A month to explore.. Heading West from Michigan- advice needed!
My partner and I have a month in between the lease on our current apartment expiring and our new one opening.. We were wondering what to do for that month, and decided it would be the perfect oppertunity to stuff our worldly posessions into a storage facility and take to the road for the trip we've so passionately wanted to take.
I will not be working or in classes for that month, but he will have to figure out how to take a month off of work..
Anyways, we need advice on the following things:
1. About how long should it take to drive out from Michigan to California?
2. How would you suggest housing/feeding ourselves on a tight budget?
3. How should he bring up the month haitus to his boss?
4. How do you ensure safety at a campsite?
And any other advice you have to give would be very, very appreciated..
Thank you guys, we're starting completely oblivious to the world of road-trips.
Found time is always cool
Time from Michigan to California: In a 100% mosey mood, it could easily take ten years.... OK -- I know that is not in the cards for this trip -- Unless you are into brutal periods of behind-the-wheel I would allow a minium of four days. If you stretch that to 10 transit days, you will have ample time to explore and rest as you wander through the country.
There are a number of tips for eating/traveling cheaply on this board -- search under budget. Plus there is an over-view to the this subject written to two very knowledgeable posters -- <a href = "http://www.roadtripamerica.com/travelplanning/Cheap-Road-Trips.htm">Bob and Gen<a/>
Month-long hiatus -- I am sure you can find an explanation for that!
Safety at a campsite -- A good dose of common sense will take care of any possible problem. Although there will be two of you -- some of the solo traveler tips are useful to remember. Check out this article written for <a href = "http://www.roadtripamerica.com/rv/Rolling-Solo.htm">solo RVers<a/> and our <a href = "http://www.roadtripamerica.com/tips/solo.htm">Solo traveler<a/> page.
Mostly, get out there and have an adventure!
In big family oriented campgrounds like KOAs or the ones with a big statue of Yogi at the entrance:-), you probably won't have any safety concern, but if you go to BLM land or an unofficial campground, then these tips might be a little useful.
First, don't pick a secluded spot, especially if you are two women, try to stick to civilization. Try to pick a spot near a family, be friendly and if possible, start a conversation. That way, they will be more likely to help you if anything happens. I always try to pick a spot near the restrooms so that way I don't have to walk 2 miles in the dark when I get up in the middle of the night and I also don't have to walk the whole campground to locate them! Make sure you have a charged cell phone, a flashlight, something to whistle real loud and maybe a pepper spray (it might be enough to scare animals or humans away in some cases) with you.
When you're finished with lunch or dinner, make sure all your food and dishes are packed in the car with the doors locked or somewhere you think animals won't be able to break through. If you have your car with you, don't bother putting your stuff up in a tree with a rope, squirrels, like other animals, are really smart too you know!:-) If possible, don't leave too much stuff outside of your tent and car when you go to sleep, even if it has little value, it could attract unwanted attention.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: IF THE CHANCE EXISTS THAT A BEAR COULD BE THE LOCAL "HUNGRY CRITTER" -- NEVER, NEVER LEAVE FOOD IN YOUR CAR.]
But don't worry, usually official campgrounds are very safe and the worse thing that'll probably happen to you is that you'll get some food stolen by a racoon or a squirrel. No big deal!
Have a nice trip!
my advice - don't try to travel so far, and stay off the interstates. get to know small town america!
For those traveling on a budget, food is really not an issue if you remember a few things:
1) Viva la dollar menu! A couple of 99 cent cheeseburgers at McDonalds suffice even the greatest appetite, and since you are spending hours mosly on your duff, you really don't need to eat much anyway.
2) Gas station hot dogs ARE your friend! Contrary to popular beliefs, gas station hot dogs (Circle K, Quick Trip, 7-11, etc.) Are a tasty treat, and usualy cost no more than a buck a dog. And you get FREE Ketchup (Catsup), Mustard, Relish, and anything else they have there! Couple that with a normally $1 to $1.30 20 oz soda or water, and you have a complete meal for under $3!
3) Start off the day with the more expensive/filling. I.E. Have breakfast at Denny's or someplace like it, and then hit the dollar menus and the gas station hot dogs for the rest of the day. This usually causes you to not be hungry for SEVERAL hours. And if you do get hungry, those bags of non-parishables like trail mix, etc. will do for a snack while on the road.
4) That reminds me, make your own trail mix BEFORE you leave. Visit Costco or a local grocery store, buy the largest bags of the following: Planters Coctail Peanuts, Un-Shelled sunflower seeds, Raisins, and M&M's. Mix in bag, shake, serve when you desire! Makes a great snack, its fairly healthy, and doesn't spoil easily.