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Old 02-11-2015, 11:12 AM   #1
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AZ 264 to AZ 89 or I40 to AZ 89

I'm planning on a trip out west in June and was wondering if picking up AZ 264 through the Hopi Reservation north of Gallup vs continuing west on I40 then picking up 89 just east of Flagstaff is a good option. I plan to leave Gallup in the morning with a final destination at North Rim Grand Canyon.

The distance on I40 to 89 then north is about 50 miles longer but AZ 264 looks like it could be slow going through the mesa canyons. The road looks narrow in some places with no shoulders when viwed on Google Maps street view.

Thanks

Kelvin
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Old 02-11-2015, 05:13 PM   #2
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AZ 264 is no worse than US 89A and AZ 678 west of the river (as far as road width and shoulder conditions), on the way to the North Rim. I'd take my time, however, going from Gallop to the N.R. There is much to see . . .
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Old 02-11-2015, 05:25 PM   #3
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We have not driven on this section of Hwy-264; but on Google Earth street view, it looks similar to Hwy-160 between Tuba City and Cortez. As you mentioned, it looks like it has a lot of curvy, winding areas; so the speed limit is probably 55 mph part (if not most) of the way. Plus, it goes through a lot of little towns on the Indian Reservation, where you'll have to slow down.

If you are trying to save time using Hwy-264, I suspect that the extra 50 miles on I-40 and US-89 will take about the same amount of time (perhaps, a little less).

However, if you don't care about the time, Hwy-264 might save some gas by being the shorter route and driving slower.

One thing to remember, cell phone coverage and roadside assistance for blowouts or engine problems are almost non-existent on Indian Reservations in this area. When we had our infamous GYM blowout near Mexican Water, we were stuck in the sand; and I had to ride about 15 miles in a Highway Patrol car to get to a ridge that had cell service (Verizon). Then, we had to wait on the side of the road for 4.5 hours for a tow truck to arrive from either Cortez, CO or Shiprock, NM. (For those unfamiliar with this area, Mexican Water is in Arizona!)
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Old 02-11-2015, 06:02 PM   #4
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If you are looking for the easiest, quickest route, I-40 to 89 will be your best bet. If you are looking for some desert scenery and a back-roads experience then go 264. Yes it has rough spots and curves and is narrow and slower, but not a lot of traffic. Just watch out for stray dogs, horses and cattle on the roads, there are no fences on the Rez.
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Old 02-12-2015, 11:58 AM   #5
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It seems I'd make better time going the I40 to 89 route. From the 89 exit to Jacob Lake its 160mi where I can refuel before heading into the park. I may extend my leg from Amarillo to Holbrook, AZ before heading to the park.

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Old 02-12-2015, 03:10 PM   #6
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There are advantages and disadvantages to any route through the Navajo Nation. We've done them all and love the serenity. The worst part of your journey is the long slog on I-40 among all the interstate truck traffic. If you're unfamiliar with this part of the country I would suggest you stay on the major roads....I-40/89
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Old 02-13-2015, 10:14 AM   #7
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Unfortunately, I'm on the interstate all the way from Missouri; Springfield, Tulsa, OK City, Amarillo, Albuquerque, Gallup then 180 miles to the 89 turnoff in Flagstaff. Gotta get to the North Rim Campground in 2 1/2 days and I'm driving solo.

Guess, I'll have to save the slower routes when I retire and have more time.

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Old 02-13-2015, 10:23 AM   #8
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Have a great trip. You will be on good roads and in beautiful country. The North Rim, and the drive out to it from Jacob Lake, are relaxing and peaceful.
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Old 02-13-2015, 11:13 AM   #9
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Kelvin…It's sounds like you plan well.

But you may be overlooking something. Especially in the Southwest, the journey is as important as the destination. If you have never been to the Four Corners area, I would try to make some spare time to soak it in.

A trip from say, St Louis to Grand Canyon is about 15 hours drive time. You are giving yourself 2 1/2 days. I would drive as far as safely possible the first day, perhaps giving you a whole day to "take it easy", and enjoy the desert.
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Old 02-13-2015, 02:44 PM   #10
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Your trip through AZ

Kelvin-

Not sure how far north and east you are from AZ. But I would definitely choose I-40 rather than 264 thru Window Rock. The reason is simple. In the remote areas of Arizona, especially across Indian Reservations, you will be 100 miles +/- between gas stations. In some cases more than 150 miles. The roads across the Indian Reservations in the west are not repaired nor maintained on a regular basis. The are literally very few camp grounds along this route as well.

There is more. However if you have a driving range in excess of 250 miles and willing to put up with bad roads, with the prospect of not seeing a camp ground for RVs until you get to Cameron AZ then have at it and have fun.

Regards, Hugh P.S. I've done contracting work for the Hopi and the Navaho and had to travel these areas extensively and it can be difficult to travel in a vehicle w/o a trailer but is OK. Oh, did I mention, that the reservations are "free range" which means that there can be cattle and sheep on the road? No fences. Caution do not drive at night. Stunning landscape though. Good luck.
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Old 02-13-2015, 03:46 PM   #11
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191 miles from Gallup to Tuba City. I was planning on staying in Gallup at an RV park then heading to North Rim via 264 but I'm going to go I40 to 89 now. I'll probably continue past Gallup and stay at one of the RV parks in Holbrook, AZ. I use AllStays and there is a KOA and another private park.

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Old 02-19-2015, 02:24 PM   #12
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An alternative to Holbrook is Homolovi SP in Winslow. It's about 30 miles west of Holbrook on I40 with some interesting ruins to view. All hookups except sewer but does have a dump station. Just a suggestion to consider.


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Old 02-19-2015, 04:05 PM   #13
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I wonder if reservations are needed but it would be Sunday when I arrive so maybe not.

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Old 02-20-2015, 07:20 AM   #14
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Another option is the KOA just on the edge of Flagstaff on 89 because there will be shade.
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