Retired arts administrator gone nomadic in 2010. I travel the SW and Canada in my 1999 Chevy (Suzuki) Metro hatchback that gets 45+ miles per gallon. I enjoy the nomadic lifestyle and have been pleasantly surprised by how many people there are who, contrary to media propaganda, are kind, generous and helpful.
Approx 300 miles of the Trunk Road (dirt) up the East side of Banff/Jasper National Park. Continue NW on pavement to Palmer, Alaska. I highly recommend this route for those with intrepid attitood.
Buffalo Range Rd 30 miles E of Flagstaff, AZ on interstate 40. Go S off the freeway and follow the signs toward Yeager Canyon. There's a sign-in kiosk about 300 feet from the freeway and another about a mile from Raymond Ranch Wildlife Area headquarters. All the space between the first and second sign-in kiosks is open for dispersed camping, but there are only a couple of side roads and very few places for a anything larger than a pickup to turn around. You must also display a pass. Passes are kept in the metal boxes at the kiosks.
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. -- the armpit of the SW. Once a vibrant, mid-sized town that offered a modicum of cultural amenities, it's now a sprawling, urban wasteland. If you include the outlying communities of Bernalillo to the N and Los Lunas to the S there are over a million folks. It's disappointingly provincial, but, in general, people are nice thanks to an innate willingness to embrace multiculturalism.
1999 Chevrolet Metro (Suzuki - Made in Ontario) hatchback. 1000cc motor, five-speed manual transmission. Almost good as four-wheel-drive. 42-50 mpg.