Winter Road Trip - America's Southwest

January 30, 2014

Road trip through America's Southwest guided by angels

The American Southwest is a diverse region full of delights, so we packed up the car and headed out from California's oldest beach town, across the state and then over 1694 miles or 2776 Km's across Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas. This road trip had a homeschool theme to show our most well-traveled child more of her own beautiful country.

We were blessed with this car on loan from one side of our family and gifted with this little silver angel to give us luck from the other side during our happy holiday visit and we indeed had great luck and sun all along the way.

Best road trip driver with coffee in hand

This road trip of the west was a fast planned, "wing it" type trip that kept changing even as we drove it. Many warned us not to go to Grand Canyon or Santa Fe in the winter, so we had to have multiple possibilities, but it turned out to be the pefect time to go. We could have taken a safer route, but I thought why not live on the wild side and go for the gold of what we wanted.

Southwest Road Trip kid with book

We are known for packing light on our world travels, but it is a small car and we needed all our possesions/winter clothes for 6 months, plus a Paleo/Primal, gluten-free, grain-free, GAPS/WAPF style diet for our healing journey. Not to mention my zillions of supplements, so we were packed tight.

traveling Mozart on a road trip in the Southwest by car

Luckily from all that RVing around Europe and world travel, Mozart is a flexible kid ( and a book loving reader) and we are use to problem solving and creative solutions to make most anything work. That is part of the thrill of our digital nomad lifestyle and keeps us on our toes.

Only our first drive day was unbearably long, so we really enjoyed the relaxed pace, landscapes and the time together. We did picnics on the move often and worked well as a team. Quick stops at odd places for gas and bathroom breaks some how seemed vastly entertaining and adventures to move our cramped  muscles while running, holding hands and laughing in the fresh air.

Southwest road trip with photographer Mom catching photos on the move

I had planned to share one of my fave places in Texas  Big Bend National Park and explore the Hill Country which is the most beautiful part of Texas, but we decided midstream that was overly ambitious and we would do that as a separate road trip later.

We enjoyed the ever changing views ( each state really has a unique landscape) and Mozart learned more about Indian country, the American West and the Mother Road, Route 66. She got some first hand look at tumble weeds as they scattered in the wind in front of us, played in snow, watched an old west gun fight and talked to native Americans.

Road trip with real maps!

We don't have a smart phone purposely and enjoy navigating with maps the old fashion way. We have a GPS in our RV in Europe, but won't get back to that until this summer, but didn't need it for this trip at all. We had many great discussions, some car dancing, singalongs, games and only had internet when at a motel or resort at night. We love the mostly unplugged life!

Route 66 Mother Road through California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas

We did explore a bit of the historic Route 66 in 3 states and I will be writing more about that. Our basic route was Santa Cruz to Fresno, then a very long days drive to Williams, Arizona where we took the cool train into the Grand Canyon for a few days. We loved our stay at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel and on the rim next to the El Tovar at the Kachina Lodge with the most spectacular view of the Canyon from our comfy room!

Mom and daughter enjoying the Grand Canyon on a gorgeous, sunny day

I have been wanting to take my Beloveds to the Grand Canyon for a while and we finally made it. T'was the perfect time to go and the weather gods were on our side, so Mozart and DaVinci experienced the Canyon at it's most perfect on their first visit.

Then we went onto Albuquerque, followed by a few days in blissful Santa Fe at the Four Seasons Resort, which I will be telling you much more about. Proceeded by more travel into Texas, waking up to a nail in our tire one morning in the middle of nowhere on the way, then four fabulous days in Dallas at another amazing Four Seasons Resort.

We had such great weather, such a good time experiencing so many wonders, such amazing delicious and healthy food that I am now convinced January might be the best time in the world to do a road trip! Many more photos and details coming soon.

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Sounds like a great trip and you were blessed with that weather at the Grand Canyon! So glad you are enjoying your trip.

I sent to a FB pm yesterday but since we aren't "friends" it probably went to your Other messages. Maybe you can check it out and see if you can answer it? :)

Take care and enjoy the ride!


Sounds like a perfect trip. How does it feel, touring your home country after so many years in other cultures? Love xxx


This is really awesome what you're doing! I'm glad I run into your blog. I've been trying to find long term traveling or digital nomad families' blogs, but they are hard to find. I'm looking for advise on how to do long term travel with a child, hoping to quit my 9-5 and hit the road :)

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Thanks Anne! Yes, we have definitely been blessed by the weather and so enjoying this.

I did see your FB message, but have just been too busy to answer it.

Quite swamped here now as we catch up and at the same time try to find eating etc resources in this new short term base and enroll kiddo in classes etc. ...and trying to get my book done.

I am much better, but my health issues also slow me down as I have to take time for more rest, exercises, a zillion supplements and slow food that takes more shopping and prep time.

I'll get to it soon!

Jeanne @soultravelers3

It was awesome Nadine! Just like we really enjoyed our trip all around the state of Florida a few years ago, there is just something about an American road trip that resonates deeply.

Also we didn't drive while in Asia for a couple years, so it feels good just to drive and see this country.

It is quite thrilling to share this with kiddo...and also my husband..who unlike me, has not seen these parts of our country.

Some times it is like a familiar and yet so strange too. ;)

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Welcome Minna, I am happy you found our blog! We have the record for family digital nomad bloggers...sold everything and began a location independent life in 2005!

So you should find endless resources and stories here about what has worked for us.

I also do paid private consults if you ever need one on one advise....connect through our contact page that goes to my email address.

Life on the road rocks and I think the best possible education if thought is put into it.

Happy travels!


What fun! Too bad we missed you at Williams/Grand Canyon. That is our "home" area, we were just there for a few days. Probably passed you somewhere on I40 going the other way, on our way to California. I think January is the best time for a southwestern road trip! Mild temps and snow if you want to drive to it.

Jeanne @soultravelers3

I didn't know that, sorry we missed you Robyn! Funny that we could have passed on the road. ;)

I was amazed that January really is perhaps the best time for a Southwest road trip.

So many people warned me against it and I had a friend who got snowed in ( closed roads) last January, but I thought even that was worth the risk.

The 10 day forecast looked good when we left California and it seems that even if it did snow and roads closed, it is a rare event and we had the time to hang out as it appears roads don't stay closed long in these areas.

My friend just enjoyed the snow holed up in a hotel, then went onto Santa Fe when things cleared.

When I read that Santa Fe doesn't even have any snow plows, I felt more confident that a "snowed in" would be rare..and odds on our side.

People tend to think one has to head south if you are doing a winter Southwest road trip..but we had sun and great weather all the way.

There was a little left over snow at the Grand Canyon and Santa Fe...which kiddo LOVED...but we also spent time in both places with just our shirts on outside.

Didn't even need our down jackets!


Have you ever been to Washington D.C.? That's close to where I live, and I think that would be a great place to visit for Mozart, since it has a lot of history. I just tuned 14, so I'm only a bit older than Mozart(:

jeanne @soultravelers3

Welcome to our blog @abluepatronis! You are right Washington DC is a great place to travel to! I have been there, use to live near by and visit every weekend so I know it well. ;)

Alas, we haven't had time yet to show it to Mozart but it is on our list!

Thanks for the input! ( Nice to know a 14 year old is reading our blog and giving great advice!)


@ jeanne @soultravelers3 did you live in MD or VA? I live in MD. Tell me if you come!

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Cool! I lived in Baltimore when I was in 7th grade!

I will let you know if we decide to come to DC in the future..though no plans for it at the never know when we might go.

Perhaps you and Mozart could meet as it sounds like you two have a lot in common, from Harry Potter to violin and piano!


Thanks for sharing this SoulTravelers! As for me, one of my favorite places in Texas is its Gulf Coast. We stayed at one good Corpus Christi Hotels on the Beach and they showed us what the state offers -- great food, great outdoors, and great people!

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Great to hear that Randell! We'll be doing a road trip to that area soon and am looking forward to it.

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