Road trips

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by John Lee, Jun 6, 2015.

  1. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Jun 6, 2015

    I'd like to do some (solo) summer road-tripping. I would sleep probably 2/3 of the time in my car (SUV), and 1/3 in hotels (save on cost, but also just for the sake of doing it--i.e. car camping). With that in mind and with the summer fast approaching, my dream would be to "jump in the car on the last day of school and just drive." This is my romantic idea of it (road-tripping).

    But as I do research about tips and what-not, one of the things I find is that you need to reserve your stay in campgrounds and such, sometimes months in advance. Is there any thing that I'm not knowing about it? Again, the allure (to me) of road-tripping is just the freedom of just going wherever you want. If I reserve a spot somewhere, I'm sort of obligated to be there on that date/time. What if I want to hang an extra night somewhere? Or what if I decide to go a different direction?

    (Right now, planning on going north toward Pacific Northwest. But I'm also considering other trips in that 2-3 week range.)
     
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  3. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Jun 6, 2015

    Sleeping in my car is so not me - did it when I used to show dogs, and my idea of any trip now includes a comfy bed and a great shower with fluffy towels. That said, the problem with NOT reserving a space is trying to find a place to park if there is no room at the inn. It isn't as easy as you might think - people are wary, and rightfully so, of strange cars parked in parking lots overnight, and prone to contact the authorities. I have sometimes been forced to stop driving because of migraines, and even finding a place to pull over and let the meds work for a few hours has sometimes resulted in taps on the window as people wanted to know if I was OK, was there a problem, etc. You might be a little better off making tons of reservations with the call to cancel by times clearly noted, which means you aren't charged for a night when you make other plans, but you also have a guaranteed place to stay, even if you come in late, if you have chosen to keep the reservation. This covers you if you have a flat, car trouble, or get tied up in traffic. I am OK with changing plans, but much less OK with no plans at all.

    Have a good trip and be safe.
     
  4. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Jun 6, 2015

    I know a lot of truckers stay overnight at rest areas. I don't know if they need permission to do this, but it may be an option if you can't get into a campground.
     
  5. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Jun 7, 2015

    We do a lot of trips where we just go and explore without reservations. In 30 years we have only been caught with no site twice.

    If you are going to a major park or resort in the summer, you need reservations. Friday and Saturday are tough in popular areas, but mid-week is usually ok. Know before you go or have a reference book or app so you can find alternatives. If you don't mind roughing it, find BLM land. Some places do not allow reservations, so if you stop early enough in the day you have a good chance of getting in.

    Why not invest in a small tent or tent cot to be more comfortable and have some privacy?

    Have fun. We have a beautiful, amazing country to explore and some of the best parts are off the beaten track.

    We are going to go north and explore the area between Southern California and Glacier National Park this summer.
     
  6. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Jun 7, 2015

    Thank you, that is all great advice. I'm thinking about doing the same sort of trip (north, milder than going east). Curious if you have any books/apps in mind, that would help me find places. My thinking is that I'm going to drive one day, stay one (or two) days... drive one day, stay one day, etc.
     
  7. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Jun 7, 2015

    You might like to read this

    http://www.davegorman.com/projects_america_unchained.html

    This guy bought a second hand car then drove across america. The unusual thing was that he did not use 'the man' in his jouney. He bought all his gas at mom and pop gas stations and stayed in independent hotels and motels. IIRC he also stayed off all toll roads.
     
  8. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Jun 7, 2015

    Walmarts let you sleep in your car in their parking lots.

    You can also look into Air BnB and hostels- cheaper than hotels and more comfy than your car!
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 7, 2015

    Have fun John Lee. This sounds like the ninth ring of hell to me.
     
  10. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jun 8, 2015

    This made me snort. Ha.
     
  11. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Jun 8, 2015

    KOA's are always good, and typically abundant. Many small motels have camp sites too. Can you find a tent that would fit onto your SUV? Like this...it looks more legit than just a dude sleeping in a car.
     
  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jun 8, 2015

    My family camps and does road trips a lot. Although some campgrounds offer reservations, most campers don't make them. We've never had trouble getting a space except on very busy and popular weekends.
     
  13. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    This sounds like my assessment, too! However, I am always let others go with what appeals to them. No comfy bed and shower - not a vacation!
     
  14. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Jun 8, 2015

    No advice here. The ONLY time I ever stayed overnight without being in a hotel was in the 80s when my parents rented a motorhome when I was a child & we spent the day at Disneyland one of those days, so nothing out-of-state.

    Nowadays, I'd rent an RV & check out the camping grounds where RVs can stay & really research it.

    Have a great trip!
     
  15. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jun 8, 2015

    Have a great trip!! I can't help with the logistics because this sounds like hell. The road trip with hotels I can do. I went camping over Memorial Day weekend and that was bad enough!
     
  16. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jun 8, 2015

    I think it sounds like a great adventure! That said, my niece decided she was going to do this on a trip to North Carolina and I blew a fuse. :D I think it's different for a man than a woman to do (just seems safer, or at least the allusion of more safety). I don't think I'd be brave enough to camp in my car (well, since I have a small car, that's a moot point). If I have the funds, though, I'd love to rent an RV and spend a few weeks on the road. Good luck on your trip!
     
  17. Rhesus

    Rhesus Comrade

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    Jun 12, 2015

    I take solo road/camping trips by motorcycle in the summers, and have done so for almost 20 years. I camp exclusively on these rides. I have never bothered to make campground reservations. Usually space is only a concern on weekends in popular state and national parks. Ordinary small campgrounds off the beaten path usually have plenty of room. On state forests and blm land, you can usually camp wherever you want for free.

    Although the guy in this link is focused on motorcycle travel, he is the guru of low-budget vagabonding: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=315322

    This summer, I'm heading down towards VA and NC to ride the Blue Ridge Parkway:D
     
  18. Rhesus

    Rhesus Comrade

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    Jun 12, 2015

    Rest areas are often hotbeds of criminal activity. I would not try to spend the night at one. Truckers are locked up securely in the sleeper cabs of their rigs.
     

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