For reasons that would take way too long to explain, I have embarked on a road trip from Chicago to Little Rock and I have four days/nights to do it and $250 (I have to catch a flight back home to NYC on day 5 and can't move the flight any earlier) for the whole trip. I figure gas will cost about $100 (used the fuel calculator and overestimated by about $25, just in case), so that leaves me with $150; or about $36/day. So.....
Obviously I can't afford to stay in hotels for 4 nights, but fortunately I have some camping gear that I got off of Craigslist... so I figure I'll stay in public parks/campgrounds every night. So my questions are:
1) Is this crazy? Can it be done? I’m not worried about the timing, just the budget. I plan to take my time and see the sights, enjoy the adventure… but I’m a city girl and I just don’t know if this plan is practical.
2) Am I going to get eaten by a bear/kidnapped by organ thieves?
3) While perusing your excellent "Lodging for the budget traveler" thread on here, I found the FREE overnight camping link, which led me to Giant City Campground in Southern Illinois... which is not free, but very cheap. Does anyone have experience with this particular site, or know of any other good ones along the way?
4) Is it naïve to think I’ll just stop whenever I see a campground or park that looks appealing and roll in there and pitch a tent? Or do I really need to reserve in advance?
5) I’m going I-55 to I-57 to I-40 – any unmissable sights along the way that you’d recommend? I love natural wonders, water, and kitsch.
Finally, I would love any tips, words of wisdom, etc. from you all… I’m frankly a little terrified and need someone to talk me off the ledge! I’m a city girl, but I grew up in the woods and love nature. I do a lot of hiking year-round in New York, New Jersey, and PA, so I’m not a total greenhorn… but I do not drive very often, although I love to do it and am really looking forward to having an adventure!
Thanks a bunch!