Here’s a new — hypothetical, don’t do it for real — game. The rules are simple.

  1. On numbered roads, whether expressed in numbers or written out, the speed limit will be that road’s number. I live close to 1st Ave where the “limit” would therefore be 1 MPH. Not a speedy choice.
  2. On named roads, the normal posted limit would continue to be the speed limit.
  3. Choose a starting and ending point, say your home to work, or to your favorite CostCo or Sams.
  4. Find the route that gets you there the quickest.

In Phoenix where N-S roads are mostly numbered, the farther out from Central (the center “zero” line), the faster you could go when traveling North or South. But since most E-W streets are named, you’d be stuck with the posted speed limit on those roads.

The two interstate highways that pass through Phoenix would both be painfully slow. Those are I-10 with Los Angeles to the west and I-17 with Flagstaff to the North. Even worse would be I-8 that passes south of town on its way to San Diego. (Most people set treadmills for jogging at about 8.5 MPH.)

But the perimeter highways 101 and 202 — now those are startin’ to cook, to say nothing of the partial 303 up in the northwest corner that passes through the mostly retirement communities of Sun City and Surprise. And because those communities are so far west, the N-S roads are in the 90+ range which invites the image of white-haired octogenarians in souped-up golf carts revving up and laying rubber to enter 99th Ave.

US 93 to Las Vegas would certainly expedite weekend travel from Phoenix. Flagstaff residents, however, restricted to I-40 (40 MPH) until Kingman would probably stop going to the gambling mecca and, instead, visit the south rim of the Grand Canyon more often but have to choose between 180 and 89 but, either way, they’d then be stuck on 64 for the final part.

Sports car enthusiasts would enjoy starting from Wickenburg on US 89 and then US 89A as they wind up and over several mountains and through Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon to Flagstaff. No doubt they would find the drive quite exhilarating, assuming they don’t rocket off one of the cliffs and into the jagged boulders far below.

I’ll be driving to the south part of Los Angeles next week. My route so far has me going west on Thunderbird Ave (posted speed limit of 45) until I reach US 89 where things pick up. But to avoid I-40, I’ll need to use AZ 72, cross the Colorado River at Parker AZ and get onto CA 62 through a lengthy stretch in the Mojave desert. There’s a really nice sprint on CA 247 but, at Lucerne Valley, that road changes to “Old Woman Road” with the California highway designation “18” where I’m stuck all the way to Palmdale before turning south on CA 14. Once I get on I-405, however, it’s smooth (and fast!) sailing all the way to Irvine.

But, of course, this is just a mental game. Not for real.


(Any “good” roads in your state?)

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