Need some advice on what route to take, what to see, where to stay (somewhat inexpensively), etc.
My wife & I plan on setting out early on 9/6/07. I'm moving back home for a job transfer (to KC) and this is the primary reason on the trip. However we thought we'd make a mini-vacation out of it. We have some ideas, but wanted to get some recommendations on everything.
Driving out to Vegas, our mission was just to make it there quickly. We drove all interstate from KC to Colorado Springs in 8 hours. The next day we drove the rest of the way from Colorado Springs to Vegas in 15 hours, only stopping for gas and food, not paying attention to any attractions. So now coming home, we don't want to rush and stop by to see some of the sites. Now driving thru southeastern Utah, on I-70 is desolate. Great scenery, but very nerve-racking to me. After Grand Junction, Colorado, there is absolutely NOTHING. No gas stations, no restaurants, no towns, no nothing...couldn't even get a cell phone signal for 120 miles, until basically we hit Salinas, UT. Thank God we filled up our gas tank outside of Grand Junction...when we hit Salinas, we were well below 1/4 of a tank. The only other town we saw was something like Green River, UT, (or maybe Green Valley, UT?). I don't want to really have that experience again...the whole time I was nervous we'd get a flat tire, the car would break down, etc...and literally for an hour, I did not spot one car as far as I could see...not even in the opposing highway lane. I felt very isolated... So I really don't want to go thru that again. I saw that great scenery, and really don't want to see or need to see it again.
My wife has mentioned that she never has really seen the Grand Canyon (only really from an airplane), so we thought that would be our first stop. After that, we don't know what would be worthwhile. I had thought about stopping by to see the Meteor Crater in Arizona, then making our way to Santa Fe, NM (no idea what to do there)...then onto Amarillo to see the Cadillac Ranch, then to Ok City (for the Oklahoma City National Memorial), then on to home... Another options I had thought about is from the Grand Canyon heading up to the Four Corners Monument, then up to see the Aztec Ruins and Cliff Palace, then over to the Royal Gorge...then up back thru Denver and stopping by McCook, NE, to see some relatives. Yet another option I had thought about is going from Vegas to Salt Lake City, then thru Wyoming, detouring up to see the Devil's Tower, then maybe up to see Mt Rushmore, then back down to home.
My wife & I don't have any kids, and we both love traveling. We like to think we fly by the seat of our pants... We are both fairly young (she's 29 & I'm 31), so antique shopping does nothing for us. We've always had an idea to take a Route 66 trip, but would be strange to do that backwards (west to east). Not too picky in what we see...and I think that's our problem...our indecisiveness... Fancy hotels aren't really for us, as it is just a place to sleep. We both claim that we love road trips... So just looking for some suggestions on what to do. We both love history, but don't want to be stuck w/ a bunch of 4th graders on their school field trip. We are just looking for places to say we've been there/done that...great photo ops...experience a piece of history (whether ancient, not-so-ancient, or modern history doesn't matter)....see some interesting sites... So any ideas on what is a good route, great sights to see, and places to stay and eat would be a huge help! Thanks in advance!