USA Road Trip Planner: Our Plan for the Van

by | Feb 15, 2019 | Destinations, United States

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Best. Road Trip. Ever.

USA Road Trip: Familiar Beginnings

Our plan for the van!

Every great trip starts somewhere. For most people, that’s usually home. The interesting thing about our adventure is that we’ll be taking our home with us everywhere we go. So where does that leave us? Where does our adventure begin? We had fun using Furkot as our USA road trip planner.

For the past few years, Tiffany and I have lived in Belgrade, Montana, right outside of Bozeman. We’ve absolutely loved it. It’s where we settled down (until all this van stuff came about, anyway) and it’s where we want to end up again one day. But because we’re selling our house to fund our life on the road, it means we’re going to need a base of operations. That’s where Rock Springs, Wyoming, comes in.

Back in the glorious yesteryear of 1981, I was actually born in Rock Springs. We lived there for several years before my family and I moved east. A few years ago, my parents retired back to Rock Springs, which means that they live within driving distance of Montana and have graciously agreed to let us use their house as the Backpacks & Road Maps HQ. It also means that, once again, they’re going to be getting all sorts of unpaid bills and parking tickets sent to their mailing address. Just like when I was in college.

The takeaway here is twofold: We will be leaving from Wyoming and I am unbelievably irresponsible.

USA Road Trip Planner: Our Goal

USA Road Trip Planner: Our white van alongside the Madison River in Montana
A shot of our van alongside the Madison River in Montana.

When Tiffany and I decided to drop everything and take this adventure together, one of the main goals for the trip was to see as many national parks as possible. As you can see in the map above, we’re covering a lot of ground and have planned to visit around 45 national parks in 2019. Thank goodness for the annual park pass, amirite?

At the moment, we’re in Wyoming, finalizing a few things before we hit the road for good. As of now, we’re officially Wyoming residents. We have the drivers’ licenses and license plates to prove it. I think the only thing we’re missing are cowboy hats at this point.

From Wyoming, we’re going to head into Colorado and see the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Great Sand Dunes, and Mesa Verde National Parks. Will everything be open? No. The weather is likely to be prohibitive and the roads will be, in Tiff’s words, “SCARY!” But hopefully we can get out and snowshoe and take some pictures at the very least. Oh, and get our National Parks Passport stamped. That’s probably the most important part. I’m trying to fill that bad lad up.

USA Road Trip Planner: Going South

USA Road Trip Planner: Snow blowing across a Montana highway.
This is why we are headed south for the winter.

Once we get through Colorado, we’ll be spending some time in New Mexico, then on to Texas (including a stop in Waco so that Tiffany can become best friends with Chip and Joanna Gaines), Louisiana, Alabama, then Georgia to visit Tiffany’s parents. The backbone of this plan is to get out of the winter as soon as possible. The day we loaded up the moving van, it was -19 degrees at one point. I’m pretty sure we almost died, but it was an interesting bookend to the day we moved into the house, when it was -12.

The only set-in-stone stops we have at the moment are four days in New Orleans and a ferry trip out to the Dry Tortugas National Park at the end of March. Other than that, it’s pretty open-ended. I mean, we have stops planned, but we’re going to keep them fluid, just in case we want to stay longer in one place or leave earlier than anticipated. The only thing we really care about at this point is getting back to flip-flops and shorts weather.

Once we finish up in Florida, we’ll be zig-zagging our way up the east coast, then heading back west on I-90, before finishing up on the west coast and in the southwest. We’re going to be trying to chase summer and nice weather as much as we’re able.

Well, that’s the general idea for our trip! Stay tuned for updates from the road. We’ll be heading out for good on Monday the 18th!

We’re Tiffany and John, a couple of childfree, DIY travel enthusiasts from Montana and we just can’t get enough of life on the open road. If you’re anything like us, then you feel the same way! We love exploring new places together and finding unique things to do everywhere we go. Read more about our story here.

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