Preferred route from Phoenix to St Paul and reverse?

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by Sixela918, May 19, 2022.

  1. Sixela918

    Sixela918 Light Load Member

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    Nov 24, 2021
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    I go from Phoenix to St Paul a lot. Then pick up something usually within 300 miles to head back. My GPS always suggests to go up via Albuquerque (obviously) - Denver, Omaha, etc. I've always taken the 40 to OKC and then north on 35. Am I correct to avoid the Denver route if possible?
     
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  3. Moosetek13

    Moosetek13 Road Train Member

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    Going your route has better options for truck stops, and is better for weather.
    Denver is unpredictable at best. They should be getting some heavy snow this weekend.
     
  4. Sixela918

    Sixela918 Light Load Member

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    Phoenix, AZ
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    That's what I thought. Only been to Denver once. About a month ago and ran into major snow leaving on way to Utah. Did not enjoy going down that 7% grade right after the long tunnel in serious snow. Since then I've just kinda decided that Denver sucks - avoid. Oh yeah, I forgot, on way to Denver that trip, there were several trucks blown over on i25. Thanks for the reply.
     
  5. Trucker61016

    Trucker61016 Road Train Member

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    Linville, Va
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    Oh the Eisenhower tunnel ?? Where you're at about 12,000 ft elevation ??? C'mon driver just a little slip and slide....
     
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  6. Sixela918

    Sixela918 Light Load Member

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    Phoenix, AZ
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    I guess that's what it was called. Honestly it was snowing so bad I didn't catch the name of the tunnel. But I definitely saw the 7% grade sign. Actually got down fine. Took it nice and SLOW. I was definitely glad to have just gotten a truck that actually can be put in manual mode and stay there. But since then I've decided, if my GPS says to go through Denver but I can avoid it, I go a different route
     
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  7. Dennixx

    Dennixx Road Train Member

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    twin cities
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    I'd run up to Flag and bang a right to Tucumcari and take the 2 lane to Wichita.
     
  8. Sixela918

    Sixela918 Light Load Member

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    Nov 24, 2021
    Phoenix, AZ
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    Yeah, I did that the first two trips, but since then I've been going the OKC route. Can't see much difference in time. Just more good places to stop on southern route.
     
  9. Six9GS

    Six9GS Road Train Member

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    I was through that tunnel about a week ago. Elevation is 11,016 ft if I remember correctly. Just over 11,000 ft at the tunnel. I commonly go between Salt Lake City and Denver. Preferred route is up on I-80. But, I've gone the I-70 route several times to avoid the wind on I-80. As for snow, I simply park it. If roads aren't clear and dry, I'm staying put in a truck stop somewhere. Especially if there are any significant grades involved. I'm lucky I work for a company that is OK with that. One of (not the only) the reasons I stay with Swift. They grant me the unreproached authority to shut down for weather if I deem it so. Means alot to me to know I'm not gonna get some dispatcher trying to coerce me to drive when my gut says stop and stay stopped. I do NOT abuse that, it's too precious to me to know if I earnestly think it better, due to weather and road conditions, too stop and wait it out, I can without recourse.
     
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  10. Zoltan1a

    Zoltan1a Road Train Member

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    Head west and go lay on the beach instead
     
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  11. MadScientist

    MadScientist Light Load Member

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    What GPS are you using?

    I tried two different ones made for cars (I'm retired and no longer have a truck GPS) plus Google maps. All three recommended the Tucumcari cutoff route (US54/US400 between Tucumcari and Wichita).

    They also provided various alternate routes that used I-25 but cut across from either Trinidad, CO to I-80 at Kearny, NE (US350/US287/US40/US83/US34/SR44) or (US412/US56/SR156) from Springer, NM to I-70 at Ellsworth, KS. The Kearny option makes more sense to me than the Ellsworth route, which just seems to me to be a poor substitute for the Tucumcari cutoff that will burn more fuel getting out of NM.

    Neither showed going all the way to OKC nor all the way to Denver as alternate routes. Going up I-25 from Albuquerque to Las Vegas, and then again going over Raton Pass just before you get to Colorado, can suck some fuel out of your tanks if you're grossed out on weight.

    Whether or not to run 54/400 instead of staying on the big road to OKC is a little less clear cut in truck than in a car. Cars don't suffer as much in terms of fuel mileage from starting and stopping as trucks do. Timewise, it usually takes about the same amount to get from Tucumcari to Wichita either way, but it's 100 fewer miles on 54/400, which may or may not translate to using less fuel when balanced against more frequent stops and starts and speed zones through the few towns along that route. The biggest town that you actually have to drive all the way through the middle, from Tucumcari to Wichita, is Pratt, KS. It's less than three miles from one side to the other. Most towns on that route are less than a dozen blocks long. You skirt around the southeast edge of Liberal, KS with a 2-mile stretch of fast food joints and red lights. Dalhart, TX and Guymon, OK are smaller versions of Liberal.

    If I ran those loads on a regular basis I'd probably run 54/400 most of the time, especially if I was running most of that stretch at night. I used to get tired of being on the big road, especially I-40 with all the traffic, all of the time. I appreciated the change of pace of running a long stretch of non-interstate in areas where the traffic isn't usually very heavy.

    But I'd always check the weather forecast before starting from either end and go either OKC, 54/400, or even Denver if the weather looked bad on the other routes.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2022
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