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  1. #1

    Default Moving From Denver, CO to Northern Virginia - Trip Planning Help!

    So I will be travelling alone as I make my way back home. I have shipped all the important heavy things and plan on making everything will fit in the trunk of my car. I will be leaving in 3 weeks and I need some insight on my trip planning. I'm a 26 year old pastry chef and I am really looking forward to taking this trip alone.

    My budget for this trip will be 2k, any emergencies, my family will save my behind. My car has been completely checked out, its a used Hyundai Sonata that has under 80,000 miles on it. Spare tire in the trunk with mini emergency kit and brand new tires.

    I'm a country girl so camping is something I look forward too, I can have a good night sleep anywhere. I haven't camped in years and have no camping equipment. I most likely will eat out of a cooler and filling up as I go. I have literally 60 ice packs and those silver lining things that go in coolersfrom when I would have food delivered. I would like to cook occasionally and my boss has given me a mini generator as a gift.

    I plan on stopping in Indiana to see a friend for a couple of days. I don't plan on driving more than 200 miles a day but would like to visit some interesting places, landmarks and national parks. I don't have a deadline on when I need to reach my destination, but I probably shouldn't push it and make my mom cry. My family hasn't seen me in over 6 years.

    So please throw me any and all advice! Thank you all in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Hi and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    Driving 200 miles per day, by the shortest direct route it will take 8 days. So if you vary your route you will need some more time. But as you say, you have the time and are not pushing it.

    The best advice I can give you is for you to read this paragraph:

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck
    Start with maps. Not GPS, not software, not Google, but real honest-to-god paper maps that show you your entire route, that you can mark up (and erase), that you can stick pins in, and that show something about the land you'll be driving through. Those are your essential tool in any RoadTrip planning process. Start by marking all the places you know you want to visit. Then connect the dots. Then look for more places of interest and scenic routes along the lines connecting the dots. Repeat until you've got as many sites and roads as you think you want.
    If you are a member of AAA you can get free maps there. [In fact, despite all the checks on your car and the new tires, I would highly recommend a AAA membership (or other roadside assistance package). If anything unexpected/untowards happens along the way, you will not want to stop another vehicle for assistance. It is a small price to pay for peace of mind.] Alternatively you could purchase a road atlas such as Rand McNally. Maps are invaluable while planning a trip, and essential when on the road. Don't be tempted to rely solely on your electronics, many have done so at their peril.

    Your car sounds to be well prepared.

    For camping I would get a basic tent and sleeping bag and mat, so you are not tempted to sit up in your car trying to get a good night's sleep. Be aware that in most campgrounds there are limitations on the use of generators. Should you decide to stay in a motel, be sure you always check out the room before you commit. Check that the smoke detector is not disabled and that the door has a lock which cannot be opened from the outside.

    Travel in the comforting knowledge that at any given time, there are more solo females on the road, than solo males. We are not unique.

    Have a safe trip and a great reunion with your family.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Taking It (Very) Easy

    200 miles/day is a very leisurely pace that will indeed allow you "to visit some interesting places, landmarks and national parks." Your budget should just about cover the cost of a trip taking about a week and a half, but you will need to keep an eye on expenses or they could run away from you. You have a few items that will help a great deal in camping, and a simple tent/pad/sleeping bag setup can probably be had for not too much money in second-hand stores, particularly in the Denver area. So what are some of the basics you should keep in mind as you plan?

    First there's the choice of roads. Yours is a case where using the Interstates is actually counter-productive. If you only want to cover a couple of hundred miles a day, that's only about three hours of high speed freeway driving, leaving you an awful lot of time to fill each day. A better use of your time would be to take it easy, use the old 'federal' highway system, enjoy driving slowly through the many small towns and notice how the flavor of them changes as you proceed across the country. US-36 is one prime example and you could actually follow that all the way from Denver to Indiana, and from there to the DC area US-40, the old National Road, is another good through highway. Certainly, you can take other roads off of those or instead of those, but those two will give you a good idea of what you can do.

    As for camping there are several generally low-cost options. The two major ones are each state's state park system (search on 'statename state parks') and the National Forest system. If you are comfortable being 'in the boonies', check out distributed or dispersed camping in the national forests. That is camping away from prepared campsites and can often be free. Out west you might also be able to find camping on BLM lands, but those get pretty sparse as you get farther east.

    There are literally thousands of sites to see as you make your way 'home'. We offer a number of resources to help you find them such as our Map Wizard, sites along the Interstates, and 26 or so attractions in each state.


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