Hello everyone! I am a 26 year old road tripping enthusiast, and this is my first post here on the site.
I have been planning an epic U.S. road trip for many years now. I have been all around the forum on this website, as well as read books and visited websites of others who have blogged their trips. I just purchased the book Live Your Road Trip Dream and will be reading through it soon. I think Iím fairly versed on what my trip will entail, but I figure itís always good to learn from the experienced travelers on this site.
I am taking the trip by myself because I havenít convinced anybody (my wife included) that a trip this length is feasible and worth it. I have already established a route- approximately 18,500 miles counter-clockwise around America starting at my home in New Jersey. I figure it will take me about 16 weeks, averaging 160 something miles per day (some more, some less). I think I have a comprehensive sights list together, but if anyone has an unusual or unknown place they would like to mention to me, be my guest. I am covering nearly the whole country so donít worry that your suggestion is out of the way!
I own a 20 year old (but still a baby) Jeep Cherokee, and I intend to sleep at least half the nights in the back of it, either on city streets, campgrounds, state or national parks, Walmart parking lots, etc. I figure I may pull into the local police station where I intend to spend a night and ask them for a safe place to park overnight. I have looked into websites where people offer couch sharing and the like, but I donít know how much I could trust that method, so I may stick with the truck. Any input or experiences with this would help me a lot.
The remainder of the nights I will sleep in Super 8ís or with the few friends and family I have around the country. Iím hoping for some input about the sleeping in the truck idea. I am open to perhaps getting a Chevy Astro van to make myself a little more comfortable, but I am accustomed to my Jeep and know it is easy to fix, easy to drive, and relatively safe.
Also, any input about what I would need to pack, and how to pack a Cherokee to fit everything would be appreciated. I have already figured I would remove the front passenger seat and fold the back seat flat to sleep out nicely. The little Cherokee is actually really spacious inside! I have looked into Thermarest camp mattresses- they make a very nice 3Ē thick mattress that would probably work perfectly in the truck.
Another aspect of the trip I am hoping for info about is technologies. I want to document my travels to hopefully write a book later (see Blue Highways or Travels with Charley and various others), and need to bring cameras, videocameras, and a tape recorder. I am not sure if anyone has any advice here, but I need these items to be easy to use but make quality documentation devices. Also, has anyone out there ever used the Trackstick, and is it worth it for documenting a road trip like this? It seems like a fun tool from their website, but I donít want to waste money for nothing.
I have calculated a rough estimate for the tripís budget and got $10,000- $12,000. This included approximately 35 nights in motels, 18,500 miles of gas at approximately 18 miles per gallon in my Jeep, eating perhaps one meal a day at a restaurant (cereal and fruit for breakfast, cold cut sandwiches for lunch, and a nice dinner), anticipated repairs, entrance fees and attraction costs, and all the necessary purchases for the trip (technologies, packing organization supplies, mattress). Is there a standard budget number per day for a trip like this, or at least a number for food, attractions, etc. that I should try to stick to?
Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have completed a few one to two week road trips in the past, but never alone and never with the intention of sleeping in the truck. I want to make sure I am prepared for this before I set out.
Happy travelling everyone!!