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Anyone done a cross-country drive, roughing it?
Old 06-24-2009, 08:07 PM   #1
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Anyone done a cross-country drive, roughing it?

I absolutely foam at the mouth thinking of getting on a ElderBus and riding with 60 fossils like myself. I want to drive cross country in a van (basic van not RV) and put an Aerobed, some blankets and pillows and a cooler with stuff to consume. Just go. No jocular host or convivial seatmate. I want to eat at White's in Salem, OR, not Denney's on I-90, Denney's on I-80, Denney's on I-74, get the picture.

Has anyone ever done anything similar and are there enough rest stops with showers, facilities, etc to allow for hygienic basics? Or is it destined to be a Day's Inn fest.

I really long for the freedom and rhythm of the highway as it rolls on by, city lights and rolling thru the backwoods.

Am I dreaming of somthing impossible?
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Old 06-24-2009, 08:17 PM   #2
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My friend tells me that Wal-mart has places in their parking lots for RV's to stay over why not see if thats true. You can sleep at all the Wal Marts across the country.
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Old 06-24-2009, 08:21 PM   #3
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Thanks, that is the type of thing I am thinking. Go in get a 6-pack, and some chow, take along a video player, and just let the Wal-Mart provide my motel parking spot.

Appreciate and will try to get some info.

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My friend tells me that Wal-mart has places in their parking lots for RV's to stay over why not see if thats true. You can sleep at all the Wal Marts across the country.
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Old 06-24-2009, 08:28 PM   #4
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Your toughest job will be finding showers. Rest stops don't have them. You will probably need campgrounds for showers. There are two campground guides to very inexpensive campgrounds, one for the east and one for the west. Here is a link to the western one: Amazon.com: Guide To Free Campgrounds-West 13h Edition: Includes Campgrounds $12 And Under In The 17 Western States (Don Wright's Guide to Free Campgrounds Western Edition): Don Wright: Books

The places tend to be out of the way places, often in small towns.
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Old 06-24-2009, 08:37 PM   #5
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Martha, thanks for those links, I suspect that that is gonna determine my route. Even I can't go without my daily shower. And others appreciate my fastidiousness, I'm sure. But I want to die with an West-East passage and an East-West passage under my belt and I'll be darned if it's gonna be posh.

If need be, I'll do the Motel 6, Tom Bodette thing, but I want a rough ride, no sissy stuff. Real Americana cross country. Not Tu Pac/Eminem do La to NY via Escalade with posse.
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Old 06-24-2009, 08:37 PM   #6
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DH tells me of a time when he and his friend lived out of a car for a while (wow, a loooooong time ago!).

They got free showers by going to gyms and pretending to want a tour/getting a free day pass, etc.

Leave it to DH. What a creative man he is!
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Old 06-24-2009, 08:58 PM   #7
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I suppose you could do truck stops, but then you are just traveling the 51st state.
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Old 06-24-2009, 09:06 PM   #8
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..

I want to eat at White's in Salem, OR,...
Better not have breakfast there or you'll never get on the road - eat, founder, take a nap. Get up and look at half your meal patiently waiting for you.
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Old 06-24-2009, 09:07 PM   #9
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This trip seems like a recreation of a friends trip in 1970-71, where he bought an old van, left with a girl from Vidalia, GA and went from Macon, GA to Medford, OR and took 4 months to get there.

He is a very senior, tenured professor and he sometimes comments that he wasted his life except for those 4 months. Somewhat overstating I'm sure but.......
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Old 06-24-2009, 09:08 PM   #10
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I'm determined to have that "mess" that you once talked so fondly of.

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Better not have breakfast there or you'll never get on the road - eat, founder, take a nap. Get up and look at half your meal patiently waiting for you.
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Old 06-24-2009, 09:16 PM   #11
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Another place that showers exist at a nominal fee would be public swimming pools.

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Showers at the gym
Old 06-24-2009, 09:18 PM   #12
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Showers at the gym

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Originally Posted by simple girl View Post
DH tells me of a time when he and his friend lived out of a car for a while (wow, a loooooong time ago!).

They got free showers by going to gyms and pretending to want a tour/getting a free day pass, etc.

Leave it to DH. What a creative man he is!

Funny, but I was going to suggest that if you have a gym membership with reciprocal privileges in various places, you might be able to shower there...and stretch your legs on some of the machines to boot. Have some of the local gym rats recommend dining possibilities and get sightseeing tips.
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Old 06-24-2009, 09:31 PM   #13
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The gym membership is interesting. But would I have to get in workouts and work out. Or, maybe I just say, ooops, I feel my back is too tight. I'll just grab a warm shower.

See ya.
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Old 06-24-2009, 09:53 PM   #14
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It gets hot out, or cold. And nature calls at inconvenient times. And the shower thing gets annoying. And truck stops are not always the safest place. And sometimes you just gotta stand up but it's raining out. And a hundred other things not to underestimate.

I can understand your attraction for the open road and the Kerouac lifestyle, but you might look for used Class B motorhomes. For the money you will actually be able to meet your necessities of life with a little style to boot. And many are fairly small (medium van size). There's Roadtrek, PleasureWay, Great West, and many others. They might be cheap nowadays. You can even get a Sprinter chassis with a small diesel engine.

Go for it, whichever way you decide, and keep us posted.
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Old 06-24-2009, 10:05 PM   #15
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Yes, what is fun and adventure at 18 isn't necessarily so fun after 50. How many times do you have to get up and pee at night?
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Old 06-24-2009, 10:58 PM   #16
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I like my slide in truck camper and my Silverado. Staying overnight in a non-campground environment is called "boondocking" and you'd be surprised just how many places you can stay for free.
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Old 06-25-2009, 01:51 AM   #17
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Another place that showers exist at a nominal fee would be public swimming pools.

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I suggest looking into a YMCA membership. I think that you can use Y's across the country for free or for a nominal cost.
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Old 06-25-2009, 01:52 AM   #18
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Yes, what is fun and adventure at 18 isn't necessarily so fun after 50. How many times do you have to get up and pee at night?
Dang, you just had to go and ruin it, didn't you
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Old 06-25-2009, 07:36 AM   #19
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Actually, that was part of the attraction. Not the peeing on the side of Wal-Mart at 2AM part, but the idea that this ole 60 year old can get back some of the lost youth. You know, wearing a bandanna over my face and hurling Molotov cocktails at the Berkeley police. The good ole days.

Sheesh, the speeling checker wanted (coercement) me to say "wearing a banana over my face..".




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Yes, what is fun and adventure at 18 isn't necessarily so fun after 50. How many times do you have to get up and pee at night?
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Old 06-25-2009, 08:27 AM   #20
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Actually, that was part of the attraction. Not the peeing on the side of Wal-Mart at 2AM part, but the idea that this ole 60 year old can get back some of the lost youth. You know, wearing a bandanna over my face and hurling Molotov cocktails at the Berkeley police. The good ole days.

Sheesh, the speeling checker wanted (coercement) me to say "wearing a banana over my face..".
bwa-ha-ha-haaaaa..........you are hilarious!

This site has a lot of tips for staying clean on the road, from the perspective of people living full-time in vans:

How To Stay Clean
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