Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Three Day Roadtrip (Flagstaff, AZ to Gainesville, GA)

After making the trip twice,  I realized that I did not blog about our trip to and from Arizona and Georgia.  Here in Flagstaff, we have I-17 and I-40.  When going back home to Georgia to see family and friends, Brandon and I take I-40 East the whole way until we reach Nashville, TN.  Here are a few notable sights and stops we encountered while on the trip.

Going East


When leaving Flagstaff, our first destination is Amarillo, Texas, which is an 8 hour drive.  Depending on the season and time zones, it can be a "9" or "10" hour drive with the time change. 
We are only in Arizona for two hours until we hit New Mexico. In Arizona, you'll pass Winslow, Holbrook, and the Petrified National Forest.  Gas stations and food stops are scarce since you are mostly driving around the Navajo Nation. 

New Mexico

Since we try our best to not stop in Arizona, the Welcome Center in New Mexico is our first pit stop.  Here, the welcome center is nice and airconditioned with clean restrooms.  There are several covered picnic tables that you can eat under.  They even have a fenced in dog park for Kodak! This is a great rest area while traveling East.  
The first town you'll go through is Gallup.  If you are hungry, this is a good place to eat.  They have your basic fast food joints.  
A little further down the road is Albuquerque, aka, the half-way point to Amarillo. Like most large cities, you might encounter traffic, and there's an Interchange there, so you need to be careful to stay in the lane that you need.  After Albuquerque, there are only like 3 or 4 towns that you'll come by.  If you stop in Santa Rosa, you should check out the Blue Hole.  You'll see billboards for it, and I recommend that you see it.  The Blue Hole is an 80-foot deep natural hole.  You can swim and scuba dive in it. While driving out East, we stopped at a few small towns to check out Historic Route 66.  And boy, Historic Route 66 is rough!    


Once you pass over the Texas state line, you have one hour until you hit Amarillo.  This part of the drive is also pretty boring.  You'll see windmills and cow farms.  However, once you're about to reach Amarillo, you should check out Cadillac Ranch. It's a nice stop to walk the dog and to stretch your legs. Amarillo is huge!  There are many places to sleep and eat.  We like to sleep at the Red Roof Inn since it is dog-friendly and in our price range.  On our first day, we stop here to take a rest.

Once you get some sleep, you have about an hour and a half until you are in Oklahoma.  Once again, you'll pass many wind turbines.  One of these times, I would like to exit off and check out some of the small towns.  Make sure you have food and gas before you leave Amarillo, because Shamrock, which is close to Oklahoma, is your best bet for food and gas.  


Brandon says this is the boring part of the trip, but I don't mind it.  Actually, I would prefer driving since there aren't many people on the road.  We don't make a lot of stops since we are trying to get to Memphis as soon as possible--from Amarillo, this is an 11 hour drive.  Once you get out of Oklahoma City, you'll pass a handful of rest areas.  We like to stop an hour out of Oklahoma City to eat our lunch and to walk Kodak.  


The Welcome Center in Arkansas is really nice.  Last time, we ended up eating our lunch here instead of in Oklahoma.  The Welcome Center is huge, and the staff were super friendly.  After the break, Brandon took the wheel and we made our way to Tennessee.  In Arkansas, you start to see green trees and vegetation.  Once again, we don't make that many stops.  This last time, we stopped right after Little Rock to get some soda.  Little Rock is about the two hour mark from Memphis. 


While on day 2, we stop in Memphis to stay with my grandmother.  Memphis has a great blues and BBQ scene if that is what you're into.  We don't really stop in Memphis since we normally meet my grandma for dinner.  We stay with her for a day or two and then make our trek to Georgia.

After we are done with Memphis, we continue East.  Unlike most of the other states, I noticed that gas stations are almost on every exit, which is nice if you're low on gas.  When approaching Nashville, we take 840 for Murfreesboro.  This is an "almost-half way" point.  840 is about an hour long, and spits you out on I-26.  Sometimes we eat lunch here, or we wait about an hour and eat at the Monteagle rest area.  Monteagle is nice and mountain-y.  Once you hit Monteagle, Chattanooga is your next destination.  For some reason, we always hit traffic here in Chattanooga.  Here, you jump on I-75 south for Georgia!  


Once we are in Georgia, we don't want to stop.  We try our best to get home as soon as possible.  Crossing into Georgia is almost crossing the finish line while on the roadtrip.  You know that you still have about 2-2.5 hours depending on your route and traffic.  When we get to Canton, that is the final stretch!

Overall, the trip isn't that bad.  I seem to see something new each time.  We also geocache, which helps break up the long drive.  When I tell people that we drive, they give me the most surprised look!  But I mean, it ends up being cheaper for us, and we can take Kodak! :)

***This post was originally written in early June, but it was sitting in my drafts for the longest time! Whoops!