I am planning a cross-country trip from California to East this December. The default zone on which I plan to travel is through the Desert South of California, Arizona and New Mexico. Areas South of Phoenix in general. If weather is warmer, I may venture a bit north but will never go north of I-40. This is the rough zone I want to see and explore. Apart from Coastal California, What are some of the nicest routes in this region? Quirky, interesting towns are good too. If there are special, relatively less known places to visit, I would love to know them. Interesting motels, eateries, hostels? Never-miss, must-see things? Would appreciate any suggestion I eventually will end up in North Carolina but would like to spend more time in the relatively warm southern deserts. Thank you in advance!