The Best Bargain in Travel

The best bargain in travel is the United States National Park Pass.   The cost is negligible really.   We purchased an annual family Interagency National Park Pass last June for $80.   If you are a senior, it is only $10 for a lifetime pass and the US Military get in free always.

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Having the National Park Pass gets you into all National Parks, Monuments, and Federal Recreation sites at no additional cost with no limitations on visits.   Before I had the National Park Pass I had been to 6 National Parks in 43 years.   Since June, I have been to 9 National Parks with 7 of them new.   In addition, my adult children have used the pass to visit 3 other National Parks and between all of us have scheduled trips this winter and spring to at least 7 more.   The National Parks are spread all over the country so while some of our trips have been based around the Parks, others have been because we have been in the area.   Work trip to New Hampshire, then drive up to Acadia in Maine.   Weekend getaway to Seattle, lets squeeze in Mt Ranier etc.

The United States National Park system represents all that is great about America.   To quote writer and historian, Wallace Stegner, national parks are “the best idea we ever had.  Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.”   The National Park system preserves the most beautiful, special, and culturally important places in our country.   To visit them widens your view of the world and fills you with awe to the beauty created by God.

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Parks visited so far this year by our family include Acadia NP, Congaree NP, Cuyahoga NP, Zion NP, Canyonlands NP, Arches NP, Capitol Reef NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Grand Canyon NP, Saguaro NP, Mt Ranier NP, Olympic NP, Shenandoah NP, and the Great Smoky Mountains NP.    Scheduled trips over the next six months include Joshua Tree NP, Yellowstone NP, Grand Tetons NP, Badlands NP, Big Bend NP, Guadalupe NP, and Carlsbad Caverns NP.   I’m sure we will sneak in a few more as well!

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Anticipating Travel

     I am currently sitting outside of my work, sipping on some Guatemalan coffee between my second shift of the day. It is a cool 73 degrees outside and starting to feel like fall here in  Georgia. This weather is getting me increasingly excited for my two upcoming road trips! The first of which I leave for in less than two days now (Today is Thursday and we leave early Saturday morning). On that early Saturday morning my two traveling buddies (my sister and my girlfriend) and myself will depart for Columbus, Ohio to visit my Aunt and Uncle, after spending time in Columbus we will head for Cuyahoga Valley National Park to hike and enjoy learning the history of the park, our next stop is Toronto, Ontario (With a quick stop at Niagara Falls on the way of course), After spending two days in Toronto we will head into the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York to hike and relax in the woods (and hopefully see some moose), after the Adirondacks we have a short 8 hour drive to Shenandoah National Park to camp and hike, then we go home. I am stoked to spend so much time in the city to drink coffee, visit markets, and explore Columbus and Toronto. I am equally if not more stoked to camp in the woods and hike myself silly. The anticipation of an upcoming trip is one of my favorite feelings. Trying to decide what to pack and what not to pack, buying lots of peanut butter and ramen noodles, and just the knowledge that I will be in new places soon, experiencing things that I may not experience the rest of my life. I am excited to leave for our trip and I cannot wait to take pictures, write things down, and most of all just experience the joy that comes from traveling!

     I’m not sure what the point in writing this was other than to just get my excitement out in some sort of outlet but I hope my anticipation has encouraged whoever might read this to get out and get stoked to travel!

-Josh

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