Wednesday, March 01, 2006


On this day in 1872, President Grant signed a bill creating the nation’s first national park: Yellowstone.

If you’ve never taken the time to stop and visit our national parks, I feel sorry for you. You are missing out on some tremendous and inspirational scenery. My wife and I have made many automobile trips around the country visiting National Parks as far flung as Acadia in Maine, the Everglades in Florida, Olympia in Washington and Yosemite Canyon, Death Valley, Redwood and Kings Canyons in California. (We have yet to make it to Alaska—but some day. And it’s tough to drive to Hawaii.) We drove to Acadia for our honeymoon in ’72 and went back a few years later to continue north to Nova Scotia. In ’76 the two of us went car camping on a four-week jaunt through Rushmore, the Badlands, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Redwood, the Petrified Forest, Bryce and Zion Canyons, and Rocky Mountain. We took one and two week long trips through West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and to the Smokey Mountains and a long the Blue Ridge.

Once the kids were born, we would travel to see relatives in Florida (and stopped at Busch Gardens in Tampa and Disney World), and in Kansas City, Kansas (and stop at Mammoth Cave and the St. Louis Gateway Arch on the way out and swing north to Duluth, Grand Portage and onto the northern shoreline of the Great Lakes before heading home).

Then in 1993 we all took The Road Trip, as the kids still refer to it. In 5 1/2 weeks we made a loop starting and ending in NJ through Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands, Devil’s Tower, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, Banff, Vancouver, Mt. Rainer, Mt. St. Helens, Crater Lake, Redwood and Kings Canyons, Yosemite Canyon, San Diego, Death Valley, Four Corners, Canyon de Chelle, the Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion Canyons, Dinosaur National Monument, the Petrified Forest and Rocky Mountain National Park.

Since then, we have traveled to Quebec in ones and twos and all together to go fishing. We spent a week at Colonial Williamsburg between Christmas and New Years. We've traveled together to Lexington and Concord and Boston and Salem; to Niagara Falls and Cooperstown

Jessica has spent a semester in Japan, and went away to Maryland and California to work at summer camps. She's traveled with one marching band or another to Orlando, Washington, D.C. and Toronto.

Rick has gone on trips with the Boy Scouts to Boundary Waters and Philmont and now studies Forestry at the University of Idaho. He joined the Marine Reserves out of high school and had basic training at Parris Island, MOS training in Texas and a six-month stint in Iraq. He has traveled with friend back to Yellowstone in winter to cross-country ski, to Crater Lake (where he learned they wouldn’t let them do the Polar bear swim in late March) and to Cabo San Lucas on an invitation from another friend.

Terry has been to New Orleans, Nashville, Atlanta and Minneapolis for the Smocking Arts Guild. When she still worked, she spent a lot of time in Burlington, VT and Plattsburgh, NY. (She never did get to go to Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands, however.)

I have worked three summers at BSA camp in the Adirondacks and spent several summers at our cabin within the Blue Line.

Terry and I have been to Martha’s Vineyard for Christmas with friends, to Chincoteague Island, and San Francisco (one of only two plane trips we’ve taken) to visit relatives for the Christmas Holidays with side trips to John Muir Woods, Fishermen’s Warf, Ano Neuevo to see the elephant seals, and Sonoma Valley. We flew out to Spokane to see Rick’s Marine unit off and drove out to welcome them back. Terry and I have taken the trailer to Georgia and South Carolina and to Pike’s Peak and the Front Range of the Rockies twice.
We've a list of places we would like to go back to for a longer, slower time and another almost as long of place we look forward to visiting for the first time.

Yeah, it takes longer to get where we are going when we drive versus flying, but time spent in the car traveling is pleasurable and not tortuous as some might suspect. We get to talk and joke, play games, tell stories, sing and just grow closer as we admire the scenery. (And sometimes wonder if every road we choose to travel just happens to be under repair! The road less traveled can be a hell of a journey. That last sentence has two meanings and we've seen 'em both.)

This is a great and diverse country we live in. More people ought to get out and see it rather than merely fly over it.

Start 'em young and they will grow to enjoy the trip as much as the destination.

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