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  1. Default Vehicle Accomodating A Twin Bed

    Hello everyone!

    I'm planning on going on an epic cross-country driving expedition extravaganza sometime in mid 2011! I'm going to be traveling all by myself... it's sort of a personal exploration vacation, I want to see as much of this beautiful country that I can! Unfortunately I'm not by any means rich, so I can't afford a 200 foot winnebago (just kidding).. I'm definitely going to do this rather hardcore, and ideally I'd love to be able to sleep in my vehicle to avoid expensive lodging costs. I basically will be living out of my vehicle for X amount of weeks (maybe months?) and will probably drop in at a motel to shower up, supply up, and do laundry every few days as I need to. I'm sort of in the very beginning of planning my voyage, and right now I'm in search of the best vehicle possible that I can stick a twin bed (or perhaps an airbed) yet still get some decent gas mileage out of it. So far I'm leaning towards the Chevy Astro Cargo Van.. it can easily fit a twin mattress (and a boxspring, which is a plus) and it gets OK gas mileage (16city/20highway). Does anyone know of a more efficient vehicle that would suit my traveling needs? Maybe an SUV/minivan with removable rear seats for my bed would be a good choice, but I don't know which SUVs or minivans have these kinds of options that will allow me to stick a twin bed in the back. Right now there's a 2000 AWD Astro in my area with 65k miles going for $5,998 which seems like it could be perfect! But of course if I can get a vehicle similar in price that has better gas mileage, that would be even better! And definitely I would much prefer something like an SUV over a work van like the Astro simply just for aesthetic/versatility reasons. :)

    :)
    Thanks in advance for any help any of you fine folks can give me,
    Brian

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    Welcome!

    An AWD Astro is a poor choice in my opinion. They were notoriously unreliable and they get awful gas mileage. You will never see 20 mpg in the AWD. I'd research frequency of repair records in something like Consumer Reports to find out which minivans are the most reliable. I don't think a SUV would be suitable.

    Where are you planning on parking this vehicle to sleep in it?

  3. Default

    Thank you for the welcome. :O)

    I'm sort of realizing that the Astro is a relatively poor choice, just based on gas mileage alone. I've been wanting to upgrade my tiny little car to a midsize SUV for the past year, and I'm starting to lean towards trading it in for a Jeep Patriot 4X4. The Patriot gets 28 mpg on the highway, and it appears that it may be able to accomadate a small bed or air mattress in the back with the seats folded down. I don't know.. I know I can easily fit a bed in a large SUV like a Suburban, but price and gas mileage are my main priorities. Like I said, the Patriot gets 28 on the highway (not bad) and I can get a brand new 2011 4-wheel drive with a few bells & whistles for around $21,000, which also isn't too bad. Ideally, I'm looking for a vehicle with the highest gas mileage possible that can allow one person to lay flat out at night.

    And I was just going to park in truck stops and other public parking places, and I'll have my windows tinted... Obviously I'd use common sense and good judgement in determining a good place to sleep overnight, and I'll bring some protection equipment with me as well just in case. Maybe even at public airport parking lots or other similar public parking lots that have surveillance systems in place? I guess I could hop from one airport to the next, LOL. I'm from northern Massachusetts, and I guess I may be a little prude when it comes to these things, but I know enough to not risk pulling over in Detroit or Compton for the night. I'm also a relatively able-bodied, 23 year old male, which doesn't make me "easy prey" for any would-be vandals. Maybe I'll even dress up my car a little bit with some aggressive bumper stickers or car magnets? I'm sure I'll be looked upon as less of a target if I have some skull magnets and National Rifle Association stickers on my car. :P

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Camping ?

    Do you think you will get a "personal exploration journey" with time spent in truck stops etc ? You are also at risk of a knock on the window from the law if you park in an area not designated for overnight stops.
    Spending a lot of money on a road trip vehicle for a few weeks or Months is quite a big investment, so whatever you look at you need to think of it long term for when you return to everyday life, unless you have plans on selling it when you are done ?

    To get a true exploratory trip, have you thought about buying camping equipment and using State and National parks, National forests etc under canvas, or if it's not going to be a 'one off' trip, thought about purchasing a Class 'B' RV.

    This site might give you a couple of ideas, plus this discussion and links herein might throw up some ideas.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    I don't think you'll find an SUV is a very good choice for what you are talking about. While you might have the floor space with the seats folded down to get a mattress in there, its likely going to take up nearly all of your cargo room. You also won't have much vertical space left, so even sitting up on the mattress won't be all that comfortable. Its the kind of thing that might work for a couple days, but not so much in the long term.

    I'd also think about what Dave talked about in terms of exploring America from a truck stop Parking lot. Again, if you're on the road and just need a place to stop for the night to crash, and get back on the road the next day, that's perfectly fine. But what about days where you aren't traveling. Is sitting in your car really going to be how you want to relax for the evening?

  6. Default

    Well, I guess I didn't go too into detail about my "trip." I'm not going to be hopping from truck stop to truck stop the whole time, but I would prefer sleeping in my car for FREE so that I can allot more money towards fuel/food/events instead of staying in a motel/hotel every single night. I don't really have a lot of money available for my trip, but what I do have is time, and a desire to physically see as much of the many great aspects of our country as possible. I'm still in the early development stage of planning my trip, but it will probably look something like this:

    Day 1: truck stop (Ohio)
    Day 2: truck stop (Iowa)
    Day 3: motel/hostel (Colorado)
    Day 4 & 5: National Park campground (Yellowstone)
    Day 6: truck stop (Wyoming)
    Day 7: truck stop (Kansas)
    Day 8: motel/hostel (New Orleans, sporting event)

    etc. etc. etc...

    The above is just an example, it's not my actual route, but maybe that gives you a better idea of what I'm going for? I haven't even began a simple outline for my trip, I'm in the very early planning stages. Right now I'm just "gearing up," thus why I posted this in the "Gear Up" subforum. I currently have basic camping equipment, travel kits, maps, GPS, compass, safety equipment, and an ever changing food list. As of right now, I'll be driving my tiny Kia Spectra on this large road trip, but I would love to have something a little larger so I can spread out a little bit more at night, yet with decent gas mileage. It's safe to say the Astro van is out of the question... I'm actually leaning towards taking my tiny Kia right now because the backseats do fold down far enough to fit a small mattress pad and sleeping bag in the rear quadrant and the trunk. I guess I could swing it in this set up, but I really do need a bit more cargo space, or else I'll have to take too many Wal-Mart pit stops to fill up on supplies.

    RV's are out of the question, as are super large SUVs like Suburbans and other gas-guzzling hogs. Anyone know of a decent midsize SUV???

    Hypothetically, if you were to travel the USA and semi-live out of your car all the while, which affordable mid-size SUV would you prefer?

    Key points listed, descending in priority:
    Affordability
    Reliability
    Gas Mileage
    Cargo Room
    Looks
    Smell
    Taste

    Thanks!
    Last edited by LoneWolf; 12-12-2010 at 05:56 PM.

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    Wow, cool site! That definitely gives me some ideas for sure! I'd love to have a sweet outfitted Windstar like that white one on that site. Hmmm, interesting...... I'll have to check out prices for used Windstars in my area. I know a van would be ideal, but I've been looking at midsize SUVs because I was under the assumption that vans were either out of my price range, or that they were affordable but they have bad gas mileage. I'll have to do some more searches, thanks!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    My stepdaughter is looking real close at the Kia Sorento right now for a family vehicle. Another nice one, although considerably more expensive, is the Hyundai Veracruz. Right now, she has a Dodge Grand Caravan that's on its last legs. I wouldn't recommend a Chrysler minivan - too many issues. She's on her 4th transmission and 2nd engine. Hate to say it, but I think the most reliable minivans would be a Toyota Sienna or Honda Odyssey. They also aren't cheap. Be careful with used Windstars - they have engine and transmission issues too.

    It would be a gas hog, but if I were going to be living out of a vehicle for 4 months, I'd probably get a Ford E-150 cargo van. You can't kill those and they run forever.

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    My stepdaughter is looking real close at the Kia Sorento right now for a family vehicle. Another nice one, although considerably more expensive, is the Hyundai Veracruz. Right now, she has a Dodge Grand Caravan that's on its last legs. I wouldn't recommend a Chrysler minivan - too many issues. She's on her 4th transmission and 2nd engine. Hate to say it, but I think the most reliable minivans would be a Toyota Sienna or Honda Odyssey. They also aren't cheap. Be careful with used Windstars - they have engine and transmission issues too.

    It would be a gas hog, but if I were going to be living out of a vehicle for 4 months, I'd probably get a Ford E-150 cargo van. You can't kill those and they run forever.
    Wow, that Ford cargo van truly is built tough!

    I'm also considering a Sorento as well! I definitely prefer the Sorento over the Sportage due to it's larger size for only a few thousand more. Sounds like a no-brainer for someone like me who prefers larger vehicles anyway. I'm a bit of a Jeep fan, and the Patriot is also a very similar vehicle in that price range also, definitely something to check out. It's a bit of a shame that there aren't as many midsize SUV options anymore. Everyone wants smaller, more efficient vehicles like the new Crossovers, and in order to get a large SUV the price literally doubles. I like the GMC Yukon (21 mpg highway isn't too too bad) but it starts at $38,000 which is 2 times as much as a Patriot or Sorento. I'm still searching though, and I have seen some decent deals on used minivans like Ford Windstars and Toyota Siennas with low mileage.

  10. Default

    Do not overlook a gently used V70 or XC70 AWD Cross Country - I stand by my volvoe, never done the long distance thing in her just 400-500 mile and camping trips but easy to sleep in the back of, not sure about bed size though. Personally I find them to be a perfect trip car.

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