I'd like to plan a summer trip, either with my girlfriend or with another good friend. I live in Buffalo NY and hope to go to Atlanta, and from there head through Texas and to California. Then I'd like to make it to Portland Oregon, as the farthest point from our start and end destination. From there, I'd like to pass through Colorado on my way back towards Western New York. I plan to drive East and take a detour North to Chicago. From there, I would make my way back to Buffalo. The trip totals at 6800 miles.
I won't be 18 until July 6th, but since my license has the date which I turn 18 listed on it, I should be able to use it as valid ID after that day to book motel rooms or get campsites. Still, I'd like to set out on or before July 1st, so I have enough time to make the trip without worrying about missing details involving college prep (although I do plan on buying all essential college supplies before leaving). Because I'll be spending nearly a week under the age of 18, I'm worried about whether I''' need to bring along parental consent notes to be able to rent motel rooms or campsites. I'm aware that many motels have strict policies that minors aren't allowed to rent rooms, but I don't know if campsites do the same thing. I very much like camping, and I would be open to spending as many nights as possible outdoors in tents. I understand that tent camping will be nearly impossible on the west coast and in the far south.
I would like to visit at least one large music festival along the way, but I don't care to go clubbing or to spend more than a few days total at specific tourist destinations. If I spend 20 days driving throughout the month, at an average speed of 55 mph, I'll need to drive 6 and a half hours a day to keep pace. Depending on the destinations along the way, we could visit landmarks for a few hours during the day, or we could drive to a specific destination from 4pm-10pm the night before and explore our surroundings until 4pm the next day. This way, we'd have equal time in and out of the car during driving days, and up to 10 days to spend at festivals or at specifically awesome cities. My only concern is that fitting in time to go sight-seeing on days when we do drive 6+ hours will be difficult. Many places are only worth seeing in the daylight, and motels/state parks/campsites might not have somebody there to check us in or give us site passes after, say, 9-10 pm.
The car we'd be using is a 2010 Subaru Forester with 55,000 miles on it. We would bring jumper cables and a jack, and we would get it looked at by the mechanic before leaving. My budget will be around $5,000 and if my friend or girlfriend joins me, they'll each be asked to contribute $300 for gas and $1000 for their own food. For breakfasts, I'll bring portable skillets with pancake ingredients and lots of cereal with powdered milk.
Breakdown of spending:
Gas: $1800 max
Food: $1000 ($30/day mostly for lunch and dinner. lunches can be simple and cheap, whereas dinner can be more expensive if needed. Expensive, memorable dinners can be considered part of the souvenir fund)
note: cheap food shouldn't be hard to come by in the city. As Hunter S. Thompson said, Don't judge a taco by it's price.
Let me know if anything sounds less-than-feasible. This planning is all in the first stage, and can be easily altered if the trip sounds too crazy. For any cross-country road-trip experts, should we worry about bringing along extra gas? If we stick to interstate routes, I doubt we'll travel more than 100 miles without a chance to refuel. We'll probably plan on refueling every 50 miles.