Where are all of the cool desert roads like the ones you see in the movies, i.e. Thelma and Louise. It would be awesome to travel those. Any specifics or ideas?
You can virtually find those kind of roads everywhere in the southwest! Just take a State map (AZ, WY, NM, NV, UT, etc.) and watch for thin grey lines or scenic roads, ask locals. It depends mostly on what kind of scenery you're interested into (mountains, rock formations or plain desert) and if you mind or not driving dirt roads. Personally, I particularly enjoyed the areas surrounding Ft Laramie and Wheatland Wyoming (dirt roads). For paved roads, I recommend US60 from Apache Jct, AZ to Soccoro, NM, US82 80 and 9 on the border of Mexico in AZ and NM, the Apache Trail east of Phoenix, US26 from Ogallala, NE to Scottsbluff, the area of Monument Valley AZ, the area between North Rim of Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion (AZ and UT).
Apparently, Thelma and Louise wasn't really shot entirely in the places they want us to believe it was, big parts of it were shot near Bakersfield, CA and other places in Southern Cali and by the way the Grand Canyon at the end wasn't the real one... Anyhow, even with my little knowledge of the southwest, as an easterner I can promise you that whenever you get off the interstates and major highways, you'll be amazed by the beauty of its natural wonders.
I can't remember for certain which roads were filmed in that movie, but I THINK one of them could have been US163 between Mexican Hat, Utah, and Kayenta, AZ (if I'm remembering correctly).
Other great scenic "desert" roads are US191 north of I-40, and US191, south of I-10; old route 66 between Seligman and Topock; SR85 and SR86 from Gila Bend to Tucson, and US93 from Phoenix to I-40.
These are all in Arizona, and each one is different from the others. US191 is red rock country and "painted desert" on the north end, and south of I-10 is semi-arid grassland. Old 66 is high desert grazing land on one end, and Mojave Desert on the other (west end). Gila Bend to Tucson is lush Sonoran Desert. US93 begins in Sonoran Desert and as it climbs NW toward Wickiup and I-40 you'd pass through a Joshua Tree "forested" desert and past the riparian habitats along Burro Creek.
In other states, I particularly like US50 west of Gunnison Colorado, SR12, SR24 and US191 in southern UT, and US50 across Nevada (also any of the north/south routes in central Nevada). In New Mexico, US60 west of Socorro is beautiful, and US666 between Gallup and Shiprock.
That ought to get you started! Bob
Thelma & Louise
Check out <a href = "http://www.roadtripamerica.com/roadtripamericaConference/Thread.cfm?CFApp=44&Thread_ID=3269&mc=1">my post on that movie<a/> in the Gear up section!
If the weather turns bad (rain, etc.) stay on the paved roads, PLEASE! Dirt roads are fine and dandy durring the summer when it hasn't rained for weeks, but if it has rained, just be careful and stay on the paved roads. I work with AAA roadside service in AZ, and we get calls from TOO MANY people out of mud holes and such on dirt roads that were actually just mud boggs because people were curious (they usually get mad because the tow trucks can't go and get them either). Just use some common sense- If it looks muddy, don't go (yes, it may be cool to see that much wet dirt flying, but you don't want to get stuck.)
(The AAA Guy)
The western states are full of open roads that treat you to never ending scenic views. Here are some desert road ideas.
* CA Hwy-62: Twentynine Palms CA to Arizona border at Parker
* CA Hwy-190: through Death Valley CA
* Kelbaker Road: through the Mojave Desert Preserve (Baker CA at I-15 to I-40
* US Hwy-50: across Nevada to central Utah
* US Hwy-95: Yuma AZ to Blythe CA to Boulder City NV
* US Hwy-95: Amargosa Valley NV to Fallon NV
* US Hwy-95: Winnemucca NV to NV Hwy-140 and NV Hwy-140 to the Oregon border
* NV Hwy-375: Warm Springs to US Hwy-93 in Nevada
* NV Hwy-447: I-80 east of Reno to northeast corner of California
* UT Hwy-30: across the northwest corner of Utah (I-84 to the Nevada border)
* US Hwy-82: Alamogordo NM to Texas border
* AZ Hwy-79: Florence Jct. to Catalina in Arizona
* AZ Hwy-238: Maricopa to Gila Bend in Arizona
* Almost any of the reservation roads in northeast Arizona
* Route 66: Seligman AZ to Needles CA
The end of the movie
was filmed around Moab, Utah. Specifically, Hwy 279 which is know as the Potash Road. It's paved for the first short part and then it turns to the dirt road they were driving on when they flew off the cliff. There isn't a sign posted so you have to keep an eye out for the wide section of road near the bend of the river. You can see this view from Dead Horse State Park. The Potash Road runs into the White Rim Trail and the Shafer Trail which leads up to Canyonlands National Park. All three roads need high clearance vehicles and 4 wheel drive is recommmend. Don't drive on these roads if it looks like rain, is raining or has rained heavly. You can see the dirt road I'm referring to in this picture:
Long time no see Utahtea! Thanks for the great info, I'll check that out on my next roadtrip:o)