Cross-Country Road Trip Itinerary 2.0: 3 Months of Car Camping!

A follow-up to my initial cross-country road trip plans. Been thinking about this a little bit more and I figure, yes, three months is the right length. Maybe 3.5. I mean, if I don’t suffer due to the length and squalor, I haven’t really accomplished what I set out to do, right? Which brings me to my list of secret trip goals:

  • Suffer.
  • Learn how to enjoy the suffering.

Ultimately, and this is rational self talking here whom I should reference often during the trip (and I’ll need to create a list of dicta to ensure this), I need this trip to be memorable and educational more than I need it to be enjoyable. ‘Course, I’m hoping it’s all those.

I should mention I don’t actually know when I’m going to get around to doing this, but my new itinerary assumes a spring departure from Southern California. I think I’d like to do it in spring-summer rather than summer-fall. I just like spring better as seasons go. But if for whatever reason I don’t end up starting in CA, that could change the optimal start date. Like, if I were to be leaving from Seattle, I’d want it to be the middle of summer so I don’t freeze to death in Oregon. Freezing to death in Montana would be cool, but Oregon? No thank you.


  • Death Valley NP
  • Grand Staircase-Escalante NM
  • Glen Canyon NRA- Lake Powell
  • Chaco Culture NHP
  • White Sands NM
  • Roswell
  • Carlsbad Caverns NP
  • Big Bend NP
  • Fredericksburg
  • San Antonio – Alamo
  • New Orleans
  • Vicksburg NMP
  • Everglades NP
  • Key West
  • Charleston – Ft. Sumter NM
  • Cape Hatteras NS
  • Kitty Hawk
  • Great Smoky Mountains NP
  • Mammoth Cave NP
  • Shenandoah NP
  • Monticello
  • USMC Museum (Quantico)
  • Ft. McHenry NM
  • NYC
  • Acadia NP
  • White Mountain NF
  • Adirondacks
  • Niagara Falls
  • USAF Museum (Wright-Patterson)
  • Pictured Rocks NL
  • Chicago
  • St. Louis Arch
  • Chippewa NF
  • Teddy Roosevelt NP
  • Badlands NP
  • Mt. Rushmore NM
  • Devil’s Tower NM
  • Yellowstone NP
  • Glacier NP
  • Columbia River Gorge
  • Oregon Coast
  • Crater Lake NP
  • Redwood NP
  • Lassen Volcanic NP
  • Yosemite NP
  • Monterey – Central Coast

For the sake of explaining a couple stops up there — I am kind of hoping to crash at the domiciles of friends and family members. I also worry that there are 47 stops listed above and 91 or 92 days to hit them — meaning it’s more programmed than not programmed, especially when you consider travel times. I could probably drop the Everglades-Key West leg, although those are both places within the USA that I’d like to visit.

Also should mention that the above itinerary was based on the thought of hitting all 47 legitimate US states and commonwealths.

Also, I mentioned before staying off interstates altogether. I still want to do that, but I’m guessing that intra-metro area travel would suck beyond reason if pursued off-interstate.

So: if anyone out there has any thoughts on this go-round, please lmk.




  • HC12

    My POV: you could always extend your trip to, say, 91, 92, or even 93 (crazy) days and visit the Keys too–why let time limit what you want to do? Joy must come from the trip and not just from planning it. Quoting the great Dusty Bottoms, “sometimes you can over plan these things”. [My prior “Three Amigos” reference was edited out of the published comments and so I’m crossing my fingers on this one.]

  • bkdunn

    Well, right now I’m planning on three calendar months rather than 90 days. So if I left in March, it’d be 92, but if I left in April, only 91.

    Also, I get an inordinate amount of satisfaction out of planning and considering possibilities. I mean, sure, having done the trip will be bigger than having planned it, but — I like planning sometimes. And hopefully the above list isn’t, in fact, over-planning. And if I eliminate Key West, maybe that will help ensure such.

    Mal sehen was wird.

  • AsH

    Hiking Half-Dome in Yosemite? I might be able to go. Let me know the date ASAP so I can put it on my calendar.

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