I leave 8/27 for a solo road trip from NE Ohio to Seattle and back again. I go back to work 9/16. I've checked out many of the messages posted on this site and others with tips and suggestions, and I think they're fantastic! As someone who tends to over-plan, I'm looking for words of wisdom about my itinerary.
I know I'm tackling a lot. My goal is Seattle - probably 5 days there. When I looked up flight prices, I figured I could spend just a bit more and see the country in the process on a road trip. Here's the plan:
Ohio Madison, Wisconsin, Madison Chamberlain, South Dakota, Chamberlain Deadwood, South Dakota via Mt Rushmore, Badlands, Deadwood West Yellowstone, Montana via Old Faithful/Yellowstone National Park West Yellowstone Spokane, Washington, Spokane Seattle, Washington. In Seattle: Pike Place Market, Experience Music Project, Space Needle, Pioneer Square Historic District, Cruise to spot whales, Lake Union, Day Trip to Portland, Oregon via Mt St Helen's. Trip home: Seattle Boise, Idaho, Boise Vernal, Utah via Salt Lake City, Vernal Denver, Colorado, Denver Lincoln, Nebraska, Lincoln Chicago, Illinois, Chicago - Ohio.
Possible? Impossible? Potential traffic hazards? Great spots to stop for photos? Tips for hostels? I'll be staying all but 3 nights, probably, in hostels. Special tips for solo travelers? Any input is greatly appreciated.
it definitely sounds feasible---how many days were planning on taking for the trip? u might want to take some food that you bought in bulk from a megastore--like sam's club--ramen noodles etc.--make sure u stay in safe places--try YWCA's so you'll feel comfortable and if you don't want to stay in hostels you could always camp since you'll be out west...
I have stayed in hostels and found them to be quite an experience (and not a bad one). They are fewer and farther between here in the states than other places, but if there is one along your way, personally, I'd give them a shot.
The downside is you don't get much privacy - they are very "communal" by nature. This can be good, or it can be bad, depending on your point of view and your willingness to tolerate "diversity." I'm not talking ethnic diversity, but just differences in PEOPLE. You can meet some who will drive you crazy, but you will also meet some that you'll make friends with for life. I believe the typical hostel is a fairly safe place. There typically aren't any private baths, and you will likely be sharing a sleeping room with others. Just consider it part of the experience!
I'm actually looking forward to the hostel experience. I can't wait to encounter other travelers, and gain some stories to tell. What about security at hostels? I'll have a digital camera and laptop with me. Leave them in the car? Sleep with them under my pillow? Do hostels generally offer lockers of some sort?
Yes, there are usually lockers but you'll need to carry your own padlock (and don't get a really BIG one or it won't fit). Security is usually pretty good as far as it goes -- you often have locked gates to get through, and the doors to the individual sleeping rooms are often kept locked, etc. They're not perfect, but I've always found them acceptable in terms of risk (my experience is somewhat limited, but I've not had a problem.) Bob
Excellent info! Thank you!
I'm planning six days/nights for the drive out and six for the drive back. I'll spend probably 5 days in Washington. The bulk food/cooler idea is fantastic. I will definitely be packing my Cheerios and peanut butter sandwich stuff.
I didn't even think of YWCAs. Great tip! Thanks!
South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana Speed Limits
One really cool thing about your trip, you can really blaze down the road in these states. I am not an advocate of speeding, but I noticed the limits are set at a liberal 75 and 80 miles per hour. (I always have added 5 miles per hour to the max speed, just because I want to :) So, getting from point A to B on your trip is cool! and fast. The last day of our trip, we travelled from Billings MT, to Seattle, in one twelve hour day, as we had already made all the stops we wanted to along this route. This still allowed about 6 or 7 stops along the way for gas, food, leg stretches, snacks, and photo ops....not a bad place to really make up time on the road. Also, if you find yourself in need of a Hostel in Missoula MT, there are several right near the College there. From talking with a few coeds who just stayed there, they said it was clean, safe and fun!
Happy travels! And please email or post some pics, especially when you are in Seattle!
Check back here in September
Thanks everyone who commented and helped me solidify my plans. If you think of it, check back here 8/27 - 9/15. I'll try to post how things are going while I'm traveling!
Madison Farmers' Market
So if I'm reading this right, you'll be staying in Madison Friday night on the way there? If so, be sure to take in the <a href="http://www.madfarmmkt.org/aboutmkt.asp">Madison Farmers' Market</a> (huh, apparently they've changed the name to the "Dane County Farmers' Market" since I lived there) on Capitol Square on Saturday morning. The Farmers' Market is huge--the State Capitol sits on a sqaure two blocks on a side--so the perimeter of the square is nearly a mile--and it's completely filled with stands. Not just produce, either--you can find pastries, snacks, juice, meat, cheese, etc. When I lived in Madison, this was absolutely the best way to have breakfast on a Saturday morning in summer or early fall.