Category Archives: Drives

White Mountains’ Forest Road 249 Will Be Paved by Next Summer

Shirley Ramaley‎ | Big Lake

Shirley Ramaley‎ | Big Lake

Looks like it’s Road Construction Week on the Arizona Highways blog. Yesterday, we told you about upcoming repairs to U.S. Route 89 near Page. Today’s news comes from our friends at the U.S. Forest Service: Forest Road 249, a dirt road that runs from Alpine to Big Lake in the White Mountains, will be fully paved by the end of next summer.

The 17-mile stretch of road will remain open during the construction, which will occur Monday through Friday, but drivers should expect delays of up to 30 minutes on those days, the Forest Service says.

Once it’s finished, the road will provide an easy driving route between two of the White Mountains’ most idyllic locations. Big Lake appeared in our July issue as the conclusion of a scenic drive from Eagar. And Alpine, at an elevation of 9,000 feet or so, features some of the coolest weather you’ll find in Arizona.

The Forest Service also noted that all fire restrictions in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests have been lifted.

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From Our Friends at ADOT: No Full Closures for Construction Along State Highways During Christmas and New Year’s Weeks

From our friends at ADOT!

PHOENIX — As many Arizonans prepare to celebrate the holidays and possibly head out on the road to visit family and friends, the Arizona Department of Transportation is urging drivers to concentrate on safety when behind the wheel. ADOT has good news about highway travel during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday period. No full closures for construction will be scheduled along state highways between December 23 and January 2.

ADOT is joined by the Arizona Department of Public Safety and Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in urging drivers to stay alert while traveling over the holidays and to remember the following safe-driving tips:

  • Check your vehicle before heading out on a trip, including tire pressure, fluid levels and the condition of engine belts.
  • Buckle up and double check child-safety seats.
  • Never drive while impaired. Arrange for a designated driver.
  • Be prepared for unscheduled highway closures due to crashes, disabled vehicles or other incidents.
  • Have an emergency-preparedness kit that includes extra clothes, blankets, flashlights, snack foods and drinking water. Remember, weather conditions can change quickly as you travel.
  • Check on travel conditions before leaving by visiting ADOT’s Travel Information site at or calling  5-1-1 (outside Arizona call 1-888-411-ROAD).
  • Highway condition information also is provided via Twitter

While no full highway closures for construction will be scheduled during the holidays, drivers should stay alert, obey speed limits and be prepared to merge safely when approaching existing work zones, including:

  • Southbound Interstate 17 between Camp Verde and the State Route 169 junction for an ongoing project to add a third lane along Copper Canyon Hill.
  • Interstate 10 between Ruthrauff and Prince roads in Tucson for an ongoing improvement project to add lanes in both directions.

When traveling in higher elevations, be prepared in case of snowy or icy conditions. Keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Slow down, be patient and avoid distractions. Plan extra travel time into your schedule.
  • Be alert and remember: Ice often forms on bridges first and can be hard to see.
  • When driving behind a snowplow, stay back at least four car lengths and use caution when passing a snowplow. Please avoid passing a snowplow that’s in the process of clearing snow and ice off the highway. It’s best to wait until the snowplow pulls off the road.
  • To avoid skidding, brake slowly and don’t jerk the steering wheel.
  • Increase the distance been your vehicle and traffic ahead.
  • Consider carrying tire chains or snow cables.

Information about what to include in an emergency-preparedness kit for your vehicle can be found at

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Navajo Route 20 to Open in September as Detour for U.S. 89


A 150-foot section of U.S. Route 89 buckled in February. Photo courtesy of ADOT.


When a 150-foot portion of U.S. Route 89 buckled in February, travelers in Northeastern Arizona faced bumpy roads and long delays. Now, the newly paved Navajo Route 20 will be rededicated as U.S. 89T and will eventually serve as a detour route. Below, you’ll find the official press release from the Navajo Division of Transportation.


     BODAWAY GAP-It only took 79 days to pave Navajo Route 20. Finishing 11 days ahead of schedule, the crew from FNF Con­struction, Inc. paved the final mile of Navajo Route 20 on August 8, 2013. Construction officially began on May 21. FNF was contracted by the Arizona Department of Transporta­tion to pave 28 miles of N20. Assisting them was AZTEC Engineer­ing and RUMCO. The new road was completed just in time, as the Page Unified School District started the new school year. Hundreds of Navajo students attend school in Page and previously faced bumpy roads  and lengthy drive times to get to school. N20 is now designated as U.S. 89T and will be utilized to restore essential traffic from U.S. 89 for a period of three years, after which the road will revert back to the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. U.S. 89 was closed on Feb. 22, after a dry landslide damaged a portion of roadway near the Bitter Springs and Echo Cliffs area, south of the Big Cut. The Navajo Division of Transportation, ADOT, BIA and Federal Highway Administration joined forces to pave N20 as a detour route.

“This was a game-changing collaboration,” said Paulson Chaco, director of NDOT. “Not only did ADOT get this paving done in such a short timeframe, but we all came together to expedite the project.” … The official soft dedication celebration for the road will take place on August 29, at the junction of the Coppermine Chapter road and N20. Festivities will begin at 10 a.m. (DST).  Floyd Stevens, president of Coppermine Chapter, said ADOT’s road crew will continue working on finishing touches for the road­way through Sept. “We’re very excited about the opening. The word is already out,” Stevens said.  Until the road is officially opened to the traveling public, motor­ists are encouraged to continue utilizing the detour route on U.S. 160 and State Route 98 for travel into Page. Information: or

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Friday Fotos: Views From Arizona’s Many Roads

Chris Couture | Monument Valley

Chris Couture | Monument Valley

Happy Friday…. in honor of our January issue, we wanted to see your views from the road. Thanks to everyone who posted to our Facebook wall — there were some really gorgeous photographs. If you’re inspired by what you see in this week’s gallery, pick up the January issue and take one of our Scenic Sunday Drives.

One more thing: if you do hit the road this holiday weekend, please be safe.

Happy New Year and sayonara 2012!


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Q&A With Roger Naylor On His New Book With Photographer Larry Lindahl, Arizona Kicks On Route 66…

Photography by Larry Lindahl

“If the Grand Canyon is the heart of Arizona, then Route 66 is the main artery…” Writer and frequent Arizona Highways contributor Roger Naylor couldn’t have said it better… and now you can read about his love affair with Route 66 (and his thing for homemade pie) in the book, Arizona Kicks On Route 66… Of course, this project could not have been done without another Arizona Highways contributor, photographer Larry Lindahl. Larry’s photos are beautiful and rich in detail… there’s a real sense of nostalgia… you’ll want to hit the Mother Road after checking out some of his images below:

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This dynamic duo traveled the longest intact portion of Route 66 (we’re talking 158 miles) to create this stunning book — a 9×12 masterpiece, showcasing the magic that is Route 66… it’s truly a slice of Americana.

Below, Roger talks about the book, his obsession with pie and working with his pal and colleague, Larry:

Why did you decide to focus on Route 66?
If the Grand Canyon is the heart of Arizona, then Route 66 is the main artery. A pulsing and vital link feeding the towns that stretch across the northern half of the state. There’s such a blend of history and scenery, of small towns and wide open spaces, of Wild West and mid-century Americana that I just found irresistible. I’ve always loved road trips and Route 66 Arizona is the ultimate. It rambles across stark badlands, cloud-swept plateaus and a desert painted in scandalous hues. The road explores forests of tall pines and forests where trees have turned to stone. It brushes past volcanoes, craters and the ruins of ancient civilizations. It’s a beautiful, bewitching drive, plus there are burgers and pie. What else do you need?

What can readers expect from this book?
They can expect a love letter to Route 66 and Arizona. Visually, it’s a stunning book. It’s a big 9 x 12, which is a great showcase for the spectacular photographs of Larry Lindahl. And I kept it a fun, breezy read. There’s plenty of information—where to eat, where to sleep, what to see and do, including some side trips—but there’s also a rhythm to the book, a sense of movement. So many Route 66 books feel static because the narrative is viewed through a kind of historic prism, lamenting what’s no longer there. I touched on the history of the road because it’s fascinating but I focused on what’s still going gangbusters. Route 66 exudes a timeless quality but it’s vibrant and vivid and alive as new businesses open and additional restorations salvage existing ones. I believe Route 66 is about to undergo another renaissance and it’s great to be part of that. It’s a book that will make you want to jump in your car and GO!

Route 66 is a very popular “destination,” will readers find anything unexpected in your book?
There are no other Route 66 books devoted solely to Arizona so I was able to go into a lot more depth. And I give readers truly important information, like the joints that serve homemade pie. I have Pie Alerts throughout the book because there are two places where you should always be able to find homemade pie—cooling on Grandma’s windowsill and in cafes and diners along Route 66. In the interest of journalistic integrity I should admit, I like pie.

A lot of smaller attractions that often get overlooked are included in the book like the Native American dances on the lawn of the Navajo County Courthouse during the summer, a mystical, beautiful experience. Great little museums like Old Trails in Winslow, Ash Fork Museum and Kingman Army Airfield Museum. And there are some oddities, like Giganticus Headicus, a 14-foot-tall tiki head in the Mojave Desert and the “Trail of the Whispering Giants,” which is a completely different giant noggin. There are also lots of natural attractions that readers may not know like Shaffer Fish Bowl Springs, Mesa Trail in Cool Springs, the Boundary Cone formation and lots more.

Did you learn anything new about the Mother Road, if so, what?
It wasn’t something I didn’t already know but it still startled me to discover how widespread the passion for Route 66 is around the globe. I knew it was an international icon but it was so much bigger than I realized. I’ve met tour groups from France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Australia, Norway, Japan and at least a dozen other countries. Larry and I have a Route 66 Arizona Facebook page and every day we hear from fans from all over the world. That wavy ribbon of road symbolizes freedom and a sense of adventure that resonates with people no matter what language they speak. They come to Arizona because this is holy ground for Route 66ers. The preservation movement began right here in Seligman, led by Angel Delgadillo, the town barber who decided to save this road. And he did!

That’s something else I learned: Route 66 exists today because of a few determined people who decided they could make the world better. La Posada, Wigwam Motel, Cool Springs, Hackberry General Store and so many others are all just stories of people that decided to save a piece of our heritage. How cool is that?

You collaborated with photographer Larry Lindahl…how did you guys work together?
Larry and I first met while working on an Arizona Highways story several years ago. We took a balloon ride over Sedona, which was a blast. For the book, we traveled Route 66 together once or twice but for the most part operated independently. Like all great photographers, Larry pursues the magical light of early morning and late evening. For my purposes, I needed to visit places when they were open and bustling. We kept in contact as we crafted the book so we knew what ground each of us was covering. At the end we were thrilled at how perfectly the text and images fit together. But I don’t think we were surprised. We both have a passion for the subject matter and just tried to capture it in our own way. It was an honor for me to see my words so beautifully illustrated.

What was your favorite part of the book?
I included a series of vignettes called Route 66 Arizona Moments throughout the book. They’re small personal stories from my travels—watching a sunset and moonrise in Painted Desert, listening to a kid play piano at La Posada, spending the night underground at Grand Canyon Caverns and more. These are my favorite memories of traveling the Mother Road. Because I think that’s what stays with us from a journey, intimate moments. It’s great to have the big experiences and see the sights but what we cherish afterwards are the times we stop at a diner in the middle of nowhere and have an amazing burger and piece of pie. Or we pull off the road to watch horses graze in meadows drenched with sunflowers. Or we step out of store to see fierce thunderclouds bruising the sky above sandstone cliffs. Life is all about moments. And I hope the book encourages folks to go out and gather a few more of their own. When Mother Road calls, you have to answer.

Details: The book is available in stores and visitor centers all along Route 66 Arizona. It can also be ordered from Amazon. For more information, check out Roger and Larry’s Facebook page.

For Even More Details: Roger and Larry will be discussing the book and signing copies at Well Red Coyote in Sedona on June 2. 928-282-2284,

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Want Free Gas?


Our October issue is all about scenic drives, and by now you’ve probably seen a few that you’d like to drive yourself… Well, if you haven’t yet hit the road, we know of something that just might inspire you to pack up the kids and take a drive on one of the many roads less travelled in our state.

Starting tomorrow morning at 6:2oAM, CBS 5 will be popping by a Fry’s gas station somewhere in the Valley to hand out $40 gas cards to the first 155 people in line.

Talk about a great reason to get your engine started early… Of course, if you miss out on tomorrow’s give-a-way, you have the entire week to try and get your hands on a free gas card.

Just tune in to CBS 5 to find out where you need to go.

Let’s face it, free gas is always a good thing.

>>Flickr pic by Peter Kreder

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