50 States – 18 Months – 1 Airstream Episode Two: Building the Map

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

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*Photo: First Ward Park in Uptown Charlotte on a Beautiful Thursday – 11/8/18

Happy Thursday Kids! Moving forward, Thursday’s will be dedicated to the upcoming 50 State Road Trip in the Airstream. You may have read episode one here. If not, pop on by!

BUILDING THE MAP

We’ve begun the task of populating our map of the United States. An effort more daunting than it would seem. This isn’t the gritty stuff…the actual nuts and bolts of getting to and from… and staying in or around all of these places.  This is the “30,000 foot view” to use a lame business phrase. But first things first. All great adventures begin with a great plan…right? Now let’s circle back… <—- see what I did there? Another lame business cliche.

89 Business Cliches That Will Get Any MBA Promoted To Middle Management And Make Them Totally Useless

You may remember from Episode 1 that there are two primary objectives of the trip… besides the obvious sabbatical/mental break/hard reset.

  • Visit the four corners of the US.
  • Visit all 58 national parks.

What would your “must see” list look like?

COOL…WE’LL BE IN THE DRIVEWAY THEN

First, we started by marking locations of friends and family across the country. Time for some good old fashioned moochdocking!

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*big thanks to Drivin and Vibin for the above definition. 

Leslie added hers in black. I chose red. Here is the result:

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PARK IT

Next, we marked each of the 58 National Parks on the map. Man that’s a pile of parks. Here they are numbered in green.

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Speaking with my good friend Rick Flavortown (real name kept secret to protect the innocent) last night, he advised that some of these parks can be REALLY difficult to get to. Remember, though, right now we are just laying out the basics.

Side Bar: Last year, during an exhausting hike through the mountains of NC, we almost lost ole’ Rick in a particularly tricky river crossing on a frigid day… a story for another time perhaps. That said, he is well versed in National Park travel, and I appreciate his insight.

CHALLENGING?…YES   IMPOSSIBLE?…NO

Some of the most elusive parks require a ferry, plane, helicopter or air boat to get to….read: our Airstream @LadyLolaMae is going to have to sit a few of these out and rest. 

For this reason however, they are also some of the most rewarding to visit. To put the differences in perspective, Yellowstone and Yosemite receive over 4 million visitors per year – each, while American Samoa and Kobuk Valley see closer to 10 thousand.

You’re statistically more likely to see a bear at Kobuk than another human – my kinda place.

American Samoa National Park

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Kobuk Valley National Park

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Dry Tortugas National Park

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Virgin Islands National Park

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American Samoa, Dry Tortugas, The Virgin Islands, Kobuk…elusive, but not impossible.

Next episode, we will dive into the logistics around hitting these remote locations all on the same trip. Hopefully keeping both our sanity and our limbs intact.

See you on the journey!

Check out our other articles in this series: 

50 States – 18 Months – 1 Airstream Episode One: The Trip

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