15 days. 2,486 miles. 31 new national parks.
In March 2013, I had one of my most productive national park road trips. I called it my #BattlefieldsandBeginnings trip, and it primarily focused on as-yet-unvisited national parks in Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland. I also snuck in a quick jaunt over the Pennsylvania border to hit Gettysburg and the adjacent Eisenhower National Historic Site.
A twitter recap of my #GreatWaters national park roadtrip* in August 2012. Sadly, I haven’t gotten around to posting the photos yet, or writing a passable summary yet, so this will have to do for now. Enjoy!
*and a shitload of roadside attractions/oddities.
While I’ve had some amazing travel years, 2012 surprisingly ranks near the top. I made it to 39 national park units I had not yet visited, took my first big solo national park road trip, visited a few new states and two new parts of the country, made it to the first Graham family reunion in several decades, marked off a few straggling park units that had dogged me for years, rafted and backpacked in some amazing places, gained a nickname for visiting all three specimens competing for the title of the World’s Largest Ball of Twine, started a new quest to hit all of the highest points of relatively flat states, and stopped by over one hundred roadside oddities and attractions. And, of course, created some fabulous memories. Continue reading 2012 was among my best trip years yet
Is this the quote (from one of my top 3 favorite movies) that got my balls of twine quest started?
One of the benefits of tweeting your trip is that it automatically creates an archive of sorts. Here’s all of the #ontheroadinthemiddleofuckingnowhere tweets from my trip.
But first, a couple of notes. One, I’m a bit bummed that the photos I attached to foursquare checkins aren’t autodisplayed; so if there’s a place that sounds interesting, click over to foursquare to see the shot I snapped. Also, since I was #ontheroadinthemiddleoffuckingnowhere, I also didn’t always have cell coverage, which meant that I didn’t get to check in or post to twitter. Nonetheless, it was fun to keep folks updated on my trip progress.
Since its purchase in 2006, my Subaru Forester—named Betsy—has been a constant companion in my quest to visit every national park unit. The vehicle has transported Kim and I on some of our best road trips, whether that’s our Great American Roadtrip in 2007, our wedding post-wedding roadtrip in 2008, or many others. There have been a great many memories produced in the vehicle—the mystery rodent that chewed through our backseat fabric in Glacier, attempting to sleep on far too thick of air mattresses in the back of the vehicle at a random rest stop somewhere in California, or enduring a gauntlet of 70mph wind, dust, rain, hail, and snow on a drive to Utah with my kayak strapped to the roof for the very first time, to name a few.
Last week, I took what is probably my last national park road trip with Betsy: a long overdue visit to Chaco Culture National Historical Park—one of the first places we had intended to go once we got it. It was a last minute change of plans that had me take the Forester on that trip, but it was great to bring her out one last time, and especially to a remote park that requires a significant drive on dirt roads to access.
With 175,000 miles on her, and several significant repairs I’ve been delaying, and only one long national park road trip to the Pacific Northwest remaining (I’ll fly to the northeastern parks from now on), she’s likely finally retired from her road trip career. While I’d love to do some more long roadtrips with her, I’m also happy shuttling around my kayak and mountain bike around the state. Thanks for all of the lifelong roadtripping memories.