I'm planning a roadtrip across the US with a friend of mine, during the summer (or the months before / after)
The part of the trip I'm currently planning is the one from Texas to Las Vegas.
We want to really experience what's uniquely american, both in terms of scenery, but also people, cities/towns. This is a roadtrip so we plan on seeing most things as we go, that is, not spending multiple days in one place. We might of course decide to spend a day to explore something, but mostly we are going to do it while we drive.
Now, the only thing for me that is a "must do" is visiting Grand Canyon and driving through the scenic roads and to see some of the highlights of the national parks in southern Utah.
But I'm undecided about the route from Texas to Las Vegas.
This was my original plan.
-Spend some time in Dallas
-Drive northwest towards Amarillo (maybe Plainview or Lubbock). I have heard these towns are really as "texas" as it gets.
-Take a scenic route through either Caprock Canyons State park or Palo Duro State park for some texas canyon scenery, maybe see some buffaloes in Caprock Canyon.
-Take I-40 towards Alberquerque
-Drive the Turqouise trail (US-14) to Santa Fee
- Drive the Million Dollar Highway (US-550) towards Grand Juction in Colorado to get a taste of some of the Rockie Mountains
-Drive the scenic route through Colorado National Monument. (I know Utah has much similar scenery, but on pictures this park looks amazing and it has a good scenic drive through)
- Then begin our trip through southern Utah's national parks (Arches, Canyonland, Bryce etc), Monument Valley and Grand Canyon, before arriving in Las Vegas.
After discovering that Tucson had some great scenery nearby, especially because the area is the only place to see the classic Saguaro cactus of the wild west, I created an alternative route to the south. Tucson also has an airforce museum that would interest my friend.
Drive from Houston, maybe short visit to San Antonio
Follow I-10 through texas
Visit Fort Davis
Maybe ( a big maybe) visiting Big Bend National park if we find that it is worth the major detour.
Follow I-10, maybe visit El Paso
Visit Tombstone in Arizona on the way to Tucson
Drive through some of the Saguaro filled parks near Tucson
Visit the Pima Air & Space museum in Tucson
Drive from Tucson to Sedona.
Drive around Sedona before heading to Grand Canyon and the national parks in southern Utah.
Which one would you recommend? I know I haven't given details on how many and where to spend the nights, but I'll find out that after finding a route.
The pros with the first is that we get to see some Texas canyons, Santa Fee and experience some of the Rockie Mountains and Colorado National Monument.
But we will miss the famous Saguaro desert environment and the red hills by Sedona (maybe also Big Bend if we choose to go)
I know many people say the I-10 is extremely uninteresting. Especially during the summer. Well, we don't really mind the heat that much, and driving a straight road through desolated areas for a long time is part of the "American" road trip experience, so no huge setback for us. I drove through Death Valley in july and loved it. However, since it is quite close to the Mexican border, maybe it is not a good idea if we look for a true "american experience"? It would also maybe be a bit shame to entirely miss the Rocky Mountains on our cross country road trip (even though we'll likely pass Sierra Nevada later)
What will give us the most "American" experience and the most fasinating scenery?
I have trouble to decide! Any advice?