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  1. Default The time to live is now! A boy, his dogs, and a transcontinental trip from GA to AK.

    Hello everyone!

    A few months ago I decided to take on one of the biggest challenges of my life thus far, a cross country trip from GA to AK with my two pups. Nature is the name of the game.

    Since I am a very dedicated engineering student, and Air Force ROTC cadet, trying to get prepared during the semester was a monstrous task. I am finally to the point to where I think I have all of the gear and food covered, except finishing my Rav4/camper conversion, and I can focus on routes. You say you haven't even picked a route?! Not exactly, and that's the mentality of this trip, take the adventure as it comes. Also, I was waiting to hear about meeting with a friend in New Mexico, but just decided today to scratch that idea.

    I'm on no one's time but my own and I don't want to set any crazy obligations in fear it'll hurt my experience. In my day to day I over plan, over achieve, and spend way too many hours at school. It's time to relax and enjoy my favorite things in the world, nature and adventure. That being said, I do have my first real destination: Westcliffe, Colorado. At this location I will be spending at a few days volunteering at a wolf conservation called Mission: Wolf.

    Now comes decision time, which route to take to CO: I-40, I-70, or I-24? Drive through Arkansas or Oklahoma, or Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas?

    I plan on it taking at least two days, probably three, of driving, not including stops. I intend to take my time, to absorb the scenery as well as conserve the gas. Since my Rav4 will be equipped for us to sleep in, I am fine with setting up "camp" anywhere, but prefer actual camping. Since fund conservation is very important at this phase, cheap/free camping is the name of the game. I will not pay $20 a night to camp anywhere, that's ridiculous.

    Since this is my first major road trip, and I haven't ever been in any of these states, I am looking for route suggestions. Camp/nature suggestions are welcome as well. Anything city related I am not interested in.

    If you want more info about my trip, planning, etc., I am making a blog since it's the most efficient way to keep friends and such filled in.

    Bring on the knowledge!
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-12-2013 at 10:57 PM. Reason: removed address to personal blog

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Welcome!

    I will not pay $20 a night to camp anywhere, that's ridiculous.
    Unfortunately, you are probably going to have to in the US. Free legal campsites accessible with a vehicle are few and far between. You will generally only find these as "dispersed" camping on BLM/NFS lands, and you have to pack in and out with a tent.

    You can generally park overnight in a truck stop with permission and sleep in the vehicle, but you can't "set up camp".

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default A couple of helpful publications.

    There is absolutely no need to decide on your route beforehand. Why not go with the wind. Just be sure you are fully aware of all the options open to you.

    The first thing you will need to do is purchase a copy of The Milepost. It is the bible of all who travel the roads to the north. It will not take the adventure out of your trip, but it will give you the information as to the routes available to you and the availabilty of fuel and supplies as well as 'touristy' and nature information.

    As already mentioned, the closest you will get to 'free' camping is parking at a truck stop. The Truck Stop Directory, or Trucker's Friend has a complete list of all truck stops which make RVs and all those sleeping in a vehicle, welcome. It is a good idea to let them know that you will be staying overnight. Their security is top notch and likes to know. Be courteous, not just of others around you, but of those who give you this opportunity. Fill your tank, eat in the restaurant, pay a shower or in some otherway reward them with your business.

    Do not be tempted to pull into rest areas to stay overnight. It is never safe, and almost always illegal. It can ruin your adventure in a heart beat.

    In Canada you will come across a few spots where you can free camp, though once again, they are few and far between and never marked. Truck stops are even fewer. And the cost of campgrounds for the most part exceeds that of the US.

    The detail to this information and much more you will find in the two publications already mentioned. I would consider them to be absolute essentials for your trip. I did a similar trip last year, it may give you some ideas.

    Lifey

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Unfortunately, you are probably going to have to in the US. Free legal campsites accessible with a vehicle are few and far between. You will generally only find these as "dispersed" camping on BLM/NFS lands, and you have to pack in and out with a tent.

    You can generally park overnight in a truck stop with permission and sleep in the vehicle, but you can't "set up camp".
    I know this is a possibility, but I am going to try my hardest to avoid it. Since my Rav4 will be setup as a sleeper, then as long as we find appropriate locations we can easily sleep in it. I am definitely not opposed to hiking in to camp, and will have all my hiking and camping gear, but won't if the objective is just sleep. It's too inefficient.

    Lifey,

    I have a Milepost, just have to read it more after I finish my SUV/sleeper conversion.

    Thanks for the info on sourcing truck stop sources. That definitely cut back my research time. I will be compiling lists state-by-state (province-by-province) of all possible campsites, truck stops, hikes, etc. I used to work at adjacent to a truck stop, so I am familiar to their practices, and will definitely act accordingly.

    I will be looking through your thread soon also.

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