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  1. Default Cross Country Road Trip

    Hello Folks,

    I am planning a cross country road trip for 2-4 people that will not take place for another couple of years but I really want it to be well thought out and not be spontaneous. My current itinerary is for two months and about 13,000 miles possibly 15,000.

    So far the trip is as follows, We will start in Seattle, WA (hometown) and head to Portland, OR from there into the Redwood Natl' forest in CA and down to Yosemite, then AZ for the Grand Canyon, Colorado is on the maybe list, into Oklahoma to see family, Texas also to see family, LA for New Orleans and the Mississippi river, Arkansas, Graceland in Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia,Washington DC, Gettysburg in PA, Boston MA, NY, NH, VT and ME. From Maine I want to head up into Canada to see Prince Edward Island, Montreal, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Niagara falls outside northern New York, around the Northern end of the great lakes down into North Dakota, then South Dakota for the badlands and blackhills, and then through Montana and back to Seattle.

    Basically it is a huge circle that covers a lot of ground which I want because there is so much that I am dying to see. The plan is to bring a couple of tents and camp along the way but stay in a motel as we see fit and to eat mostly from grocery shopping, a cooler and a grill but I do understand that we will want to eat out. The car is a 2004 Subaru Forester so it is pretty spacious and our budget is 1500-2000 a person and the travelers will be 21-25 years old.

    My questions are is the budget appropriate for this kind of trip? (8000 for 4 people) Is two months a decent time frame? Do you think that fitting four people in a forester is realistic? Am I overlooking anything? Do you have any advice if you do think the trip is possible and are there any sites that we should include in the trip that aren't already included?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default too low

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    I think your costs will probably exceed $8000. Just doing very rough estimates, You'll be looking at $3000 in fuel alone, assuming gas is "only" $5 per gallon in a couple of years. Assuming an average of $40 per night for camping with the occational motel room, and just $10 per day per person for food (which is a really low number and doesn't leave any money for eating out), you will have already maxed out your budget before you have even spent a dime on upkeep for your car, admission fees, or anything else.

    I think you'll need a little more money, but otherwise, your trip looks to be ok. You'll have enough time, and I have fit 4 people plus camping gear into a Forrester relatively comfortably, although its a bit of a tight fit.

    What I would say, especially since this trip seems to be in the very early stages, is what you are planning to do is fairly overwhelming. Often people have very grand ideas of what they want to see and do, so they throw in the whole kitchen sink, and when they discover they can't do it all, they don't do anything.

    You might be better off starting smaller, say taking a trip just down the Oregon and California coast or out to Montana. That will help you get a better grip on your costs, how well you fit into your car, and most importantly, it will make sure that everyone is really ready to take a 2 month long odessey.

  3. Default Changes

    Do you think cutting out Canada or possibly making the trip a month instead of two would help alleviate some of the extra costs for food and motels/camping and that the US part would still be doable??? I have already driven to california a few times so I don't really want to make a short trip again and would like to see as much as possible.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default choices

    Certainly cutting down the time you spend on the road will cut your costs down, and cutting out Canada might save you a few miles (although I don't think it would be that significant) but with any of those choices you'll also be reducing the number of things you can see. At a month, you can do a lap around the US, but you'll also be increasing the amount of time you spend in a car relative to the amount of time you can spend doing other things.

    I'll also say that driving to California is quite a bit different than taking a major roadtrip with your friends, and most importantly on a trip like this, you need to remember that the trip is about more than what you as an individual want. By going on a shorter test run trip you'll have a much better idea of what you as a group need and don't need and what you as a group like and dislike. It certainly won't be the same as a major trip, but it would get your feet wet before you trying jumping head first into the deep end.

  5. Default Best weather for the trip

    When would be the best time to take a cross country road trip? I want to avoid summer because I am from the west coast and don't want the extreme summer heat or all the tourist activity. I would like to go during the fall so I can see New Hampshire, Maine, etc in the fall but I am worried about rain and it being really snowy through mountains making it difficult to drive??? What do you think???

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default A good time

    September and October are good times to head to New England. There usually isn't much snow (if any), and the humidity has taken its leave and left us with crisp and refreshing cooler air. There will still be tourist activity as the leaf peepers make their rounds.

    While it is true that the weather is unpredictable more than a few days out, I doubt you will run into anything that would be a real showstopper (though I have seen significant snow in July in the Rocky Mountains - for July, I consider significant snow as that which can be measured at all). Generally the only significant snow in New England at this time of year is in the highest of elevations - such as the top of Mount Washington.

    I'm hoping to not have a very rainy fall. Most of the summer was quite wet around here (which should make for an interesting foliage display...which has already started to take shape). About three years ago we had a very rainy fall season and there were a few homes that ended up in rivers.

  7. Default Ambitious Cross Country Trip

    Hello Again!!!

    I have posted here once before and am back for more answers to my many questions. Last time I mentioned a cross country road trip essentially around the border of the USA and I now have done even more research and planning and want to know if I am on the right (and realistic) track towards making this dream a reality. My game plan is to head out early September 2009 for a one and half month road trip. I am buying a new car in April so I will be taking a 2008 or 2009 Honda Fit for the journey. The trip will just be my boyfriend and myself and my hope was that we could keep our budget to $2500 a person or less. The car gets about 35 mpg and through tedious hours on mapquest I have discovered my route to be 11,025 miles and I am rounding that up to 12,000 miles for budgetings sake. We are both hikers with a very nice tent and sleeping bags so we are definitely planning on camping when we can. Eating out is going to happen but we are also aiming to eat most meals from a cooler and grocery stores utilizing the premade hot food sections that tend to be cheaper than going out.

    I have read numerous forums on what is necessary for roadtripping and am planning on getting passports, a national park pass, AAA, first aid, car safety kit, cooler, lanterns, an inverter for "wall power", GPS, swiss army knife, sleeping pads, pillows, camping cooking stuff, flashlights etc. I have also taken in to consideration that we will need 3 oil changes and possibly other auto repairs but hopefully not too many.

    The route is as follows:
    Day 1 : leave Seattle, drive through Portland and stay night in Seaside, OR
    Day 2: Drive from Seaside, OR to crescent City, CA to see the Redwoods, camp near Redwoods.
    Day 3: Head towards Yosemite, stop to camp along CA coast
    Day 4: Explore Yosemite
    Day 5: Drive to Vegas spend night in Vegas (first hotel/motel)
    Day 6: Drive to Grand Canyon and then head towards Arches NP
    Day 7: Arrive in Arches, camp out nearby
    Day 8: Drive to Boulder, CO spend the night
    Day 9: Drive through Denver to Wichita, KS (second motel)
    Day 10: Drive from Wichita to Kingfisher, OK stay with friends for 3 days
    Day 13: Drive to Austin, TX stay two days so boyfriend can get tattoo =-) (third motel)
    Day 14: Drive to New Orleans (long day) (fourth motel)
    Day 15: Drive along the Mississippi to Greenville, MS camp along river
    Day 16: Drive to Memphis (see Graceland and Loraine Motel) Continue to Nashville (fifth motel)
    Day 17: Head towards Shenandoah Valley (another long day)
    Day 18: Spend day at Shenandoah Valley
    Day 19: Drive to DC (see monuments, white house, holocaust museum) head up to Gettysburg, PA see war memorial
    Day 20: Drive to Philadelphia (Cheesesteak YUM) (sixth hotel)
    Day 21: Leave early for NY spend half day in NY (Ellis Island, Times Square,Statue of Liberty) and head to Martha's Vineyard
    Day 22: Spend day at Martha's Vineyard
    Day 23: Drive through Boston up to Montpelier VT
    Day 24: Drive to Bangor, ME
    Day 25: Cross border into Canada and drive up to Prince Edward Island
    Day 26: Spend day in PEI
    Day 27: Head towards Quebec (seventh hotel)
    Day 28: Spend day in Quebec
    Day 29: Drive towards Niagara Falls
    Day 30: Arrive Niagara Falls and then head towards Detroit, MI (eighth Hotel)
    Day 31: Drive through Chicago to Wisconsin Dells
    Day 32: Spend day in Dells
    Day 33: Head towards Rapid City, SD
    Day 34: Continue through Rapid City to the Badlands/Blackhills
    Day 35: Spend day in Badlands
    Day 36: Drive to Yellowstone, WY
    Day 37: Arrive Yellowstone
    Day 38: Spend day at Yellowstone:
    Day 39: Drive through Butte, MT towards Seattle
    Day 40: Arrive home to Seattle!!!

    Sorry for the long post but I really want to know if I am forgetting something or being naive or just any advice really...THANK YOU
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 11-26-2008 at 08:06 AM. Reason: Please Stop Creating New Threads to Ask More Questions About This Trip

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Micro-Managing

    A couple things stand out.

    First of all, there actually is a level where you can over-plan. In those cases, you can become more focused on staying on schedule, and checking things off a list than enjoying your trip. When I see a schedule that breaking things down so far as to say which specific nights you'll stay in a motel, I think you are at that point.

    You've also got several situations where I think you may simply want more time than you've given yourself. Trying to drive from Vegas to the Grand Canyon, and then continue onto Arches would make for a very long day on the road, where you wouldn't get much time at GC. It looks like you've got several days like that, where you could do it, but you'll be plowing through more than enjoying yourself.

    I will also say that if your point to point distances are 11,000 miles, I would probably use a 14-15000 mile figure for a total trip estimate. 12,000 will almost certainly be too low.

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