Hello everybody. Some high-school friends and I are on the verge of finishing our freshman year of college, and are hoping to go on a cross-country adventure while the going's good. While three of us finish school in mid-May, one friend finishes in mid-June, and we figured it would be fun to drive from Boston to San Francisco, pick him up, and then head home. We've done some brainstorming, but I wanted to run our plans by some more experienced road-trippers before settling on anything.
First of all, our (rough) itinerary is as follows:
Buffalo > Cleveland* > Chicago* > Minneapolis > Sioux Falls > Keystone > Yellowstone > Grand Tetons > Salt Lake City* > Reno > San Francisco*
Bakersfield > Las Vegas > Grand Canyon > Albuquerque* > Roswell > Dallas* > Little Rock > Nashville > Knoxville > Durham* > Washington DC* > New York* > Boston*
We're basically planning to spend one day in each city, arriving in San Francisco on June 11th and back in Boston around June 24th.
I have a few questions. First of all, the starred locations are those where we have places to stay (relatives, friends, etc). Hopefully this'll cut down on food and lodging, but we still have to find places at the other ~13 sites. We're fine with camping (and I assume we will do so at Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and the Grand Canyon), but does anyone have any recommendations for places to stay at the other routes, or changes to our itinerary?
We've budgeted around $2400 total for gas and vehicle maintenance (we're driving a Volvo XC70). I think our budget is around $6000 total (4 of us), but obviously we'd like to keep that figure as low as possible.
Also, what would be a good way to go about finding local attractions, places to stay, etc? I figured I'd use Wikipedia to find events / tourist attractions in cities, but there must be local gems worth seeing.
It's late, so I'm blanking on the other questions that will surely pop up, but thanks in advance for your advice!