(C) 2002-2014  J. Watson       All rights reserved  
HISTORIC NOTE:  For the rest of the trip west you will be able to visit a number of
museums, forts  and other locations that commemorate the westward expansion of the
United States.  These  range from the
Trail of Tears, Santa Fe Trail, Route 66, Pony
Express stops, oil wells, etc.  All are integral to the national history.  Some are courageous
explorations, others are insignificant in scale but contribute to the overall development.  
And, some show the narrow or cruel course of events.  

A thriving community of native nations existed for centuries before the European
exploration and development.  This page is only a sampling.  State tourist bureaus and
other resources can provide useful information.  Expect to see Indian reservations, giant
ranches, oil wells, and raw desert as you continue.  Sunscreen, water and a full gasoline
tank are “musts”.
Continuing on I-40 west to


Little Rock.  The William J. Clinton Presidential Library &
is on our “to-see” list.  To the southwest is the...

Hot Springs National Park.  Back a century or more there was a
strong belief in the healing powers of warm springs.  This park
preserves a number of the buildings,
photo, in which the visitors
bathed.  These are magnificent structures of the period.  Then
going northwest to...

Fort Smith National Historic Site.  Before the area became a
state there were a number of forts to protect travelers from Indian
raids.  See the fort and learn of the period.  Visit Judge Parker's
courtroom, photo.  Then continue west to…


We've sometimes gone out of our way to see feedlots -- just to
see this part of our food chain, photo.  Some can be smelled
before they are seen.

    We’ll drive right through Texas on this route without
    mentioning places.  Our apologies to the tourist bureau.

New Mexico

East of Santa Fe is Bandelier National Monument which you
reach by going through ...

Los Alamos.  Los Alamos was a site of  the Manhattan Project,
the name assigned to the development of the WW2 atom bomb.  
The location was selected because it was so remote that its
existence could remain secret.  It is now a scientific center with the
Bradbury Science Museum that is worth visiting.  Continue to...

Bandelier National Monument has ruins of two and three story
pueblo dwellings, photo.  The sight rivals today’s roadside motels
— with room after room, you can’t help but wonder what it was like
when it was occupied.  Then on to...

Albuquerque.  Much to see.  Visit “Old town” and absorb the
history of the area.  Go to the nearby memorable
National Monument
to see hundreds of pre-historic markings on
the stones.  Take the
Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway – said to be
the world’s longest, and a great view from the 10,000-foot high
summit.  For an added treat take the ski lift from the summit –what
a view.  Then west to…

Grants.  From here visit the Acoma Pueblo.  The Acoma tribe
has continuously occupied this interesting pueblo since the
1500s.  It is high on a mesa, obviously built there for defense.  We
were there on a holiday with dances and music.  Then go to...

El Morro National Monument to learn the story of this oasis at
the foot of a mesa.  See the elaborate inscriptions on the side of
the cliffs that were made by early travelers who took time at this
oasis to rest from their journey.  Then climb up to the top and see
the remnants of the pueblo, photo.  Continue west on I-40 to …


About at the border of the state, exit 357, go north into the Navajo
Indian Nation to…

Window Rock to see the Navajo Nation Museum.  This museum
features art by Navajos, some of whom are talented professional
artists associated with major US firms.  This is side-by-side with
native art.  Now head west to US-191 and go north to…

Canyon de Chelly National Monument.  Here you will walk down
trails that lead to ruins of cliff dwellings (photo).  There are several
trails to the different sites.  Guides are available to take tours to
remote locations.  Be sure to have water and sun protection.    
Interesting.  Now go south on US-191 to…

Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site, which has been in
business continuously since 1878.  Then south to I-40 and east

Petrified Forest National Park.  Upon entering the park you will
first pass through the Painted Desert, which is a colorful
badlands.  You’ll want to stop on the side of the road to absorb
the beauty of the myriad colors.  Then on to the arid area where
there had been a forest – yes, there are acres of petrified logs
that you can walk among.  You’ll see the annual rings at the ends
of what looks like wood-turned-to-stone.  This is a “must-see”.  
Head west to…

Then west on I-40 to …

Winslow to see Meteor Crater.  This is one big hole in the
ground caused by a meteorite – it’s about a mile wide and over
500 feet deep.  It’s rugged, so rugged that NASA astronauts
trained here in preparation for the moon landing.  

Walnut Canyon National Monument.  Hike down the canyon
walls to see ancient cliff dwellings.  It's a bit steep but quite doable
and certainly worth the effort.  Just take it easy.  Continue to...

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, a few miles north
on US-89 and take the exit for Sunset Crater Volcano - Wupatki
National Monuments.  The volcano was active about ten centuries
ago and with its reddish hue it is understandably called sunset.  
What a sight – about 1,000 feet high you’ll see the black lava.  

Now continue north to
Wupatki National Monument.  Here you
will see the largest pueblo in the area -- what a sight.  Learn about
the people who called this home back in the 1100s.  And about
those who populated the area for the centuries before.  Return
south to I-40 and head towards...

Flagstaff.  In addition to the city this is the jumping off point for
several nearby highlights.  Within just a few miles are:
Castle National Monument
, a bit further is Grand Canyon
National Park
, north of Williams on I-40.  

    See Route D, which also connects to Routes I, G, and F as
    there are a number of other nearby places of interest.  

    Kingman is a logical jumping off spot to go over the Hoover
    Dam and on to Las Vegas, Nevada.  From there it's a short
    trip  to…


Death Valley National Park.   This is the largest US National
Park in the lower 48.  Though desert with a couple of inches of
rain a year, it has mountains and varied scrub growth.  It is the
lowest spot (right) in the western hemisphere at 282 feet below
sea level (photo).  

Part of the lore of the area is
Scotty’s Castle.  This is a luxurious
abandoned home set in a remote location.  Construction started in
the late 1920s and ended, before completion, during the Great
Depression.  Then south to...

Joshua Tree National Park.  This park has splendid desert
scenery with a variety of plants as well as oases.  At the higher
altitudes you can see the rare Joshua Trees (right).  Unique rocky
mountains are highlights.  Enjoy hiking the trails, possibly to the
reservoir.  In the spring, if there has been ample rain, the blooms
of the plants are so vivid that people come from miles to see it –
some say there is more absence from work to see this than on the
first day of the fishing season.  Just east of the exit to I-10 is the ...

General Patton Memorial Museum, which is an important
reminder of WW2.  Over one million men trained here in desert
conditions in preparation for the landing in Africa.  The museum
focuses on the European and African theaters of operations as
well as the training that took place here.  In my opinion every
American should see this.  From here, go down the road to...  

Indio.  You’ll probably never see so many date palms as are here.  
From here, continuing west on I-10 you will pass a wind farm with
hundreds and hundreds of windmills.  Expect strong winds.

SIDETRIP:  Salton Sea.  This below-sea level body of water was a
resort area until a few years ago.  Birds and fish have died of
avian botulism and the stink is awful.  The sea is the largest inland
body of salt water in the world.  Then return to I-10 and continue
Bath houses were credited with healing all types of ailments
Hudled beneath rock overhangs are cliff dwellings at Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Bandelier National Monument preserves ruins of Pueblo dwellings
Petrified Forest National Park
It is remarkable that people survived their travels thru this harsh area on their way to the Pacific
Forts along the way provided security from Indians
See where the hamburger starts its way to market
Travel Letters
Scotty's Castle adds to the lore of Death Valley
Remnants of pueblo, El Morro National Monument
Joshua Trees at Joshua Tree National Park