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  1. #1

    Default Best time of year to see each part of the country

    Hi everybody!

    Starting around June 2011, I'm planning to take six to eight months and road trip around the continent. The goal is to visit all 49 continental US states and all 10 Canadian provinces, plus a couple of territories (Yukon and DC). Along the way, I'd like to do some backpacking (most likely in Denali NP, Yellowstone NP, Banff NP, and maybe somewhere on the East Coast). I'm also -- and this is the eccentric part -- planning to play hockey in every state and province. The wonders of modern refrigeration make that possible year-round, but as for the outdoor parts of the trip, I wonder:

    What is the best time of year to visit each region of the country? My current plan is to start in Minnesota, head to Alaska through the provinces, then down the Pacific coast, then northeast to Wyoming, then east to Newfoundland, then down the Atlantic coast, then up through the Midwest back to Minnesota. I'm wondering if there's a better order in which to visit these places, constrained by my desires to hike in Alaska and avoid the worst of the heat/humidity in the Deep South.

    Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default With the exception of Alaska...

    Roadtripping is just about perfect anywhere in North America in October -- that would be too late for Alaska though!
    Starting around June 2011, I'm planning to take six to eight months and road trip around the continent. The goal is to visit all 49 continental US states and all 10 Canadian provinces, plus a couple of territories (Yukon and DC). Along the way, I'd like to do some backpacking (most likely in Denali NP, Yellowstone NP, Banff NP, and maybe somewhere on the East Coast). I'm also -- and this is the eccentric part -- planning to play hockey in every state and province. The wonders of modern refrigeration make that possible year-round,
    I doubt it will really be possible to visit all 49 states and 10 provinces in 6-8 months -- especially if you want to much hiking and exploring. I'm curious what kind of budget have you established for this serious adventure?

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    Roadtripping is just about perfect anywhere in North America in October -- that would be too late for Alaska though!
    Ah, if only October were about six times longer!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    I doubt it will really be possible to visit all 49 states and 10 provinces in 6-8 months -- especially if you want to much hiking and exploring. I'm curious what kind of budget have you established for this serious adventure?
    Yeah, that time limit affords only a few days in each location. I see this trip as more of a "sampler" -- a preview of future trips.

    The budget, assuming a six-month length, is around $30,000. That assumes 25,000 miles driven, about half the nights spent at friends' homes (I'm 28, so couch surfing is still cool), about a month of camping/backpacking, and the remainder at relatively inexpensive (<$100/night) rural motels. Plus food. Plus a big chunk for "???". (The actual budget has more detail, but this gives a general picture.)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    That's a pretty substantial budget. Even if you drive a gas hog, I can't see you burning much more than 5 grand in fuel. That still gives you well over $100 a day for lodging, food, and incidentals. If you stay at places like Motel 6, you would probably only average 50 bucks a night when you do use a hotel.

    Make sure you buy a national parks pass - it's $80 and will pay for itself after visiting just a few parks. It only covers admission - you still have to pay for camping fees, etc.

  5. #5

    Default

    sounds like a really fun road trip! Have you done this sort of thing before? With that budget and time frame is sounds doable but I am no pro tho. I would start in the warmer months up north and work my way down south in the cooler months.

  6. #6

    Default

    I've done shorter road trips in the past, but this will be by far the longest.

    Yeah, I think that spending the summer in the North and the late autumn in the South will be the ticket. I'm a bit uncertain about the best time to begin my trip. I'd really like to be in Alaska around the solstice, but I'm wary of encountering too much snow for backpacking in the mountains if I'm there that early in the season.

    Maybe a better way to frame the question is, are there any times of year to avoid particular regions of the country?

  7. #7

    Default

    For what it's worth, I just got back from a 6-week US road trip covering 35 states. The Pacific Coast Highway was lovely in mid-to-late July (San Luis Obispo, Big Sur, Carmel, Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Sonoma, & Humboldt Redwoods State Park), and Yellowstone was awesome during the first week of August. It was bison mating season when we were there, so we saw tons of bison out and about, pairing up, close enough to the car or where we hiked to get some really great photographs. The temperatures were warm during the day and cold at night.

    We made the mistake of not checking schedules of major events before heading out on our trip. So we ended up hitting Durango, Colorado in mid-July when they were having a Music in the Mountains festival and no hotel rooms were available. Then we got to Monterey, CA a couple weeks later when they were having a Moto-GP racing event (no hotels), and we ended up having to delay our arrival in San Francisco to avoid their marathon (late July -- insanely expensive hotel prices and not much availability). And we ended the trip by delaying our arrival in Chicago by a couple of days to avoid Lollapalooza. So learn from our mistakes and either plan accommodations in advance or check local events calendars.

    Another tip, which you may already know about -- if you are interested in camping, make plans far in advance. The campsites at national and state parks fill up fast, and so do private campgrounds. We had more trouble than we expected finding campsites on the fly during our trip. For camping with extra not-so-rough amenities, consider signing up for the KOA rewards program. You get discounts on each stay (about $35/night for a tent site), which will quickly pay for the price of joining if you're camping more than a couple of times. The KOA in West Yellowstone, MT is great -- laundry, nice clean showers, a cook-out style grill serving breakfast and dinner, a pool, free WiFi, etc.

    Anyway, I hope this is at least a little bit helpful. Have a great time -- our trip was amazing (the longest I've done to date) and I'm still going through withdrawal now that it's over!

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