While visualizing myself dousing a pile of nylons with lighter fluid before striking a match certainly warms my heart, it’s the things we’re looking forward to seeing and doing once we hit the road that truly motivate us. Every postcard worthy photograph on a travel blog, every jealousy inducing update on a full-timer’s Facebook page, every mention of a one-of-a-kind, regional festival or event on the news inspires us to imagine what we could be spending our days doing this time next year.
So, what are we most looking forward to? Here are some of the things high on our “To Do” list
National Parks and Monuments
When most people think about a great American road trip, they think about exploring our country’s gorgeous national park system and seeing its famous landmarks. While we can’t wait to dork out by taking selfies in front of the well known ones (Old Faithful, Mount Rushmore, The World’s Largest Ball of Twine (We’re so going!), we’re also looking forward to seeing some of its lesser visited and more unique sites. In researching the possibilities, we came across landscapes we didn’t even know existed in the continental U.S.
Beyond seeing these otherworldly landscapes with our own eyes, we’re looking forward to touring places that make us wonder why we spend so much time indoors.
According to the National Park Service, there are 84 million acres of land included in the National Park System. There are 409 individual sites including 128 historical sites, 78 national monuments, 59 national parks, 25 battlefields or military parks, 19 preserves, 18 recreation areas, 10 seashores, four parkways, four lakeshores, and two reserves.
While we (probably) won’t get to see all of them, at least we know we’ll never run out of places to hike, bike, kayak, camp and photograph as we make our way through our National Park Service bucket list.
Image Sources: Antelope Canyon, White Sands, Bryce, Badlands, Glacier, Arches, Pictured Rocks, Acadia, Crater Lake
Food, Glorious Food
We hope one side effect of all that exercise will be maintaining our current weights, because our other big plans revolve around stuffing our faces.
From cheese and bratwurst in Wisconsin to crawfish and gumbo in Louisiana, the United States is chock full of regional ingredients and local specialties we cannot wait to get in our bellies. Just about every locale has a special dish, a unique ingredient or a popular cooking methodology that leaves a mark on the country’s culinary map. We intend to over indulge on each and every one!
By the way, if Kevin’s cardiologist happens to be reading this blog, what we mean by “food, glorious food” is “salad, glorious salad.”
Ok, what was I talking about? Oh right…. Delicious food that is not salad (Sorry Doctor F.!)
From real bagels in NYC to fish tacos in southern California, from clam chowder in New England to shrimp and grits in the south, if the locals think they’ve perfected it, we want to try it!
Perhaps our biggest challenge will be deciding which locale wins Chapter 3’s crown for Best BBQ. Will it be North Carolina? Memphis? Kansas City? Texas? We have no clue! But we’re willing to do some serious damage to our arteries to find out! In fact, Kevin has decided he wants to become a certified judge with the Kansas City Barbeque Society, because, well…. why not? (That was not a question for you, Doctor F…Don’t you have patients to attend to? You should really get off the internet. And stop being so judgey!)
Festivals and Events
When we’re done with all that eating, we’ll be looking for unique activities, festivals, sporting events and concerts to go check out. From South by Southwest in Austin to the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas, to the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, we’ll try to schedule our travels so we can hit some of the events we’ve been hearing about for years, but have never been able to experience. We’ll also try to take advantage of the unique activities available in certain parts of the country – things like watching a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral or attending a hot air balloon festival in New Mexico.
Image Sources: NASA, Albuquerque Balloon Festival, Kentucky Derby
Of course, there may be some compromises along the way. As much as Kevin and I agree on most things, there are a couple things about which we have differing opinions. For example, I would much rather be uncomfortably cold than uncomfortably hot, while Kevin much prefers the heat. So, when I have a great idea like “Let’s go watch a football game at the legendary frozen tundra of Lambeau Field!” his response will most definitely be: “That sounds like a terrible idea.”
However, if he thinks he’s gonna be dragging my ass to Comic-con so he can find this chick….
…he better pack some warm socks, cuz we’re goin to Lambeau!!!!!!
The list of unique events and activities available in this country is literally endless, limited only by our imagination….aaaaaaaand our budget.
Right…. forgot about that…..
Oh well, this is my “dreamy blog post,” not my “reality blog post.”
So until we actually hit the road, we’ll be letting our imaginations run wild and adding to our travel bucket list!