I am surprised that Bill Felber in his article about the three routes to Phoenix (there are actually four), skipped the most scenic and weather-friendly. Here’s how it works. Take I70 past Salina to the Ellsworth exit, that becomes 156 which becomes 56…anyway go to Great Bend. Take 50/56 there, stop and blow some money in Dodge City, then get back on 56 and go south. You will cut through the panhandle of Oklahoma and cross into New Mexico. At Clayton, you will take 402 south to Nara Vista where you will pick up 54 which will take you directly to I40. Go to Santa Rosa. You should be about ready to stop and it is an excellent place to do just that. Cheap hotels (On old Rte 66 which is the main drag) and several quaint and interesting restaurants. For the youth in your party, there are plenty of junk food places as well.
After a good nights sleep, get on Highway 54 and head south (Be sure you have a full tank of gas because you are headed into nowhere). Take 54 south, resist the urge to get back up on that ugly interstate, and stop at Vaughn for breakfast…there is a great retro diner there. After breakfast, get back on 54 and keep going to Alamogorda (White Sands missile range). From there, take 70 to Las Cruces, have a wonderful Mexican lunch, and then get on Interstate ten, put it on cruise control until Tucson, take the South Fourth avenue exit and have an AUTHENTIC Mexican dinner. Be sure you park your car within sight.
After a wonderful dinner, drive back to ten and you are almost there.
From Santa Rosa to Alamogorda, you will see almost nothing but beautiful scenery, unmarred by civilization. It is a quiet, peaceful drive. If you like to speed, you are fairly safe in doing so since you might not see another car on this stretch of road.
Don’t even consider the Flagstaff route. That is one of the nastiest places on the face of the earth…unless, of course, you want to spend the Fiesta bowl in a ditch under six feet of snow. I have gone that route twice at this same time of year and I can virtually guarantee a blizzard will await you.
All the roads I mentioned are clearly marked on your map. As far as distance goes, it might be a few miles longer than Bill’s shortest route, but it is way more scenic. You won’t be sorry.