Monday, June 30, 2008

The Great Western American Roadtrip

Often, I find myself at work on a slow day, sitting in my windowless office, it's been three hours, and not a soul has come by to break the monotony . . . and I begin to dream of getting the heck outta here! During such days, I'll just start looking up plane tickets, making routes with google maps, looking up hostels, couchsurfing, etc, to plan some dream trip. This was how my proposed excursion to Denver and Boulder started. I stumbled upon some cheaper-than I realized plane tickets, and started dreaming and scheming. Sadly, the Fourth of July weekend excursion to Denver never materialized, mainly because I couldn't find anyone to join me. But no matter. I am going to Boston in August, and I've had to pay a couple of deposits on a new house that I'm moving into, so it's probably best that I saved my money for another time.

Today, my latest travel scheme I've cooked up is probably my most ambitious to date. For the past couple of years, I've wanted to travel alone Highway 1 along the west coast, and my cousins and another friend took separate trips from California back to Texas, stopping at Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon along the way. Then Anton is about to go to Glacier National Park in Montana. I don't know if you're realized, but add those three routes together, and you have . . .

The Great Western American Roadtrip!!!

With the help of google maps, I've made an itinerary:

5318 Miles – 3 days, 12 hours of driving

Day 1: Keller to Santa Fe, NM 9 hr, 46 min

Day 2: Santa Fe

Day 3: Santa Fe, NM to Denver, CO 5 hrs, 46 mins

Day 4: Boulder

Day 5: Denver, CO to Yellowstone National Park 9 hrs, 34 mins

Day 6-8: Yellowstone

Day 9: Yellowstone to Glacier National Park 7 hrs, 49 mins

Day 10-12: Glacier National Park

Day 13: Glacier National Park to Seattle, WA 9 hrs, 38 mins

Day 14: Seattle

Day 15: Seattle, WA to Portland, OR 2 hrs, 50 mins

Day 16: Portland, OR to San Fran, CA 9 hrs, 53 mins

Day 17-18: San Francisco

Day 19: San Fran to Las Vegas, NV 8 hrs, 45 mins

Day 20: Las Vegas

Day 21: Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, AZ 4 hrs, 32 mins

Day 22: Grand Canyon, AZ to Albuquerque, NM 5 hrs, 59 mins

Day 23: Albuquerque and surrounding area

Day 24: Albuquerque, NM to Roswell, NM 3 hrs, 23 mins

Day 25: Home to Keller, 7 hrs, 43 mins

11 States. 9 Cities. 3 State Parks. Are your bags packed yet?

With the exception of Santa Fe, San Francisco, and Colorado, I haven't been to most of these places, and all of them are places that I'd looooove to see.

What's to consider?

Time. I could embark on this adventure as early as July 2009, or I might have to wait until the summer of 2011 or 2012, either right before or right after going on internship. Taking a month off isn't an easy task, but as long as I pick a transitional time, I could manage it.

Money. Gas will be a big cost. Estimating 30 miles per gallon on the highway in my new Camry at $4 a gallon, that comes out to a little over $700. It will probably be more with excursions around the areas we're going, and gas prices will probably continue to rise. But split at least two ways, that comes out to $350-500 per person. Lodging will be the next biggest cost. 25 nights aint cheap, but we'd do it as cheap as possible - couchsurfing, hostels, camping, and cheap, nasty motels. Depending on our options, my estimate is about $500-$1000 per person. Food can be done cheaply, buying groceries most of the time, and occasionally eating out good meals, so for that I estimate up to $300. Then there are entrance fees to parks and museums, laundry money, toll roads, parking costs, gambling in Vegas, who knows. I'd have to do some research to figure out those costs. But on the high end, I'm looking at about $2000 per person, but potentially less. For a trip this ambitious, that sounds pretty reasonable.

Driving. Can be exhausting. 7 days of heavy driving (8+ hours) and 5 days of light driving (<6 hours)

Who? Would be up for taking this trip with me and able to take the time to do it? Time will be the biggest issue. A fellow student, or someone just finishing school, or someone transitioning jobs, or someone who works for a school district. Finding someone to go with will determine when and if I take this trip. Besides the obvious perks of having someone to travel with, I really do need someone share the driving, and to make this safe.

So, it'd be awesome if this could happen. But really, who knows? If I see all of these places eventually in my lifetime (or before 2030 in the case of Glacier National Park in Montana), I'll be happy. If I could go to all of these places in one amazing month, I'll be ecstatic!


Ben said...

You cannot possibly imagine how much I want to do this. Don Miller probably gave me the itch - Through Painted Deserts is wonderful.

crackers and cheese said...

So . . . does that mean I have a taker? I should read that book. Add it to the pile!

if walled in climb up said...

What happens in 2030?

crackers and cheese said...

Supposedly all the glaciers in Montana will be melted by 2030 :(

Ben said...

I guess it depends on what country I live in at the time you actually decide to go for it.

I'll warn you that I might be a pretty miserable driving companion. I've driven 10- to 17-hour stretches solo enough times that I tend, on the highway, to get into this zone where I am totally silent and just stare at the road ahead without really paying attention to the other person(s) in the car.

Anyway, you've got a taker if you decide to do it when I'm in the States and nothing hugely unforeseen has made it impossible for me.

Anton said...

I support you in your endeavor, however, I must say, these reservations you have need to go out the window. Do it, do it right away. Trust me, you have no idea what life will look like in 2013, but will a little ambition and a clean bill of health, well, there's no time like RIGHT NOW. Do it.

Anton said...

Oh, and Glacier is quite beautiful. Spend a few days there, hike like crazy and bring some pepper spray. I was about 100 yards from two beautiful brown bears.

crackers and cheese said...

Brown bears, wow. If I was self-employed like you and could get someone to go with me, then I'd be there in a heartbeat. Or if I didn't care so much about graduate school and keeping an assistantship and getting practicum hours. Ugh.