Here's some of what I've learned. What I'm not doing is wandering about the countryside, footloose and fancy free. I've never been a footloose and fancy free kind of guy, even traveling on foot in the mountains. This trip is a mixture of boondocking, camping with utilities, and some time with friends at their house in New Mexico. I really like being reasonably certain that there will be a place to stay at the end of the day. I'm set up for dry camping, but I also really like having electricity and internet/phone connections. I like short driving days: A couple hundred miles or so seems about right.
Based on last summer, I seem to be good for 2-3 weeks away from home. I'd like to push that boundary. For example: next trip, in the June/July time frame, I'd like to get further north: last year I had my eye on Wyoming and Montana, but didn't get there, for various reasons. If I'm always returning to home, which is pretty close to the Mexican border, and I'd like to explore up near the Canadian border, that's a lot of time and gasoline just getting in the neighborhood. One way to do this is to drive longer days and overnight in a lot of Walmart parking lots.
There's another thing: driving through cities. Hate it. And the main problem is visibility on the R when making lane changes. I'm looking into a new rear-view camera, or re-positioning the one I've got.
So, for example:
The territory I want to explore is mostly in the "U" from Salt Lake City to Denver. It's 780 miles to get to the SLC vicinity. Roughly 550 miles from there up to Billings, another 550 from Billings to Denver. And 900+ from Denver home. This needs thought.