Comments: 83 • Responses: 30  • Date: 

futureocean7 karma

Hi, sounds like you had a good time! I myself am a brit and hoping to do an almost identical trip in a couple of years. I want to road trip the west coast and want to save as much money as possible and visit many national parks.

How did you manage 3 months on only $2000? Which national parks are an absolute must? Did you fund the trip from your blog? Any advice for me to have a great time and spend as little as possible?

Cheers! :)


misstheground110 karma

Heyo! Sounds awesome! Do it!

Utah national parks are absurdly amazing. Zion and Arches are places where you feel like you're on another planet or just got transported back to dino-land. Also, Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument is super cool. No trails - go where you want - and it has this amazing slot canyon (check it out in my pic album) that's like 6 feet across and goes up a hundred feet that you can walk through for miles.

Sequoia is just fucking absurd also - these trees blow my mind. Redwood is really cool because you get huge trees but you're also not far from sand beaches.

Couple tips for saving money:

Tough since you'll be coming from away, but having a car is huge just for getting around, and for sleeping in if you can stomach it. I've heard of people coming over, buying a car, and then selling it at the end of the trip. Totally doable!

freecampsites.net is great for finding free places to camp or car camp.

National parks are almost always surrounded with national forests where camping is totally free. I made use of that at pretty much every national park. If there isn't a national forest nearby, if you have a car, you can just sleep on the street in a nearby town.

Bring a camp stove so you can cook your own food. Huge cost saver!

If you're gonna hit a bunch of national parks, buy an America The Beautiful pass, ($80), which gives you free access to the parks and pays for itself after like 3-4 parks.

Gas was my biggest cost, but I got lucky that it's crazy low right now.

I also saved money while I was working as an extra because they give you free food on set. (And I made about a grand working, so my net cost for the trip was actually only like a grand).

If you're interested in working while you travel - I don't know if you'd be able to work as an extra as a brit...maybe? It's pretty official since it's through Production studios. People also get work harvesting weed up by Arcata in CA, but only certain months of the year.

Ceejeh2 karma

Did Delicate Arch freak you out? I live in Utah and didn't realize how big it was (or that you had to hike to it) for the longest time! I didn't see any mention of Zions National Park. If you ever come back to Utah I highly recommend going there and doing the Angels Landing hike. One of my favorite hikes ever.

misstheground13 karma

Haha I had a pretty hilarious adventure trying to get to delicate arch after sunset - almost spent the night out there. And yeah, I had no idea it was so big! It's so small on the license plates. very deceiving.


I did Zion! I had no idea what it was going to look like, so coming into that canyon just totally blew me away. Angels landing was amazing! So cool hanging off those chains on a cliff's edge

Here's my zion stuff: https://intothewildyonder.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/zion-2/

Ceejeh1 karma

Haha sorry I must have not read your adventures closely enough, I'm glad you got to do Zions, that place is like heaven. Springtime is super fun there but also dangerous because of flash floods in slot canyons.

Than arches story is great, I've been lost in that park at night before, definitely a scary experience. It also sounds like you learned the hard way that all Asian tourists get lost in our parks. I've had to lead so many back to trail heads after finding them off trail haha.

Cool adventure and blog, I hope to start exploring parks outside of my home state soon. After Utah, what states had the best parks?

misstheground12 karma

I love the big trees in California. Big Sur was cool too

CooldownReduction4 karma

  • If you could go back and change something what would it be?

  • What would you do if you had double the budget?

  • Best memory from the trip?

misstheground18 karma

If you could go back and change something what would it be?

I'd probably not sleep in my car the whole time, haha! I wanted to save money and have the freedom of going wherever I wanted that day, but I was pretty lonely a lot of the time. I think I'd do couch surfing if (or probably when) I take another trip. You get to meet cool local people that way.

What would you do if you had double the budget?

Hmmm. I'm kind of insane about saving money, so I'm not sure if much would've changed. I probably would've sprung for some more campgrounds (showers) here and there. Or maybe I would've bought a better camera. I loved the one I have, but it's not a dslr or anything.

Best memory from the trip?

I spent a couple really fun days at a hostel in Moab. Lots of cool people and jamming under this tree covered in christmas lights. There was this 70 year old dude who looked like santa who would chill with all the 20 year olds and smoke weed and make hilarious comments. Last I heard he'd taken off with a few of the young'uns and was headed to Florida. Haha

craisiny3 karma

I did a similar thing, coast to coast also on a 2000 budget!!! Wonderful experience. Mine was only 5 weeks though. Three months sounds like a dream.

What was your favorite place? I see you mentioned Moab in another comment, Utah was my favorite!

Where did you park when you slept in your car?

I camped most of mine, but thought about sleeping in my car. I was always worried about where I could actually get away with it though. Did you have any run-ins with people while you were sleeping?

misstheground15 karma

That's awesome! Yeah Utah blew my mind.

I really liked doing this slot canyon called buckskin gulch in southern Utah just outside Grand Escalante National Monument. I've got a pic of it on the imgur album - but it was like 5-10 feet wide, hundred feet up and you're just walking through the bottom. Pretty damn cool.

When I was going place to place I slept at truck stops, but near national parks I would just get to the nearby national forest and pull-off of a forest road. When I was working as an extra I just parked on the streets of Burbank near parks (I called Burbank police and they said it was totally cool to sleep in my car).

No weird stuff happened to me while I was sleeping in the car from other people. One time when i was peeing in a bottle in the car people walked by and started cracking up haha....and I did wake up a few times to a mouse eating away something under the hood. That was bad, but they never seemed to stay more than a night.

HolidayInnCambodia3 karma

It sounds like fun but I couldn't do the "sleeping in my car" thing. How did you bathe?

misstheground15 karma

Yeah, it took a little getting used to. It wasn't a big car - Nissan versa, but the front passenger side seats recline a lot and the back seats come forward to form a semblance of a bed. I had a huge comforter to smoosh in there to even things out.

I didn't bathe a whole lot. A lot of the times campgrounds and truck stops would let me buy a shower for a couple bucks. Sometimes it was like $12 though, so I'd just use paper towels in the car or in a private bathroom at a gas station / library whatever.

Weed_from_Saturn5 karma

LPT: next time register with 24hr Fitness or Planet Fitness which have hundreds of locations. $30 a month and you can do laundry and actually shower. Most have a pool and sauna too, not to mention workout equipment. Ooo and girls, the gyms have lots of girls too lol.

misstheground11 karma

Next time.... maybe I thought I needed to sign up for the whole year or something. I didn't find the $30 a month deal

Allanb01 karma

Did you think of getting a gym membership or something like that? Like a trial/ day pass at a gym?

misstheground11 karma

Yeah I thought about it in Burbank, but I couldnt seem to find anything I thought was cheap enough. I saw like $50/month which was a no-go.

Immo4061 karma

Whats wrong with baby wipes? I took a 10 day camping trip to Yellowstone and only thing we had were baby wipes, a fucking god send I tell you.

10 days in Yellowstone costed $300 100 for gas 100 for camping 100 for food.

misstheground12 karma

haha yeah those would've worked. I was using paper towels for other things so I guess I couldn't be bothered to get baby wipes also. Paper towel + soap + water = baby wipes?

RealPeterNorth3 karma

Get a lot of hot Pussy ?

misstheground15 karma

Haha, I was reading a couple other travel AMA's. Seems to come up a lot. I didn't hook up w/ anyone on the trip. I wasn't really looking for it, but being an extra in LA is a pretty amazing place to meet women. 90% of the time you're on set with people and have nothing to do but talk. So easy to just approach a hot girl and ask her if she's an actress or whatever

thethriftytrekker3 karma

50 years from now, what is the one moment from this trip you will most remember?

misstheground13 karma

Oh man. Hmmm. Probably driving into Moab and just seeing this sheer red rock cliff wall off to my right. It's not even in the park or anything, but it's just fucking crazy. It's like you're entering this portal or something. Pretty cool

TTTT272 karma

  1. How old are you?

  2. Did you get lonely? Or conversely, have any experiences meeting up with others on the road and had a great time?

  3. Where are you from, originally?

misstheground11 karma

I'm 29.

Yeah I did get lonely. That's something I would change about the next time. Either go with someone or couch surf so I could meet people. I did still meet a lot of cool people - especially in Moab. Lots of cool climbing hippies there

I'm from Maine!

MegaChenster1 karma

How did you deal with personal hygiene? Like where do you take showers along with brushing your teeth?

misstheground11 karma

I didn't take a whole lot of showers. I think I might've gone a month without showering properly. Sometimes I would use paper towels and soap in my car or at a private bathroom. Sometimes I could go swimming at the beach. Haha not super glamorous.

I brushed my teeth a little more regularly - maybe once every couple days

BrannistheMannis1 karma

Did you do anything in more northern and central Utah? I live in SLC and I love the mountain west.

misstheground12 karma

No I didn't make it up there! Next time!

Digyo1 karma

I have been on the road for 3 months now. I started in Maryland, drove to California. I stayed at the Slabs, and on the beach in Malibu. I have knocked out the lower half of the continental US.

Right now I am in Vegas.

I have an Annual Pass to the National Parks. Money is tight, of course. Getting work while in the road is next to impossible because all potential employees are assumed terrorists until cleared by a background check.

My plan is to knock out the 48 plus Alaska.

With all of this in mind. ...what tips, must-sees and cautionary tales do you have for a fellow traveler?

misstheground12 karma

Sweet. If you're really looking to make money - you might wanna head back to LA and start working as an extra. No background check. And pilot season is starting up so there's tons of work.

Must sees if you haven't seen'em yet - Sequoia, Zion, Arches, slot canyons in Grand Escalante National Monument

Cautionary tale... hmmm I thought I was being smart avoiding crossing the Rockies in winter so I went back through Wyoming - it got so cold they closed the whole freaking highway through the entire state and I was in the middle. So I guess be careful with that shit even if there isn't a snow storm coming.

Good luck on the trip. I gotta get up to Alaska next time.

Digyo1 karma

Thanks for the response! And, congrats on another successful journey.

I too got hit in the Rockies. I was trying to make it to Manassa, CO to the Jack Dempsey Museum when some locals told me there was a storm coming across the pass. I turned south for New Mexico.

I assume from your blog named that you were inspired by Alex Supertramp.

I have picked up some pretty good tips from reading your responses to other questions. Thanks for sharing.

If you have any interest of reading the sardonic essays of an old man who is loving out his dream, please check out my blog...


misstheground12 karma

oh is it an Alex SuperTramp reference? haha I probably picked it up subconsciously

cool, yeah no prob! Glad to help, and I'll totally check it out!

zambezy1 karma

Do you have a specific job where you can be gone for several months at a time? This type of trip is really interesting to me but there's no way I could just not come in to the office for 25% of the year.

misstheground12 karma

Yeah, I've kind of fallen into a pattern of working temp office jobs for 6-12 months and then blowing it on trips. Hard to pull something like this off and come back to the same job.

BespectacledZebra1 karma

I'm considering a cross-country road trip this summer, and I'm planning to sleep in my car for a majority of it. What are some highlights to hit on the eastern side of the states? I've not spent much time over there and I'm curious what would be the best areas to hit!

misstheground11 karma

Sweet. I kind of hightailed it to the Rockies, but I'm from the east coast.

White Mountains in NH are beautiful, Katahdin in Maine is awesome (end of the Appalachian Trail), The outer banks of NC are cool I think, although I haven't been in many years (ocean, beaches). I stayed at Daniel Boone National Forest which reminded me a lot of like cloud forests in Guatemala - totally unexpected and beautiful.

NYC isn't really my thing but obviously it's a crazy huge cultural melting pot and all that. I'm just not good with traffic and cramped living and loud noises all day all night

I lived in Portland, ME for a couple years which is a cool little city in Southern Maine (lobsta and all that)

JustFuckingMads1 karma

Hey! I'm thinking about taking a coast to coast trip too! But I want to go by motorcycle and sleep in a tent. I've heard it's dangerous to sleep in tents somewhere, but is it if I stick to campsites or national parks?

misstheground12 karma

Cool, yeah I met a couple people doing it on motorcycles. Phew.

freecampsites.net is pretty good for finding free places to camp. National forests are also pretty much always free to camp in and usually there's one close to national parks.

I don't think it's dangerous to camp...unless you're doing it on someone else's land. They might come out with a shotgun or something haha. But if you asked them first, most people would be cool with it.


gnrc1 karma

I live in LA! What was your favorite part of the city?

misstheground13 karma

Nice! I can't say I hit too much besides Burbank and Santa Monica, neither of which I think are actually part of LA proper, but I had a pretty sweet couple days where I'd park a few blocks from the beach, hit the beach in the morning and stay until the sun went down. I thought about sleeping on the beach, but I never got the balls up.

edit - The Venice Boardwalk was pretty cool. I saw what appeared to be a 5 year old girl killing it at the skate park

gnrc1 karma

LA is more than just LA proper. It is a vast collection of neighborhoods that span from downtown to the ocean. IMO. And yea Venice is fun. I live on the east side near downtown, so I don't get out there much but I always hit up the skate park. You won't find many places on earth with more talent day in and day out. I'm glad you enjoyed your time here! Come back soon!

misstheground12 karma

Cool, yeah I definitely want to explore more parts when I go back. I had plans to go to a bunch of music and comedy stuff but it never happened..next time!

smokeybandits1 karma

How did you get the job as an extra?

misstheground13 karma

It's the easiest job I've ever gotten or done. You show up at Central Casting in Burbank at like 7 AM, go through an orientation for a couple hours, then you're signed up. After that, it's on you to call in based on listings they put up on a facebook page. The only annoying thing is they only have 3 phone lines, and thousands of people might be calling. Sometimes you have to call like a hundred times, but generally you do get through - and then you get the details for the next day's shoot. Usually pays $100 a day, plus free meals! And you might get to see famous people. I was on set with Louis Guzman, pretty cool. Also, when you're working - 90% of the time you do nothing. You're just in hold hanging out. Least stressful job I've ever done.

BuzzFuckingAldrin1 karma

Nice stuff! I did a similar trip this summer but just from CA to MA.

How'd you like staying at all the parks? Did you figure out any way to camp in tons of places for cheap? I was convinced if I hit over a dozen different parks I could get a night for free or something..

misstheground12 karma

Nice. Yeah on my way back I kind of just slogged it out over the course of a week. that was rough.

Usually I'd stay at national forests just outside the parks where it was free to car camp. Generally I don't think you can park overnight in national parks without a camping permit.

Haha, yeah like a punch card or something?

nahfoo1 karma

So I saw in another comment that you didn't bathe much, just used camper showers And such but my question is what did you do for food?

misstheground11 karma

I had a camp stove, so I cooked my own food for the most part in a pot/pan and over my one burner. I started eating a lot of canned food, which probably wasn't the healthiest choice, but it's hot dinner for like $2 with meat and veggies.

nahfoo1 karma

Ah okay that seems cheap. What about laundry? I want to take a big trip near the end of the summer before I start my apprenticeship so I'm just getting ideas

misstheground11 karma

Sweet, yeah do it!

Yeah I wore the same things a lot, but I had detergent with me and did a couple loads on the trip at laundromats.

The_Bearded_Yeti1 karma

Did you take an precautions when it came to sleeping in your car? Would you just park in a 24 hr. Walmart or a rest stop if there were no national parks around?

misstheground11 karma

Not really. I was in a versa and didn't have tinted windows or anything. I locked the car. I never parked anywhere sketchy.

Yeah mostly I parked in truck stops or national forests. Otherwise I'd just find nice residential areas and be discrete.

I've heard about wal marts but I never ended up staying at one

mulduvar21 karma

How was your diet during those 3 months?

How much money did you earn as an extra?

Did you spend a lot of time trying to get a part?

misstheground12 karma

Haha, not great, but not terrible. I settled on a lot of canned soups. I did a lot of grilled cheeses. I got into a routine at one point of peanut butter and raisin sandwich for lunch and grilled cheese for dinner. gourmet.

I made about a grand as an extra over 3 weeks.

It's pretty easy to get parts, although the one annoying thing is you need to keep calling a number until you get through - sometimes you have to call like 100 times - but really that only takes 10-15 minutes of redialing. Yes they could probably have a much better system

mulduvar21 karma

I made about a grand as an extra over 3 weeks.

That's cool, so it was worth it as a little sabbatical

Yes they could probably have a much better system

Yeah but the old adage, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" definitely applies here

misstheground12 karma

yeah totally worth it. met a lot of cool people too!

Mikecom32-1 karma

Hello misstheground1! Your post has been removed because this topic isn't suitable for /r/IAmA. Try posting in /r/CasualIAmA instead.

misstheground11 karma

ah, okay. I saw some other older posts about road trips so I assumed it was okay. Is there anyway this can be transplanted to CasualIAmA or do I need to start all over?

Mikecom321 karma

We've had some rule changes over the years, so older AMAs aren't a great indicator of the current rules.

Unfortunately, you'd need to start over. Reddit doesn't give us the ability to move posts, sorry!

misstheground11 karma

bummer, it was taking off! Thanks