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Thread: Driving across the U.S. all summer with two teens (in our little Honda Civic)

  1. #1
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    Default Driving across the U.S. all summer with two teens (in our little Honda Civic)

    We've got no overland vehicle, but we plan on doing the best we can with our 2004 Honda. We've been planning this trip for two years, but have achieved so much in the past few weeks. We got a Thule rooftop system with the largest cargo box we could comfortably accommodate, we have tents (and extras), sleeping pads and bags, our travel kitchen, etc.

    Though we plan on camping about 60% of the time, much will depend on the weather. I guess we fear heat the most while we're in the south. We'd love to stay with anyone we can find when not camping and are up for just about anything. We have absolutely no set itinerary. Though we plan on making Philadelphia our first stop and Gettysburg out second, that's all we've got planned. We'll throw in anything that sounds exciting or is a "must", but keep in mind, our vehicle can't do what a lot of yours might be able to.

    We're open to any and all suggestions! Great American Road Trip 2011
    Last edited by gart2011; 06-06-2011 at 11:22 PM.

  2. #2
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    Honda Civic is a great choice!
    Christian

    CTO Expedition Portal
    www.expeditionportal.com
    www.overlandjournal.com

  3. #3
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    Sep 2010
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    Orlando, FL
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    My family did a similar trip when I was 11 and my brother was 15. It was a 7 week "around the country" tour - with my parents limited camping knowledge we stayed in a big coleman cabin style tent that took all 4 of us to set up and take down (my poor dad at only 5'5" had to stand on a cooler to connect the poles at the top). Some of the best memories of my childhood were from this trip. - we did a counter clockwise loop from tennessee out west, down the coast and back across the SW/texas. 9500 miles or so in a dodge van...

    Places that stick out in my mind
    Badlands - out-running a tornado. getting to the top of a ridge and seeing the swirling black column about 10 miles away, then picking up 2 inch hail afterward
    Yellowstone - waking up to find a bison 5 feet from the door of our tent, snowing later that day (JUNE!), watching old faithful and other's erupt.
    Glacier NP - "Sledding" in a black heavy duty trashbag down the glacier after hiking up all afternoon - HIGHLY recommend. lol.
    Ranier - same tricks that I pulled at Glacier - hey, I was 11 at the time.
    Grand canyon (north rim) - wildlife galore, and snow again in JULY crazy. just a dusting, but still a cool experience for a kid from the south where july means temps over 90 for 3-4 months straight

    Have SO much fun.
    My wife and I are about to embark on our own around the country adventure this fall - hoping we can go about 12 months before we run out of money

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2aroundtheworld View Post
    Honda Civic is a great choice!
    Especially with gas prices the way they are.

    Make sure your brakes and tires are good. If the timing belt/water pump haven't been done at their recommended interval then get them done before you leave. Same goes for the tuneup. Have your mechanic do a good inspection of your car before your trip, like trans fluid, CV boots etc. It is much cheaper to replace before you leave than when you are on the road.

    If you make it out to the Redwoods in northern CA give me a call for some good camping/sight seeing ideas.

  5. #5
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    Default Thank you for the smile

    My own kids are actually really excited, so hearing your own 11-year old perspective is fabulous. I have no idea what we'll do, where we'll end up, where we'll go, but it'll be an adventure.

    Badlands is definitely on our list. I drove through there with my own father in 1992 and thought it was amazing. I think I may leave out the tornado piece, though, because my own kids are worried about such things as it is. When you live in the northeast (Boston area), there's not too much extreme weather to worry about, but your trip seemed to have it all.

    Good luck with your own adventure!

  6. #6
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    Default Done and done!

    We leave on June 23, so I took the car in this weekend. My mechanic knows exactly what we're doing this summer and has been on top of things, auto-wise. According to him, we're all set. We've got a hybrid so I'll get even better mileage, and this past weekend they checked it all out including rotating my new tires, making sure my air conditioning was in great working order, replaced wiper blades, replaced all light bulbs, etc. We really looked at the nitty-gritty, but they swear the car is ripe for driving.

    If we make it up your way, I'll be sure to hit you up for some great camping sites. Thanks.

  7. #7
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    Don't you know the Honda Civic is the ultimate offroad machine?? I can't begin to tell you how many of those things have passed me on random trails and forest roads. With that said, don't become a statistic!

    This sounds like a great adventure. If you make it out west be sure to hit up Sedona,and pretty much all of southern Utah! It could be a little on the toasty side but Canyon de Chelly as well.
    Heidi - KF7CKI
    1985 Vanagon GL Diesel Convert

  8. #8
    haven is offline Expedition Portal Moderator Expedition Leader
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    You'll have no trouble going where you want to go. I drove all over the West, including lots of Forest Service byways and back roads, in my 1986 Honda Wagon. If you visit a 4x4 mecca like Moab or Death Valley, you can rent a jeep to tackle the more difficult trails.

    Please let us know the mpg your Civic Hybrid delivers with a rooftop tent plus a full load of passengers and gear. The mpg of my old Civic dropped off dramatically when I drove with a loaded rooftop bicycle carrier.

  9. #9
    haven is offline Expedition Portal Moderator Expedition Leader
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    " It is much cheaper to replace before you leave than when you are on the road."

    I think it depends where you live. Getting my Honda serviced at home in the SF Bay area was almost always more expensive than service on the road. Of course, the time lost while making repairs can seriously change your vacation plans.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by haven View Post
    " It is much cheaper to replace before you leave than when you are on the road."

    I think it depends where you live. Getting my Honda serviced at home in the SF Bay area was almost always more expensive than service on the road. Of course, the time lost while making repairs can seriously change your vacation plans.
    That is true if you live in SF. I work up here in Humboldt County and one place I worked actually had a customer in SF who would come up here to get work done. He said it was cheaper to come here (fuel, hotel, food, repair) than have the work done in SF. Hijack over.

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