National Parks Season 1 Recap

Thu Sep 26 2019

We learned so much during our first few months of our quest to visit all 419 National Parks in the US - let's recap!

National Parks Season 1 Recap


This blog post accompanies our Season 1 recap video on YouTube. Make sure to check it out!

YouTube Video Player
14 National Park Units in 5 months + campground costs || SEASON 1 RECAP

Hitting the Road

In the 5 years or so before we hit the road, Diana and I had visited about 35 National Park Units together. It was these visits that gave us the inspiration and motivation to visit them all!

So last summer, in 2018, we left our home in the Bay Area of California and moved into a 25ft travel trailer. Other than a couple of short test trips, our first journey was to travel all the way down to Texas!

Leaving California and Driving to Texas

Day 1 - Tuesday (Fremont, CA) It's 5:15am on Tuesday morning and that sound is the alarm clock. We need to get out of bed and get rid of this mattress.

Leaving California and Driving to Texas

Basing ourselves in Livingston, TX for a few weeks, we established legal domicile as Texas residents. We also used this time to do some major electrical upgrades on our RV and get it ready for some off-grid camping.

RV Electrical Upgrade: Part 1 - Introduction & Goals

We knew long before we bought our RV that we would want to upgrade the electrical system. Most RVs are designed to be hooked up to shore power (or a generator) whilst being used, and the battery system is usually just to provide a bit of power during travel. As two self-confessed technophiles, living full-time in the RV and harboring aspirations of off-grid living, this wasn't going to work for us.

RV Electrical Upgrade: Part 1 - Introduction & Goals

We then used our new-found freedom to spend 6 weeks in Europe, visiting the UK for my brother's wedding and seeing Diana's family in Latvia. While there we spent some time exploring Scotland and also managed to visit National Parks in the UK and Latvia - in fact, we visited ALL the National Parks in Latvia!

Scotland Road Trip: 10 Day Itinerary

Within our busy schedule for our trip to Europe, we had carved out 10 days to visit Scotland. Although I've been to Scotland several times before, it's been years since I last visited and Diana has never been. Scotland is a beautiful country and we were keen to see as much as we could in the short time available to us. Looking back, I think we ended up with the perfect itinerary.

Scotland Road Trip: 10 Day Itinerary

Arriving back in the US on October 1st, we next headed to New Mexico for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. We had been the prior year but just for a weekend - this time we dry-camped for the full 10 days!

Ultimate RVers Guide to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

In early October every year, Albuquerque, New Mexico plays host to the world's largest hot air balloon festival - the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (AIBF). With more than 500 balloons, the event attracts nearly 1 million visitors over the 9 days it runs. Let me walk you through how to make the most out of the event, with our ultimate guide to the balloon fiesta, written with RVers in mind.

Ultimate RVers Guide to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

From Albuquerque we headed to Wellington, TX for NomadFEST, before heading down towards Lubbock, TX to prepare for our first National Park....

National Park Units

In Season 1, we focused our travels in the south-western states of the US, and visited 14 National Park Units in total.

  1. Carlsbad Caverns National Park
  2. Guadalupe Mountains National Park
  3. Chamizal National Memorial
  4. White Sands National Monument
  5. Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
  6. Fort Bowie National Historic Site
  7. Chiricahua National Monument
  8. Coronado National Memorial
  9. Tumacácori National Historical Park
  10. Saguaro National Park
  11. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
  12. Tonto National Monument
  13. Hohokam Pima National Monument
  14. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Make sure to check out our Season 1 recap video as we tell the story of our journey. In it, we fill in the gaps between the units, explain what we did during the government shutdown, and share some of the other highlights that didn't make it into our blog posts or videos.

Continuing the Journey

Obviously we have a long way to go - another 405 more National Park Units to be precise! But we've never been more inspired to get out and explore these beautiful places.

If you'd like to join us on the journey then be sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter and our YouTube channel!

Learn More

Finally, make sure to check out these videos on YouTube, and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel to be notified when we publish new videos!

YouTube Video Player
12 National Park Units in 1 month + campground costs || SEASON 2 RECAP
YouTube Video Player
National Park Road Trip || SEASON 1 RECAP || Southern New Mexico & Arizona
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