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Old 01-17-2017, 09:03 AM
 
Location: too far from the sea
19,889 posts, read 18,900,996 times
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I've always had the wanderlust so I can understand the longing to see the country.

My ex and I did it one summer when we were in our twenties. We had a good tent and off we went. From the east coast to the west, stopping at campgrounds along the way. We stayed at a friend's house in LA while he stayed in our apartment for the summer since he was from here originally.

One of the best places was a campground at the foot of Mt Rushmore. When I opened the tent flap I saw the Presidential faces up above me and it was amazing. Nice little bit of hiking around there too. Yellowstone was the place that I loved best. It was more than I had imagined--boiling mud and geysers of all sizes everywhere. Bears along the side of the road. Gorgeous country. They had a lodge (at that time anyway) and a campground (but I got scared of bears, lol) so we stayed at a motel just outside the park.

On the way back we took the southern route and saw Bryce Canyon, which was utterly fantastic. We saw the Everglades (again, as we camped there every winter for a few days) and, coming north, Great Smoky Mountain National Park made a huge impression on me. Fabulous camping there and it had an ancient sort of feeling. I remember Grandfather Mountain and exquisite views of endless mountains with "steam" rising up--making it look smoky.

It was definitely inspiring, uplifting, and a fun learning experience.

As a disclaimer, this was a long time ago and I've heard that some of those places have been spoiled somewhat and over run with tourists. I wouldn't go traveling or camping alone, not then and not today. Even when you are twenty, you are vulnerable to being in an accident far from home, getting sick, having car trouble. Unless maybe you are very athletic and strong and know how to fix cars. Our car died after crossing the great salt desert area (we stopped and swam/floated in the Great Salt Lake) and there was absolutely nothing for miles and miles, just straight flat road--totally gorgeous though-- At the end was a gas station that suckered people into paying a lot of money to fix whatever those endless miles of salt did to the car's engine. We paid. I wouldn't have wanted to endure that episode by myself.

The idea of the train sounds really good if you're on your own. You'd have people to talk to while you travel and maybe you could start up a few friendships. Make sure it goes to the interesting places or that it stops somewhere and there is transportation to the places you want to see. I sure hope you get to do this.
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Old 01-17-2017, 10:01 AM
 
4,490 posts, read 4,751,034 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYgal1542 View Post
^^^^^^ Yes, I now have two cats. They will not be abandoned or left uncared for. They will be taken care of. Thank you for worrying about them for me.

They are loved a lot.


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Old 01-17-2017, 12:36 PM
 
Location: San Ramon, Seattle, Anchorage, Reykjavik
2,241 posts, read 992,930 times
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If you are healthy go for it. If you are not healthy, go for it sooner. Age is irrelevant. You've only got one life to live.

Regarding finances, if your car is paid for, you have no debt, you have health care covered, and have a little money saved you can make it work. I have friends that have made it their entire lifestyle to travel all over north and south america by car, sleep in the car or camp out, and work a little if necessary to make a little more money. Don't let your age matter if you want to do it. Just go for it! There is a big beautiful world out there and you should see as much of it as you can before you go.
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Old 01-17-2017, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Idaho
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This thread and the one about bucket list caused me to reflect on my past adventures. I'd like to share my experience and offer some suggestions below:

First is that to live our dream, we have to resolve to 'just do it' because 'tomorrow maybe too late'. It's prudent and good to plan but one has to BE DETERMINED make it happen, commit to a goal, plan the steps and execute the plan one step at a time but right away. If you don't do it, your adventure will forever remain a dream to the day that you are bedridden or die!

Secondly, while it feels great to dream of a big, incredible or exotic adventure, one has to be realistic enough to scale down to one which fits one's ability (health, skills etc.) and pocket book.

Lastly, it is more doable to execute your dream in smaller steps or to experience substitute locations. Instead of a big, several weeks or months grand tour of all US national parks, one can start by visiting the nearest park. For the OP who I believe living in Syracuse, before heading to Grand Canyon, you can take a drive to PA Grand Canyon and spend few days there

PA Grand Canyon - Lodging, Attractions, Directions, Maps
http://pacanyon.com/

Once you gain more travel experience with a shorter trip, you can expand your traveling time to farther and farther places.

Regarding lodging, one can find reasonable prices at budget motels and/or airbnb. Tenting is the cheapest way but not for everyone. Traveling by RV is convenient but first you have to own or rent an RV (which is not cheap), then one has to consider the gasoline cost and the driving and parking unwieldiness of a motor home.

Car camping is a great substitution for RVing. Last summer, we tested out the idea by renting a minivan before buying a car bigger than our Honda Fit. It cost us less than $300/week to rent a Chrysler Town and Country with unlimited mileage (This van and the Dodge Grand Caravan's Stow and Go feature is great for sleeping in the car). We camped at a provincial park in Canada with the dog. I was fine with sleeping on an inflatable mattress but my husband was not comfortable with his bad back. Next time we will bring a memory foam mattress. BTW, for ventilation, I used Home Depot bug screen held down in place by small magnets.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/286471226270115107/

One last suggestion I have about keeping traveling cost down is to pack foods for the trip. Stock up your car/cooler with fresh fruits, yogurt, bakery items for breakfast, lunch meats, packaged tunas etc for lunch. Grocery store hot foods are great for dinner with a bottle of wine, bread, fruits and cheeses ;-). If you are a coffee drinker, bring along a big thermos. You can also make own hot foods and drink with a small camp stove and few kitchen items.

Bottom line is that you are never too old to live your dreamed-of adventures, just have to find a way to do it, and start doing it RIGHT AWAY in SMALL STEPS.

Last edited by BellaDL; 01-17-2017 at 01:54 PM..
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Old 01-17-2017, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Central NY
4,686 posts, read 3,256,586 times
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BellaDL: Thank you! You gave me some wonderful pointers and great suggestion to start out close to home, I never knew PA had a Grand Canyon. NY state has one, too, have seen it. Leavenworth St. Park near Rochester, NY.

I have been mulling over the train travel idea and did open a few links offering train vacations. I will look into this one or more sites, too. When I got up this morning, I felt a little lousy and realized this could happen in the middle of a road trip. At least with train travel, can sleep in if needed to.

I've thought about riding the train to a particular spot (or one that is close to it), renting a car, and driving to the place I want to see.

It does sound pretty exciting. Right now it's cold and rainy and talk of ice, when the weather brightens, I'll really be spurred on to investigate things.

Thank you to all who have taken some time to write and advise. You have helped me more than you will ever know!
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Old 01-18-2017, 02:20 PM
 
Location: San Ramon, Seattle, Anchorage, Reykjavik
2,241 posts, read 992,930 times
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Remember, this adventurous life doesn't need to cost a lot. I have several friends who do it full time on less than $10k/year in income, mostly through working odd jobs when cash is needed. They do start out with paid for stuff, and no debt. If you are older, you probably have the savings so no need to work. You may not be living luxuriously, or eating at fine dining restaurants every meal, but you do get to see the big grand world out there. Much better than staying home and counting your money and the days you have left, IMHO.
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Old 01-18-2017, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Central NY
4,686 posts, read 3,256,586 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stonepa View Post
Remember, this adventurous life doesn't need to cost a lot. I have several friends who do it full time on less than $10k/year in income, mostly through working odd jobs when cash is needed. They do start out with paid for stuff, and no debt. If you are older, you probably have the savings so no need to work. You may not be living luxuriously, or eating at fine dining restaurants every meal, but you do get to see the big grand world out there. Much better than staying home and counting your money and the days you have left, IMHO.

Unfortunately, my situation isn't as stable as the one you describe. I am in debt (big part will be paid in <3 years. Savings?? Quite minimal. Due to the fact that I am a renter and pay rent every month plus utilities, my income would be under the $10k/year you mentioned to pay for travel expense. I will be 75 in April. Jobs would be limited to my abilities.

I'll definitely need to put a lot of thought and planning into what I end up doing.
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Old 01-18-2017, 07:13 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,653 posts, read 40,029,981 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYgal1542 View Post
Unfortunately, my situation isn't as stable as the one you describe. I am in debt (big part will be paid in <3 years. Savings?? Quite minimal. Due to the fact that I am a renter and pay rent every month plus utilities, my income would be under the $10k/year you mentioned to pay for travel expense. I will be 75 in April. Jobs would be limited to my abilities.

I'll definitely need to put a lot of thought and planning into what I end up doing.
You need a 'Sponsor'! consider it
Surely some interest group / benevolent gift / 'activities for the 'aged' would be interested in helping you live your dreamed-of-adventure.

Quite seriously I would pursue that avenue. Maybe AARP or similar would help fund you for stories / travel blog you provide (you will have PLENTY of material!)

Can you 'sublease' your apartment or get a 'certified leave'? (so it will be available when you return?)

good luck and I hope you get to GO!

A good website for fulltime RV and other crazy travelers is Escapees.com They are extra special, as they have their own 'rehab' center for injured, ill, and elder care needs. They volunteer staff it. A very nice service for people on the road!

being well traveled and very frugal... I will warn that is will be nearly impossible to afford to travel often via train / rental car.

1) a 'regional' train pass could be nice, Amtrak offers '3 regions' on certain sale dates, but you really need to 'buddy-up' at your destinations with a local resident who is able and willing to cart you around and show you a good time. This is very possible, as we have found tremendous hosts nearly everywhere.

2) the campervan option will be cheapest, food, transport, lodging and the most freedom of destinations.
  • (free < $10 camping at many places)
  • There are 2 websites for free USA campgrounds,
  • in rural America, city parks and fairgrounds are often free and safe.
  • Joining the guest home directories will avail you to inside or outdoor lodging
  • Farmers have lots of space! it is ez to camp for free when you have farmer friends. Harvest Hosts offers some free options.

Enjoy the journey,
Best wishes for a speedy departure!
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Old 01-19-2017, 03:29 PM
 
Location: Cochise county, AZ
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When I go to check out Tennessee, I plan on using camp grounds a lot. I was thinking of 'what to do for food?' Peanut butter & bread, hard boiled eggs, fruit, maybe stop at a small store & buy a salad. Since I drink a lot of water I would just buy a 12 or 24 pack. I would have to stop for coffee but can do that at a gas station.

I'm not leaving until March or April because it has to be warm enough to sleep in my Nissan Cube. I found a great deal on a sleeping bag at a garage sale last summer, $5.00, just for this. Yes, I've been planning this for quite a while.

I forgot one thing. I plan on giving our manager 2 checks, just in case I stay longer than originally planned. The one will be dated for the next month. I can do that because this is a small town & my bank wouldn't cash the second one unless I had the money in my account. My social security check goes in automatically so that works for me.

Last edited by meo92953; 01-19-2017 at 03:37 PM..
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Old 01-19-2017, 07:10 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,653 posts, read 40,029,981 times
Reputation: 23810
Quote:
Originally Posted by meo92953 View Post
When I go to check out Tennessee, I plan on using camp grounds a lot. I was thinking of 'what to do for food?'

... warm enough to sleep in my Nissan Cube. I found a great deal on a sleeping bag at a garage sale last summer, $5.00, just for this. Yes, I've been planning this for quite a while.

....
Eat via grocery store produce sections. Usually early in the morning the produce manager will remove the 'culls' / bruised produce. It will be reduced to 1/2 price (or more). Often they fix me a box of extra stuff for free.

If you stay in $10/ night guest homes you get at least one meal free, and often a 'local home cooked' dinner as well. frequently they pack a lunch for us too. Often if we are camping, there is no 'charge' for staying. We usually use farm homes; plenty of space, activities, quiet, no parking fees, chance to help with chores, and often free produce from garden and GREAT FOOD!

City parks and Fairgrounds will be cheaper and maybe safer than campgrounds, Army Corp / TVA campgrounds are NICE! and cheap too.
http://camprrm.com/tva/
https://www.recreation.gov/campgroun...agencyID=70902

Hint: build / have someone build a 'sleeping / bed platform for your CUBE (~$25) , you can have a 'pull out' drawer or tubs under the platform for camping gear / food / clothes. (or a hinged top (more trouble)). We added a 'Motor-aide' HW heater that runs off car heater hoses. Also added a 12VDC elect pump with a shower head, and small 12VDC refrig. & have a very compact Propane stove. We carry a backpack tent, but seldom use it.

The Cube might become so nice you no longer need an apartment!
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