas.  what we would like is 7-8hrs the 1st day and less then 10 the last day.

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Offline okiehiker

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Re: Need Help Planning Christmas Road trip Austin to Phoenix
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2007, 11:41:52 AM »
Fun day... depends on your definition.  You are talking about nearly 700 miles, largely on back roads. 

That said, you have myriad options, some convenient, some not. 

One absolute, when you plan to cut off of NM 9 to I-10, don't.  Continue west through Chiricahua National Monument, I-10 jogs back south and this will add relatively little time and the mountains are amazing.  You hit I-10 at Willcox.  Out of Willcox you can get to the Galiuro Mountains which has an amazing little wilderness area and two Nature Conservancy preseves, Muleshoe Ranch, and Aravaipa Canyon.  One of the most amazing manhunts in US history occurred here.

Near Tucson go to Saguaro National Park.

On the New Mexico part, you mentioned Carlsbad.  It you are staying a bit north there are many awesome places.  Gila Cliff Dwellings, White Sands.  At Alamogordo the Organ Mountains make one of the most striking rock outcroppings in the US.  You can videotape it out the window as you drive by!  :icon_biggrin:

Staying south on route 9 you go through Columbus at Pancho Villa State Park, worth seeing for the name alone!

If you are interested in geology both Rockhound and City of Rocks State Parks are worth visiting.  At Deming stop by the St. Clair vineyards tasting room (the vineyard originally was there, but is no near Lordsburg, I am not sure exactly what happened.)

Their 1986 merlot was named the best in the world at Paris that year.  Alas it is no longer available, about fifteen years ago I bought all that was left and drank it.  They still produce the best wines in New Mexico. 

I have always camped and cooked my own food along the way so I have no recommendations regarding food or lodging. 

In the Chiricahuas the American Museum of Natural History has their Southwest Desert Research Station.  When I was running another OBFS member station fifteen years ago, I stayed there.  I think it may not be too user-friendly for average passers-by.  It is worth checking if you are in the area though.

Let me know if you want any information about any of these places.

Have a great trip!
Funny... I have a story about that...

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Offline xseption

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Re: Need Help Planning Christmas Road trip Austin to Phoenix
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2007, 11:51:00 AM »
Bookmarked solely based on Okie's response.

CJacob, you are one lucky person to obtain such great info. It is so great that I am inspired to see the two parks, Rockhound and City of Rocks. Thanks, Okiehiker!

~ edd
« Last Edit: December 11, 2007, 11:56:19 AM by xseption »
Be the kind of person that you will want to meet!

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Offline Burn Ban

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Re: Need Help Planning Christmas Road trip Austin to Phoenix
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2007, 12:52:37 PM »
on the return trip through nm -

if you do head north of el paso to white sands. alamogordo, etc; you might consider staying at the lodge at cloudcroft.  it is an old railroad magnate's resort converted to a hotel.  we highly recommend it.  probably a similar price-point to the paisano.  http://www.thelodgeresort.com/

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Need Help Planning Christmas Road trip Austin to Phoenix
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2007, 01:07:49 PM »
Lots of possibilities for the return trip.

As for the second night, I recommend Cloudcroft, N. Mex. It's set up high in the mountains, full of artisans and ruffians, with great galleries and food (and a rockin' bar), and you get to take in White Sands before the climb into the mountains. From Cloudcroft, take U.S. 82 to Artesia ("Never a dull moment ... This is Artesia") to N.Mex. 529 to U.S. 180/62 through Hobbs and Lamesa to U.S. 87 through Big Spring, San Angelo to Brady, then Texas 71 back to Austin.
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

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Offline cjacob

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Re: Need Help Planning Christmas Road trip Austin to Phoenix
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2007, 02:10:25 PM »


One absolute, when you plan to cut off of NM 9 to I-10, don't.  Continue west through Chiricahua National Monument, I-10 jogs back south and this will add relatively little time and the mountains are amazing.  You hit I-10 at Willcox.  Out of Willcox you can get to the Galiuro Mountains which has an amazing little wilderness area and two Nature Conservancy preseves, Muleshoe Ranch, and Aravaipa Canyon.  One of the most amazing manhunts in US history occurred here.

Near Tucson go to Saguaro National Park.

On the New Mexico part, you mentioned Carlsbad.  It you are staying a bit north there are many awesome places.  Gila Cliff Dwellings, White Sands.  At Alamogordo the Organ Mountains make one of the most striking rock outcroppings in the US.  You can videotape it out the window as you drive by!  :icon_biggrin:

Staying south on route 9 you go through Columbus at Pancho Villa State Park, worth seeing for the name alone!

If you are interested in geology both Rockhound and City of Rocks State Parks are worth visiting.  At Deming stop by the St. Clair vineyards tasting room (the vineyard originally was there, but is no near Lordsburg, I am not sure exactly what happened.)


Okiehiker,

a little confused.  We have done the 10 route a few times.  We where just trying to spice up the trip with the back country roads.  Kinda like going to Big Bend from Austin they get old.

So are you supporting avoiding I-10 in New Mexico.  We would get off in Texas and not get back on until almost Tuson.   I would post a google map but I do not know how.



« Last Edit: December 11, 2007, 03:24:49 PM by RichardM »

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Offline okiehiker

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Re: Need Help Planning Christmas Road trip Austin to Phoenix
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2007, 02:24:09 PM »
I love the trip on NM-9 rather than I-10, I am suggesting that you wait to get back on I-10 until Willcox, AZ. 

I also was noting that you have a rather long way to drive if you hope to see and do anything else.  (I have made many such a road trip... not a criticism, just an observation)

I second (third.. fourth??) the Cloudcroft suggestion, probably the southernmost truly alpine locale in the US. and a delightful community.
Funny... I have a story about that...

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Offline cjacob

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Re: Need Help Planning Christmas Road trip Austin to Phoenix
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2007, 04:24:27 PM »
Cool We will be getting back on the highway between Wilcox and Tuson. 

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Offline presidio

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Re: Need Help Planning Christmas Road trip Austin to Phoenix
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2007, 09:42:14 PM »
Fun day... depends on your definition.  You are talking about nearly 700 miles, largely on back roads. 

That said, you have myriad options, some convenient, some not.

Yep, ditto what Okiehiker says. By staying on NM 9 you will be driving through some very remote country even though you are not all that far south of I-10. It is right on the border for a short distance. If you have time, drive down to Columbus, see the state park, then head to the border and park on the US side right at the boundary (there's a free lot and it's in front of US Customs). No need to drive into Mexico as what you would be headed for is the Pink House a couple of blocks south of the border, in Palomas. You can see it from the parking area. It's a combination restaurant, curio shop and a few other things rolled into one. Food at restaurant is good and it's a nice diversion. It's a border crossing pretty much unlike anything else along the whole southern border and the pace is fairly slow. If you go before the end of the year you won't need a passport.

Taking that southern route all the way to Tombstone is a fabulous drive. Tombstone is quite touristy, but still worth the stop. Lot of history there. The Chiricahua Mtns are really a neat place to spend time.

Coming back through Cloudcroft is also recommended. You will have a great view of White Sands from the top and there are not many places in the US where you gain so much altitude so quickly...at least on paved roads. In the 16 miles from Tularosa to Cloudcroft you climb 4,000'. Stop and look at the curved logging railroad trestle that is preserved near the top. You can see it from the road. Also, the highway passes through the only tunnel in NM on a paved road. At Cloudcroft you will be at an elevation of 8,600', higher than anything in Big Bend. Nice country.

If you haven't been down 62/180 from Carlsbad, it doesn't add a lot of extra distance and is worth the view of El Capitan. You can jog off right below the peak on US 54 and head to Van Horn from there.
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Offline sstrong42

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Re: Need Help Planning Christmas Road trip Austin to Phoenix
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2007, 10:30:48 PM »
Too bad you're going to be in the Southern part of New Mexico.  If you were going up north, I can't recommend Chaco Canyon enough.

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Offline blueswave

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Re: Need Help Planning Christmas Road trip Austin to Phoenix
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2007, 04:56:09 PM »
We are driving to the phoenix area early next week from east Texas with two retrievers.  We are doing six hour legs for each day (so we can enjoy the sites and journey). 

Stopping in Fredericksburg and on to Marfa (or Fort Davis or Marathon), and final night in Glenwood, New Mexico before we go to Scottsdale,AZ.  We are still debating on the west Texas stop.  We stayed at the Gage Hotel last March and loved it, but want to find something just as fun in another city.  I love the old west look of Fort Davis and it is close to Alpine and Marfa.  We have been to Marfa and didn't seem very dog friendly.

What would everyone else recommend Marfa or Fort Davis?  What town is more dog friendly?

We are coming back through Santa Fe, NM for new year's eve.  So that should be a wonderful trip especially in pet friendly Santa Fe. 

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Offline okiehiker

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Indian Lodge...
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2007, 09:43:39 PM »
Funny... I have a story about that...

 


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