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  1. #1

    Default Planning enormous road trip...packing advice?

    Howdy folks!

    So, my honey and I are planning a rather ambitious road trip in June, and since this is something I've never done before (and certainly not on this scale), I figured I'd hunt around for packing tips, and that hunting led me to this forum. Here's what we're doing:

    My honey's son is graduating from the University of Oregon in Eugene in June, and that is the original reason for the trip out west (we live in the Catskill Mountains of New York). Originally, we thought we'd fly out or take the train out west and then rent a car and travel back east, and I would book myself a few house concerts and other kinds of concerts along the way, which sounded like it'd be a lot of fun. But, one-way car rentals are really expensive, and my honey figured that for a coupla thousand more, we could get a decent enough classic car (which is his thing). We found the right one in the Appleton, WI area, so we adjust our plans to take a train out to Milwaukee, rent a car, pick up the new old car (a '67 Volvo 122 with a newly rebuilt engine), stay with friends of ours (who, coincidentally, live about 15 miles away from where we're getting the car), perform in a concert, and then get on the road to Eugene.

    After spending about 4 days in Eugene, we figured we'd travel down the coast, picking up the 101 into Eureka. Then, we plotted a trip to the Grand Canyon from there, then up to Aspen (for a concert), down to Albuquerque (for a concert), over to Fayetteville (for a concert or two), to Nashville (concert or two), Jonesborough, TN (for a concert), then to Asheville (concert) and then home.

    We figure that all of this traveling around will have us in the car from the 11th of June right to the end of the month.

    So, experienced road-trippers, what should we be thinking about when planning this trip? What should we think about packing? Any words of caution or advice you might have for us?

    I'm one of those folks who packs too much for a weekend! I have no idea how I'll plan for 3 weeks! I will, of course, have my guitar with me, and we want to do all this as economically as we can.

    Thanks for reading my long message (I've never been accused of being to concise!). :-) And, thanks for any ideas or advice you might have!!

    With kindest regards,

    Marji

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Welcome!

    Far be it from me to advise a lady on what/how to pack, but any town large enough to have a hotel should also have a laundromat. Some hotels have guest laundry facilities and/or valet laundry service.

    Looking at this trip on the surface, you may not be allowing enough time to do everything you are asking. For point-to-point travel on Interstate-quality highways, you should not drive more than 600 miles a day, I think you need to map things out in more detail. If you are using software or online mapping programs, you need to add 20% to predicted drive times.

  3. #3

    Default

    Your reply makes perfect sense to me! For the Wisconsin-to-Oregon leg of the trip, I have pretty carefully planned out the travel distances. For the most part, each segment of the trip is closer to 500 miles (the one exception being Fargo, ND to Billings, MT, which is 609 miles). Because we'll be driving an older car that does not have overdrive, we will not attempt to go any faster than a cruising speed of 60 to 65 mph. We are planning it so that we're not driving much more than 8 hours a day (and mostly under 7-1/2 hours), and I'll take 4 and he'll take 4. We also plan to spend two nights at the Grand Canyon so that we can have a day just to sight-see there.

    Do you think that's realistic and accomplishable?

    Thanks very much for your feedback!

    Marji

    P.S. Excellent point about the laundry facilities. I plan to have with us no more than 5 days worth of underwear and we'll do laundry on the road.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    How I pack may not work for everyone, but here goes. First, when planning the trip, I decide how many days between laundromat visits. That helps me decide how many different outfits to pack. I try to play mix-n-match outfits so that a pair of jeans or shorts goes with more than one shirt. Don't forget a swimsuit and a cover-up. For the dressier occasions, I bring one dress or skirt/blouse. For shoes, I try to bring as few as I can by with.

    Whether or not to pack a hair dryer depends on the type of accommodations you are seeking. The really low priced hotels will not have a hair dryer, but the mid-range and above usually will.

    Something I pack every trip are empty zippered bags in gallon, quart and sandwich sizes. The gallon sizes are helpful if your swimsuit isn't dry when you go to leave the motel in the morning.


    Donna

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    How I pack may not work for everyone, but here goes. First, when planning the trip, I decide how many days between laundromat visits. That helps me decide how many different outfits to pack. I try to play mix-n-match outfits so that a pair of jeans or shorts goes with more than one shirt. Don't forget a swimsuit and a cover-up. For the dressier occasions, I bring one dress or skirt/blouse. For shoes, I try to bring as few as I can by with...Something I pack every trip are empty zippered bags in gallon, quart and sandwich sizes. The gallon sizes are helpful if your swimsuit isn't dry when you go to leave the motel in the morning.
    Very helpful, Donna!!! Thank you!!

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

    Default More than eight hours.

    Your 609 mile leg is going to have you on the road very much longer than 8 hours. Probably closer to 11 - 12 hours. Even 500, in a car which you do not intend to take over 65, will probably be closer to 10 hours than it is to 8 hours. If you factor in all the stops you make, i.e. fuel, food, bathroom, construction, traffic, etc., you are looking closer to 50 - 55 mph on average. I rarely take my speed over 65mph, and find that those figures work for me.

    By far the best thing you can do is take out a large map of the US, and lay out this trip on it. Use the maps tab on the green bar above to calculate the detail, and then see just how many days you have to allot to each place. You can then see where you can cut down on distances, if need be.

    I get the feeling that it will not be a leisurely trip.

    Lifey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

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    I've got to tell you that I would be very hesitant to plan such a trip around a nearly 50 year old car that you will be seeing and driving for the first time when you are already on the road. What's your plan B if this car isn't as good as it appears in the advertising? At the very least, I do think you need to build in a fair amount of extra time into your trip, as if something does go wrong, finding parts for a 67 Volvo probably aren't going to be easy, and outside of major cities, it could easily take days for parts to arrive.

    I'd also caution that while 500 miles is a perfectly acceptable distance to cover in a day, if you are only planning to drive 60-65 mph, that's likely going to work out to 10 hours a day on the road once you factor in just small, basic, stops. I really would suggest that's the farthest you should plan to go too, as that 600 mile day is going to be a killer at the kinds of speeds you are talking about.

  8. #8

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    I've found drive times are always longer than expected - gas and bathroom breaks, etc. chew up time you're not cruising along at your speed, so I usually rule-of-thumb, with breaks every 50 miles is an hour. Sometimes I luck out and we cover more miles, but I just plan 50 an hour covered over the day with stops.

    How I pack?

    I don't like laundromats - yup, call me a snob or whatever, so I plan between either places with a washer & dryer in the unit or private home rentals along the way. While I'm loathe to go to a laundromat, if I absolutely can't book myself somewhere with the W/D in unit, I'll do it.

    Space is more limited in a car, but in the minivan I have more room. I tend to take one large suitcase with clothes for me, the kids and DH as he flies in and out of where we are (he has to work and can't take off weeks on end) and one small suitcase for overnights in and out of hotels as we go along our way. Usually the large suitcase (depends totally on season, summer is the best since clothes aren't as bulky) will hold 6-7 outfits for my two year old, 5-6 for my 8 year old, and 5-6 for me. I usually make sure we each have at least 1 pair of pants and one long sleeve shirt, a light weight jackets and enough underwear for 7 days each. My DH usually packs a few things in for himself that I'll wash when he flies out again so he doesn't pack as much, maybe 2-3 outfits, plus what he flies in with.

    I keep a small laundry bag handy to add clothes to that need to be washed as we go, taking clean things out of the large suitcase as needed.....the small one usually hold 2 nights worth of clothes for me and the kids.

    I also have a toiletry case that attaches to the small suitcase so they wheel in together as we're going into wherever we're staying for the night.

    I keep a small cooler in the car for milk and snacks, and stay in hotels with a refrigerator so I can freeze the blue packs again each night and keep the cold stuff cold overnight.

    I like good coffee, so I do take a small keurig and k-cups too and the cooler keeps my half & half cold along with the other stuff. Doing that is way cheaper than buying coffee every day or having to drink coffee I don't really like much with powdery stuff for creamer at some places.

    The big thing I try to avoid is over-packing clothes and shoes. As hard as it is, I've made myself really really look at what I'm packing over the years and minimize it as much as possible. If for some reason I really need something I don't have with me, I can buy it on the road if I have to.......I've only had that happen twice in well over a dozen trips since I started to pay attention to what I pack - I go for mix-and-match type things on road trips, outfits that can serve different purposes if they're just switched out a bit.

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