40 National Parks Done! Countdown from 10, 9, 8, 7….

So while our blogging is woefully behind, by Halloween we’ve hit 40 of our 50 National Parks and made a full circle around the United States!  We are now counting down our final 10 parks as we round the corner on November and winter.  (See live map here.)  To sum up, here’s where we’ve been after 40,000 miles on the road since January: Continue reading “40 National Parks Done! Countdown from 10, 9, 8, 7….”

Favorite Campsites in the National Parks (1st-25th)

1. Backcountry/Boondocking sites (Big Bend National Park)

Boondocking in the wild of Big Bend

Big Bend is a huge national park, with several good campsites for trailers, included our shady site in Rio Grande that provided some shelter from the 104 degree heat. But one special thing in Big Bend we have yet to see at another National Park are designated boondock sites for RVs.  Essentially, these are backcountry camping sites that are accessible by car (“Primitive Roadside Camping”). This means there are a dozen or so scenic spots scattered around this huge park where you can pull your trailer off-road — and provided you make it down the gravel side roads with trailer intact — you find yourself completely alone under the shadows of the Chiso Mountains.

Room with a view

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50 in 50: Month Three in 30 Seconds

Month Three had us moving through the Southeast, enjoying Arkansas’s hot springs and seeing the world’s longest cave system in Kentucky.  We managed to sneak some culture in at the museum at Crystal Bridges and caught a show at the famous Ryman Auditorium (home of the Grande Ole Opry!) in Nashville. We enjoyed Spring wildflowers and visits from friends in the Great Smokies, after which we dove south and traversed the very long state of Florida. From Payne’s Prairie through Orlando and Miami, I saw my first alligator and romped through Harry Potter world.  But that wasn’t south enough.  We drove the Whale all the way to the Southern tip of America to Key West and enjoyed a week of turquoise waters and learned there is no such thing as too much Key Lime Pie.

Hurray for Month Three!

The Top Ten Significant Insignificant Observations at the Halfway Point

We’ve seen six months of sunsets. Hopefully that qualifies us to make these insightful insights.

Six months into our trip and we’ve already done a lap around the US, circling the country (and more) from Channel Islands to Key West, and from Acadia to Portland.  Completing a circle usually calls for some kind of reflection, something that highlights lessons learned or nirvana(s) experienced.  This is not that post. (Although you might want to check out this post for more details on where we’ve been.)

We have some serious thoughts that we’ll no doubt put on the interwebs in the coming months, but I thought it might be fun to highlight some significant insignificant observations that we’ve had on our trip.  Some are observations that anyone might have had driving 25,000 miles around the country over six months, and some might be more conditioned by the fact that we haven’t lived in the US for about 10 years.

One: Why did anyone let us drive an RV without taking some sort of course first?

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