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Hitting the Road

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Joshua Armstrong, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. In early May, I will be leaving Fairbanks, Alaska, to attend grad school in the American West (exactly where depends on which programs accept me). I'll be driving.

    I've got three months off, why not see the rest of North America?

    SportsJournalists.commers, I need your help. I'm looking for any information about your area or traveling resources. The "On The Road" thread is something that I'll pare through, too.

    Some background info:

    I'm 25 (and will be during the trip) and able-bodied (and hopefully will be during the trip). I'm a fledgling homebrewer and enjoy trying regional beers and food. I'm looking to pick up some local culture wherever I go, meet some new folks and just plain old explore.

    My traveling companion is a black 2003 Kia Spectra GSX. It just hit the 75,000 mile mark and is running fine, even after two winters in Alaska. It's done the Alaska Highway and hopefully can get me to the Kenai Peninsula and back this March. The poor guy has trouble climbing steep hills, though.

    The only plans I have (and, at this point, want) are to attend a wedding on Memorial Day weekend in Kansas City, Mo., and spend at least a few weeks in my hometown of Bradenton, Fla. For now, the rest will be decided day-by-day.

    I've saved up some money, but to make the trip last as long as possible, I'll need to do everything on the cheap.

    As far as living situations go, I'm bringing a tent and bedding that will be fine down to 0 degrees along with other camping equipment. I also have a back that can sleep on any floor or couch offered it. I'm not looking to impose -- nor, as my avatar suggests, kill you hoes -- but any help would be greatly appreciated, even if it's just a place to park my car. If you just want to meet, that's cool, too.

    I've roamed this site for several years with another handle and have seen the amazing amount of collective knowledge here. I'd be grateful if you could lend me a hand, a tip or even a "good luck!"

    Thanks in advance,
  2. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    I spent about 12 days getting from Tacoma to OKC, once, on a trip that included Crater Lake, eastern Cali, Reno, Tahoe, Yosemite, Vegas and all its nearby stuff (Canyon, Hoover, etc.), Four Corners, Rockies, Colorado Springs and Dodge City.

    I spent the night in hotels for three nights --- all in Vegas --- camping everywhere. That same summer I drove from the tip of the Olympic Peninsula to Redwood and camped the entire week and a half.

    Just try and hit as many national parks as you can. Not that I have to tell you, but they are the jewels of this country.
  3. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    Whatever you do, keep a journal and KEEP US POSTED!
  4. amraeder

    amraeder Well-Known Member

    Have fun getting the heck of out Fairbanks, Josh. No one deserves more than a few winters there!
  5. Adam: Well, I can think of a few people who deserve it, but you're not one of them, and hopefully neither am I. I'll let you know when I'm near the Great lakes.

    tbf: Thanks. Were there camping fees? Any unusual park ordinances?

    I'll be blogging daily, and I'm buying a Flip HD camera before I shove off. I'll post the link here when things get going.
  6. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    There were some basic fees ($20 to get inside Yosemite, for example), but way cheap if you take advantage of the primitive camping sites. If you're not scared of bears (unlike me), you can get backpacking passes that allow you to camp/hike on any part of the park. I stuck to the established sites.

    The park web sites, despite not always being easy to navigate, are pretty decent at giving you the information you need.
  7. amraeder

    amraeder Well-Known Member

    Definitely. You should come to my area. Enjoy our great gray skies, and, umm, well, yeah... :)
  8. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

  9. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    Couple ideas - Glacier National Park, down to Yosemite, Grand Tetons and then through Colorado to KC. Or Glacier, Little Big Horn, Mt. Rushmore and down to KC.
    I took a trip through the South a few years back - started in Knoxville - drove through the Blue Ridge Mountains in North and South Carolina, drove a bit through Georgia - Andersonville Prison site is pretty impressive.
    In Alabama, I enjoyed stumbling upon various historic sites of the Civil Rights movement - Montgomery, Birmingham, Memphis (Lorraine Hotel).

    Route 66/Four corners is another fun trip. Amarillo (The Big Texan), Gallup, Albuquerque (Santa Fe is well worth a look), White Sands and Monument Valley. What is really interesting is seeing the remains of the many hotels, diners and gas stations that used to line Route 66 where it runs along I-40.

    The Eastern Sierras - Death Valley/Vegas north to Tahoe is a great drive. Make sure if you do stop through Lone Pine you check out the Alabama Hills, a rock strewn area that you will recognize as being the location of scenes from Iron Man to G.I. Jane to dozens of westerns. Manzanar internment camp isn't far away.

    Realize you'll be traveling during the busiest season for the parks, and check out the Beer Advocate for brewpubs in the areas you are traveling through.

    A final note - it sounds like the kind of trip where you'd want to go out of your way to visit places you won't have much of a chance/reason to visit in the future, so maybe you bypass Chicago, New York, DC and Boston for another time when you can spend more time there.
  10. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Have you tried Tahoe?
  11. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    long beach, california, is a sweet city. if you like to play basketball, and happen to drive thru the lbc, run a few games at horny corner. always good action, and beach babes. lots of places to drink in belmont shore, too.

    driving down the california coast is one of the joys in life.
  12. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    May I second the suggestion about the Glacier National Park/Black Hills/KC itinerary.

    Went through the Black Hills region myself this summer, and there's a lot more to see than Mount Rushmore (although that's certainly worth a visit, too. Go either early A.M. or at dusk, for the lighting ceremony).

    Tons of great hiking around there, and although I had the family along, I noticed a couple of cool brew pubs in downtown Rapid City, S.D.
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