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View Full Version : Should I go on a grandiose hippie road trip?



XYlophonetreeZ
03-10-2012, 03:21 AM
I've always had a great deal of wanderlust, but I've never acted on it very much. This has led to a bad case of, well, let's call it "traveler's blue balls." I've also always had a fascination with obscure places (http://atlasobscura.com/). I think it's time to get out of the old armchair and take ye pilgrimage to, uh, wherever.

I have lived in the same area for my whole life and haven't traveled very much as an adult. Some people here may recall that I went to Nicaragua- and an obscure (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ometepe) part of it, for that matter- when I was 21, and that was awesome. I went to Montreal later that year, which isn't obscure* but I still had a good time, even though most of my good times heavily involved food and alcohol. The job that I currently have has allowed me to explore some delightful, disturbing, and strange places on the Gulf coast from Louisiana to Florida, but it's been about 4 months since they've flown me down there.

Now is as good a time as any for me to indulge, I'd like to think. My job now has me working from home. I get paid by the hour and all I need is my work-issued computer. I have plenty of work to do, but my deadlines are all pretty manageable, and the shit isn't gonna really hit the fan until June/July.

The plan, as of now, is a cross-country road trip completely on my own terms. I mapped out some vague route on Google Maps, which I might post if people are interested. Basically it'd be about 9,000 miles. I'd work while I'm on the trip. I'd just make sure I get to a town and set up my computer in a coffee shop or library, work a solid 8 hours, and then either explore that town and stay the night, or else move on and get on the road. I'm expecting the trip to take a little over a month. Here are some more reasons why I think I'm gonna do this.


I have an old '95 Toyota Camry that already has next to no value, but it still runs pretty well. I'm already prepared to buy a new car in the next couple of years. If it breaks down in South Dakota, I'll buy a new car there.
I can make back most of the trip's expenses.
I'm going alone, but I have friends on the way that I can crash with. Not everywhere, obviously, but enough nights so that I don't go broke.
Going alone allows me to sate my weirdo hippie fascinations and go to places no one else gives a shit about like Elko, Nevada.
I get to meet people all over the place and impress them with my life pwnage skillz. "Yeah man, I'm totally living a dream right now, but I'm like, getting PAID, man."
Meeting people all over the place is reason enough on its own.
Assuming I succeed in nearly breaking even financially, I can take a real vacation outside the country after I finish my biggest assignments in July/August.
I'm about 95% sure I'm done living in my hometown. There's not much left here for me, and my lease expires at the end of May. This is a good opportunity to scout out other areas to live.
I've already told enough people about this grandiose hippie idea that I'd feel like a pussy if I backed out.


Reasons not to do it:

Obviously, time. I'm gonna want to do shit when I'm traveling and I'm gonna have to work a lot of the time.
I'm gonna take pictures, and I'm facebook friends with my boss. I already told him on the phone that I "might go to Texas for a week or so, but would still be working full-time" and he completely didn't care, but still... it's a weird idea. I really don't think it will affect my productivity, but it's obviously not a normal thing to do when working full-time.
Um, I'll let you guys come up with the rest. I feel like it's a dumb idea because I'm usually not prone to things this unconventional


So go on. What do you all think? Anyone got a couch I can crash on?

*Actually, the drive up to Montreal is obscure as fuck. I felt like I was going to the North Pole or something. The road is completely straight, like the Canadians are trying to put you to sleep, and there are old outlet shops with decade-old ads on the exterior for Pokémon and Beanie Babies. I was freaked out.

Isolated Fury
03-10-2012, 07:07 AM
I know you said about 9,000 miles, but how many days would it be since you're stopping to work?

I kinda like this idea. It's a mixture of an irresponsible, spontaneous decision with a well though out, planned vacation. You're right that working every day you're on the road would be tiring, but I don't think it would affect you. From what I've been able to tell, you're a sensible and principled person. A measly little eight hour workday ain't shit.

The only thing I'm worried about is that you're alone. A lot can happen on a long trip like that. I know it cuts down on drama and lets you go wherever you want to, but sometimes a second person is worth taking. Changing a tire at night, reading a map (lol who uses maps nemore?), generally keeping you sane - all good things. This is definitely something that takes a lot of thought and preparation. I hope other people have more insightful responses than mine.

Oh, and if you manage to be driving through PA, try to get your car to shit the bed in the western part. Then hit up my digits, and buy a car off of this mofo.

Llamas
03-10-2012, 07:24 AM
I definitely, 100% think you should do it. And in terms of places to stay, seriously, any hippie traveler needs to get involved with couch surfing (http://www.couchsurfing.org/). I couch surfed once in Dublin and met this awesome hippie Irish chick and her hippie friends. I've also started hosting here in Ljubljana - I've hosted now 4 times - and it's been an awesome experience. Make a profile, search for the places you're heading, and start requesting couches. And if you're curious, one of the people I hosted writes a fairly awesome travel blog, and she wrote a pretty good post "Couchsurfing: Tips for Beginners" (http://www.ofrevolt.com/2012/02/couchsurfing-tips-for-beginners.html)

And why don't people understand Facebook still? ;) Put your boss and anyone else that might share the photos with him in a particular list, and then don't make your photos visible to those people.

Otherwise, Isolated Fury makes a good point about bringing someone else along on such a long trip. Any longer than a week, and I think it's important to have someone else with you. However, it's also hard to find someone who has the time and money for such a trip.

Isolated Fury
03-10-2012, 07:28 AM
Aw man, couchsurfing is SUCH a good idea. Treez, you've got to do this now. With a friend. Haha

personal_loans_1
03-10-2012, 01:44 PM
Yep, couchsurfing brings me back faith in human race.

And I think having someone to meet at the end of you daily portion of the road is more important than having someone with you on the road, though it'd be cool if you'd find someone like that. Go, because you have everything you need, and even if that's not going to be trip of your life you'd regret it if you wouldn't try.

KickHimWhenHe'sDown
03-10-2012, 04:42 PM
I'd offer you a couch in Canada, but then you'd need to drive one of those ridiculously straight roads.

XYlophonetreeZ
03-10-2012, 09:48 PM
I know you said about 9,000 miles, but how many days would it be since you're stopping to work?
I've actually got the hours planned out to a T! More on that later.


I kinda like this idea. It's a mixture of an irresponsible, spontaneous decision with a well though out, planned vacation.
Ha! That's a great description, actually. Though I prefer to think of it as living on the road for a while rather than a vacation.


Oh, and if you manage to be driving through PA, try to get your car to shit the bed in the western part. Then hit up my digits, and buy a car off of this mofo.
Bah! Unfortunately PA isn't on my map. I know, can't go everywhere. The Northeast isn't too conducive to a cross-country road trip when you're starting in North Carolina. For reals though, I've never been to west PA and it would be cool to go. And I'll let you know if my car breaks down regardless :)


I definitely, 100% think you should do it. And in terms of places to stay, seriously, any hippie traveler needs to get involved with couch surfing (http://www.couchsurfing.org/). I couch surfed once in Dublin and met this awesome hippie Irish chick and her hippie friends. I've also started hosting here in Ljubljana - I've hosted now 4 times - and it's been an awesome experience. Make a profile, search for the places you're heading, and start requesting couches. And if you're curious, one of the people I hosted writes a fairly awesome travel blog, and she wrote a pretty good post "Couchsurfing: Tips for Beginners" (http://www.ofrevolt.com/2012/02/couchsurfing-tips-for-beginners.html)
Yeah, I've definitely considered couchsurfing. Sounds like it would suit my purposes on this trip. I'll probably create a profile tonight. I have a budget for hotel rooms in case it doesn't work out every night (and I'm talking, like, the type of place that Guy Pearce stayed in Memento). And I have some Holiday Inn points so I'll save those for a fun night.


And why don't people understand Facebook still? ;) Put your boss and anyone else that might share the photos with him in a particular list, and then don't make your photos visible to those people.Yeah, that's what I'll probably do. Honestly, I'd rather tell him the truth. I get along with him well and I think there's about an 80% chance he'd be totally cool with it, but I'll just be crushed if he isn't.


Otherwise, Isolated Fury makes a good point about bringing someone else along on such a long trip. Any longer than a week, and I think it's important to have someone else with you. However, it's also hard to find someone who has the time and money for such a trip.Well, like I said, I have several friends who I'm going to meet up with on the way. And the couchsurfing should help me meet people. I agree it would be nice if I had a travel companion I could pull out of my ass, but sadly I do not. I'd love to wait until someone could go with me, but the timing is sort of the main reason why I decided on this now.


I'd offer you a couch in Canada, but then you'd need to drive one of those ridiculously straight roads.
*shudder*

Nah, just kidding. Canada's not on my route either. Wish I could go, but I can't hit everywhere.

I actually think I can increase my productivity on the road. I can work about 50 hours a week, I think. Gonna buy some kind of mobile broadband device so I can work anywhere. I'm dividing my hours into 4 categories: work, driving, sleep, and other shenanigans. Obviously the trip wouldn't be worth it if I didn't have enough time for the "other shenanigans" category. Here's how I see my hours right now.

Work: 50 hours a week, or 29.8% of total time. I'm being generous with this- sometimes my workload can be unpredictable, so naturally if I don't have to do this much work then I'll just redistribute it under Other Shenanigans.
Driving: Google Maps says about 170 hours, so I'll give it 180 to be safe. Percentage depends on length of trip.
Sleep: I don't want to fall asleep at the wheel so I'm thinking I'll average a strict 7 hours a night, or 29.2% of total time
Other Shenanigans: Any less than 3 hours a day (or 12.5% of the time) and it ain't worth it.

I've settled on 5 weeks as a good length for the trip. This permits me to spend a whopping 19.6% of the time on other shenanigans. I still need to figure out the precise schedule, but I've got my basic route planned out. I'm hoping to end up in some nice looking places on weekends because I'll have time to be adventurous and go hiking. Other than that I'm just hoping to meet people and have fun exploring cities. Looking to leave around the end of March. It's actually looking likely that I'll go now!

Finally, I'd honestly appreciate it if someone would tell me that this is a retarded idea. I came up with this idea because I just wanted to take advantage of my flexible work situation in the most awesome way possible, but maybe there's a reason not to do it that I'm missing.

Little_Miss_1565
03-10-2012, 09:52 PM
I love road trips, so I would say if you can swing it $-wise and have friends to meet up with for shenaniganry along the way, do it.

XYlophonetreeZ
03-14-2012, 12:00 AM
So it looks like this is actually going to happen, and I may even have a friend joining me from Dallas onward! Leaving around the end of this month, and I don't even have to be back for about 40 days. I'm gonna do a mid-way evaluation of my trip (Texas probably) to decide whether I want to use the extra 5 days and where to spend them.

So. How well do those MiFi/Mobile broadband things work? Does anyone have any experience with them? Any specific recommendations? If I'm not able to access the Internet (securely) from some coffee shop in the middle of Bumblefuck USA, I'm kind of fucked.

Little_Miss_1565
03-14-2012, 03:20 AM
Verizon's 4G mobile hotspot is stupid fast.

XYlophonetreeZ
03-14-2012, 10:55 PM
Awesome, I'm hitting up Best Buy tomorrow.

I may write some little blog thing with updates each night, but the entries will probably be really short. I don't want to spend too much time on it.

Here's my schedule for now, so you all can have a "Where's Dr. Treez?" reference and stalk me:

Leaving from Raleigh, NC on 3/30
3/30: Atlanta, GA (have several friends there)
3/31: Cedar Key, FL (just supposed to be a really nice small town, almost got to go there for work but didn't)
4/1: Naples, FL (my grandma lives there!)
4/2: Big Pine Key, FL (taking a SCUBA certification class! Also have a friend there)
4/3: Big Pine Key, FL (decided to spend an extra night there)
4/4: Miami, FL (another friend)
4/5: Orlando, FL (I have a friend who works at Disney World, lolz.)
4/6: Orlando, FL (Hey, it's a weekend. I can have some fun.)
4/7: Tallahassee, FL (Am considering moving there, would be a likely destination for me if I get hired permanently with my company)
4/8: New Orleans, LA (Been there a bunch of times, but it's fun and I know people there)
4/9: Austin, TX (This'll be a long day of driving, but more friends are in Austin including one that might join me)
4/10: Austin, TX (As good a place as any to use one of my extra nights)
4/11: San Antonio, TX (Not too far from Austin, but another friend lives there)
4/12: El Paso, TX (Nothing really here, but there's absolutely nothing for a while in Texas and this is a good place to stop)
4/13: Las Cruces, NM (I'm interested in this part of the country, don't ask why)
4/14: Nogales, AZ (Supposed to be a beautiful and culturally interesting border town. I'm hoping for kickass Mexican food.)
4/15: Ajo, AZ (Again, don't ask why. It is near some wildlife refuge that could be interesting)
4/16: San Diego, CA (Always wanted to go here)
4/17: San Diego, CA (Worth an extra night)
4/18: Los Angeles, CA (Never been, and have a friend here)
4/19: Paso Robles, CA (Gonna drive up Big Sur, have a friend here as well)
4/20: Napa, CA (Been to SF and we'll drive through there, but never been here)
4/21: Truckee, CA (An old hippie town in eastern CA. Should be fun)
4/22: Carson City, NV (Just gives us a chance to drive around Lake Tahoe and maybe check it out)
4/23: Battle Mountain, NV (This place got named "The Armpit of America" in the Washington Post. Since I doubt there's anything much better nearby, I figured I should see for myself)
4/24: Jackson, WY (my friend told me about a hostel I can stay here)
4/25: Casper, WY (I know nothing about this place, but it won't be a bad place to chill in a coffeeshop and work)
4/26: Rapid City, SD (Ditto)
4/27: Sioux City, IA (Ditto)
4/28: Iowa City, IA (My other grandma lives here!)
4/29: Chicago, IL (Lots of friends and family here)
4/30: Chicago, IL (May as well use another night here)
5/1: Green Bay, WI (I'm going up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan so it's a logical place to stop)
5/2: Marquette, MI (Always been curious about this barren wasteland up here. Just another obscure place to check out)
5/3: Sleeping Bear Dunes, MI (I recently saw that some travel magazine named this the most beautiful place in America, and it looks like it might have a case)
5/4: Owensboro, KY (My longest driving day on the whole trip. 10 hours or so. But there's absolutely nothing I want to see in Indiana or Ohio. Plus Owensboro is known for its unique regional BBQ style)
5/5: Chattanooga, TN (Supposed to be a Mecca for outdoors enthusiasts. I'm not sure why, so I want to see for myself).
5/6: Asheville, NC (Allegedly a really cool town and I've somehow never been! It's so close to me, that's inexcusable. Perfect way to end my trip.)
5/7: Raleigh, NC (Home in time for my brother's graduation, which is the only thing I need to be home for)

T-6005
03-15-2012, 12:18 AM
Glad you're doing this. It seems to be an American rite of passage which has shrunk with the increasing homogenization of the consumer state. It makes me sad as a foreigner, and I'm glad you're boldly going where others have gone before.

Isolated Fury
03-15-2012, 04:23 PM
I don't know whether you should go, but if you do go, would you be so kind as to post some photos for our benefit? Preferably in that thread, for ease of reference.
I actually feel the same way... Weird. But don't post them while you're road tripping. Focus on your shenanigans before the BBS. Haha


4/2: Big Pine Key, FL (taking a SCUBA certification class! Also have a friend there)
4/3: Big Pine Key, FL (decided to spend an extra night there)
This doesn't seem like a big enough town to spend more than one night at. Is this a booty call?! Is this what this whole trip is about?! Treez's immoral sex marathon?!

If it is, I approve.

Isolated Fury
03-15-2012, 04:24 PM
Also... every time I read this thread, I get Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Road Tripping" stuck in my head.

Llamas
03-15-2012, 04:45 PM
4/26: Rapid City, SD (Ditto)
4/27: Sioux City, IA (Ditto)
4/28: Iowa City, IA (My other grandma lives here!)
4/29: Chicago, IL (Lots of friends and family here)
4/30: Chicago, IL (May as well use another night here)


I'd skip SD altogether and Sioux City, honestly. If you're looking for somewhere to stop in that region, there are WAY better options in Minnesota - some of the nicest places in the Midwest.

Edit:


Also... every time I read this thread, I get Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Road Tripping" stuck in my head.
If I went on a giant road trip like this, I'd probably listen to that song and this one (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjta4AKnHP0&ob=av2e), constantly until I was entirely sick of them.

XYlophonetreeZ
03-15-2012, 05:02 PM
I actually feel the same way... Weird. But don't post them while you're road tripping. Focus on your shenanigans before the BBS. Haha


This doesn't seem like a big enough town to spend more than one night at. Is this a booty call?! Is this what this whole trip is about?! Treez's immoral sex marathon?!

If it is, I approve.
:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

Actually I just think the class is going to start early in the morning so I'd rather make the drive from Naples the night before that. And then it's a 2-day class.

I doubt I'll post many pics on the BBS since most people won't care and I don't want to flood this place, but I might link to some as-of-yet-nonexistent blog.


I'd skip SD altogether and Sioux City, honestly. If you're looking for somewhere to stop in that region, there are WAY better options in Minnesota - some of the nicest places in the Midwest.
Hard to skip SD if you're coming from the west and want to end up in Minnesota.:D Only thing about Minnesota is that it's not very conducive to ending up in Iowa City, where I have some family. I suppose there's a possibility of skipping it, and then I could snake around the southern end of Lake Michigan and hit Chicago after Michigan instead.

I'm glad I'm going to SD. What's a road trip without some desolate wasteland?

Llamas
03-15-2012, 05:06 PM
Hard to skip SD if you're coming from the west and want to end up in Minnesota.:D Only thing about Minnesota is that it's not very conducive to ending up in Iowa City, where I have some family. I suppose there's a possibility of skipping it, and then I could snake around the southern end of Lake Michigan and hit Chicago after Michigan instead.

I'm glad I'm going to SD. What's a road trip without some desolate wasteland?

I meant skipping SD as in, stopping there for more than a pee and a burger ;) And I'm pretty sure I 35 goes pretty much directly from the twin cities to Iowa City? I think I 35 takes you like 90% of the way there, and then before you get to Des Moines, you hang a left and take another highway another 50 miles or so. I've made that drive before (to visit RickyCrack back in the day, yo). I sang the Iowa Song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyeY0hWU28I) the entire time. Was splendid.