Budgeting for a 4-Month National Park Roadtrip

Here at Capitol Reef to answer your questions...
Here at Capitol Reef to answer your questions…

On the road, we get a lot of questions that are some combination of, “How long are you going to do this?”, also disguised as, “So, when are you coming back to reality and getting a job?”, or “How can you afford this?”. I haven’t exactly figured out any of those answers yet, but I have taken a long hard look at the last four months to figure out just how much our trip cost. And, of course, I’ve translated my sweet spreadsheet into even more exciting graphs. (Which doesn’t mean I’m quite ready to go back to work yet, people!) Continue reading Budgeting for a 4-Month National Park Roadtrip

Wrapping up the US Road Trip

It’s been a beautiful 10,000 miles together.

Well… it’s been a long four and a half months on the road, and I’m sad to say the Summer 2015 US Ogre Tour is coming to an end. We’ve put over 10,000 miles on the Mazda and I’m not sure the old gal can handle much more.

We’re currently in Austin, TX now, house and pet-sitting, eating BBQ, listening to live music, and just enjoying air conditioning. I’m furiously power ranking national parks, and am hoping to have them up tomorrow. Those will be followed by more detailed posts on Yellowstone and Grand Teton, the last parks of our trip, and also by a few other posts on random ideas I’m determined to get down now. Continue reading Wrapping up the US Road Trip

We’ve Covered a Lot of Ground So Far

It’s hard to believe we’ve been on the road for three and a half months by now. We’ve driven over 6,000 miles, hiked over 200, and done our fair share of train riding, bike riding, and kayak riding, too. We’ve visited 11 national parks, 6 state parks, 3 “special” national park areas (like national volcanic monument, national seashore, and national historic parks), plus countless other campsites, trails, and wilderness areas.

Even I’m having a hard time keeping it all straight! So, I made a map of all the national parks we’ve visited (the green tree markers) and all the other places as well (the blue and other markers):

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Where We\'ve Been (And Blogged!) : 37.971690, -100.872662


We have also been very, very lucky to stay with many wonderful friends and family along the way. Everyone who has hosted us so far has been kind, thoughtful, generous, and gracious, and I really feel honored to be a part of the lives of so many amazing people. Thank you all again, we wouldn’t have made it this far without you. I won’t embarrass anyone by associating them further with the blog but I am sincerely hoping to return the favor sometime in the future!

Five Easy Ways to be a Happy Hiker (and not get lost)


I'm already breaking the rule about staying together.
I’m already breaking the rule about staying together.

After two and a half months on the road and over a hundred miles hiked, here’s my guide to staying happy while hiking on the trail.  I’m going to assume you all can figure out the basics like gear, sunscreen, and finding a hiking buddy. Continue reading Five Easy Ways to be a Happy Hiker (and not get lost)

The First Draft Plan

Hello! I’m Leslie and this is my first blog post ever. My husband Adam and I recently left our jobs, packed up our apartment in the city, and are leaving Chicago this Monday, March 30th. Naturally, many of our friends and family have asked where we are going. While we don’t have a true “plan” in place yet, I have a few ideas for our rough location over the next few months and it looks something like this:

US Map with Rough Draft Roadtrip Plan
US Map with Rough Draft Roadtrip Plan

Go ahead… judge the artwork. I will do my best to improve on that from here on out.

We are planning to hit up a bunch of national and state parks and visit some friends in San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle. Not pictured above is our planned flight back to DC for a late June wedding and then a 3-day Amtrack ride back across the country.

I’m collecting recommendations for any of these areas and have already heard about a place for the best breakfast burritos in San Diego, hot springs just north of Yosemite, a whole spreadsheet of ideas for the Pacific Northwest, and a handful of great blogs from other travelers. I can’t wait to plan out a more detailed itinerary that hits as many of these spots as possible.

We’ll be back in Chicago by the middle of August for my sister-in-law-to-be’s wedding and then head out to the east coast at the end of August for a cousin’s wedding. After that… it’s really, really all up in the air! So, what should be sure to see? Let me know in the comments or via email. And check back soon for more updates from the road!