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  1. Default The Trip (Around the US)

    First things first. Yes, we are insane.
    Now... Pictures speak louder than words. So here is the map.



    This is a mammoth 30 day trip which will take us all around the united states to 26 different cities.

    Me (a photographer) and a friend (who loves making movies) are going to take this country on in July in our first road trip ever, and our most ambitious mission ever. The trip scopes an awesome 8332.9 miles in an old 1998 Mazda 626 sedan.

    Now that our plan is laid out, we wanted to introduce it to a community that is experienced in road trips.

    Naturally, money is a big issue, and with the $1000+ gas toll alone, plus $1500 for the cheapest hotel rooms (every other day), plus $1000 each for food makes this a $5000+ trip. Any ideas on how to tone down this epic toll?

    Aside from that, What do you guys think about the road trip itself? Any advice?
    Last edited by Vovchok; 12-31-2007 at 09:41 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Honestly

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think you've got quite a trip, although I'm not sure that you are going to have any time to enjoy it or take any pictures.

    If your goal is to simply make a lap around the US in a month, then this trip will accomplish that goal. However I see some aspect, for example, you've got a stop in Yellowstone, but its between days where you've planned to get from Bismark to Seattle - there's no time to enjoy the park there. Similarly, you are going from Portland to LA in 2 days. That can be done, certainly, but there's no possibility of exploring the Coast, the Redwoods, or even San Francisco on that timeframe. If that's not important, then you'll be fine, but it seems like a bit of a waste to me.

    As far as your budget goes, camping would be the number one thing I can think of to cut down on your costs. Right there you could cut your lodging bill in half, and as the previous owner of 2 Mazda 626's that both were taken on many roadtrips, I can tell you, you can fit a lot more camping gear in there than meets the eye. Eating out of a cooler instead of eating out everyday should also help you bring down your food bill. This article has more money saving ideas.

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think you've got quite a trip, although I'm not sure that you are going to have any time to enjoy it or take any pictures.

    If your goal is to simply make a lap around the US in a month, then this trip will accomplish that goal. However I see some aspect, for example, you've got a stop in Yellowstone, but its between days where you've planned to get from Bismark to Seattle - there's no time to enjoy the park there. Similarly, you are going from Portland to LA in 2 days. That can be done, certainly, but there's no possibility of exploring the Coast, the Redwoods, or even San Francisco on that timeframe. If that's not important, then you'll be fine, but it seems like a bit of a waste to me.
    I definately see your point. Photography, you can say, is the main reason I am doing this personally, and if I don't have time for a shoot, then it is a waste. However, we do not know how many stops we can cut out or even which ones. Its just that we want to do so much in so little a timeframe and we are so torn with these locations,we decided to cram it all in there.

    As far as your budget goes, camping would be the number one thing I can think of to cut down on your costs. Right there you could cut your lodging bill in half, and as the previous owner of 2 Mazda 626's that both were taken on many roadtrips, I can tell you, you can fit a lot more camping gear in there than meets the eye. Eating out of a cooler instead of eating out everyday should also help you bring down your food bill. This article has more money saving ideas.
    Well, I do not know the first thing about camping but the lack of showers gives me an uneasy feeling about it. Though the prospect of truck stops looks pretty good to us. We can spend the whole 30 days sleeping in truck as long as they have showers and such =/

    thanks for the reply, man, i appreciate it! Happy new year's!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default showers a plenty

    I'm always a little shocked when people don't realize that many, if not most, campgrounds have shower facilities. And quite frankly, even if a campground didn't have showers, what would stop you from using a truck stop to shower at a later point?

    And speaking as someone who has spent the night sleeping in a 626, its certainly not something I could ever do by myself, laying across the backseat for 30 days. Trying to sleep laying down in a bucket seat for more than a quick nap is just not an idea that I would ever personally consider.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Vovchok View Post
    I definately see your point. Photography, you can say, is the main reason I am doing this personally, and if I don't have time for a shoot, then it is a waste. However, we do not know how many stops we can cut out or even which ones. Its just that we want to do so much in so little a timeframe and we are so torn with these locations,we decided to cram it all in there.
    You could always allow yourself the option of playing things by ear. Just because you've planned all these places to go, doesn't mean you HAVE to see them all. If you feel the need to linger longer in places to get the photographs you want, go for it. Yeah, you might have to cut out some stops but you might end up enjoying what you see much more anyway. And isn't enjoying the trip the most important thing? (Of course, your travel partner would have to agree to this, too.)

    Maybe you could do your swing to the West Coast and concentrate on places farther west this trip. You could do a swing into The South on another trip, for example.


    Well, I do not know the first thing about camping but the lack of showers gives me an uneasy feeling about it. Though the prospect of truck stops looks pretty good to us. We can spend the whole 30 days sleeping in truck as long as they have showers and such =/
    Like Michael, I'm amazed that people don't think there are showers when camping. Most campgrounds have showers. Exceptions are some of the ones in more remote settings, but even some of these have showers. All commercial campgrounds have showers.

    Showering at a truck stop can often cost $10-12. A campsite typically costs around $20...and this often includes your shower. Sometimes, campgrounds do have coin-operated showers but I have never paid more than about 50 cents for a shower when I've had to. So, really, it could be the same price, or even cheaper, to camp and shower than to try to sleep in your car and shower. And I'm sure you'll get a much better night's sleep in a campground.

    My advice is to have sleeping at truck stops as an option but, really, only when you're tired and just can't go onto a campground. Camp the rest of the time. And, if you want great photos, you'll find the campgrounds are often in very scenic areas.

    Camping isn't complicated. Especially car camping.

    Mandatory items needed: tent, sleeping bags, pillows, flashlights (maybe $75 for all at a big box store)

    Items it's very nice to have: sleeping pad (small self-inflating ones work great), lantern (if you don't want to learn how to work propane, get a battery-operated one), telescoping camping chair, extra blanket (all of these would probably run you another $100-125 if you shop carefully)

    You should be eating out of your cooler if you want to save time and money while on the road. So, if you want to cook at your campsite, you just need a camping stove, some propane, a cheap "boy scout" style cooking set, plastic utensils, a plastic plate and bowl for each of you, knife, spatula, small whisk, rubber scraper, wooden spoon, dish-washing pad of some sort, and CampSuds (or other brand of biodegradable dish soap) and you can cook all sorts of meals. (another $40-80 depending on stove, you can find them as cheap as $20 if you get a single-burner)

    You will easily save to pay for all the gear and you'll have it for future trips. Heck, you might even find you like camping!

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