Friday, June 06, 2014

Change Of Plans

My "plan" — insofar as I had one — was that after driving US70 to its end, I'd make a jog southwest to the Mexican border in Yuma, AZ, then drive US95 all the way to the Canadian border in Idaho.

The scorching heat of the past few days in southern Arizona — and especially the forecast for even worse heat in Yuma — started me thinking about making a change in my plan. Realizing that US95 would take me north through the western desert of Nevada and then through even more desert conditions in southeast Oregon and southwest Idaho made up my mind. It's just too late in the season for me -- and my dog Happy -- to spend that much time in the desert heat.

Instead, I will make a short hop from here in Tucson to the southern terminus of US191 at the Mexican border in Douglas, AZ, and drive it north to its other terminus at the Canadian border in Montana.

I've made this mash-up of the two routes superimposed on a map to show their comparative border-to-border pathways.

In many ways, US191 is a better route than US95. Besides not crossing so much desert, there's a lot more of interest along the way, including several National Parks.

It should be a prettier route, with fewer "awesome desert landscapes" and more "majestic mountain views" to enjoy.

US191 has been on my "radar" for a long time. I've crossed it repeatedly on my coast-to-coast road trips: Malta, MT, on US2; Rock Springs, WY, on US30; Green River, UT, on US50; and just two days ago near Safford, AZ, on US70. I've even driven a bit of it during my US20 blizzard-escape detour south of Jackson, WY.

As a "three-digit" route, US191 was initially a spur of US91, the original border-to-border highway. US91 has long since been subsumed into modern interstates and now only exists across 178 miles of northern Utah and southern Idaho.

Over time, US191 has been extended to become the international route it is today. One anomaly is its short break passing through Yellowstone National Park. The southern portion is 1,465 miles and the northern portion is 440 miles, giving it a total length of about 2,000 miles.

One of the things I've learned -- and teach! -- is that when you start changing plans, go back to the drawing board and reconsider the entire plan. Don't just start making incremental alterations. Before you know it, you'll have a mess on your hands that fails miserably at achieving your goals.

My criteria for this road trip -- and what initially made me choose US95 -- are to drive a US Highway from end-to-end and border to border. US191 fully satisfies all three, and I'm pretty excited about it... Stay tuned!

Click here to see exactly where I am posting this from on Google Maps.

1 comment:

Lynne D said...

Rodeo, NM - make a quick stop by the Rodeo Bar if it is still there - quite the place.