Looooong Road Trip


Domestic wasn’t even on my radar. This certainly broadens my purchase opportunities.


I do worry about gas mileage with a V8. I didn’t even have it on my radar. Food for thought. Thanks


Driving a car that can fixed by about anyone. I think that is my biggest concern. I feel that the more people are able to fix it, the easier the knowledge is to come by for myself. Among other obvious benefits.



I put about 50K on a 1980 Honda Accord zipping coast to coast, but that was in the 1990s- and your budget would have bought that car 3 times over. I shudder now to think of the times I was 25 miles off paved roads in the Utah deserts in the era with no cell phones, in places you don’t see cars for days, but the front wheel drive kept me moving forward. If you can’t find that car, which is probably still out there, or the German kid’s 1950 Pontiac, I think you’ll still do fine with almost anything- cars are so much more reliable than when I would go cross country with my family in the 1970s and you’d see a car on the side of the road every 30 miles. I also had a 1964 Mini, the kind that was small enough to fit in a new Mini, when I toured New Zealand, and I can report that you can fit skis and a bike and all your camping gear and maybe a small friend in one of those. Get quality camping gear and good travel clothes and go minimal.


A Ford Crown Vic can be had at a reasonable $2500 and there’s plenty around you can find that are in good shape and are pretty reasonable on gas if you keep it around 60-65MPH.

Coming from someone who owns 3 of them, I’ve slept in mine a couple times on a special occasion and I’ve found them to be pretty comfortable… I’ve gone snowboarding and was able to get one in the trunk… I’m not sure how well you’d fare on the skis but it might be doable. I travel with my bike sometimes, just pop the front wheel off and it fits just fine. Overall the trunk space is just huge so you should be good on fitting your camping gear inside.

Again there’s nothing special about them, but they can be had fairly “cheap” drive fantastic on open highways, and one well maintained should be able to get what you want done.

Grab a Haines manual and tinker around, pretty easy to learn on. Also fairly cheap to fix with parts being readily available for the car since the cops still use them as cruisers and have been for several of years.

Cheers and hope everything works out for you


That would be my choice! We have had our Dodge Caravan for over 2 decades and it’s always been dependable. Recently, I hopped in it and drove it 1,500 miles (it lives in FL now), stopping only for gas, and didn’t give it a thought. That goes for all the Chrysler vehicles I’ve owned.

I carry bicycles in ours and I’ve hauled lots of soccer kids, a side-by-side refrigerator, piano, and have hauled boat/utility trailers.

There are lots of used ones for sale at reasonable prices and many well-maintained units are out there.

See which models/model-years, engine and transmission combinations get the best reviews and shop those. Look for maintenance records, too.

I’m not sure what I’d do without a Chrysler minivan. When mine ages out I believe I’ll shop for another.


OP wants to be able to sleep in the vehicle!!! Most of us therefore recommended a minivan or similar vehicle.


Domestic should not be on your radar if you are traveling south. You will have a car with a US license which puts a thief target on you, but you can at least drive a car that blends in and does not say “money”. Toyota pickups and Land Cruisers are remarkably dependable and are found everywhere, so repairs are available.

Also, when you travel south, there are a lot of places where you should not consider sleeping in the car, lest you wake up to the sound of a gun barrel tapping on your window. When I was 27, I rode my 750 cc BMW motorcycle from Iowa to San Salvador for a new job… No problems, but after three years in the Peace Corps, I knew the territory and I did NOT camp out.


This post brings up memories of VW vans in the 1960/70s, and Woodstock.


In the construction field they ask the client:

 "Pick two of these--you cannot have all three--cheap, fast, or correct?"

I think you would do better to save up some bucks and buy a reliable $10K vehicle, that is working now, and likely to work the next 50,00 miles or 3 years, whichever comes first. Have a good trip!


diz_oh, your travel plan reminds me of John Steinbeck’s “Travels with Charlie.” He had a pickup truck with a camper insert in the bed. And his dog, Charlie.

A Toyota pickup, preferably 2WD (lighter, simpler, keeps you out of temptation) is common throughout the Americas and the rest of the world. Pretty reliable, too, except for a sometimes fatal frame rust, leading to breakage. That happened to my 1979, and I still hear about it in much more recent Toyota trucks.

I love my Chrysler minivans, but still have a soft spot in my heart for the Toyota truck.


Our son has a Toyota Tacoma truck with the extended cab. He and his wife travel all over with this vehicle, and it has been totally trouble-free. The bed is long enough to sleep in when they are in the wilderness.


I actually own a Toyota Tacoma that I use for camping and fishing trip.


Are the beds in the modern versions long enough to bed down in?
My '79 Toyota pickup had a “Longbed” (Toyota’s official name for it) that was, if I remember correctly, seven feet long, but my '89 was a foot shorter.

I agree that they’re an excellent choice for camping, and a small trailer would make them even more so. Their reliability is rock-solid, so much so that they’re the #1 choice of military coups the world over. Look at photos of any dictatorship being overthrown and you’ll see lots of them overloaded with armed troops, machine guns, and everything imaginable, romping enthusiastically over terrain that I’d avoid.


Mine’s a crew cab so it only has 1.65m size bed. I did some modification adding a headache rack for supporting my equipment and bed extender to bed down in.


Hello again. Thanks for all the insight. Had to return to reality for a few months. But I’m back to planning. I’m thinkin on an AWD Toyota RAV4 between 6-15 years old. Never thought I would. Buddy of mine that runs a local shop is selling one of his cars. Not one that he’s reselling, but a personal vehicle. But seems like a reasonable good fit for me. Remembering that I am remaining flexible with my criteria.


Get an independent inspection, quotes I remember growing up, never buy a car from a friend, mechanics cars are the worst maintained


Absolutely! I’ll definitely have “my guy” give it a once over.


My advice is to buy any car you like, but before your trip do a full service (all fluids, brake check, radiator hoses, belts) and make sure tires are good and you have what you need to change a flat.

Why? Because I have had the most memorable experiences dealing with the unexpected, like a radiator hose blowout in mid-July in nowhere Mississippi in an old Mercedes, or a seized wheel bearing in South Carolina. In both cases I got to know the locals, and we both used our ingenuity to solve the problem.

Just keep your cell phone charged, and don’t cross the desert without lots of water in the back.


Read Ed Buryn’s Vagabonding in America, the definitive treatise. He rigged up a folding platform so he could sleep in his VW beetle.