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  1. Default First Road Trip: any tips would be appreciated!

    Hey everyone!

    I just found this website a few days ago and I've read some of the threads and I figured I'd try and get some input! I plan on driving from my apartment in Champaign, IL to the North Cascades National Park in WA, stopping at various parks and such along the way. I was planning on taking I-90 most of the way and going through Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho and finally ending up in Washington.. I will be camping most of the time and was also wondering if anyone knew any good campsites on the way there and in the North Cascades. I love to hike, fish, rock climb, anything outdoorsy. After spending a few days in Washington I am planning on driving down either I-5 or the PCH, but I'm leaning towards the PCH, driving through Oregon and down to Northern California. After California I am planning on driving back home through Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and finally back home in Illinois. I have a pretty good idea of what I need to prepare for the trip, gear, clothes, etc. but any ideas and input would be great! I'm planning on being on the road for around 15 days and am looking forward to hearing from everyone!



  2. #2


    Hi Jarett! I drive every summer in between Southern California and Wisconsin. After taking the same direct route repeatedly, I changed it up a bit and tried going the north route a few times. Since you're from IL, I assume you've been to Iowa and can probably just drive through it.. The Badlands and Wind Cave National Park in SD are both worth seeing. We camped at Wind Cave and it was amazing. We had a site that was on top of a small hill and was great for star grazing. That night we slept out on our mats under the stars and woke up to coyotes howling in the distance and a white-tail munching on our marsh melon rind. Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons are a great place to visit in Wyoming. The camping with those parks isn't that great, but on the way there we spent a night in the Big Horn Mountains and stayed at "Crazy Woman" campground. I recall rock climbing in that area as a nice way to pass the evening. It was next to a running stream, and quite private as well. In Montana, Glacier National Park is spectacular as well if you have the time. All three of these National Parks are great for both hiking and fishing. I've never actually been to the North Cascades. Maybe one of these trips :)

    On your way down through Oregon, make a stop in Portland to visit Powell's book store. It's huge and wonderful. The red woods in Northern California make for great campsites.. If you drive, you'll probably see signs for camping along the way. I don't remember where we stayed exactly, I just know it was south of Eureka. Nevada is a drive-through state for such a roadtrip.. If you are coming from the Northern route in Utah, I don't remember there being much. Arches National Park is a nice place to visit, but if you somehow get the chance, Zion and Bryce Canyon are worth more of your time. In Zion, you can walk along a stream that is at the base of the canyons. It is incredible. Utah and Colorado are really pretty states to drive through for the mountains. I usually drive through CO, but the rockies are great as well. I'm not sure about Kansas, and I think you'll be too far north in Missouri for the Ozarks. (I'm sure both states have nice things to visit as well though).

    All of these things would take probably longer than 15 days, so it really depends on what appeals to you and how long you like to spend in one place. Sometimes, spending a few days in one place can be nicer than hoping from National Park to National Park. As for what to bring.. general camping gear - a tent, sleeping bags (per person), sleeping mats (per person), a stove with whatever energy source you use, food, water!!, eating and cooking utensils, paper towels, soap and a sponge, a cooler, aluminum foil if you use it for cooking, coffee mugs.. a spare tire and car tools.. you probably won't need much in terms of clothing, but that depends what you'll be doing (how wet they will get).. a knife, flashlight, cards, and map are excellent to have on hand.. and I always bring a camera and notebook to document the journey!

    Hope this helps! Have a great adventure!

  3. Default

    thanks shrui!!!! I will definitely check those places out!! Any other advice about general road trip basics would be appreciated!


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