Steve & Deb's Cross-Country Adventure - Planning

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Steve

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Our youngest daughter graduated from high school this past spring, and on September 18th, we will be taking her to Seattle for college. Heading out (from Ohio) will be a straight through Interstate trip. Coming back will be exploring as many out-of-the-way places as we can find for anywhere from two weeks to two months.

After this trip, our plans are to spend long vacations exploring the US, going to places where other folks don’t, as I hate crowds in general, and especially on vacations. We want to get to those out-of-the-way places that don’t necessarily *require* an offroad vehicle, but having one makes the trip more enjoyable, such as dirt and gravel roads, forest roads, easy trails, etc. Of course I want the ride to be comfortable getting there on the endless miles of highways, too.

We’ve been watching a TV show on The Smithsonian Channel called Aerial America. Each episode covers a different state, filmed entirely from the air. It covers historic, geological, and cultural sites, making each state more enticing than the last. I’ve watched with my tablet in my lap, looking up especially interesting sites, and bookmarking them for possible visits. I think we have close to 100 bookmarks now, so we have plenty of places to visit over the next years!

We are still debating on what our westbound route will be. Since it will be the quicker, less adventuresome trip, I don't want to take one that will go through areas we want to explore coming back. But then, our return trip will be meandering, so we might end up going through some of the same areas in both direction. I'm thinking heading out on the highlighted route, and then wander across the upper two tiers of states on our return. We don't plan to go as far south as California, Colorado, Utah, etc. this trip, as each of them could take weeks or months on their own.

Suggestions on places to visit (or avoid) are welcome. We'll be using Roadside America and Trail Damage in our planning, as well as the previously mentioned Aerial America bookmarks.



The "build" portion of our planning has been documented in this thread --> CLICK ME

If you want to follow along on our upcoming cross-country trip, follow or like one (or all) of these social media accounts:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ExploringTheUSA
Twitter: https://twitter.com/exploringtheusa
Instagram: https://instagram.com/explore_the_usa/
 
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SLO Rob

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This looks like a very fun trip. I'd still recommend dipping down into Colorado for some elevation, but you're right, you may want to save it for a separate run altogether. Aerial America is great! That's very cool that inspired you to see some of the locations...
 

deeker

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I'm with you on the trip home - especially the last bit. When I get close to home I just want to get home. Bee-line straight for the driveway!
Take advantage of the time you have to wander around on the way home. You may not have the chance to explore some of those areas again for a while, with Colorado and Utah on the list of places to see.
 

Steve

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We went away for Labor Day weekend, and my mother-in-law ended up in hospital with pneumonia, so I haven't been on here in awhile. Lots of new folks, and everyone has been busy! We now have just a week to get ready, so right now I'm at the Subaru dealer getting an oil change, and a good going over for anything looking dodgey. Then on the way home I'm picking up a new Interstate battery, as mine is still the original from 2008. It might be OK, but I'd rather start out knowing I've got a new one. Especially with the LED light brand inverter added to the system.
 

Robert OB 33/48

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Hello Steve,

Well, I will folow your journey here and on Instagram. Looking forward to see all those beautiful places.
Think its awesome to drive such a distance in just one country. Here in Europe you will have done at least 5 or more countries by then.
Go for it.

Greetings from Robert
 

Steve

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One week until we leave! Today I had the local Subaru dealer change oil, and give the car a good looking over before taking off. Then I got a new Interstate battery to replace the OEM one, since we will probably getting into some colder weather.

I removed the Thule rack with two kayak mounts, two bike racks, and the ARB awning, and got ready to mount the OEM cross-bars with the Yakima RoadWarrior with extension, ARB awning, and LED light bar. But after the super solid Thule mount, I just wasn't confident with all that weight up there on the OEM cross-bars.

So I ordered a set of additional Thule mounts and bars to mount the basket configuration. An additional expense, but I won't have to go through the time consuming adjustments to get everything all square and lined up several times a year.

Meanwhile, it looks weird naked!

 
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Wooohoo! Almost time! I'm excited for you guys! It's been fun over the months watching as you prepare for the journey!
 

SLO Rob

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I bet you're chomping at the bit. This will be really interesting to follow. Your Subie is perfect for your trip and you have it all dialed in. Looking forward @Steve !
 

Steve

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We leave tomorrow! I don't feel the least bit ready. Who knew it took so much non-school related stuff to go to college!

We will be taking off around 1:00 PM, so we don't have to rush the final loading in the morning to get through Chicago before rush hour. We'll mosey along, and take the southern route on the map above, through Iowa. We'll stop somewhere around Davenport the first night.

Then up to South Dakota, and spend a day wandering around what we can get to in a reasonable time. At least Mount Rushmore. Then on toward Seattle.

I'll post a photo tomorrow just before we head out on the road.