We spent a weekend in January at Bosque del Apache a couple of years ago. It's a wildlife refuge and the winter home of several birds including the sandhill crane. Be sure to stop at Manny's Buckhorn Tavern in San Antonio for a Green Chile cheese burger.
You can take the back roads through the Mojave Preserve, it's the shortest most direct route. It's a 2 lane road with little traffic. We've taken it in our 38' MH and seen several others thru the years. Take the Nipton turnoff on I 15 to Ivanpa road then Kelso to Amboy to 29 Palms on to Palm Desert. You'll bypass the climb from stateline to Mt Pass and Baker grade. Be sure to stop at Kelso Depot.