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  1. Default Graduation Road Trip From So Cal to WA to CO to NV

    Hey guys I'm planning a High School Graduation road trip with a few friends and were planning to go from our home of Southern California, up to Washington, over to Colorado and possibly Mt.Rushmore, then back through Utah, Nevada, and Arizona for the Grand Canyon. We are going to be driving and then camping most of the way, hopefully some camping in the "bush" on blm land.

    If you have any suggestions on places to see along the way, places to stay, anything really would be much appreciated.

    Additional information because I derped.
    3 weeks to 1 month

    around 7 people as of now, may change in the future

    well, I had already planned a trip to Alaska, but upon further evaluation we decided on this trip, so I would say around $500 per person, so about $3500 total budget roughly

    I have a 2000 Mercedes W202 C230 Kompressor, 80k miles, runs beautifully, 0 issues, only issue is it requires 91 octane, and I get around 25 avg mpg
    other car would either be a 98 Jeep Grand Cherokee, or an older f150

    And 6/7 people will be 18, the 1 will be 17 and she will have a written consent letter from her parents.

    Hope this helps
    Last edited by BlackViper; 03-03-2015 at 09:30 PM. Reason: added info

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
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    13,064

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    How much time do you have for this trip, how many people are going, and what kind of budget are you looking at? What do you have for transportation? Will everyone be at least 18?

    Really, at this point, you've basically listed every state in the Western US, and options are pretty much endless. Certainly, there are a lot more national parks and other great natural wonders to explore, but we need a bit more of an idea of what you are looking to get out of this trip before we can provide much more in the way of specific help.

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Updated the OP, thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    Default BLM campgrounds do exist, but hard to find.

    You need to be aware that most hotels/motels and campgrounds will not allow a 17 year old to stay without an adult family member being in the party. A written consent from parents might help in case of any medical consultation, or such, but will not help you with accommodation.

    Camping on BLM land is a possibility, but whereas there are areas where you will find clusters of these campgrounds, they are few and far between. Very hard to find, unless you visit all the local BLM offices where the staff can direct you to them. I have never found many of them on the internet. They are not all free either. Standard charge is around $15 for two people, with an extra charge per person. With seven or eight people, even in other campgrounds, you will likely be asked to pay for two spots. Most have a maximum per camping spot. That maximum varies from campground to campground. And of course, hotel/motel room are generally restricted to four people.

    BTW, when you add more information it is common courtesy to add another post. Editing an old post after it has been responded to, is regarded as rude. Anyone now coming to this thread will wonder why Michael asked those questions. Looks a bit silly really.

    Lifey

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    First thing I'd do is to take your estimated mileage, add 25%, know your car's average fuel mileage, and then go to the Fuel Cost Calculator on this site. Estimate $3.75/gallon for 91 octane. That will give you the price of your fuel alone. Whether you have 7 people crammed into your vehicle (I hope not, as you'll also have luggage and camping equipment!) or two, fuel costs will be the same. Those will double if you have to take two cars.

    Lifey is also correct about the 17-year-old in motels alone. My daughter traveled with a young man about 8 years ago, they took separate rooms, and she was "carded" by the motel they stopped at. She was well over 18, but she didn't look it.

    You may as well budget a lot higher for camping, and don't forget to budget for food. Even if you camp and cook out, food is going to cost you in terms of money AND storage space in your vehicle.


    Donna

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default a few things to think about

    There are a few things with your plan that frequently can become big problems on a trip like this.

    First is the size of your group. Seven people is a really big number for a trip like this. 7 people means 7 different ideas of places to go, 7 different travel styles, 7 different ideas of what you should eat for dinner! Ultimately, with a group this size, getting everyone on the same page is probably the single most difficult part of it. That challenge is only made larger when you try to do a trip that is this big - 3-4 weeks really is a long time on the road, and there are a lot of people who discover they don't even like being gone that long and will be itching to get back in their own bed after the first week or two. You've also got 7 schedules to think about, and the odds of all of you having 3-4 weeks free at the same time, in the weeks between the end of HS and the start of college.

    That might be a reason to think about a shorter trip - keeping in mind you don't have to do "everything" to have a fantastic time.

    With 7 people you have the downside of extra costs, as you'll need to double up on nearly everything. You'll need 2 cars, 2 campsites, twice as much gas etc. Which gets into your budget. $500 each is not a lot of money for a 3-4 week trip. Things often cost more than you expect. It's not to say it can't be done, but you'll probably use more gas than you expect, campsites and camping supplies aren't as cheap as you might think (especially if you're relying on "free" camping), and food can quickly get expensive, especially if you start eating out at restaurants.

    I'd also say a generic "consent letter" really doesn't solve many problems for the 17 year old. A note from mom isn't going to be enough for a motel to change it's policies for unrelated minors, for example.

    That's not to say you can't have a great trip, but a lot of times people in your situation try to plan a huge "see everything" trip, and then reality starts to set in, and the plan falls apart. If you aim a bit smaller, it might be more manageable, and in a lot of ways, more fun.

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    I'd also say a generic "consent letter" really doesn't solve many problems for the 17 year old. A note from mom isn't going to be enough for a motel to change it's policies for unrelated minors, for example.
    Then what might you suggest?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    There is nothing to suggest - the 17 year old is not going to get in to a hotel or motel without a parent or legal adult guardian. Sorry about that. The rest of you are also going to find some hotels with a 21 policy.

    There will also be a serious issue with the 17 year old if she, God forbid, needs emergency medical care.

    You and your/her parents need to discuss these issues with an attorney.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackViper View Post
    Then what might you suggest?
    Wait until you are all 18.

    Lifey

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