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Old 02-07-2007, 07:17 AM   #1
 
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Default The Ultimate Road Trip

So with a newfound taste for adventure in my mouth, I've contemplated my next venture. Backpacking South America and living in Australia have both come to mind, but I believe my next shall be one every American here has thought of for a while: the Ultimate Road Trip.

With my mind all over the world, I've forgotten about how many experiences are too be had right here in my own country. How many things I've yet to see here. Hell, I've seen almost none of the typical American things like the Grand Canyon or Yosemite.

I didn't see a specific thread for this kind of thing, so here I go. I'm talking, let's say, 2 month roadtrip here, done in roughly the same way a lot of backpackers travel: rough outline of what you want to see, no set schedule or time, lots of adventure and surprises along the way. Do most of America, head up into Canada a bit, hopefully even get to Alaska. If I can, start with going to Burning Man. Anyone here done the Ultimate
Road Trip?



My first problem lays in the companion. I enjoy backpacking alone, but a roadtrip doesn't seem like the kind of experience I would want to tackle by myself, though I know a lot of people do. Other than the fact that the road trip seems catered for 2, other roadblocks (pun intended) such as not having a car factor in.

Requirements for a travel-buddy:
-Has the money
-Has the time
-Has a car that won't die too soon
-Has the right frame of mind (aka - is willing)
-We're able to stand each other for that long


VEHICLE
There's also the car to think about. I have none myself, so I'll be leeching off another. The other option is to rent a car. Not an option for me, it seems. If you're under 25, most places won't even rent to you, but ones that will (Dollar, Enterprise) charge a fairly hefty fee. The other hitch is mileage. Unlimited mileage is often available for free in the state, but once outside of it, 20cent/mile. Pass.

One interesting way is a 'drive-away'. Companies that setup drivers for cars that need moving far, far away. Companies that are relocating and need their company cars brought over. People with multiple cars who are moving. As long as you're over 23, have no criminal record and a valid license, you can get a free car. There are certain stipulations, such as how far you can drive a day and if you can drive at night, but hey, it's free.
Just not the best for a road trip.

So, I just need to make some cool friends with cars and money.



PREPERATION
Cost of preperation shouldn't be too bad.
-Camping stove
-cooler
-Car tuneup
-A few mp3 player accessories, such as car charger and FM transmitter (broadcasts the music on an FM channel to be received on any radio).
-Battery jump-pack (already have one, but they run about $40)
-Few jugs of water (for overheating)

Should be under $100.


The expenses on the road shouldn't be too bad between 2 people.

GAS
Let's say we go 20,000 miles. We'll estimate 35mpg on the highway. Overshoot the gas price a bit at $3/gal. That's still only about $850 per person.

ACCOMODATION
I'm big into Couchsurfing and plan to use Couchsurfing.com to get around. It has plenty of people all around the US and Canada and I have nothing but good references. Shouldn't be too hard but if it is, I have no problem sleeping in the car here
and there. $0

FOOD STUFFS
I believe there's an old adage about being able to eat on $5/day. I definitely believe I can do that as I really don't mind eating the same, cheap things over and over again. And
truly, I cannot get sick of peanut butter. I say, big cooler and a camping stove (with the various accessories). And let's double to account for a regular diner meal here and there. So 60 days would be $600.

BOOZE
Well, we'll just make sure to bring plenty of disposal cash. Really, how often do you spend less than what you set for alcohol?

THE UNFORSEEN AND POSSIBLE NICHES
The breakdown is, of course, the biggest setback. Luckily, I have a credit card with a limit far higher than I deserve that could handle that, but I'd say set aside maybe $500 each if that's not an option.

Another problem I would have is insurance. Haven't had it for a while, and though I do drive without it, probably not the best idea do be going A LOT of driving in someone else’s car without it. Reinstating it would require a hefty deductible, though I
believe I should get that back when I cancel it upon return. Any advice on that?


TOTAL COST
The bare bones cost is only around $1450. If we say $2000, we should be golden. Plenty of leeway for good food and tipping the elbow. If I didn't have the card for emergencies, we'd say $2500.

What do you guys think?
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Old 02-07-2007, 10:32 AM   #2
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Sounds awesome! (Granted you can actually FIND a friend willing to do this with you who has a car and doesn't mind adding thousands of miles to it...) I haven't actually done a roadtrip of that scale before, so unfortunately I don't have too much advice to throw in the pit, but I'm thinking of doing something similar at the end of the summer with my friend. There's so much of my own country that I have yet to see... I'm also planning on going to bolivia and/or south africa next fall though so the road trip might have to go on the backburner for a year if the funds don't suffice. But we'll see. Good luck to you!
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Old 02-07-2007, 10:45 AM   #3
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That would be a fun trip. Make sure you get a car with plenty of leg room.

When I was in college, a couple of friends of mine and I used to joke around about taking a trip across country for three months. We would joke about buying a big white classic Cadillac convertable with cow horns on the front grill. We would make up stories when we were drinking. Fun times. We should of done it.
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Old 02-07-2007, 12:21 PM   #4
 
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Leg room would be quite nice. Ideally, it'd want a VW Vanagon Camper (as those following the ultimate road trip vehicle might remember). Fridge, stove, sink, two beds, Brilliant.

Beside that, any kind of SUV or minivan would be great and a full out van would be the next best thing to the Vanagon. Love the ridiculous decoration idea and would probably follow suit on that.

Also, it's fun to check eBay motors now and then for modified short school buses. Once found one with a couch, christmas lights and a beanbag chair for $1500.
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Old 02-07-2007, 12:35 PM   #5
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Sounds like an amazing trip. My boyfriend and I are going to be roadtripping it around the states the first two weeks of June - and finally ending up at Bonnaroo. Although we're leaving for a RTW/nomadic/no time frame trip right after that - so money will be saved for that mainly. We're planning to hit up Boston, Columbus, and a lot of other places that we haven't decided on yet - I'm trying to talk him into Roswell and we read about 'mystery spots' which are "gravity vortexes" really they're just roadside traps but they same cool. You can google the locations with keyword: mystery spots. A VW bus would be sweet (I've always wanted to own one). A volvo would be good too, they last a while - and usually you can find them at cheap used places. As for insurance, try progressive - I've heard their pretty cheap, since all you need is basic coverage it shouldnt set you back too much. Just don't mention a major roadtrip to them
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Old 02-07-2007, 12:48 PM   #6
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My boyfriend and I sometimes road trip in a van. We take the back seats out and put in a futon mattress in the back. It's really comfy and we don't pay for lodging. But most of the time we are parked near friends houses. I don't know where you could park with a bathroom, etc... Just an idea!
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Old 02-07-2007, 01:56 PM   #7
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As a seasoned roadtripper, I camp alot. It's cheap and it's free. Showers are to be had anywhere there's a lake or in one case, a waterfall at rocky mountain national park. I've hosteled a bit on some of em when I was in major cities and I've even hoteled it a time or two. Road trips are amazing. Best of luck. Just remember the person you trip with can make it heaven or hell.
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Old 02-07-2007, 02:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mackerous View Post
With my mind all over the world, I've forgotten about how many experiences are too be had right here in my own country. How many things I've yet to see here. Hell, I've seen almost none of the typical American things like the Grand Canyon or Yosemite.
I can relate to you there. I wish we had a [better] national rail system, or something that made it easier to get around.

As for your trip, good luck. If you're wanting someone to put 20k miles on their car and all that, I think you should bring something more to the table. Maybe paying for all the gas, or a money toward maintenance or something. Personally, I'd be very hesitant to undertake that kind of trip with someone I didn't know pretty well. You spend all day/every day with anyone and you start getting on each others nerves pretty quick.
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Old 02-07-2007, 03:50 PM   #9
 
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I've considered camping. It's an extra expense, but would be nice to get out to nature while switching it up a bit. Maybe get one of those 2 Second Tents (http://www.kk.org/cooltools/archives/001304.php), mainly because I'm lazy.

I've also considered the Greyhound route (yes, I'm quite aware of your horror stories) but that takes a lot of flexibilty out of it, as well as fun. Also, a lot of cities, even pretty big ones, don't have very good public transit. Everytime I have Couchsurfers come to stay with me here in Orlando, I recommend strongly they rent a car. Been car-less here for over a year now and it's no fun.
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Old 02-07-2007, 06:53 PM   #10
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The busses, although I see your point, can still be fun. You still meet lots of intresting people since your all together for so long and new people keep coming back on to replace the ones getting off.

There are like unwritten rules that come up along the route though usually established by the people who have been on there longest or the ones who are just crazy. Using it to get between areas easily isn't the worst of setups.

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