First off just have to say this site seems brilliant, so nice to see people contributing with such useful info and helping out fellow road trippers!
I'm a Brit, I'm not an obvious outdoors type but after a 3 month road trip in NZ followed by a couple of months in Asia last year I've been hungry for another road trip ever since! Ilove the freedom and the adventure of it all. Thing is I'm not great at research and tend to have a fairly last minute approach to planning. I arrive in Vancouver on the 9th of August, plan to have 10-14 days doign the hoodapus pass tour then heading to seattle picking up a cheap van which I can register at a friends house. I'll either buy an existing conversion or buy a cargo van and make it habitabal (mattress and storage area). I'm thinking of then driving down through the rockies into colorado, pop by the grand canyon then get over to the west coast and drive up stopping by national parks on the way and a couple of the big interesting cities. I'm going to book my return flight around the 25th October from Seattle and my friend there will sell the car for me so I don't need to hang aroudn there at the end.
When in New Zealand I hooked up with an american girl shortly after I got there and we travelled around in a Mazda mpv with a mattress in the back, when she went to Oz I bought the car from her, went to Wellington and stayed with some cool people I met there for a couple of weeks, then me and a new friend picked up a couple of german girls hitch hiking and we travelled with them for another month aruodn the south island. It was an absolute epic way to live, and I'm hoping to do somethign similar in the US. maybe couch surf a bit, try and boondock (not pay to sleep) in forests and national parks and stuff, will stay in the odd motel to charge electricals and have a hot shower. I plan on buying a SatNav as I'm not the best map reader either.
I'm interested in vast wilderness, swimming in lakes, having a few drinks, hiking, kayaking, bit of fishing etc. I can do washing with a bucket, cook on a gas stove outdoors, and the odd meal out.
What I'm looking for is tips on great spots to stop, how easy it is to do "dispersed camping" and whether the official camp sites are any good for what I'm looking for and worth going to? I have healthy potential budget but don't want to break the bank if I can do things on the cheap where possible. Also best places to meet up with other like minded travellers on the road (the road can be a lonely place!) I'm 27, sociable and love nature and general adventuring.
Any help would be most welcome.