Editor's Note: This trip is now underway -- you can read the periodic field reports here. Although this thread has been closed -- it is still here for ideas as you plan you own trip...
This is my first time posting to this site although I have been doing quite a bit of reading here over the last few months - awesome website! My brother and I are planning a year long road trip begining next July and ending....well whenever it ends, but we are guessing around one year. I have approximately one million questions and would like to seek any advice, ideas, constructive criticism, etc. that I can get. A few of the particulars:
1. Idea: Travel through 49 states (probably won't make it to Hawaii)Canada and Baja, Mexico hitting lots of national parks, festivals or anything else that sounds interesting, spending the majority of time camping and having a very loose schedule of where we will be going. I will list a general idea of where we think we may be at certain times of the year below.
2. Money: Our plan is to have $20,000.00 total to start the trip with, after purchasing a reliable vehicle.
3. Automobile: ????? At this time we are looking at conversion vans that have a small kitchen, toilet, maybe a shower. We have seen late 90's models with about 70 to 80 thousand miles in the range of $6,000 to 7,000, which is our price range. While we will be doing quite a bit of camping and outdoor cooking, etc. we like the idea of having a small sink, refigerator and stove in the van for the convenience I am sure we will need and want at times. We have looked at Volkswagon vanagons, but most are at least 20 years old and I have questions about reliability and power. Any advice here? We are thinking our gas budget will be somewhere in the $4,000 range for the year, but that will obviously depend on the vehicle and the route. Any ballpark guesses as to how realistic this is?
4. general route:
July 15th - Havasupai Falls Grand Canyon
Aug. 1st - Southern Baja Mexico (La Paz)
Aug. 15th - Yosemite Natl Park
Sept. 1st - Black Rock Desert (Burning Man)
Sept. 15th - Fairbanks, AK - This is a huge question in the trip - When is the best and most realistic time to be able to see the northern lights. I have read a lot of conflicting reports, but it seems like the Fall & Spring equinoxes are both good times and we would much rather go in September than March. Any input?
October - Montana/Wyoming/Utah
November - Texas/Oklahoma. Louisiana
December - Mississippi/Alabama/Florida
January - Georgia/N. Carolina/Tennessee
Feb - Virginia/Maryland/Pennsylvania
March - New Jersey/New York/Rhode Island
April - Mass/Vermont/Maine/Canadian side of Lake Ontario & Lake Erie
May - Michigain/Ohio/Indiana
June - Wisconsin/Minnesota/S. Dakota
July - Nebraska/Iowa/Kansas
Obviously I didn't list all states - just wanted to give an idea of the general route. I think we have most of the basic gear covered such as a larger tent for car camping and a smaller(lighter) one for hiking, Dana K2 packs, Dragon fly stove, etc. but we are admittedly mid level campers at best and have lots to learn (and I am sure we will!) I know this isn't very specific, but I would like to solicit some help in all areas from places to go, car/gear advice, pitfalls to watch out for, problems with our general route or the concept as a whole. We also would like to be able to get quite a bit captured on both video and still pictures. Please ask any questions for more specific info and I really appreciate any and all help - THANK YOU!!!