Got a job in California, so I drove out there in my Honda CRX (44 MPG highway, thank you) from Atlanta. Going west, I would leave before sunrise and cross the Mississippi by lunch. There's just something about a day like that.
I had friends at perfect intervals for the trip. A friend just west of Dallas allowed me a stop at the end of one day, and the stop on day 2 was either Arizona or New Mexico, as I had families to visit in both places. Day 3 was sunny San Diego.
Maybe if I did it now I would take more time, but I really liked driving, and wanted to be with people I knew rather than in a hotel somewhere.
The air didn't work so the desert was not particularly fun, but I would stop during the day if it got too hot. Also I only had a radio in the car, and there were entire stretches out west where your only listening choices were country or western. (I learned on these trips there is a difference!)
Get in your car and see the US! EVERY place is beautiful. It's just different kinds of beauty, even within the same state. In Arizona, yes there's desert, but there's also pines. And in Texas there's mountains and water and deserts, too. It's gorgeous. All of it.