For @loriatx, and inspired by her and by @jaidub's initial request and my love for the now-lost 1970s career of AAA trip-tiking, because I'm old enough to have a box of maps and a highlighter (sung to the tune of 'two turntables and a microphone'.)
  1. I'm assuming you're leaving from somewhere deep in the heart of Texas.
    Why do I assume this? Deduction, Watson. The tx in your handle and the fact that Texan @kcupcaker knows your train-living child well enough to confirm she's a train lover.
  2. My Box O Maps™
  3. My Highlighter
  4. My previous Trip-Tik™ list
  5. This classic AAA® Central States Map should be perfect!
  6. Now, I have no idea where in Texas you are.
    Austin seems likely? Hill country!
  7. Or the DFW Metroplex?
  8. West Texas oil country?
  9. So I'm going to (again) assume as a (likely) Texan you can find your own way to Amarillo.
    I know very little about Texas highways and have only spent a few hours of my life inside its borders. Plus, Amarillo is probably on the way to Colorado no matter where in Texas you are coming from (unless you are Hank the Cowdog or Drover his sidekick and are actually already in Perryton.)
  10. After leaving home and driving across Texas, spend the night in Amarillo.
    Be sure to see the six-story tall Helium Time monument shaped like a helium atom and celebrating all the helium buried under town.
  11. And also be sure to witness the glory that is Cadillac Ranch on I-40 west of town.
  12. Ready? Let's Trip-Tik™!
  13. Head north on US 87/287
    Through Dumas and Stratford and into the Oklahoma Panhandle until you stop for brunch in Boise City OK.
  14. Visit Replica Bomb Crater in Boise City, OK
    In 1943 Boise City was mistakenly bombed by a training mission from an air base in Texas. The only thing destroyed was a garage -- doubly embarrassing since the bombs were aimed at the courthouse. On the 50th anniversary of the mishap, the town built a replica bomb crater out of concrete and placed it in front of its chamber of commerce office, which is an old caboose (train alert!). The crater is less than 2 feet deep.
  15. Continue north on US 287/385
    Drive through Springfield (look for evidence of The Simpsons) and head to Lamar, Colorado.
  16. Visit the oldest building on Earth at Lamar, Colo
    Lamar's Petrified Wood Gas Station, was built by lumber dealer W.G. Brown in 1932. The building's walls and floors are constructed of large pieces of petrified wood more than 175 million years old. So suck it Wyoming's "Dinosaur Bone Cabin", the oldest building on the planet is in Colorado!
  17. Continue north and northwest on US 287
    Pass through Eads and Kit Carson and Wild Horse (don't blink) and Hugo to Genoa. Enjoy empty prairie and watch for massive thunderstorms.
  18. Merge onto west-bound Interstate 70
    As the sun sets behind the now visible Rocky Mountains, Denver here we come! Find a hotel and sleep.
  19. Vacation in Denver
    Enjoy activities in Denver area like the Georgetown Loop railroad, Rocky Mountain National Park or visiting Boulder or Golden. Pen tip is pointing to approximate location of Mount Evans Drive. Georgetown is just above pen tip. Refer to previous list of things to do in Denver: Suggestions for an amazing family vacation this summer in/near Denver
  20. When you are done in Denver and ready to head home...
  21. Head south on Interstate 25
    Drive through Colorado Springs to Pueblo. There's a lot to do in The Springs (including the Manitou Cog Railway!) but save it for another trip (assuming you survive this one!) Watch for mile-long coal trains all the way along I-25 as the tracks are within sight all the way to New Mexico.
  22. Visit the World's Largest Painting in Pueblo, Colo.
    The largest mural in the world -- according to the Guinness Book of World Records -- is painted on a levee along the Arkansas river in Pueblo. More than a thousand artists have contributed sections over 3.5 miles of river levee.
  23. Continue south on I-25
    Beautiful country here, through Walsenburg and Trinidad and up and over Raton Pass to Raton, NM.
  24. Note: This is what this stretch looked like last August.
  25. At Raton, stop for lunch and make a decision.
    Be sure to stop the Visitor's Center and let your kids use the restroom and climb on the Atchinson, Topeka and Santa Fe caboose on display. The next bathroom is a long ways away.
  26. From Raton, you have a choice.
    If time is short and the kids are driving you crazy with their requests for bathroom stops every 37 minutes, select Trip-Tik™ Route A for a drive straight back to Texas. If you can handle long stretches of highway without bathrooms and are still having fun and have an extra day, select Trip-Tik Route B.
  27. — Trip-Tik™ Route A —
  28. Head southeast on US 64/US 87 - then join US 385
    You can see Capulin Volcano National Monument north of Capulin, and continue onward through Grenville to Clayton. Cross into Texas at Texline and aim for Dalhart. Merge onto south US 385 through Hartley and Channing until you reach Interstate 40. Go east until your reach Amarillo. Sleep and then head for home the next day.
  29. — Trip-Tik™ Route B —
  30. From Raton, continue south on I-25 for three more hours until Santa Fe. Sleep here! Explore the amazing history and museums and galleries and Canyon Road — oh, wait, you have three children under six. Instead...
  31. Visit George R R Martin's funhouse in Santa Fe, NM
    A 30-foot-tall red robot and other creatures stand in what was until Oct. 2015 the parking lot of a bowling alley when it was bought by Santa Fe resident George R.R. Martin, and in March 2016 it opened as the Meow Wolf Arts Complex and House of Eternal Return, a kind of walk-thru sci-fi funhouse or self-described "21st century children's museum," or possibly both. It's high tech and arty and meant to be fun.
  32. In the morning, head south on US 285
    Drive for 4-5 hours through the empty landscapes and wind farms of central New Mexico across Interstate 40 through Encino and Vaughn and head for Roswell, NM.
  33. Visit the International UFO Museum in Roswell
    I've been here and it's totally worth the price of admission. It tells the story of the alleged UFO crash near Roswell in 1947 in glorious low-tech homemade-by-fanatics style. Your children may be perplexed but they will also be creeped out by the alien autopsy display. Perhaps Route A is the better route?
  34. Finally... Leave Roswell and head east on US 380 passing through Tatum and entering Texas near Plains, TX.
  35. From here, find your own way home and sleep in your own beds tonight, unless you've got 18 hours to Houston.
  36. In which case...
  37. Are you sure you want to road trip across the American southwest in a car with three kids under age 6??