21 National Parks In 100 Days

Discussion in '100 Nights' started by Nancy and Greg, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. Greg and Nancy are newcomers to camping, even though we're in our sixties. We have discovered a new love, life in the tiny camper. We have a 2011 Ultra 560 VIN 1P9BT1014BN422010.
    We love every last thing about it. In the late summer of 2016, we left our home on the coast of North Carolina, and began our westward journey. We had a skeleton of a plan and zero reservations at campgrounds, preferring to be spontaneous and do more detailed planning as we traveled. It all worked out really well. We love traveling this way, not being bound by having to be anywhere on a particular date.
    First, we spent a several nights in the Great Smokies, only 5 or so hours from home, near Floyd, VA, and enjoyed the Blue Ridge Parkway and all the great music in Floyd.
    We met college friends in Fairborn, OH, then traveled together in Michigan's lower peninsula, visiting Sleeping Bear NP and Pyramid Point. How can this lake look so much like waters of the Caribbean? Stunning!
    Onward to the Michigan's Upper Peninsula, visiting Tuquamenon State Park, then Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, where we toured the lake by chartered boat. We discovered that we love Michigan!
    We traveled on westward, spending a night in Van Riper State Park, WI, which is lovely and on a beautiful lake. We started traveling northward, deciding to head west across Canada, staying in Wooden Frog CG, Voyageurs NP in Minnesota, then crossing the border in International Falls.
    We loved traveling across Canada. The golden fields were beautiful in September. We enjoyed several stops along the way, in some provincial parks and some private campgrounds, visited the Royal Tyrrell dinosaur museum near Drumheller, CA.
    We put down stakes in Bow Valley campground, just north/west of Calgary, and drove back and forth to Banff several days, exploring this unbelievably beautiful area. Our first big hike of the trip was to the teahouse to see Lake Agnes. This would be the bar by which we judged our hiking abilities as we got stronger and were able to hike longer and steeper trails.
    Then on to Crandell Campground on Water Lake, CA, took the boat cruise down the lake to US side, looking for moose all the way, but not finding any. Dinner at he Prince Albert Hotel was a highlight.
    On to Glacier NP in the US. We camped at St. Mary's for several days on the east side, then stayed at a friend's on the west side.
    Then Yellowstone. We really saw so much of the park, though we had to be patient because some roads were closed due to a fire, and some roads were closed due to snow, and some roads were closed due to construction! We managed to stay in 4 different campgrounds, Mammoth, Norris, Fishing Bridge, among them. We loved Norris the best. The wildlife and thermal activity in Yellowstone made it a national park that's hard to surpass.
    On to Teton, staying at Colter Bay. Loved the old village at the ferry, and the Lawrence Rockefeller Preserve was a real highlight. We saw a FAMILY! of moose on this road. Pretty lucky.
    On the way to Colorado and the Rockies, we stayed some nights in Steinaker State Park in Utah, and loved it there....our first taste of Utah.
    After the Rockies, we went south to the Great Sand Dunes, on the advice of a good friend, are were so glad we included this park on our journey. It was so different and beautiful and we were lucky? that it snowed....and added a beautiful snow-capped mountain background to our photos here.
    Teh next stop was Black Canyon of the Gunnison. We were surprised by this park....had never even heard of it, but really appreciated the black canyon walls and the interesting access walkway that allowed us to look so far below into the canyon. We used our binoculars here to see a guy portaging his kayak in the base of the canyon, and also some rock climbers on the opposite side, scaling the wall of the canyon.
    Next we spent about a month in Utah....so much to see! Arches, Canyonlands, Gooseneck State Park, all the petrogyghs, the Needles, Newspaper Rock, Capitol Reed (another NP we had never heard of, and it was one our favorites.....the fruit pies...oh my!). At some point. we headed back east to take in Mesa Verde (Balcony House and Long House...pretty scary going up and down that ladder!)
    We came back west after Mesa Verde, staying several nights in Blanding, Utah, then on to Capitol Reef, loving that drive....and taking in Rainbow Bridges NP along the way. AFter Capitol Reef, (with some great hiking), we drove the Grand Escalante Staircase, stopping at the Petrified Forest State Parks, on the way to Bryce, Zion, plus Kodachrome State Park, and Coral Pink Sand Dunes. Then we came back east a bit and stayed on the north and south rims of the GRand Canyon, taking in the Vermillion Cliffs, Lake Powell, Glen Canyon Dam, Antelope Canyon, Lee's Ferry, and Marble Canyon along the way. Writing all this now, I can hardly believe we did it all....never had a problem or an illness. We decided that wherever we were and whatever we were seeing, it was our best day yet. :)
    After the Grand Canyon, we headed west, went to Sequoia and King's Canyon, staying in King's, then on to Yosemite, where we spent 2 weeks. Our family met us here and we enjoyed hiking with children and grandchildren. After 100 days on the road, and traveling 10,300 miles, we left our tiny camper and car with our son in LA, flew home for the holidays, and fly back out mid-January to make the return journey home to NC.
  2. Mark & Casandra

    Mark & Casandra Junior Ranger

    Wow, Nancy & Greg! I wish there was a "love" button for a trip posting like this! You absolutely no longer qualify as "newcomers"; but with one trip turned into very seasoned campers! We'd love to see pictures of this great adventure, if you have some to post.
    Are you still on another amazing road trip now making your way back home with your tiny camper?
    Happy Trails,
    Evan likes this.
  3. Well, first I have to figure out how to upload photos. Any advice?
    We spent January and February and part of March making our way back east and home to NC. It was a very different trip. We took route 10, trying to stay as far south as we could, for warm weather. There aren't as many national parks down south, but we managed to see several and lots of state parks, and had LOTS of good southwestern food and discovered some amazing art and artists, and ate LOTS of cajun food along the southern coasts of LA, AL, MS and FL.....and the Mardi Gras parades....we must have hit a dozen!
    Cassandra, I would like to contact Kathy, the award wizard, but have no idea how to find her. Could you help me? It's probably just me, but this website isn't intuitive for me. Can't remember where I saw that posting to contact "Kathy." ??
    bcweiss likes this.
  4. P.S. We're off to Nova Scotia in late summer and early fall. Very excited!
    Tom & Diana P and Jenn like this.
  5. Mark & Casandra

    Mark & Casandra Junior Ranger

    This post shows you how to message members through the forum:
    Once you get to the "Start a New Conversation" screen just enter Kathy's user name "KathyBob" in the Participants box.

    As far as uploading photos, I am far from an expert, but this should get you started.......Click the "Media" heading at the top of the page & then choose "Add Media". Then you can "choose/create an album" to start uploading photos into.

  6. KathyBob

    KathyBob Junior Ranger

    Wow, what a trip! Send me your mailing info and I'll send you your pins when I get back home next week.
    Kathy (KathyBob)
    Mark & Casandra likes this.
  7. Ken & Peggy

    Ken & Peggy Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

    Sounds like a trip of a lifetime! You visited some great sites, and you're just getting warmed up!
  8. It WAS definitely the trip of a lifetime. Our return trip was great, but nothing can beat anything that has the "national" in it, parks, monuments, rec areas, lakeshores, seashores. If it has a national in front of it, it's going to be spectacular! And we have also discovered from really great state parks too.
    We head to Nova Scotia this August. Have you been? Any tips?
  9. Ken & Peggy

    Ken & Peggy Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

    We haven't been, but it's on our list. Visiting all the NP's is a goal of ours - we're making steady progress...
    Have a great trip!
  10. KathyBob

    KathyBob Junior Ranger

    We went to Nova Scotia last August and loved it. Camped at Cheticamp in Cape Breton Highlands NP and Caribou-Monroes Provincial Park in Pictou. The ferry to Prince Edward Island is a short drive from the provincial park. On that trip we went to New Brunswick, NS and PEI, so be sure to contact me if you have any questions. Kathy
  11. Warren  Mary Ellen

    Warren Mary Ellen Junior Ranger

    Great Trip. We hit a lot of those spots the last two summers on our adventures.
  12. bcweiss

    bcweiss Newbie

    Wow! What a great first trip. We're off to Glacier and points west this summer.
    Canada is celebrating this year! You. An get a free pass for their national parks. We spent time in Quebec and Ontario provinces last year. Have a great trip

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