The Ng family has now visited 31 National Parks and Monuments as a family towards our goal of 100 National Parks visited by 2020.
This friday, we will embark on an epic tour of the Southwest part of the United States and visit 9 National Parks and 2 Navajo Parks in 9 Days! Here is our itinerary:
Friday July 3rd
Petrified National Forest
Saturday July 4th – Sunday 5th
Grand Canyon National Park
Monday July 6th
Four Corners Navajo Monument
Tuesday July 7th
Mesa Verde National Park
Wednesday July 8th
Arches National Park
Thursday July 9th
Canyonlands National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
Friday July 10th
Bryce Canyon National Park
Saturday July 11th
Zion National Park
Lake Mead National Recreation Area/Hoover Dam
A National Park Tour Revisited
In 1991, when I was 16, my parents took my sister and I on a similar trip. A trip that started in Phoenix and ended up at Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park Colorado. On that trip, my family was joined by my grandma. Next week, my father (my children’s grandfather) will be joining us on a similar trip. The symmetry of our planned trip is not lost on me.
While experiencing so many National Parks in a short time was impressive at age 16, the things I remember most about our trip was the time in the car together as a family and small details of the trip.
Like the fact that our first meal in Phoenix after we landed and picked up our rental car was at Denny’s where I got a Limited Edition Ellis Burks hologram baseball card. (I’ve been a Red Sox fan all my life)
After lunch, we went to a Walmart where my grandma bought herself a cowboy hat—a hat she wore the entire trip. I ended up buying the cassingle for Guns N Roses’ “You Could Be Mine” single. After all, Use Your Illusion wasn’t out yet and Terminator 2 was coming out in theaters soon!
I remember stopping at a tiny town called Hooper, Colorado (population 100) and in the single store that was also a gas station, restaurant, and Post Office was Rocky Mountain Oysters. Yes, bull testicles.
I remember my sister accidentally forgetting her prized Lisa Simpson nightgown at a motel near Mexican Hat, Utah.
And I remember the treacherous drive that our family mistakenly took called Mosquito Pass where we were confronted with a bull in the middle of the dirt road.
Stamps on our Passports and our Memories
As usual, my kids will be bringing their National Park Passports and will be excited to add 9 more stamps in their books.
But like the small details I have remembered from my last trip 25 years ago, it is the stamp in their brains that I am most excited about. Yeah, yeah, yeah, the kids will be awe struck by the natural wonders of our country. But, it is the time together that I hope makes the biggest impression.