• Julianna Sweeney

Cross Country Trip RECAP

It's been almost a month since Tyler and I started on our journey across the country.

You've already got the scoop on each day, now I figured it's time to do a recap. Below, I detail our final stats, some thoughts we have now looking back on the trip and I'm also answering some FAQs that I've gotten from quite a few people along the way. I hope this helps you to get a glimpse into what it was like for us, whether or not it's something for you, and if it is, some ways to ensure it's a great trip!

...

COST TOTALS

  • Approx. Total Mileage: 4,437

  • Total cost to charge the Tesla: $ 402.01

  • Gas sedan equivalent (as of March 3rd 2022): $ 843.03 (CRAZY!)

  • Total Cost for Food: $ 776.90

  • The only meals we bought were dinner (because we were practicing intermittent fasting), however we did splurge on espresso whenever we found a cool coffee shop

  • Total Cost for Hotels: $ 984.46

  • We were blessed to have been able to stay with some friends

  • Cross Country Trip GRAND TOTAL: $ 2,186.6

  • We had a budget of $2,300 so we came in under budget (WHOO HOO!)

MISC. STATS

  • Approx. Total Mileage: 4,437

  • Total Length of the Trip: 12 days

  • Which Route: South

  • With traveling in the winter and driving in the model 3, we figured it would be safest to go the South Route to avoid (almost all of) the snow​

  • States Traveled Through: New Jersey (NJ), Pennsylvania (PA), Maryland (MD), West Virginia (WV), Kentucky (KY), Tennessee (TN), Arkansas (AR), Texas (TX), New Mexico (NM), Arizona (AZ), California (CA)

  • Total Time Zone Changes: We drove through 4 different time zones: Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific

  • Punch Buggy Game Final Tally:

  • Julianna - ​28

  • Tyler - 25

  • License Plate Game: 49/50 states (we didn't get Alaska)

  • Approx. Travel per day: We broke up the trip so we only traveled between 5-7 hours per day (with the exception of an 8 h 40 m day)

FAQs

  • What was your favorite part of the trip?

  • There were so many incredible aspects of this ​trip that it's really difficult to pick a favorite. That being said... I think we've both come to the agreement that being able to visit our friends along the way (and make music with them) was probably our favorite part. We weren't expecting it as it wasn't part of our initial plan, and I think that was what made it so special.


  • What was your least favorite part of the trip?

  • Hands down witnessing a fatal crash right next to us in Arkansas. It is something that we will undoubtedly ​carry with us and ensure that we drive more carefully than ever before. It also reminded us of the fragility of life and that every day is a gift.


  • Were there any places that you would avoid next time?

  • Arkansas (but I think we are biased haha)! No, but there are a few places - We would not go back to Memphis (TN), Little Rock (AR), or Albuquerque (NM)​


  • Would you do the trip again?

  • Absolutely. We want to go the north route in the summertime though for a different perspective and a new adventure.​


  • Are there any places that you definitely want to go back and visit?

  • Yes, because we were on a time crunch we didn't really get to enjoy everything we wanted to. We'd go back to Arlington (TX), Amarillo (TX) to get the *right* order from the Big Texan, Santa Fe (NM), Flagstaff (AZ), Petrified Forest National Park, The Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree National Park, Sequoia National Park, Rocklin (CA). The trip was a really good sampling platter of sorts. Now we've got a good idea of where we want to go back and explore more!


  • How did what you experience align with your expectations?

  • Yes and no. There were certain things that did, like we knew that in the Southwest that we'd reach flat land and desert, and that things would be cheap, but everything was bigger and flatter and ever expansive and cheaper that we could have possibly imagined. Personally, I also didn't think I was going to like California as much as I do - It's absolutely gorgeous (minus the insanely high prices for everything except produce)


  • Did you stay in hotels, airbnb's or camp?

  • Because we were on a schedule, we stayed mostly in Hotels. If we weren't in a hotel, we were staying with friends (with the exception of a bed and breakfast of sorts that we stayed at in Santa Fe (NM) - I couldn't recommend it more). In terms of camping, however, I would definitely recommend looking into KOA. We passed so many of them as they're set up specifically for people interested in doing trips like these!


  • How did you plan where to stop/ where to charge?

  • We started out by using a website called PlugShare to make sure that we could actually make it across the country. Then we planned out our stops based on the route we'd need to take and relatively how long we decided to drive each day. Once we were on the road though, the Tesla would automatically tell us where to stop next based on the level of charge/distance/weather/etc.


  • Do you have any snack recommendations?

  • We knew that we wanted to eat healthy because we weren't going to be able to exercise as much as we wanted. We also understood that we would need snacks that would keep in the car. Although we did pack some bars, we kept those more for emergencies. Our go-to snacks were roasted, unsalted nuts and dried fruit... and the occasional cookie either that Tyler's some made or my avó made.


  • Did you guys fight? Was it hard to be stuck in a car for hours/days on end?

  • Honestly, no. If anything I think we really grew a stronger bond. Of course there were the occasional instances where we'd get annoyed with each other, but it didn't last long. With a trip like that, you've really got to have each other's backs, and experiencing new things together builds a stronger bond between you.


  • How did you keep yourselves entertained? Doesn't it get boring?

  • We played the punch buggy game, the license plate game, we'd ask each other questions, we'd listen to music, etc. There's never a dull moment. There were even times where we'd just sit in silence and take it all in. You process so much new information that it really never gets boring.


  • How much did you plan out everything before hand?

  • We planned out the first half of the trip (to Arlington, TX) and booked the hotels. The second half of the trip though, we left more open to spontaneity​. We had a general idea of the path we wanted to take but really left God to lead us in the right direction.


  • What did you like/dislike about driving vs. flying to your destination?

  • Flying is obviously great because it affords you the opportunity to experience more places in a shorter amount of time. Driving, however, allowed us to see and experience everything in context - how the landscape changes, how people live differently, cultural differences, etc. It also makes you realize just how big and vast the country really is. It's a very humbling experience.

TIPS

  • Break up the trip into manageable chunks of driving time

  • Keep an open mind and be open to plans changing

  • Pack healthy snacks

  • Rest - you're going to need it

  • Book safe hotels in good areas (never let money be a deciding factor when it comes to your safety)

  • Keep your eyes open, always be aware of your surroundings

  • Go with someone you love and appreciate, it will deepen your bond

  • Always have something to protect yourself with (I carried pepper spray and a tactical pen)

  • Bring enough cash to cover 2-3 days travel expenses (you never know)

  • Budget Budget Budget

  • Journal the memories and things that stood out to you (you won't regret it)

  • Make lists of everything that you bring

  • Unless you're moving permanently, pack light (you don't need much, all I brought was a backpack and a medium sized duffle bag)

  • Wear comfortable clothes

  • Take it all in and enjoy the ride

...

I would say I had just about as much fun planning the trip as I did creating the Blog posts for it LOL! I am working on finishing up the guides that you'll be able to use to plan your very own trip - they will be available next week.

Until then, I just wanted to say thank you all SO much for the support, prayers and well wishes. They are felt. I hope that our experience will be able to help you and yours and wish you nothing but the best. And don't forget to let me know if this helped!

Sending love always,

J.S.



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