Starting in the early nineties, I started to travel by automobile to visit and camp at as many National Parks, National Monuments, and Historical Sites as possible (of course, this is a never ending endeavor). I have discovered this also gives a fantastic opportunity to directly experience diverse geographies and the people who live in it. I have always developed some theme to guide each set of destinations, but for the most part the theme is just a helpful getting started plan. Once on the road, you let circumstance and interest guide your travel.

I have tried to create words and pictures to describe each trip for the purpose of sharing and, as I get older, recollection!

Half Dome - Yosemite NP

 This was the first of my road trips and while brief, it spawned all of the rest. I realised that you could see a heck of a lot of country and some very interesting locations by traveling in a car with camping equipment. Of course, the set up for this first trip was very primitive and we learned a heck of a lot about doing it better.

First of all, this trip was a mad idea developed around a visit to San Francisco to go to the Interop Conference. This was back in the days when Interop was still a small, but rapidly growing Internet conference. Anyways, I figured that after the conference was over we could take a wild dash through some interesting National Parks. Furthermore, one of my companions on the trip just *had* to visit Las Vegas and had some relatives in Los Angeles. The airlines would sell us an open jaw ticket from Toronto to San Fran returning from LA for the same price as a return roundtrip from Toronto to San Fran. That and a rental car were all we needed to make the trip.

Antebellum Home

Encouraged by our modest success during the fall on 1991, we decided that fun could be had by driving the Interstates, camping and visiting interesting places. We had purchased an Aerostar van and I built some shelves to fit behind the rear bench seats and cabinet to sit behind the front passenger seats (the middle bench was removed for travel). We purchased some additional camping equipment, loaded up the truck and set off on the first of our road trips.

The purpose of this trip was manifold. Most of our later road trips surrounded a particular theme, but this trip was just to test the road trip water. We were going to go to Baton Rouge/New Orleans to spend some time visiting friends, try a scenic road route, visit a couple of National Parks, and visit Washington DC to see the many museums and famous monuments.

 

Following our first fully equipped road trip in the fall of 1992, and encouraged by our enjoyment of it, we planned a greater and longer trip. In the fall of 1993 my companions and I went on a road trip to see the West Coast of the US and then return home eastward along the Columbia river gorge through Idaho, Wyoming and the Dakotas. This was a much longer trip than had been done before and took about 4 weeks. It did, however, by its success, set the standard both in duration (about one month) and distance (12,000 to 18,000 km) for many subsequent road trips. Here is a list of the places we visited:

  • San Francisco, Napa and Sonoma
  • Humboldt Redwoods State Park and Redwoods National Park
  • Crater Lake National Park
  • Mount Rainier National Park
  • Columbia River Gorge
  • Craters of the Moon National Monument
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Grand Tetons National Park
  • Devil's Tower National Monument
  • Badlands National Park
  • Madison County and Pella Iowa

 

Bolder Mountain

In the fall of 1995 I embarked with my companions on a road trip that was to include parts of the states of Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. Since we ended up going much faster than we originally thought (sometimes due to bad weather), we also included New Mexico, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia before it was done!

Here is a list of the places we visited:

  • Colorado National Monument
  • Arches National Park
  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Natural Bridges National Monument
  • Capitol Reef National Park
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Zion National Park
  • Cedar Breaks National Monument
  • Grand Canyon (North Rim, South Rim)

  • Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monument
  • Petrified Forest National Park
  • White Sands, Stallion Missile Range
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park
  • Big Bend National Park
  • Mamoth Cave National Park
  • Great Smokey Mountains National Park
  • Shenandoal National Park

 

Takakawa Falls

At the end of my trip in 1995 to the Colorado Plateau I new that I would have to make the same trip again -- there is just so much to see and it is all spectacular. Well, after 6 years and a long time without any vacation, I found myself with the opportunity to repeat (more or less) the Colorado Plateau tour! We followed a different route through the sights and this offered me a new perspective. Also, I had aquired a good digital camera which allowed me to take many many more pictures. Some of the pictures are pretty good! Also, I  took advantage of digital stitching techniques to create panoramic views for many of the locations where the scenery is not well served by a narrow field of view.

Here is a list of the places we visited:

  • Petrified Forest National Park
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Capitol Reef National Park
  • Natural Bridges National Monument
  • Colorado Springs (side trip ;-)
  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison
  • Arches National Park
  • Grand Teton National Park
  • Banff National Park
  • Jasper National Park
  • Grand Canyon National Park (North and South Rim)
  • Escalante Staircase National Monument
  • Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Colorado National Monument
  • Canyonlands National Park (Northern Section)
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Yoho National Park
  • Kananaskis District