In the summer of 2005 I will be 75 and want to celebrate 3/4ths of a century of living by driving alone across the US from Toronto Canada. I am in reasonable health and enjoy car trips. My wife, who does not like car trips, will fly out and meet me for about a week in some place in the western US such as Santa Fe. I plan to take about 30 days for the trip. I have a new Lexus 330 which I bought specifically for road trips. Any thoughts about such a trip would be welcome.
In a month, you can do a lot of driving.
I looked at a run down the east coast to Key West, then west and south through New Orleans, and San Antonio to Big Bend and upward to Santa Fe, then south to Tombstone and the Chiricahuas, north to Grand Canyon and then to the west coast, north to the Pacific NW, east to the Rockies, south through the mountain states to the south Utah parks and the Four Corners area, then looping up through the Great Plains to the Black Hills, across to Iowa/Illinois, Nashville, the Smokies and home through Washington DC. This was about 15.6 thousand miles, and could be done at normal highway speeds in 32 days, 9 a.m to 6 p.m. You'd be moving all the time. This one would be 16,000 miles and 32 days of just driving, 9-6.
That's just to give an idea, by no means am I suggesting you DO this. Instead, I'd sketch a rough outline of the route to areas and places you'd like to see, maybe identify the corners or extremities of your route, then take off and see where you end up. Things won't go according to plan -- it wouldn't be any fun if they did anyway. If I were you, I'd plan something about 1/2 the size as the trip outlined above, keep it loose and go enjoy yourself. Don't push, just do what you want each day and take it easy. At least for me, these are the BEST kind of road trips (and I've done both kinds). get yourself a copy of MS Streets and Trips and play with it -- it will be worth it's cost just for the ease in planning a route, and tinkering with it to see what it gets you.
I don't even advise you to plan for your wife's arrival -- leave it open, and choose a date/time -- then wherever you are at that point, have her fly to where you're at, and take her back to an airport when she's had her fill. The idea is to minimize the pressures of overplanning -- keep telling yourself you don't need to be anywhere!
You can find plenty of information on RTA about traveling economically, and there are quite a few links to information from people who have done huge trips like this before -- their information will be invaluable so do a little searching on the site. I envy you -- and hope to do the same kind of journey some day! Ask more questions too -- there are lots of posters on the forum that can help. Then, when you get to Phoenix (or just Arizona), give a yell and I'll show you around! Bob