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Help two novice travelers with the trip of a lifetime!

Washington DC...
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Help two novice travelers with the trip of a lifetime!

I apologize for the length of my inquiry in advance, ill try to keep it as brutally short and informative as I possible.

us: We are a couple both 22 traveling from Washington D.C. to the west coast with absolutely no restrictions. (By no restrictions I mean no time constraints in certain cities or travel routes we must stick to.)

goal: To see as much of this beautiful country as we can-ultimately ending up on the west coast where we will make our way up the coast living in various towns and cities until we find our new home. Cliche I know, but nevertheless our minds are made up. DC is no longer for us (both recent DMV college graduates.)

Inventory: Our mode of transportation - 2015 Subaru Forester with 2k miles on the clock. Excellent camping gear (Losi 3p tent, thermarest pads and bags). Roughly 30K between the both of us.

Experience: Coming off a recent road trip from D.C. to Maine roughly 3 weeks, camping for the majority of the time.

What we need help with: If you could refer links to good courses and stops along the way, Maybe give us some good cities you think we could live in for a few years. Great camping sites to hit going out west. Must see attractions etc. We are really struggling to map a course. All we have down is chicago, colorado, and of course the entire west coast. What are the best cities to stay in going up the west coast - best campsites etc.

Can't thank you enough for all your help

Cheers-

Sophie & Alex

Wednesbury, UK
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1. Re: Help two novice travelers with the trip of a lifetime!

Hi Sophie and Alex, and welcome to the forum.

You must have a when and for how long in mind. They are vital bits of info, and if your starting now, you gave a bit of a rush on to do the best bits of the northern US.

You say cities, what about the wonderful natural locations you are fortunate to have in your home country?

$30k, I could make last about 3 to 4 months in the US and that is with hotels/motels, camping us going to really stretch that out but camping in the cold will not be fun, and a lot of northern natural not to be missed locations will be out of bounds come October into November.

Lewes, United...
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2. Re: Help two novice travelers with the trip of a lifetime!

Hi

Well, Valiant has given you a nutshell synopsis. I could write a book, but would say very little more!!!

This forum's great for specific travel advice, I'm not sure most of us are too hot on suggestions for liveable cities beyond a US based home town, without a crystal ball into your needs, philosophy of life, etc. However, Seattle always seems to be top of those lists you see in Forbes, etc.

What kind of courses did you have in mind? Zen meditation, self constructed homes, the art of Ikebana?

A long period road trip spanning winter would not be my choice.

SWT

Cleveland
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3. Re: Help two novice travelers with the trip of a lifetime!

The Pacific Northwest is a great place to live if you ignore the risk of earthquakes, tsunamis, and even volcanoes. I'm not kidding. Do some research and check out the U.S. Geological Survey, which, when I last checked, rated the major earthquake risk higher for Seattle than anywhere else in the U.S. Perhaps check out Idaho. Of course, for just a couple years, it might be a fun gamble if you'll have a base and the time to explore the region.

Read through this forum for the last year and the trip report thread at the top of this forum for many of your options and answers to your questions. It would be too time consuming to plan your route for you.

Edited: 20 August 2014, 20:38
Tacoma, Washington
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4. Re: Help two novice travelers with the trip of a lifetime!

earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanos---ohh myyy

Aubrey, Texas
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5. Re: Help two novice travelers with the trip of a lifetime!

Speaking as someone who once took a giant leap toward an unknown future, I admire your gumption in literally getting going on the road to your dreams. As the late famous philosopher Robin Williams said "Carpe diem!"

However, at least a start date is needed for your trip west to get meaningful itinerary advice on this forum. If the timing is immediate, since you have Chicago on your list, you should first research campgrounds and places to see on the way there. This is the sort of trip where you can develop the rest of the itinerary as you move along.

To develop your route with camping and natural beauty in mind, start with the national parks. Here's the NPS link http://www.nps.gov/index.htm State parks also provide good campgrounds. Do a search for the states you might like to visit. Here's the link to Texas state parks http://tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/

Cleveland
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6. Re: Help two novice travelers with the trip of a lifetime!

Dan, perhaps I was a little heavy about the geological risks in the Northwest, but the risks are there.

http://www.wired.com/2008/10/five-us-earthqu/

…nationalgeographic.com/news/…

crew.org/earthquake-information/how-cascadia…

earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/states/…

Any earthquake region has some areas that are more safe than others. Friends of mine in CA carefully researched issues such as liquefaction potential before deciding where to live. Those wanting to live on the Pacific coast also may want to consider tsunami risk.

http://www.ce.washington.edu/~liquefaction/html/what/what1.html

Chevy Chase...
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7. Re: Help two novice travelers with the trip of a lifetime!

Hello, Alexander! Congratulations and sincere good wishes to both of you. Though born in northwest DC and now living in Chevy Chase, I largely grew up on a dairy farm in then quite rural Haymarket. There, I acquired a great respect and liking for a dedicated "vetinary". You did not say whether you plan on caring for large or small animals. Although it is a pure conjecture on my part based on your propensity for the outdoors, I suspect the former.

Mrs Too and I have driven all the way to the Pacific and back twice, and taken two other trips with a western terminus in Minneapolis and Flagstaff Arizona. Within a day or two at most, I will send you a complete itinerary so that, with Mapquest, you can map out a route to use as a starting point.

In the meantime, here are some cities which surprised and delighted us. You might wish to do some online investigation while I work up the rest of my post. McCook Nebraska, Georgetown Kentucky, Beckley, West Virginia, Redding California, The Dalles Oregon. and Salt Lake, Utah

Chapel Hill, North...
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8. Re: Help two novice travelers with the trip of a lifetime!

Utah! You definitely need to visit Utah after Colorado. It is a gorgeous state with everything from snowcapped mountains to desert canyons. Just amazing. Salt Lake City could be a good place to work, depending on your line of work. I don't know DMV, beyond the Department of Motor Vehicles, so not sure what kind of work you might be looking for. If it's just waiting tables, etc, you might check out Moab or Park City, too. Springdale could be fun, but it's so small I don't know if you could find work.

If you haven't ever seen the Grand Canyon you should go there, too. You can work at lots of national parks in the summer and the ones that are open in the winter have jobs, too, but fewer in winter than in summer. Not sure that's what you have in mind, but it could be good for a few months.

Sedona in Arizona, maybe Tucson.

West Coast, from south to north and some just camping places, some you might like to linger: Joshua Tree National Monument, San Diego, LA, San Luis Obispo, Cambria, Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Arcata, Eugene, Portland, Olympia, Seattle.

Aubrey, Texas
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9. Re: Help two novice travelers with the trip of a lifetime!

Predictions of a major earthquake in So Cal have been around since S Francisco 1906. Hasn't happened yet. Choosing where to live based upon inexact "scientific" predictions doesn't seem wise.

Chapel Hill, North...
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10. Re: Help two novice travelers with the trip of a lifetime!

Ahhh...is DMV Doctor of Veterinary Medicine? I couldn't think!