Originally Posted by chuckwilmot
...............The return trip we're going to go south through Colorado, west from Pueblo on the 50/149/160 through Pagosa Springs and Durango. Next day westbound down the northeast portion of Arizona on the 160/89 to the 40, then to Kingman. Last day westbound on the 40 to the 15 south, and then home.
Any advice on the return trip is welcome. Looking for scenery and nice rides.
It looks like you've done your homework. About the only portion I'd do differently is going down to Pueblo and taking 50 west to, I'm assuming here, Canon City. That is one of the ugliest stretches of road in the state.
I recommend the following alternatives:
VERY scenic route - take I24 west out of Colorado Springs and stay on it until you reach Hartsel. This will take you up Ute Pass to Woodland Park and eventually up to Wilkerson Pass and down into Southpark (yes, of TV cartoon fame) where you'll traverse an ancient seabed as you make your way to Hartsel.
From Hartsel take 9 back towards Canon City, there's a nice little restaurant in Guffey if you want to stop for a snack or refreshment. Continue towards Parkdale where you'll hook up with 50 that will take you towards Texas Creek and Coaldale where you'll ride alongside the Arkansas River and see some incredible white water rapids. This route involves a little bit of back tracking but it'll only add about 40 miles to your day and trust me, it's worth the detour.
If you can't do that then take 115 out of Colorado Springs and intersect 50 about ten miles east of Canon City and continue on as I describe above.
Next, you head towards Poncha Springs and, eventually, Monarch Pass. This photo is from a ride me and a buddy took a few years back and was taken at the apex of Monarch Pass:
It's late September and yes, that white stuff in the parking lot is snow!
The rest of your CO trip planning looks good. You'll have a great time! Oh, watch out for serious CHP activity on all roads coming into and leaving CO. They like to get your travel dollars as soon as you enter or before you leave the state if you know what I mean.