I just joined the forum with the hopes of getting some help and advice for my trek to the Pacific Northwest, from New Orleans.
I am originally from Vermont, and lived in Chicago for 6 years. After living there for so long, I finally made the decision to leave all that I knew and find something else. I went to my family home for a few months, and from there I drove to Austin, worked at a music festival for a while, and then went to New Orleans, as I know some people here. In mid-August, I'll be embarking upon a trip to the Northwest.
You can see my exact (almost) route by clicking here, on Google Maps. Ignore the white dots.
You will see that I am taking almost all secondary roads. That's intentional. For those who did not click the link for whatever reason, I will be going through Austin again, into NM to see and stay in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, and then I am staying with a group of musicians who built a house in Medanales. From there, I'll be going through the national parks in NM, parts of UT and certainly much of Northern AZ. I'll then go down through Las Vegas, up Rt 395 in CA, which leads me in-between Death Valley National Park and Inyo and Sequoia National Parks. That road will then lead me up to Mono Lake, then turn to Rt 120, and go through Yosemite. At that point it becomes much more developed and I have a few people to stay with on the coast. From there I just will be camping until I get to Portland, OR.
I will be sleeping in my car for some nights, doing CouchSurfing some other nights, and camping in parks on other nights. Does anyone have any suggestions regarding good and free/cheap campgrounds, safe or unsafe towns I should be aware of ? I am curious to find how some of these small census-designated towns will take to a friendly traveller who may or may not find an empty parking lot to park and sleep in for the night.
I am also wondering if anyone has any thoughts on camping. Should I be very concerned with bears ? This is not a backpacking trip (that will come later, once I get settled), so I'll be staying mostly on the periphery of the campgrounds/park. What about spiders ? If I am in a tent and keep everything zipped up tight, should I worry about spiders or snakes wandering in ?
I am also wondering about roads during the early period in October. Should I worry about snowstorms at that time ?
I think that's all. I know it's a lot. I have travelled a lot on my own, but rarely with a car, and never in such climates as these.
Please respond with any thoughts. It would be so much appreciated !!!