Road Trip! ?

I’m thinking of doing something a little crazy in July. I’m thinking of driving around the country (possibly with my dog).

I’m looking at going around for 3 weeks in July from Kansas City around the western part of the United States.

Here is where I’m thinking:

Taking a slow meander around the country, visit my friends and relatives in this part of the country, camping along the way, doing a lot of hiking, sight seeing, and reflecting. I feel like I’m turning in to an adult quicker than I would like to imagine and it may be the last time I have the lack of responsibilities to do a solo road trip around the country.

Possibility #1

I’d be stopping by my friends in Minneapolis, my Aunt and Uncle’s house in Salt Lake City, my grandma outside of Yosemite, my good friends in San Diego for a few days, my Aunt and cousins in Phoenix, and my step-dad in Roswell.

The entire journey I’m looking at doing is ~5,300 miles.

Possibility #2

Another option is to do more of a National Parks tour and skip my family that lives in Arizona and New Mexico and the friends in Mineapolis.

The total mileage for this trip would be 4,051. About 1,300 miles less, which is pretty significant when you’re looking at time in a car. I’d be trading time in the car and seeing friends and family with time at some national parks.

Possibility #3

Then there is the much shortened version in that I don’t go visit my grandma. I think that she would kill me if I was doing a road trip and didn’t visit her, but this would shorten the trip quite substantially.

This shortened version of the road trip would be 2,676 miles. That’s half the mileage of the original plan.

So those are the options. There are still quite a few things to consider.

1. Whether I will take the dog. I can have the dog on campsites in national parks – but I wouldn’t be able to take him on trails or leave him in the car since it will be the dead of summer. I think it would be fun to have him and would be cheaper since I wouldn’t have to board him or rely on Mr Hive to watch him (which he would if I asked), but it may dampen some of the fun of the trip if I can’t do day hikes with the puppy.

2. Price of gas vs. length of trip. With the price of gas going up, this is definitely a factor. My car gets 30 miles to the gallon. If gas goes up to $4 per gallon over the summer (not unreasonable) I’d be looking at $700 for gas for option #1, $540 for gas for option #2, or $357 for option #3. Obviously the longer the trip the more I get to see, the more gas costs, also the shorter the trip. Financially, I’d imagine that the shorter trip would be the best option, but I’d also miss out on seeing a lot of friends and family.

3. The wear and tear on my car – should I instead rent? My little car is no spring chicken. However I will be getting it a 120k mile service and new tires in June-ish. So it should be in tip top shape for the trip. That doesn’t mean though that I should add another 2,000-5,000 miles to my car. For $400 I can rent a car for two weeks that is comparable to what I drive now.

Lots of things to consider, but I’m really excited about the prospect of doing a road trip in July. If only Mr Hive could take off a week or two and go with me on the shortened trip… that would be the ultimate fun. =)

Which vacation would you choose? And what things along these routes am I missing that I need to see?


24 Responses to Road Trip! ?

  1. I prefer to avoid the South, even the Southwest, in July.

  2. LB says:

    Trip #1! You will get to see all your friends and family, which will keep your costs low, and you get to see Denver, CO πŸ™‚ (A little biased since I live in CO lol) I think seeing all your friends and family would be worth the extra gas though. Bringing your dog with or not, would be up to you. I would absolutely love to bring my dog with everywhere I travel, but I know some friends and family wouldn’t care to have her in their home and like you said, the trip will be in July and really hot.

    • SS4BC says:

      Hahah, I think that no matter what I’ll end up in Colorado. It is just a question of which way I get there. Whether from central California over to Colorado or from southern California to New Mexico up to Colorado.

      The other thing to keep in mind is that I’ll be in San Diego in June for a wedding, so I don’t NEED to go back the next month. Also, I’ll see my grandma in November. Which is why I’m a little more okay cutting those two legs out.

  3. I hope you do stop in Colorado – it is wonderful here.

  4. I LOVE roadtrips!

    I think you should visit the NP in Southern Utah. Zion is one of my favorite places in the country. Bryce Canyon and Arches are great too.

    I would check into the restrictions on dogs in the parks though – that might help you make up your mind on that front. I know that you can’t take dogs hiking in the parks in Washington here.

    • SS4BC says:

      I actually visited Bryce/Zion/Arches in 2009, which is why I didn’t include it. But I LOVED them and would definitely want to go again.

  5. Red says:

    Have I mentioned that I am jealous, jealous, jealous right now? I was just talking to Mr. Red about a road trip last night and how I would love to go on a cross country trip alone or with a girlfriend. JEALOUS!

    I would rent a car. That’s a lot of wear and tear to put on your car, especially if it’s at 120,000 miles. Mine’s almost at 70,000 miles, and I think I’d still probably rent. Of course, there’s something about having your own car with you on a trip like that… And saving $400! πŸ˜‰

    Every route looks great! I don’t know about bringing the dog, just because you wouldn’t be able to take him on hikes, like you said. And someone else pointed out that some friends and family might not be too keen on letting a dog stay over… Just something to think about. If you’d get too lonely, you can always take ole Red with you… o.O I’m just sayin’, I take myself to the bathroom. If you do decide to leave him, I think you should totally ask Mr. Hive. Save some dough on boarding him. Cannot wait to hear what you decide!


  6. Ok, I’m way glad I found this. You look like you’ve got an awesome trip planned! I wish I had the vacation time for such a trip this summer.
    As for yellowstone, you cant miss it. I went for the first time 2 years ago, and it was amazing. As long as you’re up there, though, you need to stop at grand teton national park. It’s nowhere near as big, and it wont cost you anything (a 1 week pass to both parks costs 25 dollars). The tetons are amazing, and there’s quite a few good and relatively easy trails you can take out there. The picture on the header of my blog is actually from the grand teton national park ( signal mountain, if you’re curious). Oh, and because you’re going back to salt lake city, you can stop at fossil butte national monument (it’s near kemmerer, WY). It’s a pretty awesome place as well. As for the dog, it wont get too hot up there as it stays fairly cool, but national park policy says you have to have them on a 6 or 8 foot leash. What I did was bring a rope to tie it between 2 trees, then put the leash on that. That way the dog wasnt confined to just 6 feet of movement. (also in wyoming, I think you’ll go through a small town called meeteesee. There’s an ex rodeo cowboy there who started a chocolate shop, and his chocolates are amazing.)
    As for utah, that state is amazing! There are so many national parks in eastern utah – arches is amazing, but dogs are absolutely not allowed there (it’s because of unique soil conditions) – so your pup would have to stay in the car. Also, it’s difficult to get a campsite in the park at arches, but there is a lot of BLM land that you can camp on. When I was there, I got a nice spot across from the colorado river. Also in utah is Canyonlands national park (very big place) capitol reef national park (amazing, and great camping – usually not crowded either). I didnt make it to bryce canyon or zions, but I hear they are great.
    In colorado, you’ll also go by great sand dunes park – it’s pretty cool as well, and if you amend your route a bit, you can see the black canyon of the gunnison – it is simply amazing, and an easy one to take with the dog, as there’s no hiking (you need a permit, which are difficult to get ,and you have to hire a donkey team to take your belongings into the canyon).
    With option 1, there’s teddy roosevelt national park in north dakota – it’s a nice place, but i’m rather fond of that president, so I was pretty happy with it. Other than that, it’s just regular north dakota badlands country – it may not be worth seeing.
    If you want any suggestions for stops in wyoming, drop me an email, i’ll be happy to give you more out-of-the way places!
    Enjoy your trip.

  7. My road trip last summer (although shortened from the cross-country extravaganza I planned) was absolutely amazing! πŸ™‚ I would highly recommend you do one of these, although they all sound great and I cannot help you pick between them. I’m not doing anything in July. Just sayin’. πŸ™‚ Hahahahaha.

  8. Laura says:

    This is something that I would love to do….eventually, but had no idea how to even begin to plan, so this post (and the comments) are really helpful! πŸ™‚

  9. I love road trips! Though… If you can afford it, I’d rent. That’s A LOT of mileage for one car and depending on how old your car is… That’s a pretty rough trip for it. I’d go for trip 2. Mostly because it’s less stops and less distance which means you could potentially spend more time at each location.

  10. Mercedes says:

    I think trip #1 sounds the best. Like you said, how much longer are you going to be able to just decide to take a jaunt around the US? If I had family and friends that lived all over the place I would total decide to do something like this! but allas other than my mom and dad who live here near me, the rest of my extended family all live within an hour of each other (aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins) and even college buddies, most still live within two hours of there. So not much of a road trip! Take advantage of it while you can!

    Also, as far as gas mileage, when you get on an open highway that gas mileage will most like going up to the mid or high 30’s.. Not too much of a difference, but would cut back on the gas costs somewhat.

    • SS4BC says:

      The 30mpg is what my car gets on highways, since I drove it from San Diego to the Midwest 3 years ago. It only gets around 23 in city. 😦

  11. Miss Molls says:

    Yay for Wyoming being in all three trips!! That’s where I am from and it is lovely!! If you’re driving over the Big Horns you might stop at the Medicine Wheel. I haven’t ever been there, but I’ve heard it is pretty neat. Here’s a website I just found on it – If you drive up to Montana from Cody, you can take the Chief Joseph Highway and the Beartooth Hwy/Hwy 212 – both have some AMAZING views – I mean out of this world beautiful!!

    Red Lodge, Montana is a really cool little ski town with a great downtown. It has an awesome candy store straight out of the wild west with all the candy being housed in big ol’ keg barrels. And the movie theater is pretty sweet – it’s got some super comfy couches to relax on. If you’re into mountain biking, I think the ski hill is open in the summer and rents out bikes. Southeast of town there’s a restaurant that does pig races a few days a week. Just google “Pig Races Red Lodge” and you’ll find it. It’s pretty entertaining.

    It looks like you might drive through Thermopolis too – What a great little town!! The Thermopolis hot springs are pretty cool. There’s a water park there that’s pretty nice. I prefer just walking around and looking at the neat formations the hot springs make, but if you’re there when it’s hot, the pool feels pretty good! They also have a wax museum and a dinosaur museum that you should check out. Both are definitely worth exploring! And then if you drive south out of Thermop towards Shoshoni you’ll go through the Wind River Canyon – possibly one of the neatest drives I’ve ever taken. The rock formations are spectacular!

    Hope you have fun!!

  12. I think there’s some wanderlust in the air… We definitely do have to try to meet up somewhere. Though I don’t think my road trip will wind up being quite so outdoorsy. Not my style!

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  14. Andrea says:

    This sounds really really really cool, I’ve been dying to go on a road-trip myself but I’ve never had ‘the balls’ to just go by myself and here you are planning to do just that!

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