Iím seeking some input and advice on a trip I am planning for late May into June (May 20 Ė June 27 right now). Iím capping it at 40 days.
Iíll be picking up the rental car in eastern PA, then setting out in a counter-clockwise direction. I know that people advise, especially for late spring/early summer, going in a clockwise direction, but the places I want to visit are mainly in the Midwest, northern Plains and west, so I suppose Iíll just have to be prepared for cold nights and closed roads the further west (and north) I go.
My budget maximum is $5000. So far, Iíve figured $1200 for car rental (including corporate discount), $1000 for fuel, and then Iíve estimated about $2000 in lodging, food, occasional laundry, emergency fund, etc. ($50/day). Iíll be camping about half the time, and staying in motels and with friends or family other nights.
I am a woman and will be doing this alone, save for a few days in Utah when a friend will join me. Iím thrilled about the adventure, and have done my research, but any advice from experienced solo female travelers would be greatly appreciated!
Here is my itinerary so far. Last time I checked, I was at about 7700 miles.
Philadelphia to Cleveland, 1 night
Cleveland to Nappanee, IN, 1 night
Nappanee to Chicago, 1 night
Chicago to Prairie du Chien, WI, 1 night
Prairie du Chien to Minneapolis, 1 night
Minneapolis to Pipestone NP, 1 night
Pipestone to Sioux Falls OR Fort Pierre, SD 1-2 nights (havenít decided yet)
Fort Pierre to Badlands NP, 1 night
Badlands NP to Hot Springs, SD, 2 nights
Hot Springs to Chadron, or Alliance, NE, 1-2 nights
Chadron to Cheyenne, WY, 1 night
Cheyenne to Lander, WY, 1 night
Lander to Jackson, WY, 2 nights
Jackson to Yellowstone, 3 nights
YNP to Bozeman, MT, 1 night
Bozeman to Missoula, MT, 3 nights (doing some work-related research here)
Missoula to Craters of the Moon NP, ID, 1 night
Idaho to SLC, 1 night
SLC to Bonnevile Salt Flats, 1 night (undecided about this detouróyay or nay?)
SLC to Helper, UT, 1 night
Helper to Zion NP, 2 nights
Zion to Canyonlands/Arches, 2 nights
Canyonlands to Grand Junction, CO, 1 night
Grand Junction to Monarch Pass, CO, 1 night
MP to Lamar, CO or Dodge City, KS, 1-2 nights
Didge City to Tallgrass Preserve, KS, 1 night
Tallgrass to St. Louis, MO, 1 night
STL to Nashville, TN 1 night
Nashville to Smoky Mtn NP, 1 night
Smoky Mtn NP to Roanoke, 1 night
Roanoke to PA
The goal is two-lane highways most of the time, interstates when I have longer hauls (such as Kansas to St. Louis, and Roanoke to PA).
So what do you think? Does it seem like a reasonable amount of time and pace? Have I overlooked any major budget or route considerations?
Iíve been poring over this forum for the past few weeks, and itís been enormously helpful to read your advice and suggestions for peopleís trips. Iím looking forward to hearing from you about mine!