Friday, July 10, 2015

Three Weeks on the Road

If you've been following my blog for the past three weeks, you probably know that I haven't been in Southern Cali since a few hours after school got out on June 18. For the past two years I have done similar bike racing/fun trips, but this one was a bit different because it was longer, involved quite a bit more driving and was very much 'fly by the seat of your pants' unplanned. Here is a quick recap of the trip with some interesting details I choose to record while on the road.
Everything I needed for three weeks of travel (minus the camp stove and thermarest I borrowed from Taryn).
Basic travel overview:
en route to SLC from Missoula
- Flew from Orange County to Missoula MT on June 18 (stayed with family friends, raced bikes)
- Drove from Missoula, MT to Sun Valley Idaho on June 21 (camped in rental car with bike)
- Drove from Sun Valley to Salt Lake City on June 22 (Rode in Sun Valley for a few hours in the am)
- Flew from SLC to Denver on June 25 (involved last minute borrowing a bike bag!) then drove to Colorado Springs for racing bikes
- Drove from Denver to SLC on June 29 (very last minute plan to drive with new friend Sam rather than rent a car in Denver and stay in the area because rental cars in CO are EXPENSIVE in June!)
Views from drive to Fruita
- Drove from SLC to Fruita, CO on July 1 (camped in a tent alone for the first time in a deserted desert parking lot)
- Drove from Fruita to Breckenridge, CO July 2 (rode sick Fruita trails in the am)
- Drove from Breck to Denver on July 4 (post Firecracker to spend time with the niece and nephew)
- Drove from Denver to Crested Butte on July 6 (stopped in Salida to ride Monarch Crest on the way)
- Drove from Crested Butte to SLC on July 7 (rode C.B. in the am before this bear of a drive)
- Flew from SLC to Orange County on July 8

You may notice in all that driving that I essentially drove between SLC and Denver 3 times during this trip. This part seems a little painful, but each of those drives was on a completely different route, so there was plenty of scenery, and on one leg I had good company (thanks so much again Sam, you made that one much more bearable!) A lot of the reasoning behind driving so much was to save money. My original plan was to rent a car in Denver on June 29th and stay in the mountains close by through the 4th, but because I wasn't sure about plans until a few days prior to this portion of the trip rental car prices in Denver went through the roof (cheapest was $57 per day), while they stayed relatively low from SLC (I got my rental for $20 per day).

Estimation of $$ spent on rental cars: $356.92 (this accounts for the fact that the team is reimbursing me for the rental car that got me from Missoula to SLC)

Number of different rental cars driven: 4

Miles driven just to get from place to place: 2,306

Estimation of money spent on gas: $191.97 (this is a very rough estimate, only includes miles driven on the trips listed above, and I used 30mpg as an average fuel economy which might be a little inaccurate because they were all small cars, but there was a lot of driving up and over big mountains)

Food/lodging Overview
Sleeping in the car in Sun Valley.
This trip was based around doing three races,  in Missoula, Colorado Springs and Breckenridge. For the Missoula race I stayed with friends of Brendan's parents in an awesome house with incredible views. In Colorado Springs I stayed with the team in an awesome hotel with a full sized fridge and kitchen which meant I could cook for myself! And for the race in Breck I camped for a night with friends way up on a and stayed in the house of a very gracious local the night before the race.

Campsite in Crested Butte
The rest of the trip was a combo of staying at BFF Taryn's house in SLC, camping in the nature at free campsites alone, and staying at my brother's place in Denver. Since this trip was so 'fly by the seat...' and I only really knew for sure what I was doing for the weekend of the Missoula and CO Springs races, I usually didn't plan where I was camping until a day in advance. This actually worked out quite well, because as I learned, you can camp on National Forest land off a dirt road for free. I basically jumped on the Wifi at a coffee shop after riding every day, searched up free camping, and was able to find National Forest camping in all the places I was going.
View from my tent in Fruita
Breck was the only stressful lodging situation because it was the weekend of the 4th of July and camping is prohibited in all of Breckenridge. Thankfully friends helped me out for this one though! In summary I spent $0 on lodging, camped in seriously beautiful places, and got to spend time with friends and family.

I tallied up the amount I spent on food via a google spreadsheet each day mostly because I was curious about how much money I was spending on nutrition. This was especially useful because I am a super frugal/kinda stupid individual and I get anxious about spending $$ on food which results in poor decision making. Throw in eating out a lot/ cooking for just one person when I can cook, and this was a potential source of stress for me. I vowed in Sun Valley that I would prioritize my nutrition though (after a day of very poor decision making), and not skimp on eating well because food is fuel and after all the whole point of this trip was to race bikes fast, something you need proper fuel to be able to do!

Average spent on food per day from 6/19-7/7/15: $26.3

Total spent in the same time period: $526

I included all nutrition items purchased for myself in the total/average, so we are talking from every cup of coffee to groceries when I was able to cook. I am pretty lucky to have great friends who fed me very well on more than one occasion when I was staying with them, so this may have caused my totals/averages to be lower than what is reasonable. I ate a lot of instant oatmeal, especially when camping, and when I eat out I usually have enough leftovers to provide another meal, so this helped keep the average $$ spent on the low side (well, I don't really know, is $26 per day low for someone on the road?)

I know there are other incidental costs of being on the road for extended periods of time, like spending $30 to have my drive train cleaned up in Salida, but in terms of travel, lodging and food I spent $1,074.89. Here is the exciting part though, I won some $$ racing bikes, totaling $1,064.23!!! And that's that, three weeks on the road riding bikes, camping, sight seeing, lots of blowing my nose due to allergies, meeting tons of super fun/cool people and most importantly racing bikes!!!
My favorite travel companion, Scalpy the green beast!


  1. Free camping is the best!! I learned that road tripping with Sanjay. You're having the time of your life right now!! These will be some great storries to tell later in your life!

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