My uncle just moved to Columbus from San Francisco and needs to transport his car. He recently has back surgery, so I offered to make the trip for him with a friend during my winter break. This will be my first time west of Chicago, so I want to make the most of the trip back and see the country. The only major issue is that we only have about a week to make the trip.
We plan to fly to San Francisco on Dec. 26th and arrive around 8AM. We need to be back in Columbus by Jan. 1st as both my friend and I have class on Jan. 2nd. We'd like to see Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, but nothing else is set in stone. Here is the trip we have planned so far, with 8-11 hours of driving per day.
Jan. 26 - Arrive in San Francisco and spend the day there with family
Jan. 27 - Depart from San Francisco around 7:00 AM for Las Vegas, NV and spend the night in Las Vegas.
Jan. 28 - Depart from Las Vegas around 7:00 AM for the Grand Canyon (Possibly stop at the Hoover Dam on the way). Arrive at approximately 12:00PM and spend an hour there max. Leave for Albuquerque (Or Santa Fe?) and spend the night there.
Jan. 29 - Depart Albuquerque/Santa Fe for Oklahoma City.
Jan. 30 - Depart from Oklahoma City for St. Loius.
Jan. 31 - Depart from St. Loius for Columbus, OH.
What I'm looking for are suggestions for places to stop after the Grand Canyon (must-see sites, amazing restaurants, etc.). Or even alternate cities to stop in other than the ones we've selected. Or alternate routes that are more scenic. I fully realize that this trip will feel super rushed, but due to time constraints this is the best that we've come up with. Falling up to a day behind schedule is also fine.
Thanks in advance!