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Old 10-05-2022, 01:45 PM   #1
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I40 heading west from DFW. Suggestions on things to see, places to stay?

Hi Folks,

We are about to tackle our first ever long distance, longer duration trip in our new Airstream (it's our first trailer too).

We have a brand new 2022 Globetrotter 27 FB Twin. It's getting a solar/inverter/battery upgrade at the moment, but we'll be taking possession in a week or so. It will have a lift kit and should be capable of boondocking.

We would like to head West from Dallas to visit some friends in LA and our son in Silicon Valley. I figure that I40 is probably the best route.

Please note that we'll take this route in Nov most likely, so keep that in mind.

We could really benefit from some suggestions (in other words: please, please help us, lol) with interesting and beautiful places to stay and to visit/see along the way.

Excursions a few hours drive away from I40 in any direction will be perfectly fine as we will not be in a hurry and would like to have some fun along the way.

Boondocking destinations are ok too, but keep in mind our level of experience (near zero) and the weather that time of year. If you don't want to give away any super secret destinations/routes, feel free to send me a PM and I promise to respect your wishes regarding sharing or not.

Thanks in advance for your help and advice. We are just starting on researching the trip.
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Old 10-05-2022, 02:06 PM   #2
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Palo Duro Canyon
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Old 10-05-2022, 02:21 PM   #3
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Plan a dinner at Los Poblanos historic Inn in Albuquerque (Campo - https://lospoblanos.com/dining/campo-reservations), side trip to Santa Fe and do a little Canyon Road shopping, wine tasting at the Gruet tasting room, hiking if you have time in the San Juan's, Petrified Forest National Park, Coconino National Forest, Alabama Hills (Lone Pine, CA). Just scratching the surface, lots of great side trips off I-40. Enjoy and safe travels.
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Old 10-05-2022, 02:50 PM   #4
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I have driven I40 from New Mexico several times, at all times of year. Not exactly what you asked, but in November the most important thing to look at is the weather.

You will be at 5-7000’ elevation much of the way and snow is not unlikely. One year around thanksgiving I tried to get west from Santa Fe and I40 was closed solid for two days, and only one lane open for a few more. Temperatures are likely to be in the 40’s daytime and 20’s or lower overnight.

Now to your question: the Grand Canyon!
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Old 10-05-2022, 03:56 PM   #5
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Having driven west from the Dallas area many times during November, my safe bet for a tyro would be to take I30-I20-I10 into Tucson, run up to I5W toward LA. Truck traffic usually lighter, elevation rise less dramatic since you are traversing the continental divide at its lowest point.
I 40 from ABQ west can offer dramatic elevation changes for a newbie Airstreamer.

I40 around Midland Odessa is an ongoing construction nightmare with several delay points. I just passed thru last month.

Lots of places to visit and stop in between. Check your Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona travel guides.

Oh yes. The weather will be much more predictable taking the southern route.
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Old 10-05-2022, 04:46 PM   #6
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I20, not I40 around Midland Odessa. Sorry.
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Old 10-05-2022, 05:21 PM   #7
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If you decide the I40 route, the Oasis in Amarillo (exit66) is a very good stopover. Nice, all concrete RV park, long slots so no need to unhook.

The Big Texan Steak Ranch, in Amarillo, home of the 72oz Steak (free if you can eat all of it plus the fixings) will send a free limo to the RV park to pick you up for dinner and bring you back.
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Old 10-05-2022, 05:47 PM   #8
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As you go through Las Cruces, check the weather to see if it is worth going north to Albuquerque. The Nuclear Science Museum, Zoo and Aquarium, and the Very Large Array on the way are great stops.
In Tucson, visit the Reid Park Zoo, one of the best run zoos in the country.
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Old 10-05-2022, 06:13 PM   #9
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Agree with Acheron.
If you do decide to stay on I10, Mesilla, just past Las Cruces, is a great stopover. Good RV park, great little town square with 2 first class restaurants, the Double Eagle and La Posada.
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Old 10-05-2022, 07:35 PM   #10
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Take 380. More rou 66 feel, enjoy the trip, not the traffic
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Old 10-05-2022, 08:04 PM   #11
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I fear my post #4 above might come across as discouraging the northern route, which actually would be my choice if the weather and roads were favorable. I would, however, have an alternate plan in place for a southern route.

My family homesteaded in New Mexico before it was a state, I lived there for several years, and still have family there. If you do go a southern route, I highly recommend visiting the Carlsbad Caverns which are spectacular. The UFO Museum in Roswell is very entertaining, and the Lincoln Historic Site in Lincoln NM will put you in the footsteps of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.

North or south, you will have a great adventure !
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Old 10-06-2022, 07:28 AM   #12
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Take 380. More rou 66 feel, enjoy the trip, not the traffic
I totally agree-380 & US 60
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Old 10-06-2022, 08:09 AM   #13
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Catalina State Park near Tucson is great. City of Rocks State Park in New Mexico is also nice. They’re both south of I-40, but worth a visit in my opinion.
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Old 10-06-2022, 09:17 AM   #14
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I very much enjoy Petroglyph National Monument outside if ABQ. It's just off I-40 and is a good leg stretcher.
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Old 10-06-2022, 11:06 AM   #15
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Traveling I40

Such good tips! We will be traveling to Tucson from Michigan starting on November 1st.
Not sure if we will winterize. Nashville will be our first stop for a couple days. Then I40 through Little Rock.
Has anyone traveled Natchez Trace this late then I10 across to AZ?
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Old 10-06-2022, 11:29 AM   #16
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Foobar, if you’ve made it to ABQ via 1-40 or Las Cruces/Mesilla via I-10, without any disruptions to your maiden voyage, congrats! You are now about half way.

Just thinking about your return…Don’t know how long your CA stay will be, it a likely
December return will be an adventure all by itself.

Decisions need to be made. Continuing west on 1-40 in November is a crapshoot. Flagstaff, Kingman Needles already cold and the road becomes roll-poly. There is a lot to see where ever you go. Encourage reading your State travel guides and Google a lot.

Either route will end you up in Phoenix. 1-10 to LA from there.

Have you reached out to subgroups who pull big trailers and passenger car TVs? Get their experiences and advice with cross country, mountainous travel? Might serve you better as you have no meaningful towing experience. A 3000 mile maiden voyage seems daunting, if not reckless (hopefully wreck less) at best.

A few short trips would get some good towing practice and confidence. Have you spent any nights in it yet? Worst case, park it in your drive and pretend you are on a road trip for a couple of days. Issues will pop up immediately.

Whatever you choose to do, the best of luck and best wishes. Be safe, and don’t hurt anybody.
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Old 10-06-2022, 11:59 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by happy2retire View Post
Such good tips! We will be traveling to Tucson from Michigan starting on November 1st.
Not sure if we will winterize. Nashville will be our first stop for a couple days. Then I40 through Little Rock.
Has anyone traveled Natchez Trace this late then I10 across to AZ?
We will be traveling through Tennessee and have reservations at Natchez Trace State Park end of October.

The Trace itself is a nice drive. Have not traveled it this late.

I-10 from Louisiana through to San Antonio is not a pleasant drive. Construction zones here and there. A particularly bad one between Houston and Columbus that I won't take without the trailer. A much better route is to take the I-12 split instead of heading to NOLA, then take US-61 north through Baton Rouge and pick up US-190. You will cross the Mississippi River on a lower bridge. The bridge is narrow but short; take both lanes. Then take US-190 through Opelousas LA, Jasper TX, and College Station. Lots of state park camping near that route through Texas. The only gnarly part of the road is through Opelousas. Go slow. I mean really slow. Like 20 MPH or less. Stay on US-190 even if your GPS says to take something else then puts you back on US-190. Take your pick after that. I'd do Fredericksburg then on to I-10. Check out the Admiral Nimitz museum in Fredericksburg.

One problem with that southern route is the Border Patrol checkpoints as you skirt along the US/Mexico border.
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Old 10-06-2022, 01:22 PM   #18
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I went from Ft Worth up 287 to Amarillo. As Fungus said Palo Dura Canyon State Park is beautiful. Also, as you go through Amarillo, there's the Cadillac Ranch out in the middle of a cornfield on the west side of the city. https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?...Ranch+Amarillo . Bring your own spay paint as I bet the guy at the gate charges twice as much. Also the Meteor Crater Natural Landmark just past Winslow, AZ is another good spot. The only boondock I did on that leg of my trip was at a Walmart and a Cracker Barrel in Gallup, NM
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Old 10-06-2022, 04:11 PM   #19
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3X for Palo Duro Canyon. Then from there head to White Sands in NM. If Santa Fe is in your plans, November is the perfect time to head to Ojo Caliante and test out the hot springs. Staying south from there, Joshua Tree in Southern CA is perfect in November. Then make a nice leisurely trip up the coast to see your son.
At least that's what I would do....
Have a great trip wherever you end up going.
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Old 10-06-2022, 04:21 PM   #20
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Thanks for all the suggestions so far. Keep them coming please as it helps us find the gems along the way.

To add a bit more background, we'll take a couple of shorter, local trips here in North Texas before we hit the road for the longer trip to CA in order to perform what would be called a "sea trial" or "shakedown cruise" for a new ocean going boat. Sea trials are intended to test all critical functions and repair any shortcomings before heading out to sea.

I expect we'll be able to get through I40 (or the equivalent local roads like Hwy380/US 60) in early to mid-Nov without too much drama from blizzards, et. al.

Coming back, we'll probably go the southerly route via I10 to ensure we won't have too many unsavory weather related learning adventures.

I'm not 100% certain that we can squeeze the trip in Nov/Dec between our other family and camping commitments. We might end up having to wait until Jan/Feb and just stick with the more southerly I10 related adventures till we get to CA and then head north on I5.
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