The drive from Central California to Phoenix is usually 9 hours without traffic. And, stuck behind a truck or 5 cars behind the driver passing each turnout, it can be a test of will power.
Years ago, I started adding some backroads into the route to give a change of pace, get away from the traffic, and see some of the country. Near home, I used to head out Bitterwater Rd. to avoid the trucks on Rte 46 when it was only 2 lanes. Now that the road has been improved, that excuse is gone but I reason that I have there is always the potential to see something new.
In Arizona, I found a short cut down a dirt road that cuts the buttonhook out of the interchange on Rte 40 from Needles to Kingman and south again on Rte. 93; a couple hour drive. Is it really a short cut? Well it saves 10 minutes. A pittance on a 9 hour drive but considering, it is all dirt through some amazing country and without anyone on the road, it would be worth the time if it took longer.