Let me first shortly introduce my self and my wife, we are 52 and 53 years old, live in Stockholm, Sweden and love to travel. One favorite we discovered in may -10 was Las Vegas, my wife love slot machines and I'm quite found of them too. We stayed for 9 days and it was 9 days of a lot of walking from hotel to hotel, a heli tour to GC and a concert with Eagles. When we went back home we both felt that we had not discovered everything too see in LV and therefor we went back this summer in June but this time I also planned for a road trip. We started in Las Vegas, stayed 3 nights on Freemont street and then picked up a rental car and headed for LA. We stayed in Hollywood for 3 nights before we continued driving up to San Simeon for the next stop. Next stop was in Carmel by the sea, 1 night, unfortunately we could not drive by the sea, there had been a landslide so the road was closed and we had to do a detour. From there we did go to SF and stayed for 3 nights. The plan from there was to go to Lee Vining via Tioga trail but that road was not open yet so we had to go thru Sonora pass instead but it was great road anyway. 1 night in Lee Vining and then we drove up to Bodie and from there down to Stove pipe wells in Death valley NP. The next day back to LV via Badwater where we stayed another 6 nights before returning to Sweden.
This trip was great and as soon as we returned home I started to think about next summer. I now know what we would like to do. Since there are no direct flights to LV from Sweden we always have to change flight in either New York or Chicago and the plan now is to change from airplane to a rental car in Chicago, drive west to Yellowstone NP and from there south down to LV and fly home from there.
What I'm looking for here are suggestions of what to see on that way, what not to miss if it's nearby where we pass. I know we will stop by Mount Rushmore, Devils tower (thought Close encounters of the third kind was a great movie when I was a youth) and 2 or 3 night in Yellowstone NP. I notice there are other NP like the Badlands and Wind cave on the way, is't worth the detour to see them ? What else are there to see, specially between Yellowstone and Las Vegas ? We like to drive scenic roads and stay over night in small nice city's or villages, suggestions of roads and stops for the night are very welcome.
The length of this trip is not decided, it depends of the suggestions I hopefully get here and this time I don't think I will do any reservations in advance at hotel/motel/B&B except for the nights in Yellowstone NP. For the trip we made this summer I booked and paid every night in advance and it worked well but it did not give us any room for a change of the route or if we wanted to drive longer or shorter distance one day.