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  1. Default West Coast of USA to East Coast of Canada

    Hi there everyone,
    Been reading with great interest all the great information on this site from the experts through to the newbies like myself.
    My gf and I are planning a rather long road trip roughly as follows:
    Currently living in Jasper, Alberta and will visit the following places along the West Coast of USA before heading across USA and up the East Coast around Canada before finishing in Toronto. Both in our early 20's from New Zealand and dont mind driving, roughing it and really want to see the real America as well as some beautiful scenery. We will obviously have some stops inbetween the places listed as we drive to break up the trip but these are the largest towns/cities we have on our map currently. Most of these will be overnight stops with the exception of the largest cities for a few nights to check out the sites. We want to do less than 6 - 8 hours of driving a day but are prepared for some 10 hour days if required. Both are capable of driving. And already doubting whether 6 hours will be too much even. We have purchased a 1998 Dodge Caravan with a bed in the back, a gas cooker, 12v cooler, and will cook most of our meals if we can. We have approximately 5 weeks from mid-Sept to 22nd October at the latest to arrive in Toronto.
    Budget as follows as I have calculated it:
    Fuel = $1800 (8000 miles x 18mpg @ $4 a gallon using the fuel calculator)
    Food = $1200 total (40 days x $30)
    Accommodation and activities = $1000
    TOTAL = $4000 (hopefully we can spend less)

    Rough list of cities/towns on the list to visit as follows:
    South Lake Tahoe
    Yellowstone National Park
    Rapid City
    Sioux Falls
    New York
    St John
    Quebec City

    I know that is a pretty rough outline and hard to follow but we dont want a concrete plan but we want a rough idea of where we want to go. Not sure if this is even feasible in the timeframe (well I know you could drive a lot and do it easily but we want to take our time). We will be camping/sleeping in the van on the side of the road or in campgrounds. We may want to do a motel every now and then to shower and do some washing etc. Have liked the look of doing truck stops as well instead of the side of the road for safety reasons.

    So I guess what I am looking for from other forum users is how does this look for planning? Am I over planning (I feel like I am)? Is the budget ok? Too high too low? Too many kms to drive per day? Am I missing anything?

    Please feel free to rip apart my plan and advise whats good, whats not etc. Add little tips of where to stop, how to stop safely, what else we can do etc etc. Look forward to hearing from all of you. Ask any questions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Exciting times !

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Wow, that is quite some adventure !

    You can certainly cover the distance in the time you have which equates to 1600 miles a week and somewhere around 4 hours a day. That is as it stands, but as you add side trips those "little" detours will add up to quite a few extra miles, and each day not on the move will have to be added on. That's fine if you don't mind keeping on the move.

    Now the budget, Mmm ? The fuel looks OK, even though you have sided with caution on prices, the extra miles and whether or not you will see 18mpg consistently should balance that out. If you are taking the 18mpg from the handbook you might be better off filling the tank, take note of the mileage, run it down and top it off again. Recalculate the mileage and divide by the number of gallons it took to fill up. If you only see 15mpg in reality, it will add over $300 to your budget.

    Food budget looks tight to me, especially when your "food" budget needs to include toothpaste, deodorants, soaps and washing powder [plus laundry fees] plus drinks and the odd treat that you are gonna want over 5 weeks.

    Accommodation and activities; Well to start with, you can't just set up camp by the side of the road, [In most States you will be breaking the law and could face fines,] unless it states overnight parking permitted. You can use truck stops and "Boondock" from time to time, but in places like Yellowstone the fees will be around $18 a night, expect to pay a lot more if you use resort type facilities around places like New York. As well as truck stops, people have been known to stay over in Walmart parking lots with the managers permission but they don't allow you to set up camp, just get a few hours kip in a quiet corner, but if you could get away with $15 a night average it leaves you with less than $15 a day for activities, for two !!

    Nothing wrong with travelling on a tight budget and trying to stick to it, as long as you have available funds if they should be needed. Your vehicle should be serviced and checked before leaving but that doesn't mean that you will not face unexpected costs on the road, it could be anything from a tyre or brake pads to a water pump or worse. Sorry if that sounds negative but it is something to consider, and would be wise to put some money by as an emergency fund.

    Look around the RTA site, [check the tool bars above] you will find info covering every aspect of road tripping, including budget tips, "Boondocking" and some great route suggestions and if you have other questions arise, just ask.

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