Friday, October 9, 2015

On the Road: San Angelo, TX, to Laughlin, NV (2015)

Normally on our trips to and from Nevada, we take scenic routes, which can add considerable time to our trips. This year, however, we went straight there and back for the most part. For us, that means we angle northwest from our home in San Angelo, TX, to hit Interstate 40 as soon as possible, which usually is in Santa Rosa, NM. From there, it is a pretty straight shot due west to Kingman, AZ, where we exit I-40 for the last 35 miles or so along an Arizona state highway.

I've reported our trips in previous articles (see the previous entry for links to these), so I won't repeat myself here. Instead, I'll simply describe the specifics for this trip.

Our route to and from Nevada

We usually make the 1,000+ mile trip to Laughlin in 2 days. On this trip, we traveled over 700 miles the first day to Holbrook, AZ, where we spent the night at the Lexington Inn. When traveling, we usually try to stay in hotels in small towns. Rates are usually better for the same quality lodging as you would find in larger cities. Also, getting on and off the interstate in small towns is so much easier than in larger cities. We also feel safer in small towns.

On our second day, we really only had about 5 hours remaining to Laughlin, so we decided to see a little of the country. I-40 basically follows historic old Route 66. We decided to detour from I-40 for much of our remaining trip to see the old highway. So we detoured through Holbrook, Flagstaff, Williams, and Kingman. We really liked the downtown area in Flagstaff, and hope to return in the near future and spend a couple of days there roaming the streets. Williams is also a picturesque town in the mountains of northern Arizona worth visiting.

About halfway between Flagstaff and Kingman, we detoured through Seligman, another picturesque town along the old highway. But instead of rejoining I-40 after passing through town as we had been doing, we stayed on Route 66 as it veered north from I-40 for the remaining 90 or so miles to Kingman. The old two-lane highway is well maintained. It winds through several small towns, such as Peach Springs and Valentine. There really was quite a bit of traffic on the old road, probably tourists like ourselves.

At Kingman, we then headed west for the final 35 or so miles of the trip to Laughlin.

On the return, we followed the same route without the detours along Route 66. Temperatures had dropped considerably for our return trip. It was early in the morning when we passed through Williams and Flagstaff, and the temps were in the 30s. We picked up heavy rain in the Albuquerque area. I had considered trying to make the trip home in a single day, arriving late at night. We've done that once in our travels. But the rain concerned me, and I was tired after not getting much sleep in strange beds for the past 2 weeks, so we pulled off in Santa Rosa and got a room in the Comfort Inn.

We woke to rain and temps in the upper 40s. After a good breakfast at the hotel, we climbed back in the truck for the remaining 400 miles to San Angelo. The rain continued until Lamesa, where we enjoyed a very good steak at K-Bob's Steakhouse. By the time we reached San Angelo, the temperature was in the lower 80s and all was dry.

As a side note, here is some information on gas prices. Texas had the lowest prices. We paid $1.82 in Levelland, Texas. Prices across New Mexico were decent. We paid $2.12 in Gallup both coming and going. Prices seemed to jump a bit in Arizona. We filled up twice in Bullhead City, AZ, and paid about $2.35 both times. Just across the river in Nevada, prices jumped about a dollar to around $3.35, though you could find it just under $3.00 in Las Vegas.

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