My #BattlefieldsandBeginnings road trip

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.

Continue reading My #BattlefieldsandBeginnings road trip

A partial recap of my #GreatWaters road trip

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.

Continue reading A partial recap of my #GreatWaters road trip

Roadtripping the national parks in my Forester

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.


Pictures from our Texas national park roadtrip

Big Bend National Park

It’s taken me nearly a year, but I finally posted pictures from our national park roadtrip to Texas last winter. I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long, but it’s clear that I’m losing some of the excitement of getting the perfect trip photos online. In fact, I spend noticeably less time taking pictures on trips (and am more likely to use my point-and-shoot than lug around my dslr), and I’m also taking far less time to edit, name, describe, and tag the photos I do take. So, please excuse the following albums for not containing those details…I’ll see if I can’t add some of them later on.

If you’d like to review the trip, we made sure to blog each night:

Our next trip starts in a few days, and if things go as planned, we’ll continue to blog each night. And yes, this time I’ll be sure to get the photos up much sooner.

Fumbling along on the roadtripping blog

Last fall, I decided that I was going to start blogging about roadtripping the National Parks. Kim and I were fresh off a long summer roadtrip that covered 8700 in 17 states. We had completed a fall trip to Canyonlands National Park – long on our to-do list – and were planning on completing all of the Texas national park units that winter if ASU failed to make a bowl game. I had started compiling writing ideas, from tips and techniques to top 10 lists to insights about favorite destinations.

The idea was to start the blog, build a bit of a readership, immerse myself in the travel writing world, and improve my writing. One day, I reasoned, I might want to write a travelogue of my own, which would focus on my quest to visit various places that played key roles in the history of public land protection in America.

Of course, the best laid plans, right? While I snagged up a few domains, continued stockpiling writing ideas, subscribed to a ton of travel blogs and sought out travel and national park related social media opportunities on Twitter, I’ve yet to write a single freaking post.

Most of that is certainly due to a lack of time and energy – things have been very busy recently, and it doesn’t seem like the right time to try to squeeze something else into the mix. But that’s not all of the reason. I like planning things out, making sure I have done the required homework, and not necessarily one to jump in without giving something a thought. Since I haven’t had time to commit to spending any money getting the blog designed, nor have I had the time to fumble through doing it myself, I’ve procrastinated on doing the most important thing you need to do to have a successful blog – write something compelling, interesting, and useful. Instead, I’m concerned that I haven’t learned the art of Google AdSense, or am wondering which sidebar items are the most important to highlight.

There are some possible big changes afoot, and I’m wondering how much time and/or energy I’ll have to actually get this thing going. In short, I’m wondering if I should, indeed, commit to this project. Am I willing to forgo relaxing after a long day at work to write yet another post? Am I willing to skimp on dinner so I can afford to invest in the blog? Right now, the obvious answer is no. We’ll have to wait and see if it stays that way.