A friend and I are planning a road trip around Nov 16-30 starting in the Chicago suburbs. We would like to go through Denver but fear snow so we're planning to stay in Trinidad. The following day we will head through the painted desert and Grand Canyon to Vegas. From there to San Francisco and probably a day at Napa for friend's birthday. Next Santa Barbara, L.A., San Diego and perhaps a night in Mexico. I know this sounds very ambitious but we are not opposed to long nights of driving. Our return trip will most likely be more southern through Arizona- plans are flexible. We are looking for weather tips, advice, good places to camp or bike, fun stops/attractions/wierd places to see. Ideas for routes ect. also very welcome. Thanks!
Don't sweat western snow!
Hey, our snow is DIFFERENT than Chicago's -- it's dryer, just like our heat! No worries!
Seriously, you are just as likely to encounter snow at Trinidad and across southern Colorado or northern NM as you would be at Denver. I doubt you will have much problem getting through that area on any route you choose -- just be flexible and if a storm occurs, you can likely get around it one way or another. You can find information on this site (do a search) that indicates the Colorado road crews are fairly efficient at keepng the highways passable, so I wouldn't worry about that too much.
You would very much enjoy the route across south Colorado -- if you stay at Durango, there is a great old hotel downtown -- I've never stayed there but I'd like to someday -- it is called the Strater, and rooms may be hard to get, but worth it if you can. It was built in the 1880's and has been called the finest example of Victorian architecture in Colorado. In Durango, the Narrow Gauge Railroad will be on its winter schedule, and is worth a look if you have the time (do a search on "narrow gauge railroad durango", and it should pull it up for you). Also, Pagosa Springs is a particularly pretty place.
When you get to southern AZ, if you're looking for a great campground, one such place is at Cochise Stronghold in the Dragoon Mountains (near I-10, you can find it SW of Willcox off US191). If you get to that area at quitting time, you'd find it a beautiful spot -- and very historic as well; it was the favorite home of Cochise, one of the greatest and most revered 19th century Apache leaders.