Tomorrow, we are leaving for a 40 day adventure, from our home in Southwest Virginia, to explore several National Parks in the west, plus many other destinations. Steve has planned this trip for many hours, resulting in an amazing Excel spreadsheet with each of our destinations, the date that we will arrive and leave each location, suggested sites and hikes and so much more. I have taken to calling Steve my travel agent given the level of detail included. Actually, what he has done is something that NO travel agent would ever do without charging a lot of money.

This spreadsheet was clearly created by an engineer! It has average temperatures for the days that we will be there (calculated using a formula on another tab … totally not kidding here). He has selected hotels that fit our (his) rather frugal minded budget, estimated how much gas we will use AND how much that gas will cost. This spreadsheet also has links to Google Maps that he has saved in his own account, with each of the sites at each locale. Each hike has a link to All Trails, and each National Park has a link to the park website, as well as a map that he has downloaded, just in case we have no internet access. Every site also has a link to the associated website, if there is one.

Steve’s calculations have us doing this trip for less than $10,000. I’m not convinced that we can actually accomplish that goal, but follow along over the next six weeks to see if we manage it!

The map above is the approximate route that we will be taking over the next 40 days and that alone is around 6000 miles. We will probably be putting between 9000 and 10,000 miles onto our 2011 Hyundai Elantra that will be over 190,000 miles by the end of the day tomorrow. Yup, 190,000 miles! We may roll 200,000 miles on this trip. Just in case, we ARE bringing the title to the car. If it breaks down and isn’t worth repairing, we plan to ditch the car and rent one to finish the trip. Obviously, that will blow a big hole in our $10,000 budget, but we like to live on the wild side, what can I say.

Our son, Brian, who lives with us, is going to keep the cats fed while we are gone. We also hope he plays with them!

Ok… time to rest up for the ride tomorrow. First stop, Nashville!!

About Author

Karen is a retired software developer, now exploring our beautiful country with her husband, Steve.

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