Saturday, April 26, 2014

Roadtrippin' USA

Camping selfie
Maybe there's something nostalgic about traveling around the country in an RV? Maybe it's a sort of throw back to yesteryear that makes me attracted to the idea. A simpler time. Or it could just be a much more affordable way to travel that makes me excited about a road trip. You can set your own schedule, no airport security hassles, no itinerary other than the one you create for yourself. In fact, the only hassle is figuring out how to work the dang water heater! My husband and I learned that one the hard way a few years back on our camping trip to Yosemite. We had borrowed my Grandpa's olllllld motor home and when we got the run down on how to operate her (we named her Roxanne),

Grandpa just plain forgot to mention the water heater button. Suffering through ice cold showers for five days wasn't exactly the most pleasant part of the trip. I mean, the water was so cold it literally turned your skin red. We would have probably been better off jumping in the glacial lake. Ok maybe not. We did however manage to make some delicious blueberry french toast from a little market we stopped at on the way into the park. We made some really great memories without even leaving the state, let alone leaving the country. 
Minutes before the deer snuck up on our campfire

So in the spirit of exploring the wonderful, amazing places our beautiful country has to offer, here is a list of my top picks for National Parks to visit in the not to distant future:

  1. Joshua Tree National Park in California. I have no idea why I haven't already checked out Joshua Tree. It's just a short drive away from where we currently live, seems to offer expansive views of stars and open land which we could all use a bit more of, and it's cool enough for U2 to name an album after it? What's not to like? Check out more about Joshua Tree here.
  2. Mount Rainier National Park in Washington. I can't get enough snow covered mountains surrounded by majestic looking trees. There's something special about miles and miles of land that is untouched by civilization. No roads criss crossing it. No telephone poles obstructing your view. No starbucks everywhere you look. OK, maybe that one isn't exactly a plus. Since Mt. Rainier is the tallest peak in the US and also an active volcano, how can that NOT be on anyone's list of must see's? For more about Mt Rainier, click here.
  3. Great Basin National Park in Nevada. Until about last week I had never heard of this place. And now it's come up twice in one week. That has to be a sign I need to go there. It's home to some really cool marble caves that were discovered in the 1800's. If you've never taken a cave tour I highly recommend it. It feels just like being an explorer and going back in time. Hard hat, flashlight, and everything. You just don't get to see that everyday. And certainly not something they have at Disneyland. For more click this link.
  4. Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone to me is like the Granddaddy of all national parks. It was the first official national park and really has everything you could hope for all in one place. I mean, when you hear the word "geyser" what's the first thing that comes to mind? Old Faithful right? It just has to be on your bucket list to see in person. Check out more about Yellowstone.
I really hope to someday be able to take our kids to these little gems around America. I can't exactly call them "hidden" gems since they are NATIONAL parks. But I'd rather share those memories and teach them about nature at the same time than try to lug them through an airport and make them sit on a plane for hours and hours.  

What are your favorite "secret" spots to visit in the US?

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