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  1. Default Planning my first Roadtrip

    So first off I must say i'm completely enamored with this site. Kudos to this community its awesome! I've spent the last few nights exploring, and todays the day I post what brought me here.

    I'm a 20 year old Film Major Creative Writing Minor (aka hopeful screenwriter) at the University of Texas in Austin. I've only gone on one signifigant roadtrip (more than a couple days), and at the time i was too young and naive to really soak it up (it was a 4 week trip from Austin up the east coast to boston philly, NYC, Niagra, then back down through the midwest, St. Louis etc). Anyways I love Austin its a really wonderful place to live, but i've never really been anywhere else, haven't experienced much and I've just really begun to realize that I want to. Plus i think it would a super opportunity to film and edit and write which i never seem to have time to do here...

    Here's the trip i have in mind really roughly pounded out in brainstorm

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sour...7,28.54248&z=6

    First off this isnt going to be anytime soon like over a year from now. Right now we're talking July 20, 2010.

    I have a 05 Camry, and a lady friend (plutonic) who wants to go, and shes great so I'm happy to have the company. She's said that she would have no problem sleeping in the car and i have no qualms. Combined we have a bunch of friends along the way to get at least a few nights of decent lodging.

    I was wondering what yall think I am looking price wise, and time wise? When we were talking we came up with 30 days and $2000 - $3000 which we're comfortable taking off and putting up. What are some things along the way yall would suggest making it a point to check out? I'd really appreciate any input yall have even if its just "Silly kid you're biting off more than you can chew"

    Thanks for reading and i look forward to yalls responses :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I'd make some minor adjustments to the route - you should not attempt to drive more than 550 miles a day on Interstates, less on other roads. Other than that, this looks very doable in 30 days.

    You can't predict gas prices this far in advance, but assuming 25 mpg and $4 gas, you should budget $1000 for gas. You could easily spend another $1000 for food, to eat for considerably less, you will have to eat most of your meals out of a cooler. This doesn't leave a whole heck of a lot for other expenses. Sleeping in the car at truck stops is going to get old real quick, and it's not advisable to sleep in the car at any other places. A Camry is not all that comfortable for 2 people to sleep in. A big plus would be if you brought a tent and planned on doing some camping, but that isn't going to be free with few exceptions.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Aim high !

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    With 30 days and 5000 miles to cover your trip it is certainly manageable but there are thousands of options open to you at this time so at the moment I would keep researching and looking for the places that appeal to you both the most. As glc said, sleeping in the car isn't an option I would recommend on a regular basis, you won't get a proper nights sleep and you will feel weary the next day, taking the shine of the day's activity's. Camping is a fun and budget friendly option worth considering.
    Get the map out and have a look around the forums and road trip planning pages where you can use key words and the search button to find info on the places you are going. Start saving hard and as you get nearer your trip date you can start adjusting things to suit your budget as personally I would prefer to have a memorable 20 day trip than a miserable 30 day trip.
    With regards to travel times the mapping programs are wildly optimistic and don't allow time for necessities such as filling with gas, eating and taking bathroom breaks. In the West travelling on Interstates and main highways it has been tried and tested by experts here at RTA that the average distance you will cover is 57mph.
    Enjoy the planning, it's a great part of the trip as a whole !

  4. Default

    hey responses :) !

    So the directions on that map aren't necessarily what i'll be doing, it was more of a quick and dirty way to show our general route with places I KNOW right now we'll be hitting. Believe me having lived in Texas my whole life I KNOW all about driving long distances. Ok so the budget for Gas was more than expected but thats probably because i was thinking empirically rather than realistically.

    I have all the gear to camp for two so that is a great idea to spell us between friends and the occasional splurge on a place with a proper bed to recover in.

    so judging by yalls estimations would it be good to think of a total budget at $3000 minimum?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I certainly wouldn't leave with any less.

  6. Default

    does anyone have any suggestions of stuff along the way that i wouldn't be likely to know about? Secret destinations, b/c i'm not a huge tour guide book kinda person. I enjoy more raw things that maybe not alot of people get to see. Does anyone know of anythings like that?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Local knowledge.

    One of the best way's to find out the "locals secrets" is to talk to the locals while on the road and usually they will be only to pleased to share there knowledge with you.

  8. Default

    I think your trip is doable, but sleeping in the car SUCKS!!! Camping is better. Much better.

    I usually average 65-70 mph on the interstate, including stops for gas/bathrooms/fast food. Stops for sight seeing or sit down meals are not included in that.

    I typically figure my gas as $1 higher than it currently is. That helps cover unexpected price fluctuations, plus differences in state pricing. CA is typically .30-.50 more than what I pay at home in Indiana, for example. I figure I can always cut back more on food, but not on the fuel!

    I would also skip Reno and Northern Nevada and go on up to Oregon and across Idaho to Yellowstone. It's a prettier drive with more stuff, in my opinion.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I usually average 65-70 mph on the interstate, including stops for gas/bathrooms/fast food.
    You can't do that without destroying the speed limit. The math works out to 57 mph west of the Mississippi and 53 mph east of it. The absolute fastest I've ever pulled a long day is from Dallas to Lordsburg NM - 805 miles - in 13 hours, that averages to 62 mph. I was cruising at 85 mph for a good portion of the route, and my only stops were for fuel, bathroom, and a Mickey D's lunch. Except for a few stretches through metro areas, the speed limit was either 75 or 80 all the way.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Budgeting

    Here's some tips on figuring out your budget. I am a master at squeezing a dime and can take a roadtrip more inexpensively than most people because of camping, driving a fuel efficient car, and eating most of my meals out of my cooler. Even so, there's a limit to how cheap I want to travel and still have some bucks for fun. I totally agree that it's better to do a fun 20-day trip than a 30-day one where you have to scrimp so much that it takes the fun out of it. Of course, this usually means driving less miles as well. No matter, you'll still be seeing things you've never seen before, right?

    To be honest, if it were me, I think I'd look to go north to SD and Montana and then come back through Wyoming and Utah, then back home. OR I'd do California and the coastal areas. Not both. Unless your budget can be more generous.

    Even so, with 30 days, you'll be amazed at how fast it will fly. While you can certainly do the miles in 30 days, you might enjoy the ability to meander and explore in more depth. Especially since you want to spend time filming. Won't you want to wait for certain light conditions, etc., and be able to take some really great film instead of rushing to get it done so you can get on the road again?

    I'm just thinking that you might want to consider a less planned trip. Have an idea of a few destinations and just get in your car and go. Explore thinks that peak your interest along the way. Film in a spot for an hour or three days, whatever strikes you as right for that area. Meander and be open to spontaneity. I could be wrong but I have a feeling that would suit your desire to accomplish some filming/storywriting better.

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