Thanks for the support Lifey!
I'm gonna try and look at it this way: sleep - 8 hours, drive 8-10 hours, and then whatever else for 6 hours. Hell, maybe sleep 10, drive 10, sight see 4 hours, each day until I reach the coast. If 10 hours of driving doesn't equate to 600 miles I think I have a problem then. I don't plan on stopping in major cities (Portland, Spokane, Billings...) So I don't think I should have issues with traffic in those parts.
Weather wise who knows what I'll get but nothing I can do there.
Hope to have my list of what I'm bringing up by Monday or Tuesday night so you folks can help me figure out if I'm missing anything crucial.
Be careful you do not make that list too ambitious. When I put your trip into Google maps, it came up with 40 hours travel time for the 2400 miles. And that was on interstates all the way to around Eugene. Internet mapping programs are notoriously optomistic in their time calculations, mainly because they do not take meal or bathroom breaks, never need to fill up with fuel and neither do they have a need to slow down for whatever reason. They assume you are travelling at (or above) the speed limit 100% of the time. Which you and I know, is not impossible. It is for that reason we recommend you add 15 - 20% to their estimated time. In your case, that would put you at 44 - 48 hours, or 11 - 12 hours per day.
You may find that you will do it in a little under that time, but I would definitely keep that in mind.
For what it's worth: I always find that if I can cover half my distance before lunch, the rest of the day goes so much smoother. I hope you are a morning person. You will find leaving early makes the distances so much easier to cover. But don't ruin it by then continuing on into the late evening.
Also, be aware that many of the coastal parks are State parks. The NP card will not give you access to them.
Honestly, you don't have enough time to drive all the way to the coast and back and be able to enjoy anything. I'd recommend you either take a shorter trip, get more time off, or fly out there and back and rent a car.
George. I kinda know where you are coming from either way, but I think that you might be thinking this trip is to be done in a week, where in fact it's 10 days with a possible extra day for 'just in case'.
If it's your goal to get to the coast, then go for it !! The journey is as much part of the trip as the destination. At least you have your eyes wide open and know what to expect.in August of this year (probably last week of August) i will be taking a week of vacation from work and driving from my hometown of Sheboygan, WI (on the shores of Lake Michigan FYI if you want an idea of where in Wisconsin) to Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, then to Bandon, Oregon and then back home.
all of this in about 10/11 days!
If you stay in [or near] a city try and find lodgings to the west going out and the east coming home. That way as you make your way in the morning, you will be heading away from the morning rush heading into the City in the morning. Try and locate interesting places to stop at overnight between 550 -600 miles apart where you can unwind for a couple of hours in the evening and take regular breaks from the car. It's a marathon, not a sprint so don't be tempted to to do too much too early when you are feeling fresh, or you could burn yourself out.
The parks pass is excellent value at $80 and if you are planning on visiting others throughout the year, it would make sense. It's usually 4 major NP visitations and then it has 'paid for itself', so to speak. It might not be the best value for this one trip though if you have no need for it in the near future.
I would advise against sleeping in the car, unless it is one where you could gear it up properly to do so. Having spent 10 hours or so in it all day and having the same to look forward to the next day, spending all night in there as well as could leave you uncomfortable and restless. You could probably find a Motel room for $40 so it's not really worth it.
This is probably the most comprehensive hostel site on the internet. Whenever possible I would call the hostel direct, to check if they have a vacancy, rather than the central booking office. Often a day's notice is sufficient.
Just make sure that you keep your valuables in the lockers provided (take a medium sized pad lock with you), and that you keep your cash, in your pouch, under your nightware. Never let it out of your sight. Take it into the bathroom with you.
Another resource you may like to check into is Couchsurfing. I use this frequently. You have a couple of months yet to build up some references, get yourself verified, and establish a comprehensive profile. [Later this month I have four nights accommodation with two different couchsurfers in the same town in PA. The hotel was well over two hundred dollars for that time.] It is a great community, and you can reward your host with something as simple as offering to cook a meal, or do the dishes. A block of chocolates or a bunch of flowers is another way. And if you can pick up some cheap souvenirs from the area where you live, they are always appreciated. I have already packed a dozen keyrings, two dozen pins, a dozen fridge magnets, etc. It doesn't cost much to show your appreciation.
The other thing to look out for is the hotel/motel coupon booklets to be found at rest areas, welcome centres and some truckstops. I have often found motels under $40, using coupons. But whatever you do, on this marathon trip, do not resort to sleeping in your car. It is tantemount to an athlete not eating a proper diet before running the marathon.
thanks for all the info folks, i really appreciate it!
i don't think i could ever do CouchSurfing. bad enough trying to be comfortable in a hotel let alone someone's house. but that may just be me. i would NEVER get any sleep in a stranger's house.
i've been thinking of the idea mentioned of finding "resting spots" every 550-600 miles to stop. hopefully i can plan around some neat towns / cities so i get to spend a few hours walking around (after sleeping of course) before continuing the journey on.
here's a quick run down of what i'm planning on bringing on the trip.
please advise if something is useless / foolish or if i'm forgetting something major...
Hygiene products - (travel size tootpaste, toothbrush cover, mouth wash, floss, deodorant, nail clipper...)
Emergency roadside kit - (LED flares, flashlight, blanket, pillow, batteries, gloves, hat, band-aids, ibuprofen...)
GPS system - (likely buying a TomTom)
2012 Road Atlas and printed maps / directions
Cell phone, cell phone charger (wall and car plug)
camera w/ wall charger and spare battery
ipod, wall charger (my car has the sound package where it charges while playing so i don't need a car charger / adapter)
1 gallon of windshield washer fluid (can't imagine the amount of bugs!)
backpack w/ clothes - summer and winter clothes (who knows how cold it will be in some areas...)
cooler - (snacks, sandwiches, water, drinks, et cetera....)
water canteen - (to keep something cold for a loooong time wil be helpful)
5-gallon gas can(?) - this is the one i'm curious about. on one hand let's say i'm really foolish and run out of gas in the middle of nowhere, it would be incredibly helpful, on the other, not exactly the safest thing to have in the car. thoughts?
swimsuit & towels
solid walking shoes, regular shoes, and sandals
spare key - (kept in wallet)
wet naps, napkins, kleenex
ice scraper - (again, who knows...)
and of course, I.D., up to date insurance card, 1 credit card (for emergencies), debit card, and cash. was thinking of starting off with around $200 in cash and then using an ATM when i hit $25 or less, and have no more than $200 on me at a time. smart or no?
also i am going to inform my bank and credit card companies that i will be traveling so they don't lock my accounts when they see suspicious out-of-state activity!
I certainly wouldn't carry a can of fuel, there really is no need for it, if you just use common sense and top up your gas tank without allowing it to get too low. Topping up is a good time to stretch the limbs, have refreshments/snacks and generally to take a break from driving along the way.
Not only could carrying fuel in the vehicle be a danger in a collision, [god forbid !!] it could make the car and/or other items around it stink. Your more likely to run out of fuel carrying it, just because you know it's there ! lol.
i guess i was thinking in terms of, "if i really suck at planning this out and miss the last gas station for the next 500 miles and only have half a tank, i'm screwed" however, i'm gonna try my best to hit all gas stations before a long stretch of nothing.
i've also decided (to be safe) that i'm gonna fill up every time i hit half a tank. while this will lead to a lot more stops, if i stop to get half a tank, that gives me a few minutes to stretch and wander around a bit. so i figure, half a tank will be, idk, maybe 200 miles give or take (maybe more with a new Fiesta, they seem great on mileage) so if every 200-250 miles i'm out walking around and getting a bit of a breather, i think that will help too.
I certainly agree about the gas can. Let me tell you, I was getting gas for the snow blower a few months ago and a little bit must of spashed out. I still haven't completely got the smell out!
Even empty, if somehow you do run out of fuel, you can usually get or even borrow a can from a gas station. Plus, if you have AAA, they'll also help if you run out of gas.
I probably wouldn't bother bringing the washer fluid. It doesn't hurt, but its bulky, and you can buy it at pretty much every gas station when you run low.
I think your cash plan is reasonable. I so rarely use cash for anything anymore, but its always good to have some with your for when you find a store or restaurant that doesn't accept cards (tip: cash only is often a tell-tale sign of a place that's popular with the locals).