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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Nature & Landscapes Talk 
Thread started 06 Mar 2012 (Tuesday) 14:09
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Just how scenic is the drive on the way to Arizona?

 
mpadula
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Mar 06, 2012 14:09 |  #1

Hello,
I am taking a three week driving trip this summer (mid June to July) to Arizona and Colorado and I have decided that my drive down from Chicago would be taking the route through Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and then into Arizona. While the majority of my time will be spent photographing in the Sedona area and then 5 days in the Grand Canyon before heading up into Colorado I am wondering how scenic the drive is getting to Arizona?

I have never been to any of those particular states before and I know that the route I am taking overlaps with portions of the old Route 66. I am hoping that the drive will be fairly interesting and my plan is to be able to stop along the route and take photos here and there of things that are of historical interest and just some cool things in general. I am more of a nature/landscape/wildl​ife/architecture kind of photographer so for those of you that live out in this area of have traveled along this route into Arizona can you offer some suggestions of cool things that are right off the main road or things of interest that might not be too far off the expressway that might be of interest.

I am only planning on staying overnight in Joplin, MO and Amarillo,Tx before arriving in Flagstaff, Az so basically we will be driving straight through Oklahoma and New Mexico without having the opportunity to spend the night in any of those places but I was hoping to have an interesting drive that might allow me to just pull off the road here and there and snap some photos of some scenery that might be along the expressway.

So will I be in for an interesting drive with some nice landscapes and cool things to photograph along the way?



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gonzogolf
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Mar 06, 2012 14:13 |  #2

Illinois will be boring. Missouri can be beautiful, but you need to get off the interstate and work at it. Oklahoma and texas are okay if you get good skies.




  
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Mar 06, 2012 18:13 as a reply to  @ gonzogolf's post |  #3

I guess it depends on the time of day and what you're interested in. You're going to see antelope along the way on the plains. There's going to be all the Route 66 icons. You're going to be going through mountains as you go through NM. Plus you're going to be going past many National Parks and Monuments along the way, lava fields, Indian stands, Indian pueblos, trading posts with Indian Jewelry pawn, ranches, tourist traps with cool neon signs, Mount Taylor, Window Rock, Anazazi ruins, Sunset Crater, San Farncisco Peaks, Walnut Canyon, Meteor Crater, Pertrified Forest, Painted Desert, elk, deer, Hopi Mesas, Monument Valley, The Sleeping Ute, Canyon of the Ancients, Mesa Verde, Silverton/Durango railroad, etc.
You are going to be traveling an area that couldn't be totally captured in a lifetime. Every moment is going to change the way light falls on cliffs, mountains, valleys. You'll see people that make a living off a land that is hard on life. I could go on for pages...
I haven't lived out there for 18 years but I still visit it every day in my memories.




  
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airfrogusmc
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Mar 06, 2012 18:17 |  #4

mpadula wrote in post #14036652 (external link)
Hello,
I am taking a three week driving trip this summer (mid June to July) to Arizona and Colorado and I have decided that my drive down from Chicago would be taking the route through Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and then into Arizona. While the majority of my time will be spent photographing in the Sedona area and then 5 days in the Grand Canyon before heading up into Colorado I am wondering how scenic the drive is getting to Arizona?

I have never been to any of those particular states before and I know that the route I am taking overlaps with portions of the old Route 66. I am hoping that the drive will be fairly interesting and my plan is to be able to stop along the route and take photos here and there of things that are of historical interest and just some cool things in general. I am more of a nature/landscape/wildl​ife/architecture kind of photographer so for those of you that live out in this area of have traveled along this route into Arizona can you offer some suggestions of cool things that are right off the main road or things of interest that might not be too far off the expressway that might be of interest.

I am only planning on staying overnight in Joplin, MO and Amarillo,Tx before arriving in Flagstaff, Az so basically we will be driving straight through Oklahoma and New Mexico without having the opportunity to spend the night in any of those places but I was hoping to have an interesting drive that might allow me to just pull off the road here and there and snap some photos of some scenery that might be along the expressway.

So will I be in for an interesting drive with some nice landscapes and cool things to photograph along the way?

New Mexico is amazing. There are real reasons why artists like O'Keeffe and photographers like Stieglitz and Adams spent a lot of time there. Spend some time in the Santa Fe, Taos area and north into Colorado Durango ,Silverton an Ouray. The high road between Santa Fe and Taos is an amazing drive. Also spend a little time in Madrid. ;)




  
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mpadula
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Mar 06, 2012 19:52 as a reply to  @ airfrogusmc's post |  #5

Thanks so much for the responses!! Looks like my daughter and I will enjoy the drive into Arizona for sure. And there will be a ton of stuff to photograph. After we finish at the Grand Canyon we will leave the North Rim and then head Eastward through that Northern tip of Arizona and drive toward the four corners area, and then start exploring that area before heading up to Colorado Springs and then into Rocky Mountain National Park.



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Mar 06, 2012 20:02 as a reply to  @ mpadula's post |  #6

Get the books Photographing the Southwest Vol 2 & 3.

Heck, get vol 1 too.




  
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mpadula
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Mar 06, 2012 20:25 |  #7

Hoosier Writer wrote in post #14038841 (external link)
Get the books Photographing the Southwest Vol 2 & 3.

Heck, get vol 1 too.

I will do that for sure!! I'll check on Amazon and see if I can find them :D

Found them and ordered all 3 on amazon!! Thanks so much!



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Mar 06, 2012 20:46 |  #8

Hi.

The stretch of I-40 between Albuquerque and Flagstaff is somewhat barren. Do stop at Meteor Crater and maybe Winslow, if you really want to 'Stand on the Corner.'

The way back to Colorado has MUCH more potential. :)

IMO, the 4-corners area is also less than stellar. I'd suggest a loop into S. Utah. The path between Bryce and Goblin Valley is some of the prettiest country on the planet. There are arches to see, dozens of picturesque, cool little slot canyons to explore, grand scenic overlooks and terrain straight out of the Roadrunner cartoon.

Specific advise is hard to give w.o more information.
Most importantly, how many days will you have for the trip?
Are you and your daughter up for some short, scenic hikes?
Are you comfortable driving on well maintained (if dusty and washboarded) dirt roads?

If you could scare up 2~3 days in Utah, you'll have a fantastic trip, IMO.


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mpadula
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Mar 06, 2012 21:05 |  #9

Geonerd wrote in post #14039182 (external link)
Hi.

The stretch of I-40 between Albuquerque and Flagstaff is somewhat barren. Do stop at Meteor Crater and maybe Winslow, if you really want to 'Stand on the Corner.'

The way back to Colorado has MUCH more potential. :)

IMO, the 4-corners area is also less than stellar. I'd suggest a loop into S. Utah. The path between Bryce and Goblin Valley is some of the prettiest country on the planet. There are arches to see, dozens of picturesque, cool little slot canyons to explore, grand scenic overlooks and terrain straight out of the Roadrunner cartoon.

Specific advise is hard to give w.o more information.
Most importantly, how many days will you have for the trip?
Are you and your daughter up for some short, scenic hikes?
Are you comfortable driving on well maintained (if dusty and washboarded) dirt roads?

If you could scare up 2~3 days in Utah, you'll have a fantastic trip, IMO.

Hi Greg,
Thanks so much for these tips I really appreciate the info, We are leaving on June 16th and plan to be in Flagstaff by Monday the 18th and then I want to spend 2/3 days in Sedona, then 4/5 days at the Canyon 2 days at each Rim, South and North, then take the scenic route from the North Rim into Colorado, I wanted to see Mesa Verde before going over to Colorado Springs, I could take a few days and work our way up into Southern Utah and a friend at work highly suggested that as well.

I think we would be up for some short scenic hikes, nothing to strenuous but short hikes would be doable. My daughter is 14 and all about the exercise at her age. I'm not to sure I could keep up with her, but it would be great exercise.

I just purchased the 3 volume set, Photographing the Southwest that covers the sections of Southern Utah.

Our total trip will be 3 weeks and I planned on being back home by Saturday July 7th. We are also going up to RMNP/ Estes Park on the last leg of our trip.



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bps
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Mar 06, 2012 21:45 |  #10

Southern Utah is absolutely amazing, but not so much in the summer. It's really, really hot. I would suggest spending time in the high country of Colorado on your way back through. Telluride and Ouray is a great choice...

Bryan


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Mar 06, 2012 23:05 |  #11

mpadula, you might see my post below" suggestion for road trip to Yuma" . I've been researching the advice and there is so much to see just on my Southern leg of NM and AZ. Click on the link that irishman provided, that will give you an idea of how much time we need.
I've been through Northern AZ, Utah,CO, WY and there is no way to see it all, it's just awesome, you will enjoy every minute of your trip.
What route will you take to Joplin, may be of more help to you on Ill, MO,KS or OK?


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Mar 07, 2012 02:15 |  #12

Defintely dont take the Nebraska route. That is absolutely boring.


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mpadula
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Mar 07, 2012 07:15 |  #13

Grizz1 wrote in post #14040241 (external link)
mpadula, you might see my post below" suggestion for road trip to Yuma" . I've been researching the advice and there is so much to see just on my Southern leg of NM and AZ. Click on the link that irishman provided, that will give you an idea of how much time we need.
I've been through Northern AZ, Utah,CO, WY and there is no way to see it all, it's just awesome, you will enjoy every minute of your trip.
What route will you take to Joplin, may be of more help to you on Ill, MO,KS or OK?


Grizz1 yes I did see your post and that also has some great info as well!! We will be taking I-55 all the way down through Illinois, into St. Louis and then picking up I-44 West that goes from St. Louis to Joplin, MO.



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mpadula
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Mar 07, 2012 07:17 |  #14

bps wrote in post #14039587 (external link)
Southern Utah is absolutely amazing, but not so much in the summer. It's really, really hot. I would suggest spending time in the high country of Colorado on your way back through. Telluride and Ouray is a great choice...

Bryan


I was thinking about driving up to pass through Telluride!!



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mpadula
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Mar 07, 2012 07:19 |  #15

Dragoro wrote in post #14040945 (external link)
Defintely dont take the Nebraska route. That is absolutely boring.

I have heard that, and I'm still trying to figure out how to get back to Illinois from the Denver area without having to take that boring trek through Nebraska and Iowa.. Suggestions anyone??

RMNP will be the last leg of our trip and my daughter and I want to spend our last night in Colorado at the Stanley Hotel where the movie "The Shining" was filmed and then head home to Chicago but I am dreading a boring car ride back through Nebraska and Iowa..



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Just how scenic is the drive on the way to Arizona?
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