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  1. #1

    Default Indefinite Road Trip?

    Hi everyone,

    I'm in the midst of planning for a 'little' road trip my boyfriend and I are heading off for in the fall. I was hoping I could get some tips / suggestions regarding the route I have so far and things to see/do along the way.

    About us; both mid 20s living in NYC. We're both kind of...over the city and are itching to get out of here. Head off into the big wide world. So like most sensible human beings we've decided to quit our jobs, pack up and head off in my luxurious 2002 Toyota Camry, on what Austin is describing as an "indefinite" roadtrip.

    We're both into more outdoorsy things, off the beaten path, weird kitschy suff. I'm sure we'll some touristy things along the way but I think we both want to kind of avoid that.

    I've done a decent amount of short(er) term travelling, I guess. Roadtrip to Maine, trip alone to Arizona (flew in), went to Spain for two weeks, back packing through the UK for 3 weeks, Amsterdam and Germany alone. And then shorter weekend/several day trips based from home, often.
    Austin is a champion of long distance travel - doing big drives from NYC to Buffalo, Chicago to NY etc. And growing up in western NY he's done a fair amount of camping in his day.

    Accommodation wise, we plan to be camping/ staying with friends and couch surfing as much as possible. The occasional hotel here and there. Also hopefully doing some helpx/wwoofing in a few places.

    As previously mentioned we're taking the Camry, which gets decent gas mileage. We're also bringing our bikes, so hopefully when we're in more compact cities we'll be able to ride them - which will also help cut down on gas.

    Here's the route of what I have so far;

    Starting early October

    Leave from Long Island
    Buffalo, NY (staying with family - dropping the rest of our stuff off and doing final tune ups on the car)
    Pittsburgh, PA (staying with friends)
    Columbus, OH
    Chicago, IL (staying with friends and family)
    Milwaukee, WI (probably a day or two day trip while we're in Chicago)
    Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN (think we should find a stop over somewhere in Wisconsin? If so where along the way? Staying with friends in Minneapolis)
    Fargo, ND
    Bismarck, ND
    Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND
    Billings, MT
    Yellowstone National Park, WY (I'm figuring we'll get here sometime the first week in November. Any opinions/suggestions on going there this time of year? I know the weather can be extreme. I'd really love to make it there)
    Missoula, MT
    Spokane, WA (might have some family friends out here)
    Seattle, WA (staying with friends.)

    Once we hit Seattle (mid November) we'll probably try to find seasonal jobs at a retail store or something along those lines for about a month- month and a half, since stores will (hopefully) be hiring. Just to cushion our cash flow.
    With Seattle as our home base we'll also go up to Vancouver, Olympic National Forest/Park, Anacortes, maybe Port Angeles and other surrounding areas.

    While we're in Seattle and Portland we'll use that time to regroup and probably reroute things a bit etc. But here's what I have from there.

    Portland, OR (staying with family and friends for Christmas/New Years)
    Eugene, OR
    Redwood National Forest
    Somewhere between here and San Francisco we have a friend, just have to locate him :]
    Santa Rosa / Napa (maybe)
    San Francisco, CA (staying with a friend)
    Oakland, CA
    Berkley, CA (staying with a friend)

    From here I'm not sure if we should head to Yosemite (as similar problems as Yellowstone arise- weather conditions etc) or go down to Big Sur. Suggestions?

    Death Valley, CA
    Las Vegas, NV
    Grand Canyon
    Albuquerque, NM (suggestions for stop overs between GC and here? - staying with a friend once we arrive)

    And that's about where I'm up to. I'm stuck deciding if we should head North from NM or head East.

    Other destinations we're planning on going to;

    Denver, CO (friends)
    Breckenridge, CO (friends)
    Casper, WY
    The Badlands, SD
    Austin, TX
    Dallas, TX (friends)
    Oklahoma City, OK (friends)
    New Orleans, LA (friends)

    Possibly head North to Colorado, Wyoming, the Badlands back down through Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and then back east?

    Oh, and I think it would be awesome to make it up to Alaska. That portion might have to wait for another time though.

    Anyway, like I said earlier there's no real end date... So there's no time limit on anything we're doing. And the amount of time we spend in certain places depends on how much we enjoy it.

    Also- I have a question about working while on the road. I found the page on RTA that has some job listings etc, but I was wondering if anyone else has worked while on the road or if anyone has any other suggests about possible short term/temp jobs and how to get them? We'll have a decent chunk of change saved but by no means enough to keep us going through the entire trip. Austin is a bike/car mechanic, and I have restaurant/bartending experience.

    I probably have about a billion other questions that will come up, but I think this is it for now. I'll just troll through the rest of the forum and see if I can find answers there.

    Any thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    It's going to be very difficult to get jobs on the road as transients, regardless of your skills. With the way the economy is, virtually every employer will give preference to locals. I would not plan this trip with the certainty of being able to make any money. You would probably have a better bet setting up some sort of internet-based business where it doesn't matter where you are to run it - as long as you can find an Internet connection.

  3. #3


    Hi glc, thanks for the input! If only if either of us were that ingenious to start some sort of business online.

    We're definitely, by no means, planning on making money. Hoping would be the correct word. And even then, it could be just $40 bucks to fill up our gas tank by washing dishes at a diner- or something along those lines.

    There's the helpx and wwoofing programs which provide room and board and usually meals, which is a great help. And probably what we'll end up doing several times throughout our little journey.

    I was just wondering if anyone has been able to pick up odd jobs here and there, sans RV, before? It could even be for prolonged times (several weeks to a couple months). And what they were?

    There's this page;
    And this that gives a few more ideas;
    The workers on wheels link from the working page has some great help want ads, but mostly for RVers. And the Awesome Applicants link is dead it seems.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default The Definitive Sources for such queries

    (I moved your thread to this sub-forum, because extended trips, seem to work better here).

    There are two books you must get.... Both are worth their weight in gold in terms of finding and securing $$ on the road.

    Support Your RV Lifestyle! An Insider's Guide to Working on the Road, by Jaimie Hall

    You Want To Go Where?: How to Get Someone to Pay for the Trip of Your Dreams, by Jeff Blumenfeld


  5. #5


    Thanks, Mark. I'll check them out!

    Does anyone have any opinions on Yellowstone in early November? Yay or nay?

    And is there anything particularly interesting between Pittsburgh and Chicago? I'm thinking about scratching Columbus and maybe going from Pittsburgh to Ann Arbor to Chicago.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    November is too late for Yellowstone. Almost all roads close on November 8 this year.

    If you like amusement parks, there's Cedar Point in Sandusky OH - one of the world's premier parks.

  7. #7


    Yeah... I saw that. I was hoping to make it just before the roads close.
    I think that's just interior roads though, if I'm not mistaken? I read somewhere on the site that the North entrance is open year round as are the Mammoth (Hot Springs) campgrounds.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Correct - but that leaves only a small fraction of the park accessible!

  9. Default

    atinybird... I had to comment because we're gearing up to go on a similar adventure, but in the opposite direction! Our final destination is NYC, where we'll be settling down for a while whenever we get there :) Probably around 4-5 months travelling I'm thinking, but we're not putting a solid time on it either. Right now we live in northern california, and only have a couple destinations picked out where we'll be going for sure. But we don't leave until early next year, so we've got time. I'm very interested to hear how things go for you since you'll be setting out months ahead of us. Am particularly interested in the couchsurfing aspect - if that pans out OK along the way. We've opted to go with a stealth van (normal looking cargo van, converted inside) and park wherever we can blend in along the way to sleep. I like the reliability of that, but the cost of couchsurfing is appealing for sure - much better gas mileage if we took one of our cars instead of a van lol.

    My thoughts on making money: Like you, we're not planning on it, but it would be nice if we could along the way just so as not to dwindle our savings before arriving in the city. I work in the IT industry, and am hoping to pick up odd jobs along the way via craigslist. I'm sure mechanic gigs could be similarly had. Another thought I've had, which may or may not work out worth beans but I like on principal: If we know we're gonna be in a certain area for a while, I'm going to post in the community section or somewhere that I'll hold little computer workshops or something, just at a coffee shop or whatnot. I like to teach and educate people, and I love that I'll have the freedom of finances, time, and mobility to facilitate that. Then people can tip me whatever they felt it was worth, or just not at all even. I figure that will be a good chance to meet people, absorb culture, possibly pick up some small money, and keep my skills sharp as well for when I'm back in the job market.

  10. #10


    Hi Max,

    I'll definitely try to give an update every now and then of the trip! I'm thinking about creating a blog of some sort, I just need to quit being lazy about it.

    I wish we had a van of some sort! Or a station wagon. I think a wagon would probably be the best thing. BUT automobiles cost a lot money and all, sooo... Besides, I think my seats fold down, kind of. Would love to see pictures of the conversion you did on yours though.
    It seems like we know a lot of people in/along our route, which is really really awesome and will help our accommodation budget out a lot. Like I mentioned we'll also be camping when we can, and if need be sleep in the car a night here a night there.
    Couchsurfing... my best friend and I did this while we backpacked in the UK. It worked out pretty well. I think we'll probably do this for places we don't know anyone in that we plan on staying for at least two nights or more.

    If you're a computer guy, I'm sure you'll be able to pick up some freelance work along the way. And that cafe idea sounds good too!

    What places do you guys have picked out so far? When were you planning on leaving? 4-5 months sounds about right. I think what we'll end up doing is traveling for 1-2 months at a time and then settling down in a pre-chosen destination and getting a job (I realize it might be hard to find a job) or doing wwoofing/helpx and I guess basically living there for a bit to see if we like it. Hopefully this will help stretch our trip length out.

    Where in NYC are planning on landing? The city is super expensive...make sure you either have friends you can crash with for a while or a good chunk of change saved up for housing etc. If you have any questions feel free to ask, hopefully I can help out with some.

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