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Old 01-06-2009, 09:58 PM
Location: Victoria TX
42,661 posts, read 80,646,970 times
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No, car-camping in the USA is wonderful. Rig your car so you can sleep comfortably in it, and hit the back roads. Think of some kind of a hobby you can combine your trip with, which will keep you going to interesting places. You ll never have to pay for a place to sleep---truck stops with lots of rigs are perfectly safe, and so are WalMart parking lots, but neither are very dark.

Campground fees in state parks nowadays are almost as high as the motel down the road. But National Forests nearly all have nice simple campgrounds, for maybe $5 a night, with toilets and picnic tables, those are the best places. Dark and quiet and safe. They're all indicated on Rand McNally Atlas maps, so are fairly easy to find.
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Old 01-06-2009, 10:37 PM
Location: Tucson, AZ
3,716 posts, read 8,990,075 times
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jtur88, great comments. In fact I've read a lot of your posts and I would bet we have been to a lot of the same places, especially here in the Americas. I've "car camped" (typically with a small pickup truck and shell over the pickup bed) all over the western US, and almost everywhere from California to Tierra del Fuego (except for the Darien Gap between Panama and Colombia). It's fine as long as the weather is not too hot or too cold. I bring along a screen tent with covered top so if I'm in the wild and the place has too many bugs flying around at night I can still relax outside the pickup truck in comfort. Bring along an ice chest for keeping food, a propane 1 or 2 burner stove and a little bit of cooking gear and you're all set.
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:25 AM
Location: Tucson/Nogales
21,162 posts, read 25,147,781 times
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Default Off the Beaten Track--I agree!

My first phase of domestic/foreign travel ecompassed all the big cities, big tourist attractions. My latest phase I take my foreign country travel guide with but when mention is made of some city that says: Tourists generally avoid this destination, that's where you'll find me! I love the curious, odd stares I get wherever that may be, as if they're saying: What on earth are you doing HERE? Are you lost? 5 trips now to Central America, you'll find me riding the chicken buses and even in the back of pick-up trucks riding to places untrammeled by tourists. Same in South America, out of the big city where I fly to, and head for those smaller sized cities where no tourists are to be found. And I combine my travels with medicaltourism. I always have some medical work done in any third world country I'm in which helps pay for the trip. IN April I had a crown, filling and xray done at a dental office in Tandil, ARgentina for a wallet-crushing $65. 4 fillings and a teeth cleaning in November in Auchipan, El Salvador for $40. Next trip I'll find me a dermatologist or have some hip surgery whether I need it or not. Ha! Ha!
Yes, I love foreign travel but I can also enjoy the offerings of my own country as well. REcently, I spent 5 days in New York City, stayed for the first time in a Hostel in Harlem for $29 a night, and with that 7 day $25 unlimited usage subway pass, my stay there rivaled the costs of a trip to a third world country. But beware of ALL travel! Travel makes you more wise and less happy, quoted by Thomas Jefferson. The person that started this Thread speaks well of that. I think of my Grandfather who never ventured outside the County he was born in and he'd smile as his grandkids would visit and extol the great beauty of the foreign destinations they had gone to. He's sit back, smile and say: There's no area of the world more beautiful than this county here in SE MInnesota.

NOW! You take Grandpa, for the first time, out of that hilly county, to the Appalachian mountains, he returns, looks up at this much-smaller hills and says: Gee! I guess I was wrong, those Appalachian mountains were awfully pretty, prettier than these hills. And THEN, take Grandpa to see the Rockies, and THEN to the soaring Andes Mountains in South America, and THEN to the Himalayas! So NOW Grandpa returns to his county in SE Minnesota, and you've got one unhappy individual! To reiterate: travel makes you more wise, and less happy.
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Old 01-07-2009, 08:44 AM
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 10,520,394 times
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Originally Posted by 20yrsinBranson View Post
The problem is that you are spending your time in the city. There is nothing to see in cities! They ARE all the same and sterile and boring (ok, the really big ones might be an exception i.e. NYC, Chicago, LA).

The small towns of America is where you will find the good stuff.

Hm, I've found that the small towns are rather boring to visit, but fun places to live. You have to get to know the areas off the beaten path before you figure out the fun things to do there. A tourist in town for a week or less hardly has time to get to know a place and while they might go see the obvious local attraction (like the world's biggest ball of yarn, or a mountain, or something) they really won't get into the meat of a place, and just see it as a collection of strip malls and maybe a post office.

To me, US cities are more fun, especially cities with real character, like Boston, Chicago, New York, or San Francisco, thanks to their concentration of great cultural attractions. It helps to have great public transportation too.

LA is tough to visit thanks to the need for a car and knowledge of where to drive it (lack of a city center).

Of course, I prefer overseas travel. Heck, I'm writing this from Taipei, and I'm headed to Japan next week. You really get to see some interesting stuff when you leave the US's borders.
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