Hi there. I am planning a road trip, and you guys seem to be the experts, so I'm coming for advice.
On June 1, 2010 I am going to leave Saint Paul, MN and not return until September 1 (unless something goes horribly wrong). Some vitals about myself and my existing plans:
* I am a 21-year-old male.
* I drive a 1986 Volvo 240DL station wagon in good condition.
* I am doing this drive solo.
* I am planning on having about $5000-6000 saved up for this trip by summer start.
* I am not taking a computer, nor will I be using the Internet along the way.
* I have GPS on my phone. I'm going to focus on using maps, but will have the GPS if I get lost, need to find a gas station or something, or have to get to a specific address.
Lodging: With maybe some exceptions, I'm not going to be staying in a hotel or a motel anywhere along the way. Thanks to my college drawing kids from all over the country, I know people in a lot of states who I can hopefully crash with. Barring that, I am planning on either sleeping in my car or doing some couchsurfing. I've slept in my car before and it's plenty comfortable, so I'm not worried about that; I also skimmed through some old threads here about sleeping in cars, but if anyone has their own suggestions or advice please offer it up!
Food: I'm going to buy a campstove (any suggestions on brand?) and eat mostly things that I can cook by boiling. I'm going to avoid perishables, and drink only water along the way. I have no dietary restrictions but I'll probably go dairy-free except when stopping to eat. Any recommendations for high-protein, high-calorie, and/or high-fiber foods that are cheap and easy to cook/store? I'm planning on lots of rice, beans, jerky, and noodles, but I'm not a very creative chef.
Route: I don't have a definite route, and probably will never make one. My general outline is as follows:
Saint Paul to Omaha
to Salt Lake City
to Vancouver BC
down the west coast to LA
to Las Cruces
to Marfa, TX
along the Gulf Coast
(maybe to Miami, if I have time)
up the eastern seaboard to NYC/Boston
to Saint Paul
I think I'll probably log somewhere between 10,000-12,000 miles. My car averages around 19mpg right now (which is mostly city driving, so I'm sure it'd be better on the highway), so I'm expecting gas to cost no more than about $1800-2300. Currently I eat on about $100-150/mo, and I'm hoping to keep under $200/mo for this trip.
I guess largely what I'm posting to ask is: what am I missing? What necessities that I need to buy that I might overlook? Any cost-cutting tips? Any must-see attractions along the way? My only real destination is getting back to Saint Paul by the end of summer, so I'm more than willing to go somewhere not in my initial itinerary if it seems worth it.