NYC to Indianapolis, IN. You could stay in Wheeling, WV. Indianapolis, Indiana to Memphis, Tennessee. I would stay at Gold Strike Casino and Hotel in Tunica, Mississippi. I would go from Tunica to Oklahoma City. From Oklahoma City to Albuquerque, NM. From Albuquerque, NM to Phoenix, Az. From Phoenix, AZ to Santa Barbara, CA. Keep a case of water in your car at all times. Stop 5 minutes each hour. Travel about 6 hours each day. You can make reservations on Hotwire.com as you travel, or ahead of time. 500 miles = 8 hours approximately. Let me know if you need more information.