National Parks Tour - 2010 Trip

National Parks Trip

Well it's time for another motorcycle road trip.  We finished our quest to visit all of the 48 contiguous states by motorcycle last year with our trip to Louisiana and New Orleans.  I believe there are 58 official National Parks and, at last count, we had visited approximately 30 of them.  We will probably not make it to all of them - at least not by motorcycle - think Isle Royale and Dry Tortugas.  However there are still 8 or so parks west of the Mississippi that we have not visited yet so we are planning to visit at least 4 of them on this trip as well as re-visit some of our favorites from past trips.

We're planning to head west on US Route 2 and stay on that road as much as possible through Washington, Idaho, Montana, and into North Dakota.  We road Route 2 several years ago on our trip to Minnesota and then Sturgis and it was a nice ride with light traffic.  We will probably take a slight detour around Spokane and may also take a detour through Glacier National Park (depending on the weather).  We have ridden the Going to the Sun road several times but it's always a great ride.

Once we hit North Dakota, our first stop will be Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  The park is composed of three separate sections - the North Unit, the South Unit, and the Elkhorn Ranch Unit.  While the North and South Units have scenic drives and visitor centers, the Elkhorn Ranch Unit is only accessible by 35 miles of gravel roads so we will likely pass this section up.  Here are some pictures of what we might expect to see.

From there we will turn south and head to South Dakota.  Here we plan to visit Badlands National Park and Wind Cave National Park.  Here are some pictures of both Badlands and Wind Cave.  While in this part of the country, we will probably also visit Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse.  We have been to Crazy Horse several times, the last being 2005, and we're wondering if we'll notice any changes.

Next it's south again to Colorado and the Great Sand Dunes National Park.  Although we've visited several national parks in Colorado, we seem to have missed this one.  Again, here are some pictures.

Finally, we'll turn west and head towards home.  If we and the weather both hold up, we'll probably make a few other stops along the way.  Some of the places we have enjoyed in the past and may stop at are Mesa Verde National Park, Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Zion National Park.

We aren't trying too much new this trip.  I get paranoid about flat tires since we have picked up assorted pieces of metal in tires in past trip so I purchased a tire plugging kit and small compressor from Stop & Go - and I hope we don't need them.  We also picked up a new computer.  We got an Acer Aspire One netbook because we like the smaller size and footprint, the battery life is amazing, and it's at least as fast as our previous laptop.  Finally, we added a new camera.  We purchased a Canon SD940IS.  We like the small size and the pictures are amazing.  The problem with the previous Canon is that it was a little too bulky for Linda to carry all of the time so we frequently missed pictures because the camera wasn't readily available.  This new camera is so small and light that she can easily have it on a lanyard around her neck and it will always be ready to go.  It's also very fast - about 1.4 seconds from the time you turn it on until it's ready to take a picture.  It will be interesting to see if the image stabilization improves the pictures from a moving motorcycle.

Time to get on the road, we hope you enjoy the trip.

Day 1 - 9/3/2010
Everett, WA - Coeur d'Alene, ID
Day 2 - 9/4/2010Coeur d'Alene, ID - Great Falls, MT
Day 3 - 9/5/2010Great Falls, MT - Williston,  ND
Day 4 - 9/6/2010Williston, ND - Medora, ND
Day 5 - 9/7/2010Medora, ND - Wall, SD
Day 6 - 9/8/2010Wall, SD - Hot Springs, SD
Day 7 - 9/9/2010Hot Springs, SD - Burlington, CO
Day 8 - 9/10/2010Burlington, CO - Alamosa, CO
Day 9 - 9/11/2010Alamosa, CO - Cortez, CO
Day 10 - 9/12/2010Cortez, CO - Moab, UT
Day 11 - 9/13/2010Moab, UT - Cedar City, UT
Day 12 - 9/14/2010Cedar City, UT - Cedar City, UT
Day 13 - 9/15/2010Cedar City, UT - Hurricane, UT
Day 14 - 9/16/2010Hurricane, UT - Ely, NV
Day 15 - 9/17/2010Ely, NV - Baker City, OR
Day 16 - 9/18/2010Baker City, OR - Everett, WA

Statistics and Wrap up

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