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  1. #1

    Default Connecticut to California July 2013

    Hello everyone!!! My name is Scotty, and me and my best friend Joe are two mid twenty year old men that are planning a move/road trip across America this year! We plan to camp the whole way across, and have no time constraints. We really would like to keep the budget down but have no concerns with it costing a bit of money to do all this. We will not be traveling with much, mainly just clothes, we plan on starting fresh once arriving to California. We will be driving my car a sedan but also pulling a small trailer behind with some small things. We hope to stop at a number of places mainly National Parks. Here is a list of stops we have planned. First would be Badlands and Rushmore, second would be Glacier National Park, then starting our journey south down to Yellowstone, and a few of the National parks in Utah, ending up near Zion National to visit some family. Next would obviously be Grand Canyon, then far south near Tucson to visit some more family. Ultimately ending our journey in San Diego!!! We have a few debates on wether or not we should go down from Yellowstone, or go across to Olympia National and go down the whole west coast. If anyone has experience on which they preferred or enjoyed better. We are big hiking buffs and plan to stay at each park for a day or 2 or 3. We really don't have any concern for time on arriving at our destination. And have at least until September until we absolutely need to arrive. Please throw out any ideas or concerns or questions or anything that you think may help us along the way. Thank you all in advance!!!!! Oh and we would also plan on using Couchsurfing.org as well. But if anyone has a better way we would love to meet with people along the way and experience the way of the locals when we stop

  2. #2

    Default

    If time isn't an issue, you could go from the Badlands - Mount Rushmore area to North Dakota and see Devils Tower, Theodore Roosevelt NP, Knife River Indian Villages and Fort Union Trading post, then head west for Glacier, then work down to Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Heading south from Glacier, you have Grant Knors Ranch, Bighole National Battlefield and Craters of the Moon as options for NP's.

    Heading south from Teton, you've got lots of options - Fossil Butte, Dinosaur, Golden Spike, Arches, Canyonlands, etc. as you work down to Zion, Bryce and Grand Canyon.

    From there, you can loop through AZ that has lots of NP's that are really interesting, then head for CA.

    I'd suggest buying the annual pass for the NP's - it's $80 and covers admission to the parks for a year. Some parks are pricey, like Grand Canyon $25 entrance fee, so it adds up and you do save money.

    Do you have to haul the trailer? It may be cheaper to ship that stuff for gas mileage and convenience with driving. Just a suggestion to consider.

    Air BNB is also a good option to find places to crash when you're not camping. You also will need your camping supplies for camping, like tent, sleeping bags, etc. - they'll all take up room in your car!

  3. #3

    Default

    Yeah, we will be towing a trailer, we have a few necessary items that need to come with us, we really aren't bringing furniture or anything so this is the only thing we will have to transport things. As well as more room in the car for camping supplies.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default pulling problems

    The towing is really a pretty big deal.

    If you go ahead with the towing idea, what are you going to be using for a vehicle? Most sedans are not rated for any significant towing, and pulling a trailer across country, over multiple mountain passes is going to cause significant wear and significantly increase your chance of having a mechanical breakdown. You will also have to be much more careful about where you go, so you don't get caught in a dead end with no place to turn around.

    There's also going to be some major extra costs. Do you already have the trailer, or are you going to have to rent it? At the very least, it is going to dramatically increase your fuel costs. I would also strongly recommend adding in an oil and transmission cooler, to reduce some of the most serious potential damage from towing.

    Saying you "won't be traveling with much, mainly clothes" and then having so much stuff that you need a trailer are two pretty dramatically different things, and I think you need to give that some pretty big thought. What are you bringing that is so big that you need a trailer, and is it stuff that could be better transported by being shipped?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default A Few Comments

    Just very generally, I think you'd be better served by exploring the Inter-Mountain West rather than the Pacific Coast. First, there's a whole lot to see between Glacier National Park and Tucson, not only the famous 'must see' parks such as Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon but many, any others including Arches, Bryce, Zion, Mesa Verde, Canyon de Chelly, Petrified Forest, etc., etc., etc. Secondly, you're going to be living on the Pacific Coast for the foreseeable future giving you ample time to explore it at your leisure.

    I would agree with the other posters that you should travel without the trailer if at all possible. Pulling it is going to seriously affect where you can go, where you can park, your fuel mileage, and even how comfortable you would be going off on hikes and leaving your possessions as a target for anyone with a bolt cutter. As for camping, National Park campsites tend to fill up early, state parks are generally feeling the pinch and being more insistent on collecting their fees, commercial campsites can be expensive since they are set up for RV type campers and offer a significant 'upgrade' in amenities. Two resources that you should check out thoroughly are the National Forests and, particularly in the West, the Bureau of Land Management. These often offer very low cost to free campsites particularly if you take advantage of their distributed camping program (another reason not to be pulling a trailer.)

    AZBuck

  6. #6

    Default

    Well besides the clothes, we need the trailer for a drumset that will need to come with us, we are purchasing a small 5x8 trailer that we are enclosing ourselves, I am pulling with a Nissan Altima, it has a 1000lbs tow rating and we will be far underneath that. It would cost us more to ship the drumset than to purchase a trailer. And with just clothes I don't think there is enough room in the trunk of the car with clothes and camping supplies. If there are any other suggestions I am very open to them.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Spotter View Post
    Well besides the clothes, we need the trailer for a drumset that will need to come with us, we are purchasing a small 5x8 trailer that we are enclosing ourselves, I am pulling with a Nissan Altima, it has a 1000lbs tow rating and we will be far underneath that. It would cost us more to ship the drumset than to purchase a trailer. And with just clothes I don't think there is enough room in the trunk of the car with clothes and camping supplies. If there are any other suggestions I am very open to them.
    I think I can honestly say it'll likely be cheaper (and safer) to ship the drum set. They don't need to all go into one box or container, each could be packed in its own box, well padded and sent either before you leave to a place you know they'll be safe, or scheduled for pick-up to then ship shortly before you anticipate arriving so they arrive to you when you arrive, you'd just need to store the boxes for pick up somewhere you trust and/or find a shipping company that will hold them for you for a fee.

    Add up the cost of the trailer purchase, the cover materials you're planning to use, the boxes the drums will go in, the tarp, and anything else related to the trailer - including the hitch, car maintenance with or without it, etc. and see how much it is === then check shipping companies AND then check if you pack them up and ship them.

    It may be less expensive to ship by crate, a larger one, with the set in it --- but freight isn't as expensive as parcel service from the post office or FedEx or UPS - they have special rates for freight. It's not cheap, but it's not likely as expensive as you might think. My sister did a 40-foot packed full container across the country and it was $2,800 - you don't even come close to needing that big of a container!

  8. #8

    Default

    I think we decided to nix the trailer and just purchase a roof rack storage system for extra space, and ship the drumset after we arrive and settle down. Thanks for the help. Any other ideas and suggestions are definitely appreciated!!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    Getting rid of the trailer is a very good idea, when you look at all the costs, I think that would have cost you a lot more than you were planning. A 5x8 trailer empty would have already been a pretty sizeable chunk of the maximum weight your car is rated for, and not even including things like a hitch, transmission cooler, etc, the trailer itself would have been just one part of your extra costs. The extra gas you'd need for lost mpg alone would likely have cost you $800.

    I will throw out one idea for the drums that often gets overlooked: Sell them! Then use the money from the sale, and the money you would have used for shipping to buy a new drumset in California. It's quite possible you could actually come out with some better gear this way, and its a whole lot easier.

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Spotter View Post
    I think we decided to nix the trailer and just purchase a roof rack storage system for extra space, and ship the drumset after we arrive and settle down. Thanks for the help. Any other ideas and suggestions are definitely appreciated!!!
    I think you'll realize that's not a bad idea - I know we were all a little pushy about it, but towing a trailer across the country AND doing the parks, camping, mountains, etc. - that a long haul for a trailer for drums!

    Anyway - what's your budget? I know you said time isn't an issue, but your next big thing to consider outside of time, is how much do you have to work with for this - that may limit your time and mileage to stay within a budget if money is "an object" rather than not.

    Then do you want to camp the entire trip, or do you want to mix it up with hotels so you have a proper bed and shower with privacy?

    What other things, if any, do you want to do outside the parks? Do you like museums, amusement parks, water parks, night clubs, etc?

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