Sadly, our amazing 9 week adventure across the United States is over… for now. While we settle back into our hometown, here are some of the best stats and tips from our trip:
We traveled: 12,730 miles (a smidge over our estimated 8,000. not only did we grossly underestimate the hundreds of miles traveled in parks, but we went 1,200 miles out of our way to Texas and Louisiana when the parks closed.)
Gas mileage: 27.2 mpg
Parks visited: 12.25 National Parks and dozens of Forest and State Parks (I’m only counting 1/4 of Death Valley since it was closed.)
Parks we missed due to the Government Shutdown: 6 National Parks (Joshua Tree, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Canyonlands, and Arches)
Nights we tent camped: 17
Nights we slept in the car at a Walmart parking lot: 17 (two of those nights were actually rest stops)
Nights we slept in the car at a campground: 12 (pitiful, I know, but this was mostly due to cold or rainy weather, sometimes bears.)
Nights indoors with friends or family: 13
Most expensive gas price: $5.38 (just outside of Death Valley in the Mojave Desert, CA)
Cheapest gas price: $2.89 (in St. Louis, MO. but we didn’t fill up in Texas, where I think gas was as cheap as $2.50)
States we visited: 22 (only states we missed West of the Mississippi: Kansas, Oklahoma, and North Dakota)
Weight of our supplies and sleeping platform in the car: 400 pounds
Number of tickets we got: 0 (although we were pulled over once in Minneapolis for driving on a bus-only road. I blame it on poor signage.)
Number of bears we saw: 4 (two safely from the road, two semi-safely while hiking, zero while camping)
Number of oil changes: 2 synthetic (one in Casper, one in Colorado Springs)
Did we stay on budget? YES! (And we’re happy to dish out tips on how to camp across the country for 9 weeks under $3,000.)
We researched and planned our car camper for months, and it paid off because our systems worked out even better than we could’ve ever anticipated. It wasn’t hard at all to stay organized and clean, allowing maximum time for exploring.
Later this week, I’ll post a picture of our anticipated route versus our actual route. See photos of our car/camper organization below.
Sleeping platform with Thermarest sleeping pads, sleeping bags, and pillows on top. 4 storage containers below: 1 for clyde’s clothes, 1 for my clothes, and 2 for kitchen and miscellaneous supplies.
we used the notebook to keep track of every single expense we encountered. kept separate records for gas, food, and camping fees. Our calendar was right on track until the parks shut down, then the route and timing went out the door. But it was good to have so I could quickly note what we did and where we slept each day.
our trusty Atlas was so mangled by the end of the trip! we highlighted all the roads we traveled and used it to verify that Google maps wasn’t leading us astray.
miscellaneous storage: body wipes, bags, bug spray, cleaning wipes, paper towels, toilet paper, small candles, charging cords, batter powered fan, laundry detergent. we bought a pack of 16 small tea light candles on the road when it started getting dark earlier. we should’ve bought one big citronella candle. live and learn.
“kitchen” container: pots, skillets, spices, cups, kabob sticks, camp stove. propane, dish soap and dish towels. we didn’t need the measuring cups.
miscellaneous items stored in pockets of the car: 5 gallon water jug, solar charging lantern, 2.5 gallon water jug, extension cord, bear spray, flash light, rope, shovel (for burying things…), denim curtains for the car, first aid kit
tent, camp chairs, camp table, blankets, and water jugs (almost 7 gallons of water total. we only ran out once when the parks were closed because we had trouble finding places to fill them up.)