amarillo to santa fe

is this really only day 3? after crossing the mississippi i discovered that i’d inadvertently cleared the trip odometer that was going to record the total number of miles traveled from start to finish. or so i thought. it happened again just before arriving in santa fe, leading to the conclusion that it resets to zero after 999.9 miles. that sucks.

anyway, i’ve traveled around 1750 miles so far. based on an estimate of 3600 miles total, that puts me at just before the half way point. which is strange considering i’ve traveled well past the middle of the country—as the crow flies.

map of amarillo to santa fe

just outside of amarillo i stumbled upon a famous american art installation, cadillac ranch. i had no idea they’d become spray painted works of public art. it was pretty cool being able to walk into the middle of a field by myself with nothing but the constant wind and the horizon all around.

amarillo's cadillac ranch

the geography changed as i left the panhandle and entered new mexico. plateaus were visible in the distance which reminded me of a quote from a recent article i read about mine fires in smithsonian.

Much of the landscape of the American West—its mesas and escarpments—is the result of vast, ancient coal fires.

i decided to take a detour off i-40 onto one of the many historic route 66 strips, which was cool because the exit i took put me perfectly in line of sight of this mountain outside tucumcari.

mountain outside of tucumcari, new mexico

however, this particular vestige of route 66 was pretty depressing. most everything was in a state of abandonment or disrepair. eventually i was back on i-40 speeding toward santa fe. i exited my beloved i-40 for probably the last time, taking a more scenic route to santa fe, via las vegas…new mexico.

i got in around 7pm, found the old santa fe inn (with free wireless dsl!), and totally vegged. i’m bushed. didn’t even make it out of my room. but my quick drive through santa fe suggests it’ll be well worth spending a day here. so i’ve updated my itinerary and rethought my santa fe to grand canyon route (getting off the interstate).


spend day in santa fe – georgia o’keefe museum, the plaza


santa fe to the four corners monument
four corners to grand canyon, south rim


spend day in grand canyon


grand canyon to zion national park
zion national park to salt lake city


salt lake city to reno/lake tahoe


spend day at lake tahoe nevada state park – tahoe rim trail


reno to santa rosa

next leg: a day in santa fe


Budget enough time for Zion! It’s way better than the Grand Canyon.


take a picnic for the four corners part of your drive. While you will find ample sketchy diner food in the small towns, you really want to eat on the side of the road in Monument Valley, sitting on the hood of your car and being dazzled by how vast the West is.

bint, really? that’s good to know. well, i may leave the grand canyon saturday night, depending on whether i feel i’ve done the grand canyon and spend an extra day in zion. lake tahoe is completely optional—i just wanted to avoid reno.

csg, thanks, i’ll do that. i really really enjoyed the drive once i finally got off of 40 heading on a two lane road winding through the mountains towards las vegas, nm. even i-25 into santa fe had some spectacular views. i’m definitely looking forward to the four corners drive.

blah reno… “The Biggest Little City in the World”… last time we were there we got stuck in the trucker parade… :(

yeah, the grand canyon is – well – grand, but i think some of the smaller canyons (canyonlands and zion and some others i can’t remember) are actually more interesting. more accessible and prettier.

Dave in Michigan

I ahve no idea how I found this site and I definetly dont know any of you people, but I sure am enjoying your trip.

thanks for the wonderful trip log!

Dave in Michigan

dave, thanks. and ryan, heard another emphatic endorsement of zion tonight. looks like that’s where it’s at.


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