Hello - I'm planning a road trip for next summer, probably end of July / early August, from Madison, WI to the Pacific coast and back. I'm hoping to be able to take ~3 weeks (20 days) to do the trip, and make a loop from here, heading through South Dakota and the Badlands, through Wyoming to Yellowstone and Grand Teton NPs, then north to Glacier NP, across Idaho and Washington to Seattle, down the Pacific coast, mostly on Hwy 101, to Eureka, CA and the redwoods, then through Nevada and Utah to Rocky Mtn NP in Colorado, then home through Nebraska and Iowa. I don't want to plan much more of a route than this, so we can change our minds about it once we're on the trip and be able to explore without being focused on getting from A to B. I'm hoping to end up with 7 or 8 people on the trip - I have around 10 right now who are interested. We'll all be 18 years old when the trip takes place. The compatibility of the group is obviously an issue we'll have to sort out before the trip - we're all fairly good friends and pretty easygoing people, but to make sure we'd be able to stand each other for that long a trip, we'll take at least one regional trip next spring, maybe two. We'll also sit down and discuss the specifics of the trip - what each of us wants/expects/can deal with, etc. (and, yes, take the quiz), as well as work out the trip's details and logistics. My plan right now is to spend most nights camping, with as few nights as possible in hotels. We'll have a two-burner camp stove and probably a grill, and will cook most of our own food (with occasional stops at restaurants). What vehicles we take will depend on how many people can go - if we have the target 7 or 8, we'll be taking two midsize cars, if less, we can take either a conversion van or a single car, depending on numbers. My main question at this point is whether this plan is feasible time-wise, and whether we'll be able to find campsites without booking ahead (state parks? KOAs?). Also, I've estimated around $720 for gas per car (25 mpg, 5200 mi, $3.20/gal), $10 average per person per night for lodging, $15/person/day for food, plus a little extra for miscellaneous expenses, giving a per person total of around $750 (37.50 per day). Am I missing anything important and is my estimate reasonable?
Also, btw, I've looked through the thread in "Saving Money on your Trip" about 4 teens in a Passat, and realize that I might get some similar replies to that thread. Mostly, though, I'm looking for advice about camping availability and the timeframe/costs of this trip. As for being young and understanding travel and driving, I've traveled extensively regionally and overseas, and have undertaken medium-distance road trips, all without "adult" supervision, and I am familiar with camping gear, first aid, etc. I'm fairly confident that I can deal with the challenges faced by this trip and that the people I've invited along will also.
Thanks in advance for your help!