Welcome back to NOT-Road Trip I, a wistful review of the past 10 years of criss-crossing this great continent in Feb-March. Looking back at photos from 2012 is like seeing broad stripes of color on a blanket.
BLUE and WHITE. We started in Yellowstone as a special Valentine’s Day gift to ourselves. Thanks to a kind of bus on skis, and our own snowshoes, we penetrated deep into a park otherwise closed to traffic…the human kind.
You can bet this has become one of our favorite photos of ourselves.
BROWN and OLIVE. Needing some warmth, we headed straight down through Utah to Arizona.
One of the most accessible national parks is Petrified Forest–right off I-40. Since winter storms were threatening, we opted for the ease of a ride-through, and kept on our way.
RED. After holing up in Albuquerque for a bit, we headed sadly for Texas, knowing that the Panhandle is one of the dullest parts of a state which guards its scenery pretty closely. But following our noses to a small green blob on our map, we discovered Palo Duro State Park–amazingly, the second-largest canyon in the US, and one that we nor anyone we knew had heard of.
WHITE and BLUE again (warm shades). Another brand-new discovery for us (though much better-known): Florida’s National Seashore, where we camped and rode our bikes, in awe of the ivory sand.
Having crossed the country at top speed, outrunning storms, we found ourselves with a full extra week in Florida, which we spent bopping from one gorgeous state park to another.
We did also ride our bikes through the Everglades and visited friends in the Keys, but frankly, I found the environmental degradation there more depressing than inspiring, so I won’t revisit those places here.
BROWN & GREEN (wet version). Okeefenokee! Need I say more?
Since Georgia’s wild places have such great names, we also joined some friends in paddling the Ogeechee River.
Back at my parents’ farm once more–don’t forget, dear readers, that NC in March is always the apex of our Road Trips–Son Two joined us again from college, for Tarheel basketball, great BBQ, and cuddles with Stevie, World’s Cutest Ass.
SILVER. Unlike the previous year, winter weather precluded heading very far north, so we made the Big Left Turn and headed west through the middle of the country, taking one touristy, cultural stop–unusual for us.
BROWN & BLACK. Astonishingly, while Flagstaff got a foot of snow, just north of there, we found Estes Park, Colorado, on the edge of Rocky Mountain N.P., nearly snow-free.
The “Black” comes from another new find (to us): Colorado’s Black Canyon of the Gunnison. It was too snowy to hike down, so we snowshoed along the rim.
RED again. First, we camped in the lovely & accessible Colorado National Monument outside Grand Junction.
To this day, this remains our only sighting of desert bighorns–right across the road!
Of course the ultimate RED is found in Moab, UT, jumping-off spot for three major national parks.
There, we began what has remained a tradition of joining our Adventure Buddies Tom & Kate for, well…
COLOR US HAPPY. Back home in Washington, we managed to meet both our sons on break from college, and celebrated with sushi at Fujiya, our favorite restaurant in the world.
So that’s Road Trip II–colorful, warm, and now folded in the closet of memory. Catch you next time for RT III–thanks for traveling with me!