We will begin the tour by meeting at exit 198,
Goldfield Road off east highway 60, We meet at the Chevron station just
50 yards south of the 198 off ramp. Plan to arrive between 9:00 and 9:15
AM with a full fuel tank, your club radio, this tour guide and your
club’s name tag.
We suggest you also bring an Arizona map that
clearly displays the route we're taking and you might want to put a
yellow highlight on it. Also bring your membership cell phone list,
always a handy item to have on our tours. Emailed to you previously.
We'll depart Goldfield Road at 9:30 AM and head east on Hwy 60 to
Globe which is about 72
miles, arrival time at any of our waypoints is not that critical, we
have all day to get to our first overnight stay in Safford. At the far
east end of Globe there is a gas station on the right side of the Hwy
and we will stop there for a 20-minute comfort break and fuel if you
need it, and we will be departing at about 11:30. When we leave Globe,
we will continue east on Hwy 60 and a few miles out of town we will pick
up Hwy 70 where the two highways meet. We'll continue east on Hwy 70 to
Safford which is 77
miles from Globe and we should arrive there about 1:00 PM depending upon
traffic. We will have a group lunch with reservations at
Jerry’s Restaurant located on the north side of Hwy 70 at the west
end of town, very convenient for us as we enter Safford. The address for
your Garmin is: 1612 west Thatcher Blvd (also Hwy 70) Safford, AZ 85546.
phone is 1 928 428 5613. We won’t all be seated together but they can
handle us. after lunch we can check in to the hotel and freshen up a
bit. At the Desert Inn Plus, or the hotel you select. A time will be
established for those who are interested to meet up and take the tour to
the top of Mt Graham,
Directions. This is a
beautiful sports car road, Click on the + in upper left corner of
the link to make it bigger, you’ll love it.
everyone is on their own for dinner. It is important you fill your fuel
tank in Safford Saturday evening so you will start out with a full tank
Sunday morning, the nature of the Coronado Trail will increase your fuel
consumption substantially. Gas stations on the Coronado Trail don’t
exist, a full tank in Safford will get you to Show Low without worries.
Along the Coronado Trail there will be elevation changes from 1500 feet
to 9000 feet, the scenery in the lowlands is colorful, beautiful and
interesting and driving through the forest is always a delight
especially in top-down conditions.
The Coronado Trail is ranked
as one of the most scenic drives in the United States and we're
fortunate to have it so close to home. Please be sure you have very good
tires on your car and that it is in top notch mechanical condition. You
definitely do not want tire trouble or a mechanical breakdown anywhere
along this route. Remain in radio contact with some of the other cars in
the event you do need help or assistance of any kind. The cell phones
may or may not work in remote locations so don't depend upon them.
When we leave Safford Sunday
morning, we will split the group into two classes, the "A" class will be
the drivers who will be driving faster than the "B" group who prefer to
take it a bit slower, you decide which group you want to be in and if
you wish, you can change groups anytime you like and we encourage you to
drive at your own comfortable pace, never exceed your personal
abilities. we never leave anyone behind, when the "A" group arrives at
a waypoint they wait for the "B" group to catch up so even if you're in
the "B" group you are not all that far behind. The entire route is paved
and in excellent condition. There are videos available on line and
here is one
example. "Spectacular" is the best way to describe it and there is
very little traffic to contend with. 95% of the time the road is clear
and slow drivers pull over and let us pass when they have room to do so,
road courtesy is common.
Sunday morning in Safford, we will
meet at the Desert Inn Plus hotel parking lot at 9:00 AM for a brief
driver's meeting, then we'll start the Coronado Trail by driving east on
Hwy 70 to where it intersects with Hwy 191 and we'll be branching off to
the left on 191 north. the first stop is
Clifton, / Morenci at 4000 ft elevation and the open pit mine, it
is about a 47 mile drive from Safford to Clifton / Morenci. The
open pit copper mine in Morenci is the biggest open pit mine in
North America and is quite a sight to see. We'll devote about 20 minutes
to sightseeing and then continue north on 191 to Hannagan Meadows, which
is 67 miles north where we will be at 9000 ft. We'll be ready for a stop
and 15-minute comfort break.
The twisty portion of the Coronado
Trail is about 90 miles from
Morenci to Alpine with some straight sections giving you an
opportunity to relax a bit before the next set of twisty roads
challenges your driving ability We'll depart Hannagan Meadows for the
next stop, 22 miles to Alpine, 8000 ft, where we will stop for lunch at
Bear Wallow Cafe.
The mountains and forest around
Hannigan Meadows &
Alpine are post card beautiful.
Following lunch we
head north on 191 where we will pick up hwy 249 about 5 miles north of
Alpine and we'll be turning left. There should be a large sign at that
intersection advertising "Big
Lake" but in any case, we'll be heading west on 249, be sure you
don't miss this turn, I am sure it will be marked by a highway sign
prior to the intersection. Your Arizona map may not show hwy 249 and if
it does it may show it as unpaved but it has been paved and some maps
have not caught up with the improvement. We'll be driving through the
towns of "Three Forks" and "Rainbow," probably nothing there but they do
show up on the map. Then we'll pick up hwy 273 which will take us past
Sunrise Lake and several miles further on, 273 intersects with hwy
260 which will take us through
Pinetop/Lakeside and finally into
Show Low which is 6300 ft. As best as I can determine the distance
from the beginning of hwy 249 to Show Low is about 65 miles, I estimate
our arrival time in Show Low will be somewhere around check in time
which is 3:00 PM. You might take the time to look at the links provided
that will preview the beautiful tour this is.
We'll be checking
Holiday Inn Express in Show Low and have time to relax and freshen
up and then we'll have a group dinner at
Luciano’s restaurant at 6:30 PM. This is easy walking distance from
the Hotel so you don't have to drive your car.
we'll meet in the hotel parking lot at 9:00 AM and depart for home.
There are three choices for the return home. You can go back east on Hwy
60 to 191 and drive south on the same road back to Safford and Phoenix
although I doubt if anyone is going to do that. The other two choices
are either hwy 60 out of Show Low, south through the Salt River Canyon
to Globe and then hwy 60 west to Phoenix, or Hwy 260 west out of Show
Low to Heber & Payson and then hwy 87 south back to Ftn Hills and
Phoenix, which is usually the most popular choice and also a very scenic
drive as well. By the time Monday morning rolls around most of us have
had a belly full of performance driving and are anxious to get home.