I'd first like to thank this site for all of the tips and advice that it offers!
My friend and I are planning a trip from Annapolis, MD to Portland, OR down the West coast and then back to Maryland; we're picking up a friend in Portland so the second half of our trip will be three people in the car.
Our basic plan so far is to go first to Chicago, then Lincoln, NE, Yellowstone in WY, MT. Rushmore, to Portland. Then we hope to go down the coast hitting the Redwood forest, SF, LA, some wine country, Death Valley, possibly go down to Tijuana, then make our way over to the Grand Canyon. After the Canyon we are visiting a friend in Boulder, CO then heading home (we have hopes to go south to New Orleans on our way back but that may be too much).
We are planning on mostly camping in National Forests and National Parks, or staying with friends. We've looked into hostels in Chicago and are willing to occasionally splurge on a motel. All of us have been camping together before and the idea is that (1) we will save money by camping and (2) being in the parks/forests should be a great way to see the country!
We are leaving MD at the end of August and are planning on spending all of September doing this trip. As recent unemployed college grads we have the time flexibility to lengthen the trip into October- that depends on how much money we'll have left.
So my questions are these:
Firstly, is a month simply not enough time? We're aware that by only spending a couple of nights in places like Yellowstone, Grand Canyon etc. that it'll be a bit rushed. We're just hoping to get a real feel for these amazing places!
Would it be worth the investment to get a national park pass?
Is a budget of roughly $1,200-1,500 per person reasonable? (We'll be mostly eating from grocery stores out of a cooler and with our camping stove)
Also, any general thoughts as to 'must see' places would be really appreciated! Any tips and insight would be great!