Subject: re: Cross country on I-40
Natalie,

One of the blessings that I have counted over the last two weeks is that our country is so beautiful. You and your husband are in for a real treat.

I have driven the route between LA and Oklahoma (where I grew up) many times. If you only have two weeks, you are going to have to limit your side trips. Otherwise, you will feel like you are just ticking items off a list instead of really enjoying the experience. I might recommend that you spend some time off I-40 in eastern Arizona at Monument Valley and then of course in New Mexico around Santa Fe. You can hardly go wrong in NM since it truly is the Land of Enchantment. Try to make sure you are outside and alert at both sunrise and sunset because the colors are fantastic. If you do sidetrip to Santa Fe, I recommend a hotel called La Posada de Santa Fe (http://www.laposadadesantafe.com). You stay in your own private casita with its own fire place. We sent my folks there for their anniversary and they loved it. If you are in Santa Fe Tuesday, Saturday or Sunday, you can visit the Farmer's Market. And for a truly memorable and soothing experience after many dusty miles in the cab of a rental truck, go just outside of town to Ten Thousand Waves (a Japanese health spa - http://www.tenthousandaves.com) and soak in a hot tub under the stars.

Also consider a plan that will give you some time to explore the mountains and hills in New England before you reach Martha's Vineyard. They should be full of gorgeous fall colors by the time you get there. Just head for northwestern CT or western MA. You cannot go wrong.

For food recommendations, you can make use of the travel board on http://www.chowhound.com.

And drive safely.

Mark your neighbor in Los Angeles