X-post from Planning Summer Road Trip board:
Hi Everyone! I'm a relatively new half marathoner who has a crazy race schedule planned for the next few months requiring travel for most weekends ranging from 8-26 hours of total driving times to the first destination (race on Saturday). I'd then be driving anywhere from 2-10 hours to the second destination to race on Sunday. I've done solo trips from NM>IL>IN>MO>NM basically a solo drive (long story) from NM>IL>WI>IL>NM so far this year as well as several smaller weekend race road trips within the NM/TX/OK region. I've stayed mostly in lower end motels ($40-$70/night), military bases or a relative's house. Typically I break up the longer drives in 8-14 hour increments just depending on how I'm feeling. I'll stop for naps at well maintained/trusted rest areas during the day or travel centers at night. If it's just too much I typically try to stop and stay at a military base (USAF veteran/dependent wife of a retiree) for about $40 a night or at a relatively cheap motel.
With this upcoming trip and a sudden decrease in available funds (I've already paid about $200 in race fees back when I expected to have enough cash for the trip) I am re-thinking my sleeping arrangement. I only need a motel room for creature comforts...bed, TV, microwave, fridge, running water, etc. but I'm beginning to think that I can save some money by sleeping in my Explorer for some of the time. I can basically fall asleep anywhere so as long as I use a memory foam mattress to soften the cargo area/back seat back and have my bedding I should be able to sleep fairly comfortably in my car. Other basic necessities like a decent sized cooler, pre-/home-/easy to prepare foods that could be set up in a "boil-in-the-bag" option over a single burner camp stove would make things even less expensive. I could occasionally stop at a campground or a motel for a good stretch and to get out of the car for a bit and shower at travel centers or at area YMCA's after races.
I've read a few other posts on this forum that discuss similar thinking and I think I've pretty much talked myself into doing this already. I figure that I could save up to $250 in lodging costs for this trip alone by sleeping in the car on the way up to OR (2 nights), for 2 days between races and on the trip back (the trip would be from 7/2-7/10; military base for 1 night @ $40). I'm small enough that I can stretch out fully in the back of the Explorer in less space than a twin size bed (comes from sleeping with up to 5 dogs on a king bed that push me to the outer 12" of the mattress!). I won't be traveling with a K9 on this trip but I will be on the following weekend for a 2 week trip to WY/ID/MT for races during which I'm considering the same scenario.
Other things that have been discussed in other threads are the extra weight that I would need which I think would be pretty minimal...folding chair, small folding table, tarp, rope, window screening to tape up to keep bugs out at night, "curtains" to tape up at night, single burner camp stove, 1 pot, 1 plate/bowl/utensils, battery operated lamp and a 5 gal container of water. All of which would be lighter to carry than to tow even a 13' travel trailer (yes, I have one but we haven't used it in 3 years and it needs new tires and some TLC that I don't have time or money for right now) and thus could save me $120 or more in gas. I'm thinking that the extra weight would almost negligibly affect the 20-21 mpg that I get currently whereas towing the trailer drops me to 15-16 mpg.
So, am I crazy? Well, I won't answer that for now. But I am a late 40's female with a healthy dose of nervousness about doing such a road trip, but not enough that I think it would stop me from at least trying it once. Below is a packing list that I've actually put together for the WY/ID/MT road trip later in July which includes my 45# Aussie Cattle Dog grand pup but since he won't be with me on the OR/WA trip due to a night's stay in military lodging that doesn't allow pets and no where to keep him while I'm running just disregard the dog stuff. He'll be with me for the WY/ID/MT trip for company/protection since I will be camping in the wilderness for 4-5 days trying to acclimate to elevations over 9,500' for a race. Is there anything I might have missed for either trip? Thanks in advance for your input! :)
Projected Packing List:
Race gear is a given!
Twin/Double memory foam mattress to sleep on in cargo area (2/3 seat folded down, I'm short...I fit)
Bedding/Pillows (shared with dog...he sleeps on the bed anyway)
Flip flops (no nasty athlete's foot for me!)
Cooler for 1 person big enough for several days of food storage
5 gal water container
Pre-made/easy to make foods
Leash (30' for exercise/4' for runs or walks)
De-shedding comb for dog to minimize being covered with dog hair!
Small folding table
Laptop with inverter (I do need some kind of entertainment! DVDs, CDs or internet)
Cleaning supplies (actually thinking of using boil in bag type pre-/home-made food to save on clean up)
Bags for trash
Window screen cut to size of windows to prevent bugs getting in at night
Black/dark cloth to block windows at night (I'm thinking 1 large sheet behind the front seats and smaller ones along the back windows)
2" painters tape to secure window screen and "curtains"
Tarp & rope for a small sun/rain shelter (maybe)
BTW, the remaining 1/3 seat would hold the cooler with all other items stored either in the front seat or behind the driver's seat at night. During the day, everything would just be piled in the cargo area or out for use. The grand pup would be sitting up front with me during the drive...harnessed and safety belted in of course.