I have been stationed near Richmond, VA for a training assignment that will end later this month. I will be driving back home close to San Jose, CA. However I would also like to take scenic routes and routes that pass places of interest. I was thinking of checking out Denver and Salt Lake City and cross Nevada on US 50 ("The Loneliest Road in America") to reach Reno. Or maybe skip Salt Lake City for a more direct route to Arches National Park from Denver. I am especially interested in mountain and desert scenery.
Up to Denver the main route options appear to be I-70, I-80, or 1-76 W. The I-76 option is a bit longer but passes by Pittsburgh and Chicago. I am not under any great time pressure so I was thinking perhaps 10-15 days driving back. Any suggestions or ideas for an ideal, scenic route back home will be appreciated. Thanks.