Solo Road Trip: Cost Breakdown

I’ll start with the totals and then go into a day-by-day and category break down. I’ve never actually sat down and added it all up before, so I’m curious to see what it works out to.

Totals by category:

  • Gas – $424
  • Lodging – $215
  • Food – $181
  • Fun – $400

Total cost of trip – $1220

Continue reading “Solo Road Trip: Cost Breakdown”

Solo Road Trip: Part VII – Return Trip & Conclusions

In case you missed previous posts:

We’ve made it! The last two days of the trip and some quick conclusions:

Day 7:

After a fairly chilly night in Albuquerque I got up, showered, and ate yet another amazing breakfast consisting of chocolate chip/s’mores granola bars and a few Slim Jims and hit the road. Driving through eastern New Mexico is as boring as driving through Utah was exciting. Also, eastern New Mexico and west Texas reminds me a lot of driving through Kansas (not a compliment). I was traveling on Interstate 40, which combined with Interstate 44 (which I would take once I hit Oklahoma City) runs along much of the old Route 66. Every once in a while I would pull off and follow Route 66, not because it was faster, but because of its historical significance. Four hours after setting off I was ready to chew my arm off, my granola bars and Slim Jims did not hold me over as well as I had hoped. I had just entered Amarillo, Texas, the first city of any significant size, and I decided to find an old fashioned Route 66 restaurant to eat at, I settled on Smokey Joe’s. Oddly enough, my great uncle who drives through here every year also stops here when coming through. After a beer and a burger I was back on the road.

Continue reading “Solo Road Trip: Part VII – Return Trip & Conclusions”

Solo Road Trip: Part VI – Grand Canyon

In case you missed previous posts:

Day 6:

I woke up feeling refreshed after just my second night in a conditioned room and real bed in nearly a week. I spent the night just across the Utah-Arizona border in Page, AZ and while I was getting around I wanted to see if there was anything nearby that I couldn’t miss out on while I was there. I happened across Antelope Canyon during my search of local attractions. Chances are that you’ve seen photos from Antelope Canyon, whether it’s been on a text book or as a default computer background. Anyway, Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon located on Navajo lands. There are two separate slot canyons there, Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon (real original, right?) the Navajo names for the canyons are a little more interesting. Upper Antelope Canyon is called Tsé bighánílíní, “the place where water runs through rocks” by the Navajo whereas the lower canyon is Hazdistazí, or “spiral rock arches”. The upper canyon is the more popular of the two as access is at ground level and beams of light find their way through the canyon to the ground floor making for some amazing photos. Continue reading “Solo Road Trip: Part VI – Grand Canyon”

Solo Road Trip: Part V – Zion National Park

In case you missed previous posts:

I wanted to do Bryce and Zion all in one post, however Zion was by far my favorite place I visited so I knew this post would get long. You’ll also notice the featured image for this post is also the featured image for the site, that’s how much I loved Zion.

Day 5 continued:

The drive between Zion and Bryce was breath taking. (I fear I’m running out of adjectives, I’m going to have to break out the thesaurus shortly). After nearly another hour and a half on the road I arrived at Zion.The park was pretty busy and it took a while to get to the visitor center and parking area as there’s a tunnel with only one lane open, which meant long wait times and backed up lines getting into the park. Zion is set up a little differently from the other parks. At Zion you have to park at the visitor center, the only vehicles allowed to enter the park are the shuttle. There are 9 shuttle stops starting at the Visitor Center and working your way to the back of the canyon. Here’s the map:

Continue reading “Solo Road Trip: Part V – Zion National Park”

Solo Road Trip: Part IV – Bryce National Park

In case you missed previous posts:

Before I begin…

If you’re ever planning on taking a road or camping trip where you’ll be sleeping in a tent or vehicle that isn’t conditioned and the weather could get below 50, do yourself a favor and buy an arctic sleeping bag.

The last post ended with my arrival in Cedar City, Utah to spend the night. Much like most of the other nights, I spent this night sleeping in my Jeep. However, unlike other nights, the low this night was 19 degrees. 19 degrees. I wouldn’t suggest anyone try this unless properly equipped, which I was not. I woke up shivering around 6 am and I couldn’t start the Jeep fast enough.  My thinking was that the mattress below me would insulate me from the cold below and my blankets would from above and my body heat would keep my Jeep at least a little warm. I was a little too optimistic for my own good. You live and learn though.

Continue reading “Solo Road Trip: Part IV – Bryce National Park”

Solo Road Trip: Part III – Moab, Utah Cont.

In case you missed previous posts:

Moab, Utah is the Mecca for Jeep owners. There are trails that vary from only needing 4WD to trails that require a lift/large tires, lockers, winch, and experience driving off road. Most trails are rated between 1 and 8. 1 being easiest where 4WD is not needed all the time and 8 being the most difficult where they advise that vehicle damage is likely regardless of having all required equipment. Jeep rental companies there won’t even let you take their vehicles on anything more than a 4.

Day 4:

I woke up feeling rested after finally spending a night in a real bed. First item on the list today was to do a little off-roading. My Jeep was pretty stock so I knew I wasn’t going to take on anything too difficult, but I wanted to at least attempt a 3 or 4 rated trail. I found a trail called “Gemini Bridges Trail” just north of town that led to a local landmark and then it went on Dead Horse State Park, which was one of the places I wanted to go anyway. The trail was rated as moderate, so about a 4 on the scale of 8. It was a little over 35 miles long. The road started out extremely rough and was up a steep grade. Continue reading “Solo Road Trip: Part III – Moab, Utah Cont.”

Solo Road Trip: Part II – Moab, Utah

In case you missed the previous post: Solo Road Trip: Part I – Introduction and Colorado

People constantly ask, “How did you drive that much alone? Didn’t you get bored?” The answer is, “Yes and no”. Driving from southern Illinois to Colorado Springs will make your eyes bleed. There’s absolutely nothing outside of St. Louis and Kansas City. However, the drive from Colorado Springs to Utah was absolutely stunning. Here’s a snapshot of some of the scenery as you drive on I-70 along the Colorado River in western Colorado near Glenwood Canyon.


Sure you need to make sure you keep your eyes on the road, but there’s plenty to take in while you’re driving and rocking out to some music. For me it was mostly 90’s and 2000’s rock and today’s county. Anyway.

Day 3:

As I was coming into Moab, Utah I drove past their local municipal airport where they had advertisements for skydiving. Skydiving was not part of my original plan, although I knew that I always had wanted to go. I spent the next few miles pondering the idea. Less than 10 minutes later I’m on the phone with one of the skydiving companies checking to see if they had any openings in the next hour, luckily for me, they did. After watching several safety videos and signing several waivers saying I’m assuming all risk, I was putting on my harness. The guy I was jumping with was a pretty typical extreme sports type. He had long hair, his name was Bodee, and, well, you get the picture. The guys that were there and how they acted (immaturely) did not exactly inspire confidence, but I wasn’t nervous yet. Continue reading “Solo Road Trip: Part II – Moab, Utah”