Hi, RTA. Long time/first time. I have loved reading your reports and posts for years.
I have a milestone birthday next year and am planning a roadtrip to celebrate. Initially it was going to be cross-country one way, but after seeing the rental prices for a one-way rental from LAX to NYC (we live in NYC), I decided it would be best to shelve Memphis and Nashville for another day and figure out a loop from LAX that would accomplish most of our goals.
What are those goals? We are not campers; we do not sleep outside. I was a Girl Scout, but I have no desire to repeat it - it's just not for us. We are walk-through-the-woods people, not avid hikers - but we are New Yorkers who don't own a car so we walk everywhere at all times, so we're not afraid of a walk here and there. We like history, kitsch, pop culture. This trip is largely inspired by Route 66, Robert Frank, Jack Kerouac, and John Steinbeck, with some Bruce Springsteen, Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan for good measure. We can drive long hours and love every minute of it - there are two drivers and we can do a long drive day with no problem (we've done cross country in 10-14 hour stretches several times already).
We are city people but I am not looking for much city time at all on this trip (and have already offended our friends in Oakland when I categorically refused to add a stop to see them on this trip because we have been in the Bay Area a lot recently).
So, now to my initial itinerary.
May 23: Arrive LAX. Pick up rental car, drive to Palm Springs or nearby for the night.
May 24: Palm Springs via Joshua Tree (so I can stop at the Country Kitchen for the chocolate chip pancakes), Rt 62 to 95 North, Kingman and the old Route 66 alignment. Overnight in Williams.
May 25: Grand Canyon South rim. Overnight in Holbrook, AZ or Gallup, NM
May 26: Driving to the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo. I realize this a large and pointless part of the drive but have wanted to go here since I was 17 when The River came out and this is my chance. Stop in Tucumcari for lunch. Overnight north of Amarillo
May 27: Drive to Durango or some routing back from Amarillo that will take us west towards Four Corners/Monument Valley.
This is the part where I could definitely use some help; It's not like I have any driving desire to go to Durango, we don't want to take the train ride, and we have done enough curvy highway driving recently that I am not sure we care enough about the Million Dollar Highway to add the time. But, I don't want to backtrack to Albuquerque and head up through Santa Fe to go up, and when looking at the maps, this seemed like a reasonable destination based on our next stops. Any other ideas? Is it just being bullheaded?
May 28: Four Corners and Monument Valley
May 29: Monument Valley, drive to Zion
May 30: Zion
May 31: Route 50/Loneliest Road to Reno
June 1: Reno to Monterey/PCH
June 2: Monterey / down PCH
June 3: Los Angeles/overflow day
June 4: Return home
This seems like a full but reasonable pace based on the fact that we're not hiking and seems to give us some space to stop and look at random things that seem interesting or fun.
Your suggestions and advice are welcome and I thank you in advance.