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  1. #1

    Default First Big Road Trip!

    Hey all,

    We are planning a road trip from about mid June to early August all across the country. We are likely going to start in San Francisco but potentially in San Diego. We need to be in Raleigh, NC, from July 4-7 (so arriving the third). How long do you think we need to make it there? Ideally we'd like to stop in places along the Southwest, then head north to Denver, Kansas City, St. Louis, Nashville, etc. We'd then spend the rest of July on our way back to SF, hitting Virginia, D.C., New York, maybe Boston, Chicago, and if possible, the Pacific Northwest. We calculated this on the map and the ideal route is just under 8000 miles, not including any out of the way sights.

    Note - we aren't looking to sightsee in California much, we both grew up here and have seen plenty of the parks and sights within a day's drive.

    Any other tips are welcome! We've budgeted a couple thousand for gas, food, lodging, but also plan on camping and couch surfing with friends in these cities.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Budget ?

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    It would be possible to drive to Raleigh in 6 days without much sight seeing so it comes down to what it is you want to visit. With 6 weeks you could look at splitting the trip out and back into two halves less time you are staying in the east for.

    That brings me to your budget, $2000 for a 6 week roadtrip including food gas and lodging just isn't realistic unuless I am missing something ? Your fuel bill alone could be over $1200 and if you only spent half your time in $50 Motels, it's gonna be over a $1000.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    As Dave mentioned, you're looking at 6-7 days just to cover the miles from California to North Carolina. If you're starting in mid-june, it sounds like you'll have about 2 weeks to make the drive? That should certainly work, but the big factors are what places do you want to see in the southwest, and how long do you want to spend in both those places and the other cities you mentioned. How flexible are you with the start date of your trip?

    I'm also in agreement with Dave that it sounds like you may be significantly underestimating the costs of a trip this size. In fact, Dave's $1200 estimate for fuel seems pretty optimistic to me, I'd say it is far more likely that you spend a minimum of $1500 just on gasoline. You said this trip is a "we," so we'll assume there are 2 people, and that being the case, even on a pretty tight budget, you'll likely spend another $1000 on food, so you're well over "a couple thousand" and you haven't even accounted for lodging or any other expenses.

  4. #4

    Default

    6 weeks...

    Gas = $1,750
    Oil-Lube-Filter x2 = $80
    2 people food x42 days @$50/day = $2,100
    Half time hotels, 21 nights @$75 = $1,575
    Admissions ~$500

    Call it $6,000

    I'm not sure if a 'couple of thousand' is $2,000, or more than that, but for a six week trip, if it were me, I'd bank on $1,000 a week for gas, food, lodging, admissions and any other miscellaneous. Can it be done for less? Absolutely! But you need to know where you're going to have to spend no matter what (gas) versus where you can cut by being smart (food, lodging).

    So far as route - I'd save Denver for the way back since it's easier to get to Denver after Chicago, than it is to go from SD or SF. I'd also save STL for the way back too for the same reason - your route out should be the cities you can reasonable stop in without straying too far north, so Nashville from your list - otherwise you're going up and down the map.

    Too see things along the way, I'd give it a minimum 10 days, if not 14 to get from the west coast to NC, then your trip back you'll have a month to get back via the north route from Boston, which you can make your way up to from NC first.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    With today's engines and today's oil, it's not necessary to change oil every 3k, especially if you are on a trip. 3k is old school. With that type of service, today's cars with oil life monitors are only going to trip after about 10k. I never get oil changes on the road, I get them at home at a shop I trust.

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    With today's engines and today's oil, it's not necessary to change oil every 3k, especially if you are on a trip. 3k is old school. With that type of service, today's cars with oil life monitors are only going to trip after about 10k. I never get oil changes on the road, I get them at home at a shop I trust.
    True - I just don't assume people have a new car and/or one with a higher mileage change schedule.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    It will depend a lot on your vehicle. On our last 2 trips, both of them over 5000 miles round trip, we changed the oil when we got to family's home in Missouri. We used a place that my bro-in-law recommended, both times. Also, when we went up the AK Hwy, we had the oil changed in Fairbanks. I believe we used one of those quick oil change places recommended by the management of an RV park.

    If it's a diesel, especially an older one, changing the oil on time is imperative.


    Donna

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