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  1. Default First Cross-Country Trip- Input Needed

    HI everyone,
    This is my first post on your website and Iím really happy I found it. I have learned a lot form the answers and input you give to other travelers and thought Iíd benefit a lot from your ideas.

    I have been planning a cross country trip since about September of last year and I have come up with what I think is a pretty feasible plan. I am 19 years old and this will be my second >4000 mile trip. My girlfriend and I will be taking my car, Volvo s40 (itís in good shape). Iím planning on starting the trip in Boston where I live and heading south through VA into TN. Then heading west through OK and into NM. Then I plan on going to AZ, UT, CO and visit a lot of the parks in the area. Then west onto CA. From there weíll go north up to WA and from there East to WY and then Home to Boston. The plan is for this trip to take about 37 days. We will be leaving on May 22nd and we have to be home by no later than June 28th. Iíve figured out our budget for the trip and its basically-

    Gas $ = $2,173 = 12,500 miles. My car gets about 23mpg and Iím estimating Gas to cost $4.00/gal so Iím estimating .17 cents a mile.

    Food$ = $1,630 = about $ 45 a day for the both of us. Ė We plan on buying and cooking all of our food during the whole trip and maybe going out to eat two or three times a week to cheap restaurants.

    Lodging = $ 1,097 = Giving us about an average of $30 a night. Since we plan on camping most of the nights (29 nights) and I have found a lot of camping sites for less than $20 a night I think that that is a good average number. The rest of the nigh we plan on getting cheap motels/hotels in the major cities that we are stopping in.

    Misc. = $ 1,078 = this will give us about $ 20 a day each to spend on just random things.

    So the grand total that weíre planning on having is $ 5,978 which is about $ 2,989 per person.

    I think that as long as gas stays where it is now (2.10) then we will save a lot of money on gas and that money can go toward all the extras that we might want.

    This is our rough itinerary with room for adding 2 nights somewhere.

    1 22-May Nashville, TN
    2 23-May Oklahoma City, OK
    3 24-May Alamogordo, NM
    5 26-May Meteor Crater Rd, AZ
    6 27-May Supai, AZ(the town)
    7 28-May Supai, AZ(the town)
    8 29-May South Rim, AZ
    9 30-May North Rim, AZ
    10 31-May Mexican Hat, UT - stay there for 2 nights
    11 2-Jun Natural Bridges Nat. Mon., UT
    12 3-Jun Mesa Verde Nat. Park, CO
    13 4-Jun Estes Park, CO
    14 5-Jun Eagle, CO
    15 6-Jun Arches National Park, UT - stay there for 2 nights
    17 8-Jun Hanksville, UT
    18 9-Jun Fruita-Capital Reef N. P. UT
    19 10-Jun Bryce-Bryce Canyon N.P. UT
    20 11-Jun Zion National Park, UT
    21 12-Jun Las Vegas, NV
    22 13-Jun Yosemite National Park, CA - stay there for 2 nights
    24 15-Jun Golden Gate Bridge VP, CA
    25 16-Jun Myers Flat, CA
    26 17-Jun Crater Lake National Park, OR
    27 18-Jun Mount St Helens, WA
    28 19-Jun Seattle, WA
    29 20-Jun Yellowstone National Park. WY - stay there for 2 nights
    31 22-Jun Grand Teton National Park. WY
    32 23-Jun Devils Tower, WY
    33 24-Jun Pipestone Nat. Monument, MN
    34 25-Jun Toledo, OH
    35 26-Jun HOME

    Thatís our rough itinerary with room for adding 2 nights somewhere.

    I would love to have as much input as possible into every aspect of this trip. It would be very helpful because even though Iíve driven long distances before I have never been on the road for this amount of time.

    Thanks a lot for taking the time to read this, sorry itís so long.

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

    Default that first step

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The only huge red flag I see with your trip is the first day. There just is no way you should be trying to drive 1100 miles to Nashville on one day. That's going to take you 20 hours! Throw in the fact that you're thinking of driving another 700 miles to Oklahoma City the next day, and you're setting yourself up to spend the next 2 weeks of your trip just trying to get caught up on the sleep you didn't get the first 2 days. Adrenaline can give you a little push on that first day or two, but you're going to push yourself right over a cliff at this pace.

    Coming back, I'd strongly recommend adding another day too. Driving back to back 800 mile days from Western Minnesota to Boston just isn't going to be a fun way to end your trip. You're also going to have to fly past the Black Hills and Badlands to get from Devils Tower to Pipestone in a day. I'd throw an extra day in South Dakota, stopping around Chamberland or Mitchell, and then spend 3 days driving home from there (stopping around Chicago and Buffalo).

    Other than those really long drives at the beginning and end of your trip, it looks like you've got things pretty well thought out and should be in good shape for a great trip.

  3. Default

    With the blinding exception of the miles at the beginning and end of your trip, your budget is incredibly conservative. Why not double the amount of time it takes you to get to the west and appreciate some things along the way? I once spent 53 days alone on the road and the entire trip (15k miles) cost me $2500 including car repairs. I camped a lot, but not always. I ate a lot of peanut butter sandwiches, but I made sure to get cuisine from every place I visited. The most I drove in one day was 850 miles and that was from North Dakota to Montana. I started at night and ended at night and it was not fun at all. Try limiting yourself to 500 miles a day and you will be much happier.

    Make sure you get a National Parks pass and do lots of walking. Your leg muscles will be stiff and unused. Bring a frisbee, a musical instrument and things to share with international tourists who will be interested in your trip and where you are from.

  4. Default Supai, AZ - Planning on going - Need Tips

    In May I'm Planning a road trip cross country and one of my stops will be Supai, AZ (Near the Grand Canyon.) I plan on arriving in the area on May 27th. I plan on Hiking out that morning and staying there for 2 nights.

    If anyone has ever gone there or knows something about it that would help please post. Anything at all from what i should expect to see, things i shouldn't miss, and what to watch out for.

    Thanks in advance,
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 03-01-2009 at 01:40 PM. Reason: Merged - Please don't create multiple threads about the same trip

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Accessible ?


    Have you actually contacted the reservation about visiting the area at this time. I have seen mixed reports regarding reopening after last years flood. They are hoping to be operational by the beginning of May but some suggest it might not re open untill summer.

    There is some info and contact details here.

  6. Default

    I've taken major trips before. And a few times I've driven over 1,000 miles in a day twice during it (check out my site). That was in flyover country (AR to MO to KS to OK to TX to NM and MT to ND to SD to NE).

    I still was on the road for a long, long time each day I did that. I know one guy in 24 hours had driven to 21 states (ME, NH, MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, WV, VA, TN, NC, GA, AL, KY, IL, MO, AR, MS) in 26 hours (1,571 miles). But that was a test of endurance and the sole purpose of his trip.

    I would strongly recommend you do not do that, or plan to do that. Once you get into flyover country, it's a lot easier to rack up miles, but unfortunately that's counter-intuitive to your plan of zapping over the east coast to start driving a slower pace out west.

    Other than your first and last part of your trip, you're at a reasonable pace. Give yourself a few more days, and see some of the natural beauty of the east coast.

    Even I-81 through Virginia is quite beautiful. You can head off I-40 to see the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Went there on my honeymoon, and strongly recommend it.


  7. Default Adding another night - while heading west

    Thanks a lot for the input and I agree with you guys that i should spend more time heading out west so that I don't overwhelm myself from the very beginning of the trip.

    I'm looking to add another stop to my trip so that i spend another day longer going out west. What would be a good night stop between Staunton, VA and Nashville, TN?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Evenly Spaced is the Key

    If your plan is to now take three days from Boston to Oklahoma City, you're still going to have to cover around 600 miles a day. You'll really want to space your two stops outas evenly as possible because the only way to make up ground you don't cover on one day is to do it on another, and 600 miles is about the most you should plan on. Period. That would put your stops at Staunton, VA and near Lexington, TN about 75 miles west of Nashville. If you pull up in Nashville, you'd be leaving yourself a nearly 700 mile drive on your third day when you're already going to be tired.


  9. Default West Virginia- where to stop/camp

    I'm planning on stopping for one day/night in the West Virginia area. Does anyone know a good parks/old towns to visit and then any places that would be good for tent camping?

  10. Default Sleeping In My Van? Would it Work?

    Ok so I’m planning a cross country trip this summer that will be about 38 days, 12,500 miles.

    It’s going to be only me and my girlfriend.
    I have two choices for a vehicle a 2000 Volvo S40 (23MPG) with about 95,000 miles on it and a 2002 VW EuroVan (19 MPG) with about 85,000 miles on it.

    If we take my Volvo we will definitely either camp out or get motels every night because there’s just no way we can comfortably sleep in that car, but on the other hand if we take the EuroVan then we’ll be able to easily sleep because the entire back turns into a bed.

    I am considering taking the Van because money is kind of tight and I was thinking whether or not I could find places to leave the car and sleep for free without getting into any kind of trouble. If this was possible I would do this for only about 8-10 day of the trip.

    If anyone has ever done anything like that or has any good ideas about what I should do please write back.

    P.S. - I thought about free campsites (if those exist) and about rest stops but I’m not sure if that’s something that is practical and something I could find throughout the US.
    Thanks for the help
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 04-20-2009 at 05:37 AM. Reason: Merged AGAIN - Stop creating new threads about this trip. Please don't make us ask a third time.

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