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  1. Default Raleigh NC to Grand Canyon AZ... Suggestions

    Hey Everyone,
    Just graduated from College and need a break from Raleigh. Love the city to death, but my buddy and I are looking for some adventure. This will be my first time out west and we have about 16 days to do it in. Our plan was to just take I-40 all the way and stop at some national parks along the way to camp. Since this is my first real road trip any suggestions on food, expenses, sights, and really any information would be great! Budget is small (new graduates with no jobs) so we won't be living the luxury life on the trip. Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Square One - Plan

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    To be honest, I never really know what to do with requests for 'everything there is to know about RoadTrips' such as this. There is simply too much to cover, and too many possibilities for stops along any route to give precise advice in the face of so general and all encompassing a question. So herewith some basic pointers on what you need to know and do at a minimum.

    Plan on no more than about 550 miles a day. Less if you plan to actually stop at sites along the way.

    Plan ahead. At least know what's available to you along a route. Get a good atlas and look at your route in detail. Search the web - just start with {statename tourist attraction} and follow the links.

    Plan on taking a day off every so often. This is particularly important when traveling in a group. You WILL get tired of each other after a few days.

    Plan realistically for expenses. Don't assume that you can live on peanut butter sandwiches or get by with sleeping in the car. My own rule of thumb is $100/day when traveling alone, and an extra $50/day for each additional person sharing lodging. You can get by on a little less, but not a lot less. That does NOT include gas money, which depends on miles and mileage. Setting out with too little money and/or no reserve is the surest way to have a trip end in disaster.

    Plan - in case you haven't gotten the point by now. Make a plan. It doesn't have to be specific or detailed but until you have a plan that you can present to your friends and us for comment, all you have is a pipe dream.

    There are a ton of resources on this website addressing each of the points listed above. Poke around a bit and find some of those. It will be a good exercise in planning and learning to make the best use of what you have available.

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    You really need to figure out how much money you have for this trip. Your biggest expense will probably be gas. You are looking at 2,400 miles to just get from Raleigh, NC to Grand Canyon taking I-40...and then you have to get home and if you take a different route you're looking at probably a total of 4,800 or so miles.

    What kind of gas mileage does the vehicle you are taking get? Camping can run from say $10 to $30 or even higher if you stay at a private campground. There aren't to many national parks along I-40 route, but there are plenty of state parks.

    With 16 days, you still have to eat. You can do a lot of meals from a cooler. Do you have camping equipment? Tent, sleeping bags, camp stove, lantern?

  4. #4

    Default

    we did the trip on Interstate 40 in 2007, we stopped Elk City, Okalahoma and went in the Route 66 museum which was very interesting, it re-creates the hey day of the historic route.
    Just out side Amarillo,Tx is the Cadillac Ranch,where there is 10 Cadillac are buried nose down in a field. also there is Palo Doro Canyon , this is something you don't want to miss, its a state park and is Texas's grand canyon,it's beautiful you drive 16 miles down into the canyon.
    Then on over Santa Rosa, New Mexico there is a Restaurant "Comic II" that has the most wonderful mexican food, very reasonable. In Santa Fe there is lots to see that is free.
    The St Joseph Staircase in the Loretto Chapel in very interesting. Then You Can Stand on the Corner in Winslow, Az. these are some of the things we enjoyed, just google some of places
    you will find some wonderful places that are free or almost free. Hope you enjoy your trip as much as we did, God made us a beautiful World see as much as you can.

  5. Default thanks for the info!

    Thanks for the responses!
    We will be driving a Jeep Cherokee which doesn't get the best gas mileage, but it only has 150,000 miles on it. As for equipment, we have great camping gear, so I imagine we will try to camp as much as possible. We have a friend who is a member of some state park organization that allows you to get free entrance into the park, and you just pay for the camping fee. He has been nice enough to lend us his card. We were also looking into couchsurfing. I didn't know if either of you knew anyone who did that? We have one friend who swears by it, but still a little skeptical. Also, how important is packing lite for these sort of travels, even when you have a car to store stuff? One piece of equipment I shouldn't leave home without...besides a map?
    I just finished reading Jon Krakauer's "Into the Wild" as Well as Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" which spawned my idea of travel. Although Christopher McCandless ate just rice and survived (for a while), we were planning on doing a little more than that, but not too much more. Cooking rice and beans will be our main source of food at campsites just because of how cheap it is, but I imagine there will be some unique roadside diners involved as well. Do either of you have a favorite stop that you absolutely love that seems to be close to I-40? Sorry for being fairly general on a lot of this stuff, but like I said, I love all information from people who have done this before! Thanks

  6. Default

    We will be driving a Jeep Cherokee which doesn't get the best gas mileage,
    Don't know what year it is, but looking at the MPG of Jeep Cherokee's it's between 14 and 21 MPG. To be on the safe side, let's use 15 MPG. So if you drive 4,800 miles at 15 MPG, you will need 320 gallons of gas. Gas is down right now, but who knows what it can get back up to. We can use $3.50 as a low gas cost average and $4.00 as the high. So you will need between $1,120 and $1,280 just in gas money. Is this do able?

    We have a friend who is a member of some state park organization that allows you to get free entrance into the park, and you just pay for the camping fee. He has been nice enough to lend us his card.
    If you are talking about the Annual National Park Pass, then it won't work unless your friend is with you. The National Parks are cutting down on this kind of practice and now requiring you to show your drivers license to prove your name is the same as on the name you put on the pass.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Has it changed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Utahtea View Post
    The National Parks are cutting down on this kind of practice and now requiring you to show your drivers license to prove your name is the same as on the name you put on the pass.
    The last time I got a Parks Pass, it had the facility for two signatures. On querying this, I was told that it could be used by another, without me being in the car. I then passed it onto my family. Has this changed?

    And yes, I have often been asked to show my licence.

    Lifey

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    The last time I got a Parks Pass, it had the facility for two signatures. On querying this, I was told that it could be used by another, without me being in the car. I then passed it onto my family. Has this changed?

    And yes, I have often been asked to show my licence.

    Lifey
    Just a few years ago it use to be only family members could use a signed Park Pass when we inquired, but that didn't work all the time either. We let our son have ours and he had to end up buying his own.

    The National Park Pass website now says that two people can own a park pass and they don't have to be related. I guess as long as the two signature lines aren't already used, then they would be able to use it.

    Utahtea

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default But Then...

    That means that the person 'borrowing' someone else's Parks Pass will be required to sign it either before or at the time of his first use of the card. Thus the owner of the card, who has paid for it, can never again 'lend' the card to anyone else - both signature lines will have been used. Since the card is 'only' good for a year, this might not be a big deal. But the borrower has a certain obligation to point out to the lender that in the eyes of the NPS, he is not a borrower of the card, but its co-owner, and that the original owner of the card has used up his entire ability to 'lend' out his card with this one act.

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