U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 09-21-2016, 05:57 PM
 
6 posts, read 2,567 times
Reputation: 21

Advertisements

Hello, I am looking for suggestions about a cross country trip. Here are some details:

My age: 41

Traveling: Solo

Method: I am considering 3 choices. 1) Drive my Honda Civic and stay at cheap motels, use couchsurfing, hostels 2) Buy a van and stay at same as above except also truck stops and other places I can sleep in the van 3) Combination of Amtrak and Greyhound bus traveling to certain cities, and then renting a car for a few days in said cities and take road trips in those areas

Experience: Quite a bit of travel (car/air/train) but staying in motels and homes

Time: Hopefully around 2 months. This will not be a vacation so I am using income reserves. If I can work on the road here and there, great, but don't know how likely that is. My departure date might be either April 1 or in the middle of October (but probably not anytime in between, due to weather concerns).

Route: It would include at least 7 stops at family homes. Start in Northern California, go to Utah then New Mexico, New Orleans, Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Montana, Utah, and back home. That would be the April departure; for fall it would simply be reverse.

Other: I have wanted to do this for 20 years now. I would like to experience more of the "blue highways", small towns, parks/nature, and cheap attractions. I want to write a book about the experience, so human interest is a good thing. I would also like roadside attractions and minor league baseball.

ANY tips, advice, etc. is very welcome. Thank you!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 09-21-2016, 11:38 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,592 posts, read 39,962,822 times
Reputation: 23726
do the van, It is REALLY nice to have a fridge, bed for napping, SPACE, dry place to camp, room to stretch out. Place to read on a rainy day. room for a bike, indoor kitchen....

A Westy is perfect, or a conversion van / Roadtrek if you can afford the gas.

Minivan will suffice and get 22 - 25 mpg (under 60 mph)

Join Servas.org (before you leave)

look into farmstays, especially during harvest (hint... follow harvest across USA and Canada)
the great food alone is worth the work, and you can earn gas money.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-22-2016, 03:38 AM
 
Location: Lancashire, England
2,417 posts, read 4,108,542 times
Reputation: 6709
RoadsideAmerica is a start for picking up ideas of things to see, but it's fun finding your own odd attractions. Roadside America - Guide to Uniquely Odd Tourist Attractions
The Historical Marker Database The Historical Marker Database


There are several online sites which look at ghost towns of the USA.


If you want to experience small towns, look for those that have at least a store of some sort. Stores are better than bars for meeting locals, imo.


And sometimes it's good not to stick to your planned route, but to turn off the main road for a signposted village or town you hadn't planned on going to.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-22-2016, 11:48 AM
 
Location: Eureka CA
8,255 posts, read 11,118,694 times
Reputation: 12572
If you have the flexibility avoid the buses and go where you can drive. Have a great trip!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-22-2016, 12:24 PM
 
6,040 posts, read 4,437,135 times
Reputation: 16753
Read William Least Heat Moon's book.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-22-2016, 01:21 PM
 
Location: Bel Air, California
21,323 posts, read 21,895,576 times
Reputation: 33496
don't pick up no weirrrrr-dohs
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-22-2016, 06:55 PM
 
6 posts, read 2,567 times
Reputation: 21
Default van or not to van

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! I wonder what I could expect if I bought a van when it comes to reliability and resale value. I would get the van solely for the trip so would re-sell it afterwards. I'm looking on craigslist for starters. I see vans like a 1984 Ford with 120K miles for $3K; a 1998 Dodge with 180K for $1600; or a 2006 Nissan (salvage title) $4K. I'm not sure how such vehicles would hold up for such a trip. I don't think I can go above $5K though again I don't know, after the trip, say after an addt'l 10K miles, what I could re-sell. Insurance and pre-maintenance would add on to the cost. But sleeping in the van would save money. And has anyone tried couchsurfing before?

Last edited by gorillabay; 09-22-2016 at 06:57 PM.. Reason: Added line at end, question forgot to ask
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-23-2016, 02:02 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,592 posts, read 39,962,822 times
Reputation: 23726
Couchsurfing is fine, guest hospitality homes are better (and at age 41, you have a lot of them available)
Hospitality exchange - Wikitravel

I got a great 2001 Town and Country with 130k for $800 (AC was broken.... $67 repair). I would prefer a camper conversion van for your type of trip ~ $3000, but.... If you are short on fuel money.... Minivan will pay for itself in savings. I never consider resale (unless it is an RV) cars are expendable. Very ez to sell a van, and CHEAP to insure, you will break even if you buy right and don't break or crash it. 10k miles is NOTHING. Many people do 20k/ yr.

You can 'build-out' a suitable van conversion for $500. Or even $100 if you just build a platform for bed (storage under) and use air mattress. potential pita. Look on Trademe (nz and Australia Craigslist) for simple van conversion ideas. Slide out drawers / stove / sink are nice. So is motoraid water heater and outdoor shower. Awning helps, but magnetic or snap-on tarp will work. ($12)

Buy a passport America camping pass, and a National parks pass.

Work for food, fuel, and lodging. I use public pools and fairgrounds for showers. Library for rainy days.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-23-2016, 04:20 PM
 
6 posts, read 2,567 times
Reputation: 21
Default jobs

Thanks, StealthRabbit. What kind of work did you do (while on the road)? On one post I mentioned this idea, I was shot down about that. I wouldn't be able to do things like construction jobs as I don't have that skill set. But I would be open-minded in general, especially if I needed the money.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-24-2016, 12:58 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,592 posts, read 39,962,822 times
Reputation: 23726
I'm a farm kid, so varied skills.

At the time I was free (age 17 and 18) I worked tire shops, gas stations, grain elevators, feed stores, hardware, lumber yard, and construction (usually grunt concrete work). I usually helped farmers, they are most apt to host you (room, board, food, fuel, RV space). .... They don't have free time to train you, but often have plenty of simple labor tasks, weeding, mowing, gardening, cleaning, shoveling, painting. You need to take the initiative and work independently.

Maint chores for seniors is always welcome and needed.... Cleaning gutters, washing windows !

It is great if you can work for gas money, as that is a big and frequent expense. Thus plan your route as economical as possible, and drive under 60 mph.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top