- Maringouin to East Texas, then to Oklahoma (if all friends are in town) … or just go to Dallas, stay in the Magnolia Hotel and go to the Meadows Museum
- Albuquerque, staying in the Hotel Albuquerque
- Winslow, AZ, staying in La Posada
- Death Valley, CA, staying at one of the low cost rooms in Stovepipe Wells
- Lee Vining, CA, staying at the Lakeview Lodge if possible (rooms for July are already filling up in Lee Vining, and I would bet campsites are even harder to get)
On this plan it takes nearly a week to get home, and it costs money, but my friend is donating $400 and so … if I spent $100-$150 a night on these fancy hotels, let us call it $125, in five nights it would be $675 in reality but effectively $275.
The question is how to get back. I think in this case it would be by the allegedly sensible route: from San Rafael to San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo to Needles, Needles to Tucumcari, Tucumcari to Dallas, and home. That is still five days.
In any case, I am thinking this through to think about the real cost of driving. If I stay in the luxurious kinds of places I threaten to stay, I will spend $1,000 on hotels, and then I will also spend as much as $600 on combustible.
On the other, if I do not drive I will spend nearly as much as this on planes and rental cars, so it may be a simple question of what I want to do, how I feel; I feel like doing the drive out, but not the drive back.
It is not quite clear. I could fly to location A, borrow a car for two weeks, then rent one for two weeks and hang out at location B. This is the least expensive alternative.
It is not. Both San Francisco and Los Angeles have $6/day car rental offers now.