Can you liven up our 4180-mile I-40 road trip?
December 15, 2012 6:03 PM Subscribe
Please suggest lunch and dinner places and maybe some shopping for a CA-AR road trip, with a detour through Texas. General advice welcome too.
posted by wintersweet to travel & transportation (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
We're avoiding airplanes this year and taking a road trip to see our families, friends, and the Grand Canyon (briefly). We're leaving soon.
This is mostly going to be a "gotta get there and back" trip, but I can't function on long trips without having a hot meal. I also have to stretch my legs every couple of hours and try to, uh, avoid any more trips to the lithotripsy table (if you know what I mean). Therefore, interesting places to eat and browse around are welcome. The fewer IHOPs and Wal-Marts we wind up in, the better.
All hotels are already booked, so we don't need help there.
Leg 1, Day 1: SF Bay Area -> Barstow, CA
Barstow -> Flagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff -> Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque -> Elk City, OK
Elk City -> Fayetteville, AR (there are about 3 ways to get there, haven't picked one)
Visit family for a few days in Fayetteville.
Leg 2: Fayetteville -> El Dorado, AR.
Visit family for a few days in El Dorado.
El Dorado -> Wichita Falls, TX
Visit a friend for a couple of days.
WF -> Albuquerque (haven't decided which route to use to rejoin I-40)
ABQ ->Grand Canyon (I guess we'll take the eastern highway up if it's not bad weather)
Stay at the Grand Canyon (Bright Angel Lodge) a couple of nights
Grand Canyon -> Barstow, CA
Barstow, CA -> Bay Area
Phew! We haven't decided whether to buy chains yet. I've done most of this route twice before, including once in the winter, but I had an old Subaru then and now I have a new Honda Fit. I'm a little worried about the weather. As we get closer to departure time, the forecasts look less and less favorable.
We won't have much time or energy in each town that we arrive in at night, but we haven't had time to do holiday shopping and we want to squeeze some in. We are definitely planning on going to Bookman's in Flagstaff, for example. If you know of any geeky shops or good cooking supply stores along the way or in our overnight stops, please let me know! Anything else interesting would be good too. We don't have time to go far off the road, but anything right on the route could make a great brief stop.
Food recs? We like all kinds of food; we'll probably get more barbecue and Southern food and hamburgers than we can eat in Arkansas, but if you have an amazing recommendation for those, that's fine too.
Also, jewelry stops? A few years ago, somewhere in NM or AZ, we hit some random "trading post" (I know) that was in the middle of nowhere. All I remember is that it had a frybread taco stand in the driveway and they actually had clip earrings, and I got a pair of really pretty signed opal flower earrings. If you know of a place that seems better than others or you happen to know has clips, that would be great.