Lee and a curious calico crisscross the country in a RV, living simply and sustainably.

Posts tagged ‘Travel’

My Top 10 National Park Favs

Thank you to all my followers over the years – this will be my last blog post for a while as I will be parking my wheels in the new year and taking a job that truly speaks to my heart – caring for retired RVers. May your journeys be wild enough to make your heart beat faster, and bring you closer to your own wild nature…

license plate

The driving force behind my RVing adventure was to renew my spirit after my dad’s death and Worst Year Ever, visit my son, see as many national parks as possible, and hug a redwood/sequoia tree (silly me, I thought they were interchangeable). How fortunate to have had 2 ½ years to explore the United States with my home on my back like a crab shell, ducking in and out of these national treasures as time, money, and logistics permitted. I can honestly say that the parks saved me by bringing me back to my wild nature, bringing wildness literally to my door, and bringing me home once again.

“The ultimate test of a man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard ”    ~ Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day

Here are the top ten favorite parks I visited during my RVing journey in order from my least favorite (still spectacular) to most. I selected just one photo from each to represent my personal experience within the park and a one liner of why it was so memorable. I am so blessed to have traveled to so many amazing places that I can even assemble a top ten list. Please share your comments and memories as well. And please support our National Parks and your local wild places.

# 10 – Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Crater Lake

There was so much snow in the park that only a third of the drive was open, however, I wasn’t complaining about viewing the cleanest water in the world, all from snowmelt.

#9 – Glacier National Park, Montana


WTF? – it was a sunny day in August when I started up Going to the Sun Road, yet found myself gripping the wheel around hairpin turns through rain, sleet, hail, snow and fog before finally descending back into the sun.

#8 – Yosemite National Park, California


White-knuckled drive across the park with my RV in tow, but when I returned I got this snapshot plus the opportunity to thank National Park Ranger Shelton Johnson who appeared in a series of DVDs on the National Parks which inspired me to hit the road in the first place.

#7 – Badlands National Park, South Dakota


Growing up, my next door neighbors traveled out west in their tiny Shasta trailer and raved about the Badlands, and I didn’t understand the hype until I turned a corner and was on Mars???

#6 – Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Extraordinary vistas seen with my son, playing Beatles songs on guitar and mandolin, and driving hair-raising Colorado mountain roads to get here, visiting friends on the way back…so worth the extra miles.

#5 – Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Rocky Mtn

Seeing the beauty of the world through my son’s eyes, wearing my Dad’s old shirt…a priceless memory.

#4 – Padre Island National Seashore, Texas

Padre Island3

Broke a tooth and my traveling budget was eaten up so boondocked on the beach, took a couple of free bird tours (the guide had once taught school in my tiny hometown), learned about endangered sea turtles, and camped for $5 a day or less in paradise.

#3 – Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Grand Tetons

Hiking and kayaking with Park Ranger pal Moe, seeing beaver’s bubbles emerge before it did from this den, Mormon row and these incredibly majestic mountains.

#2 – Yellowstone National Park, Montana, Wyoming & Idaho


For me, Yellowstone will always be associated with bison gathering outside my RV in the afternoons – may they forever run free.

#1 – Redwood National Park, California

Redwood National Park

For some reason, these trees called to me from the opposite coast, set this whole quest into motion and did not disappoint – their essence touched my own and now my bucket list is complete! What’s on yours and what on earth are you waiting for???


On the Trail of Lewis & Clark

While workcamping in Yellowstone Association bookstores this season, we were encouraged to read books off the shelf during slow times so I picked up Stephen Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage, a historical accounting of Thomas Jefferson’s orders to send Meriwether Lewis and William Clark across uncharted country to discover a watery trade route from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean. (more…)

Exploring Grand Teton National Park

A few months ago I spent a weekend with Moe, a contra dance friend from the east coast. She is now a National Park Ranger stationed in Grand Teton National Park. I can’t think of a better way to explore a park than with your own personal ranger as guide. (more…)

Contra Dance Review – Bear Hug, Flathead Lake, MT


I was really jonesing for a contra dance weekend and jumped at the chance to attend Bear Hug Contra in mid-September on Flathead Lake, Montana. About a 6 hour drive from Yellowstone and 90 minutes from Glacier National Park, I figured I could make a long weekend out of it and see Glacier while I was in the area. Friends told me how beautiful the Flathead Lake area was, but when I spied it from the highway to the south, I exclaimed out loud “Oh wow.” Even though nobody else was in the car.


Find Your Park(s)

There is a campaign going on this year of the National Park Service Centennial called Find Your Park. My boss told me about a fun quiz on their website that I took for fun.

Called the National Park Personality Quiz, you basically click on your favorite photo and answer 11 simple questions like “If you were a tree, what would it be?” Taking the quiz on my smartphone, I just picked the prettiest picture from the tiny options. (more…)

Gypsy, Rose and Lee Go RVing

Since leaving my day job last week and selling my sticks & bricks house two weeks ago, life has either drifted along idyllically or I’ve been caught in a chain of rapids. And it’s all good. (more…)

Weighed Down

My life is being distilled down to its essence. That’s a good thing, but is challenging physical and internal work. After deciding several months ago to transition from my beloved house in the Appalachian Mountains to a tiny house on wheels (an ultra light travel trailer with 200 sq ft of living space) the process of purging has been underway on all levels. (more…)

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