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  1. Default Around America, Seattle-DC-Florida-LA-Seattle

    Greetings and salutations,
    I've been lurking on this board for a while now, but this is my first post. This is a great site and simply reading other threads and the wealth of info they offer has been a great help while putting together my upcoming cross country road trip.

    I've been planning for a couple of months now a solo trip in my Ford Focus wagon and I hope to depart this Saturday. To put it simply, I'm leaving Tacoma, WA and zig zagging across the north to Chicago. Then on to D.C. and south to Camp Lejun (Marine base) and further south to Florida to hopefully see Space Shuttle Atlantis launch in early Oct. Then to New Orleans and Dallas and up to Oklahoma City. From there, west to Mesa Verde in Colorado and into Utah and Arizona to Monument Valley, then the Grand Canyon. Then Vegas and LA and up 101 home. Truth be told, it's a little crazier and more specific, but thats the general plan (felxible too).

    I'll be sleeping in the back of my car, which is pretty comfortable and have a camping stove, cooler, and the like. I plan to stop at laundromats to wash my clothes and find camp grounds, public pools, churches, to take showers. And maybe a motel every couple of weeks or so. I've got a national parks pass too, which is pretty cool. Altogether my budget is about $2300 and I've got till late November.

    This is something that I've always wanted to do and I'm pretty excited to finally do it. So if you have any tips or critism, or know any interesting places along the way, I'd be grateful.
    Thanks, Shalom!

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

    Default A couple thoughts

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    I'd have two major concerns about your trip.

    First of all, where are you planning to park your car at night? If you don't get a campsite, you're going to start running into problems of finding a place to set up your camp stove, etc. Its also nice to have a place to walk around and get out of your car, if you are going to be spending both your days and your nights in it.

    I'd also be worried about having enough money. Doing a rough estimate, you'll be looking at $1500 for fuel alone. $800 just isn't very much money to live off of for 2-3 months. If you're gone for just 60 days, that only leaves $13 a day total, which is barely enough money for food, much less anything else. I've also spent more than $800 on repairs on the road after a breakdown, have you thought about what you'd do if you suffer a mechanical failure?

    I congratulate you on your plans to get out on your road, and to have the courage to do a trip like this by yourself, but you've got a couple of issues you'll really need to think about to make sure you have a safe and successful trip.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Can you come pick me up?

    I'm only a bit over an hour away. :) Sure wish I could join you on this epic journey.

    Welcome to the Roadtrip America forums.

    I'm a bit concerned about your budget. You could easily use up half of it with fuel costs and, even if you eat all meals out of your cooler, your food costs will eat up another huge chunk. But, beyond budget issues, I don't see anything wrong with your plans. I would want at least twice what you have.

    Remember that many commercial campgrounds have laundry facilities so you might want to stay in one of them when you need to do laundry. It's more fun to enjoy your campsite and the amenities at the campground (showers, pools, hot tubs, etc.) while you're clothes are washing than to sit in a laundromat.

    If you haven't read it, you might want to read Eating out of your Cooler for food ideas to keep costs down and give you some variety on your trip.

    I think the best advice I can give you is to be flexible. When your money runs half-way through, it's time to head for home. Just take a different route than you took getting there so you see new things on the way home.

    Stop at visitor centers, especially those at statelines, for discount books.

    Enjoy the journey but don't be upset or surprised if you don't make it as far as you had planned. Just enjoy what you are able to do. And, since you have a lot of time but not a lot of money, stay in one place for awhile and explore things nearby. You sure don't have to be on the move every day.

    Hope that helps a bit. Keep asking questions.

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