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  1. Default 10,000 Mile Trip

    I will be relocating from Connecticut to Arizona in 9 days. During this time I will be taking a few months off of work to see the country. Over the last few weeks I have been researching and planning my trip.

    I plan to keep off the intestates as much as possible. I will be traveling down the east coast to fayetteville NC. I will spend 4 days with friends there. Then I will travel down to the Florida Keys. Then back to New Orleans. Then up the Mississippi River to Chicago where I will spend a couple of days with friends. Then I will travel to Seattle. I plan on stopping at Yellowstone and Glacier national park on the way. Then off to portland will I will spend some times with friends. Then to San Diego to spend some time with friends.

    I will then travel to Las Vegas and spend some time in death valley. Then I will bounce back and forth from Tucson to Salt Lake City where I have several interviews lined up.

    Anyways..... Any recommendations on things I just have to see, roads I just have to take. Will it be too late in the year for Glacier or yellowstone, I will be there late october.

    I will be driving an '07 Subaru Impreza with 4 wheel drive. I will have $8,000-$10,000 to spend without dipping into reserves. Is my best bet spending a lot of time camping, or can I find some cheap motels in-between the cities.

    What is a reasonable time frame to do this kind of trip? Is 3 months way too much or not enough. When I have taken trips to Florida in the past a few days was more then enough to get where I was going, I find it hard to believe I can spend 3 months on the road.

    Anyone ever do a trip like this alone and in a car before that can give me some tips. I imagine it will be a tad bit stressful without an RV.

    Thanks for the help!

    PS: I love the desert and I want to spend as much time seeing it as possible

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Whole Ball of Wax

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    This is a trip that is literally "all over the map". The time and money you've budgeted are sufficient for a trip of this magnitude, but beyond that it's really hard to comment. For example, you ask whether it will be too late in the year for Yellowstone and/or Glacier National Parks, but you could show up there anytime between September and late November. October is a great time to visit Yellowstone, but much later than that and you risk finding most roads in the park closed, or worse, getting snowbound for a while once you're in there. Similarly, we can't give you recommendations on things to see or roads to take when the entire country is in play. There have been thousands of posts here regarding various attractions and roads. You're asking for a summary of everything that's ever been said here! My best advice is to shuffle through the discussions, use the search function, follow leads, and see what other people have done. You've got a great opportunity here, and with a laid-back, come-what-may attitude you'll do fine.


  3. Default

    Thanks for the reply. I guess I am a little bit nervous having never driven more then Connecticut to Florida before. Some days I think I have plenty of money and time, sometimes I think I will get stuck out in the woods with no gas money.

    Its refreshing to atleast get some input on the trip. I really do plan to take the take my time and see everything that looks interesting. I have no set date I have to be in Arizona and I have no fixed map to drive on. I have been reading these forums for a few weeks and I keep finding new stuff.

    I am just trying to prepare the best I can for a uncharted trip.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default You wanna trade places?

    Quote Originally Posted by wanderlust82 View Post
    I am just trying to prepare the best I can for a uncharted trip.
    I think most of us would gladly be in your shoes. 3 months, a decent budget, and the open road. Wow.....add to that, you have a nice mix of time spent alone to enjoy the road however you choose and balanced against visits with friends. I really don't think boredom should be a concern for you. And if you can drive Connecticut to Florida, you should be fine anywhere.

    I find it hard to imagine that money should be an issue with your budget. Of course, that depends on the way you travel. Fancy hotels and restaurant meals add up. Camping is not only a good way to keep costs down but a lot more fun than staying in a hotel, imho. Setting up camp shouldn't take more than about 10 minutes if you get the right type of tent that's easy-up/easy-down. 5 minutes for tent and 5 for sleeping bags, etc. And then it's time for a stroll around the campground. It's usually pretty easy striking up conversations and this can be a good time to pick people brains about where they've been and what they've seen. It can lead you to a discovery down the road.

    Eating out of your cooler gives you a pleasant break from eating in restaurants and you can also eat healthier that way. Replenish at grocery stores. Deli sections are handy. I take a small campstove/cooking kit that doesn't take much room but it's handy once in awhile for a hot meal. Lunch on the road is the best. I enjoy stopping and making a meal in a pleasant rest stop, scenic overlook, along a beach or river, etc. rather than sitting in a restaurant. And this gives you a chance to stretch your legs, too.

    I wouldn't plan a real set itinerary. You have time to mosey and explore at your own pace. Enjoy that. But it doesn't hurt to have some idea of where you want to go. Get a map and pour over it for ideas. And come back with more specific questions and we'll help you as much as we can.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Unstructured


    Clearly, the theme that is developing in response to your questions is "keep it loose." I couldn't agree more. Besides the cooler, cooking kit and basic camping gear that Judy mentioned, all you need is a good guidebook or two or three that highlight the kinds of places you are interested in (preferably at least one with good pictures), a guidebook to the best scenic routes and a detailed road atlas that identifies the scenic routes as well. With these you'll see the highlights/must-sees as well as some quirky stuff.

    Your preference for staying off Interstates as much as possible will get you into the interesting back roads of America where you can just explore. With that, I'd say forget a GPS system, or keep it turned off most of the time. Using one of them implies that you know where you are going or that you have a set destination. If you don't have hard deadlines, the journey is a big part of the experience - the places you discover when you make a wrong turn or when something catches your eye.

    You'll find that the time passes much too quickly and that you forget more than you remember, so please do take along an inexpensive laptop computer, with a big hard drive and CD writer installed, and a digital camera so you can download, sort and name your images. Also, keeping a daily diary or journal is invaluable for recalling the myriad experiences you'll have. Don't forget to back up all your files every day or so.

    We have had the practice of putting together an album of our favorite shots along with brief travel notes for each of the long trips we've done. Years later we've looked at them as a reference for helping other people plan their trips, and just for our own enjoyment.

    The answer to your question about what not to miss is, as has already been expressed, is just so big that it is hard to answer. Do look around the forums and see all the places that have been mentioned along the favorite routes that have been described. If you see all of those, you'll easily fill up your 3 months and you won't have missed much.

    Have a great time, and don't forget to change your oil,

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years

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