The Singin’ Tourist in the SW USA (Afterthoughts)

It’s hard to believe that it has been a month since I finally made this trip that has been on my wish list for a decade. And what a difference a decade makes! I still don’t feel like I’ve fully recovered from the trip. Yet, I’m already contemplating one more venture while I’m still in Iowa.

This time, I want to visit Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana. I was close to visiting it in the summer of 2018, but from Missoula I had to decide to go 250 miles due north to Glacier or continue on my originally planned route towards Seattle. Time and budget–and just finishing an incredible visit to Yellowstone NP–were the deciding factors.

Now, though, I’ve got the option of taking Amtrak there or driving SB. It will be hard to leave the car and the freedom to change plans, but I admit that traveling by train is more restful. I don’t have to make that decision yet, however. Going to a northwestern park prior to Memorial Day weekend is asking to find that most of the park would be inaccessible (and going in late May is still cutting it closely weather-wise).

In the map above, I’ve highlighted Glacier and the other national parks between there and Iowa. I’ve visited all of them at least once except Theodore Roosevelt National Park. A route to both parks would not be terribly outrageous, and perhaps I can do something I have not done before–stay a few days at a park. This would give me some real recovery time before I drive back home. I also have time to contemplate adding Isle Royale National Park on Lake Superior. This is far less likely, however, because I would rather visit that park when the weather is far warmer than it is likely to be in May.

The projected route is approximately 2900 miles, but interstate highways cover most of way except in Montana. Also, it looks like I’d have a chance to see the progress made to Crazy Horse since my previous visit five years ago (or at least it would be five year by next May), and a cowboy hat search at Wall Drugs would not be beyond the possibilities.

Are you also getting the impression that I’m strongly leaning towards driving for this trip?

I’ll post more if/when the trip takes shape.

National Parks So Far

At this point, it’s time for me to do a check of what parks I’ve visited and what’s left on the list. Below is a list of the national parks. I’ve bolded those that I have visited as of today and added links to the blogs where I’ve described the visits.

  • Channel Islands
  • Congaree
  • Crater Lake
  • Cuyahoga Valley
  • Death Valley
  • Dry Torgugas
  • Everglades
  • Gateway Arch
  • Glacier
  • Grand Canyon

BTW, Mount Rushmore, Little Bighorn and Devil’s Tower are national memorials, and Little Rock Central HS is a national historic site. The presidential libraries, which are also on my list, are under the National Archives. The U.S. National Park Service system is quite extensive, with scores of national historic parks, memorials, monuments, war memorials, historic or scenic trails, rivers, public lands, recreation areas, sites, preserves, seashores, battlefields, and gardens.

Lastly, someone on Facebook asked me what my favorite park was. At the time, I still had parks to visit so I couldn’t answer that question. Now, however, I can say that Yosemite continues to be my favorite one, but from the Southwest journey, my favorite was Canyonlands.

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