I am moving from Phoenix, AZ to Des Moines, IA in August. I made the reverse trip three years ago when I came to AZ for law school via Nebraska, Colorado, the corner of Utah, and Arizona. I would like to spice up my return journey. I would like to spend about seven days on my road trip. I'm open to just about anything. I've never seen most of the Western U.S. I'll be traveling with one other person. We are open to staying in motels or camping. I'd like to see some cities and some national parks. My only set requirements are total trip mileage under 3,000 and no backtracking.
I have thought about going from Phoenix to Las Vegas to Salt Lake City to Yellow Stone to Kansas City to Des Moines. Does anyone have any great destinations close to this path that would contribute to an exciting trip?
Or, does anyone have suggestions for a trip with the same beginning and end cities veering through New Mexico and Texas? I've considered a route from Phoenix to Albuquerque to Houston to New Orleans to Birmingham to Memphis to Des Moines.
Thanks for the help!