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Road travel in Arizona

Road travel in Arizona

Old Mar 23, 18, 7:45 pm
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Road travel in Arizona

I'm planning a summer road trip from LA via Yuma to Tucson. How advisable is it to travel along Interstate 8 and through the Sonoran Desert National Monument? My concern is about wasting time and avoiding bother at excessive stops at checkpoints en route in the area. About four years ago I spent a few days at the Big Bend National Park and on the way back was stopped at least thrice with the most intrusive questioning, document checks and goodness knows what else; each stop was about 20 minutes long! But that was at another time, there was a different environment and a different Administration. So I imagine the situation MAY be much worse now, hence my question.

Also, does anyone know if there are sealed roads into and through the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, where we can drive a rental compact car without any issues?

Last edited by puchong; Mar 24, 18 at 11:51 am
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Old Mar 23, 18, 9:01 pm
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Did quite a bit of travel through southern Arizona a couple of weeks ago; there were two or three Border Patrol checkpoints but we were waved through. But, then, we were two old white guys in a rental car.

If you have an extra hour, take the rode south out of Gila Bend via state highways 85/86. Ajo is a fascinating small town. Interstate 8 is, well, an interstate.
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Old Mar 24, 18, 8:38 am
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There's a checkpoint just east of Yuma on I-8. That's the only one I remember. The one that was at Sentinel was gone last time I went through. It seems like the checkpoints along smaller highways are more "interested" in people because they see less traffic.

If you really want to avoid the checkpoints then you can take I-10 from LA to Buckeye, AZ, then highway 85 south to Gila Bend. There aren't any going that way, but I think the southern route is a bit more interesting.

I'd avoid the above mentioned route through Ajo and Sells during the summer unless it's around sunrise. That's a long way through the middle of nowhere with no cell phone service.

You won't hardly know you're in the SDNM; I'm not sure there's even many signs for it. It's not a developed area at all. If you want to get a better feel for it, from Gila Bend take Maricopa Rd east, which will eventually turn into highway 238. Then make your way to Casa Grande and either I-8 or I-10.

Edit: Which month are you coming? July-September is monsoon season so thunderstorms and dust storms are common. Sometimes the rural highways in southwest Arizona can get flooded out for a day or two. This is common on highway 238.

I-8 isn't a terribly difficult drive. Carry bottled water and a cell phone, and check your car's tire pressure when you leave LA. You can tell when summer starts by all the shredded tires littering the highways

Last edited by Lost; Mar 24, 18 at 9:15 am
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Old Mar 24, 18, 10:52 am
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Originally Posted by Lost View Post
There's a checkpoint just east of Yuma on I-8. That's the only one I remember. The one that was at Sentinel was gone last time I went through. It seems like the checkpoints along smaller highways are more "interested" in people because they see less traffic.

If you really want to avoid the checkpoints then you can take I-10 from LA to Buckeye, AZ, then highway 85 south to Gila Bend. There aren't any going that way, but I think the southern route is a bit more interesting.

I'd avoid the above mentioned route through Ajo and Sells during the summer unless it's around sunrise. That's a long way through the middle of nowhere with no cell phone service.

You won't hardly know you're in the SDNM; I'm not sure there's even many signs for it. It's not a developed area at all. If you want to get a better feel for it, from Gila Bend take Maricopa Rd east, which will eventually turn into highway 238. Then make your way to Casa Grande and either I-8 or I-10.

Edit: Which month are you coming? July-September is monsoon season so thunderstorms and dust storms are common. Sometimes the rural highways in southwest Arizona can get flooded out for a day or two. This is common on highway 238.

I-8 isn't a terribly difficult drive. Carry bottled water and a cell phone, and check your car's tire pressure when you leave LA. You can tell when summer starts by all the shredded tires littering the highways
Thanks for the comments. We are planning to travel from Yuma to Tucson during the first week of June.
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Old Mar 24, 18, 11:08 am
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Originally Posted by puchong View Post
Thanks for the comments. We are planning to travel from Yuma to Tucson during the first week of June.
OK the monsoon won't be an issue then. Just prepare for it to be HOT.
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