We are pondering a road trip from Vancouver to Santa Fe for Xmas (along with our dog). We are not in a big hurry, but were thinking of taking 5 or 6 days to get down but need to get back in 4 for New Years. We are most interested in natural scenery and parks (maybe with the odd short hike to stretch the dog's and humans' legs) and have camping gear but given the season are assuming we'll have to spend nights in hotels (preferably small towns with some local character) since winter camping with a dog sounds like a drag. I was thinking of heading down the coast to somewhere around Bakersfield and cutting across would avoid most snow related problems. (We'll carry chains but won't be in a SUV or other 4x4--some midsize rental). I know that's a lot of geography to cover, but any tips about where the best points of getting over the mountains (or ones to avoid at that time of year), or particular towns to shoot for would be most appreciated. Thanks! Good local food or inn recs also very welcome.