TO ESCAPE THE HEAVY RAINS AND ROUGH SAILING CONDITIONS BROUGHT ON BY HURRICANE SEASON IN SOUTHERN MEXICO, RACHEL AND I DECIDED TO FLY BACK TO THE STATES AND TAKE OUR VAN, RON BURGUNDY, FOR A ROAD TRIP!!!
I think that as American travelers we have underestimated and taken for granted all of the amazing places that the States have to offer. California alone is almost as large as all of Central America combined! And although hiking for miles while being eaten alive by bugs as you translate directions down some mud road in the middle of the jungle in Guatemala has its own allure, there is something to be said about the ease of access that our National Parks and public lands offer.
We drove over four thousand miles in just under a month trying to soak up and see as much of California, Arizona, Utah, Idaho and Wyoming as we possibly could, although we only scratched the surface!
Public lands are a hot topic in current legislation and we on Agape feel it is one of the most important issues on the table. Rachel and I have been fortunate enough to see first hand these beautiful places and the difference that federal protection can make on the land and animals that call it home.
On our trip we were amazed at how easy it was to go and see the parks, and we appreciated all the conveniences they had to offer. From showers and clean drinking water, to campsites, bathrooms and even laundry services, we were impressed! After spending so much time traveling abroad we had grown accustomed to going without. Our parks and monuments have made it possible for everyone to experience our public lands. From the young fit hikers and travelers, to the elderly and disabled, our public lands are truly accessible by everyone!
Almost all the parks have campsites located within their boarders, but to help pay for their upkeep and the facilities they offer there is generally a fee of $10-25. However, there is usually BLM (Bureau of Land Management) or National Forest land near by that you can disperse camp on for free within their borders. Although they are a little more rustic, these locations are usually great and most of the time there is no one near by.
We think that for a lot of avid outdoorsmen part of the allure is getting away from people and away from civilization, and although the National Parks can sometimes get crowed there is always plenty of trails that will lead you off the beaten path. Our parks enable everyday urbanites to also experience and learn about why it is so important to protect these lands. If you have never had an experience in these wild places, chances are you don’t have a reason to want to protect them. Our parks enable everyone to have that experience and see the amazing wonders that make up this country.
Some of our favorite parks out west included Zion, Bryce Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Arches and Grand Teton National Park. Other must see’s are Sequoia National Park, Capitol Reef, Joshua Tree, Horseshoe Bend, Bears Ears National Monument, Antelope Island and Kings Canyon.
A FEW TIPS FOR YOUR NEXT ROAD TRIP:
GET THE ANNUAL PASS
If you are planning on visiting more than four National Parks, we highly recommend buying the annual pass. In the end it will save you some cash. Yes they are expensive ($80), but they are good for all National Parks for one year. This will save you money if you plan to make multiple trips, and it allows you access to the parks that you would otherwise bypass. Plus it helps support our parks!
BULK FOOD BINS
The stores that offer bulk items are a great place to find snacks, nuts, trail mix and dried fruits. It’s cheaper and a better selection than gas station food.
IF IT LOOKS COOL, STOP!!!!
So many times we have thought about stopping but continued on and regretted not pulling over. If you even think about stopping for a second, just do it! Some of the coolest things we’ve seen have been last second decisions to see what’s down a dirt road or was a stop for a quick picture.