Well after two years of medical treatment for his injuries my Navy Son is being medically discharged from the Navy January 12th in San Diego. I am flying out to help get him to Dallas
I sure will appreciate any advice on the great places you forum members have visited on the road.
We have a Motor Home and will camp between San Diego and Dallas Texas via Phoenix Arizona. We can travel 75 miles or more out of our way. I want to stay off the interstate highways and see America at a 50 MPH pace vs. traveling at 75 MPH and seeing nothing. Any great museums, national parks state parks anything you enjoyed and care to mention will be appreciated.
Adam is getting a 90 percent disability and will start College in Dallas soon.
Thank your son for his sacrifices for me.
What is your son's mobility status ? This may affect what is a good stop vs. not.
This is out of my area of familiarity, so I will defer to others for must-see stops,
but I am with you one taking the backroads and experiencing the real world and
not the Interstate. Perhaps some Gazetteers for CA-AZ-NM-TX and colored pens
to scribble in notes of advice people give you ?
Sounds like a great trip.
The most interesting areas of Arizona are in the north. Jerome, Oak Creek Canyon, Grand Canyon. In New Mexico are Carlsbad Caverns, and the area around Santa Fe. There is also the labratory where the Atomic Bomb was developed. I can't remember the name of the labratory. In Texas, not much of interest from New Mexico to Dallas. There is San Antonio which is an interesting city. Unfortunaly, I don't know your son's physical disabilities. Some of those places take some ability to hike to see, but there are also some which would be wheelchair accessable. You would need to check in advance for access.
This time of year, you would find some of the areas quite cold due to the higher elevations. So you would also need to find out what attractions would be open in winter. The warmest route would be Interstate 10, the southern route, but not as many scenic areas that way.
There are Davis-Monthan AFB where there are thousands of mothballed aircraft and Pima air museum near Tucson.
In southern AZ there's Mision San Xavier del Bac near Tucson, Saguaro National Park, Pima Air & Space Museum, and Tombstone. In New Mexico, White Sands and Carlsbad Caverns. Palo Duro Canyon, south of Amarillo, may be to far off your route.
The airplane museum to the east of Tucson is well worth a visit. I also enjoyed the biosphere (?) north of the same city.
From I-8 you can see bits of the old plank road in the dunes west of Yuma.
There is the huge Model T collection in Yuma, as well as the territorial prison. MCAS Yuma will be a good stop as long as he has his VA card.
I always wanted to see the fish farms near Gila Bend. They rotate tilapia and corn in the fields. The corn feeds the tilapia, and their offage fertilizes the corn.
Karchner Caverns east of Tucson are more pristine than Carlsbad, although both are worth the visit.
The place Norman mentioned was the Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory at Los Alamos, but unless you're really interested, it and Santa Fe N.M. are pretty far north out of the way. The Trinity Site in the White Sands Range was the site of the first atomic bomb test. I understand tours are only certain times of the year, though. Check before you plan to go. Parts of Route 66 are still in use in N.M. and possibly other Western states. As Norm said, the Interstate 10 and Interstate 20 between El Paso and Dallas are boring, but cars can drive 80 MPH legally. If your route takes you as far north as Interstate 40 and Route 66 through New Mexico, your shortest route from Amarillo to Dallas is U.S. 287. It is four lane all the way and good road. Beware at the rest stops between Amarillo and Wichita Falls. They have signs posted, "Beware of Rattlesnakes".
I'll add on to Steve Jelf's list: if mobility is OK (climbing stairs), the Titan Missle silo north of Green Valley, AZ is cool. Also down that way, the old presidio of Tubac and Tumacacori National monument are interesting. A side trip to Tombstone and Bisbee south of Benson is always worthwhile. The best way to get there from Green Valley is to take the Continental Rd east to 83 and from there to 82. Make side trip to Madiera Canyon and Ft, Huachuca if time. Huachuca has a great (free) museum in the center of the base. If you happen to be in Tucson, hit Sabino Canyon on the east side of town. They have shuttles that run the distance of the canyon with numerous stops, so mobility is no issue there. Incredible scenery. If you're looking for a good place to eat, hit Pinnacle Peak in Trail Dust Town just off of Tanque Verde Rd. Best steak you'll ever eat and great prices to boot!
David -- I recommend that you get a copy of the "EZ-66 Route 66 Guide for Travelers." It notes many points of interest along the old Rt. 66 highways. Plus, you can drive on remaining parts of the "Mother Road" as you travel.
It's the Cloud Museum with all the Model Ts, just west of Yuma.
We drove 66 before there was I-40. Cafes with dirty front windows had lousy food.
This time of year, I would generally stay I8/I10 and find parallel state hiways once in NM. You won't find many E-W hiways south of I-10 in AZ.
If you go thru Ajo, AZ, stop at the museum. One of our own is a docent there.
Some other places in Arizona are Petrified Forest and Meteor crater and also Monument Valley. Some of these might be cold weather this time of year.
David - Just a thought,.....your choice of course, but you might show this thread to your son so that when we all say to thank him for his service and sacrifice, he'll see with his own eyes that we really meant it!
I should have mentioned, that huge cross is really something to see, even without getting out of the motor home, but I can't remember exactly where it is. I think it's along side interstate 40 in northern Texas,......???
David, tell him we appreciate him and his sacrifice. My son served in Iraq and even though he made it home OK, the strain of the time there shows. So our prayers are for him, and his continuing to get better. I agree with the route 66 driving to stay near but off of I-40. The are several National Parks on the route. You can get a map of the National Parks If he has a disability card or maybe a VA card. the National Parks are "free" to him and anyone in the vehicle with him. You can get the card at the gate most of the time. Just depends on who is at the gate at the time you get there. I got my card at the great sand dunes, while in line. Took just a couple minutes. At any of the National Parks they will have a map of all the parks in the US. We bought the National Park Passport book. It is a little book with all the parks in it. While at the park you stamp the book with a "date stamp" to show when you were there. Some things along the way are Petroglyph National Mounment at Albuquerque NM, there are some of the petroglyphs close to the parking areas and some short trails. Petrified Forest National Park, It can be just a drive thru type of thing or do some of the short trails. Walnut Canyon National Monument in AZ. Lots of walking and climbing stairs so may not work right now, but very interesting and has cliff dwellings you get to go into. . Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument and Wupatki National Monument. They are both a good drive thru type of thing to see what a extinct Volcano can do to the land... This time of year changes your choices, but hope you and your son have a nice trip .... Almost forgot. There is Car-henge just west of Amarillo Tx. Every one should see that. I do not know how many cans of spray paint it takes to put 1/2 inch thick coat of paint, on the cars but the "graffiti artists" have been at it for awhile
When we drive to Chickasha we always go through Phoenix. In the close by city of Mesa we visit Organ Stop Pizza, home to what we think is the greatest theater organ we have heard. Technically, it's not the biggest, but for sheer entertainment value it is unbelievable. The pizza is great, too. If you like old time music as well as old cars, check it out. Their staff organists are superb, and always mix in modern tunes that younger folks like and it sounds like they were written for organ. Classics for the older folks, Disney tunes for the little ones, and we have heard stuff by Michael Jackson to AC/DC and everything in between. Requests are taken, and it is rare the performer will be stumped. I have never seen sheet music involved. There is plenty of room for RV parking. Don't miss it.
Thank you everyone we will be at balboa park san diego tomorrow sunday for the model T,s to meet folks so say hello please