“Wow, a year-long road trip visiting America’s national parks? Sounds awesome! The trip of a lifetime!”
That was the reaction we often got from people before, during and after our project celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016. It was the trip of a lifetime, and we certainly had more awesome moments than we could ever have in a normal year.
Of course, those awesome moments were offset with traveling in neither style nor comfort. Dull food, noisy camping neighbors, bad weather, bedbugs and rump-numbing hours behind the wheel were only some of the challenges we faced that would leave saner people heading for home in short order. Life’s most basic worries, like where to sleep and what to eat, sometimes became our biggest concern for the day. And our long wish list and low budget meant that we had to weigh our options carefully.
We’ve been asked why we didn’t do certain things or visit certain places, and it usually came down to a lack of time, money or opportunity. But that’s life in general. Who has the time, money and opportunity to do everything they’d like to do? We thought that spending a year on the road without jobs or obligations would give us an excess of time, but we found the opposite to be true. We always seemed to fill our time no matter how much of it we had.
We had many occasions to repeat Teddy Roosevelt’s quote, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” We had to remind ourselves not to fret about imperfection, things left undone or missed opportunities. Life is full of imperfection, things left undone and missed opportunities. Everyplace we went, there was another trail, another road, another lake, another mountain or another animal we wanted to see but didn’t.
The main lesson we learned from this journey is a good one for life. Although you have to keep moving on to the next destination and welcome what the next day brings, you also have to take joy in what today has brought and be satisfied with the choices you have made given your circumstances.
And when there are two of you in a Prius for a year, that means making choices together that you can both live with. So perhaps the most awesome thing about the trip is what we learned about having a plan but also taking things as they come, appreciating life at its most basic level, and maintaining our resilience and unity. We hope those lessons — even more than the memories of all the fantastic places we experienced — will stay with us for a lifetime.
Oh, good! I get to be the first one to write a post and congratulate you two on your unbelievable year-long 100th National Parks adventure with awesome documentation and pictures. Your journey was a journey for me too, thank you so much! You sure kept your Guardian Angels busy.
End of this journey, but I’m sure it won’t be the last! God Bless you both with continued strength, stamina and love . . . onward!
We’re going to miss your regular encouragement to keep moving… onward!
Hi Christi and Hector, explorers extraordinaire. Such a marvelous journey you two had for the past year, and such a timeless philosophy of life you have learned. I was really touched by your words, Christi. They’re truisms that we must remind ourselves of from time to time. Betty and I will certainly miss the periodic installments describing your adventures. Welcome home!
Thanks for coming along for the ride with us virtually. We’ll have to see what adventures we can scare up next.
How did you divvy up the radio/CD player control over your long journey?
Near cities, other than public radio or college stations, commercial radio is abysmal nationwide. We spent more time listening to the iPod using iTrip, especially in rural areas where there’s little signal competition. Plus, with the iPod we had a fantastic soundtrack for our journey: surf music driving along coastlines, Cajun and zydeco in Louisiana, bluegrass in Kentucky, Elvis and Johnny Cash in Tennessee, etc.
Thanks for sharing this adventure guys!
Tengo curiosidad de saber cuántos kilómetros recorrió ese Prius y qué rendimiento les dio en promedio?
Soy amante de los autos híbridos o eléctricos pero todavía no he tenido ni uno…
Les mando un fuerte abrazo y ojalá algún día tengan la oportunidad de visitar la otra península mexicana, acá tienen su casa 🙂
El Toyota Prius resultó ser un carro muy resistente y con una gran capacidad de espacio, estamos muy satisfechos con su desempeño. El año pasado recorrimos 36,455 millas en Estados Unidos mas otras 3,500 millas en la península de Baja California. El rendimiento es de mas o menos 50 millas por galón de gasolina. Yo en particular recomendaría mucho este modelo de vehículo.
Gracias, también cuando quieran visitar Phoenix aqui tienen su casa. Un gran saludo.
Christi & Hector- your journey/adventure sounds absolutely fascinating!!! Thanks for giving us insights, explanations, and visual and written narratives of your trek- your resilience and fortitude to soldier on through the unexpected and discomforting situations you encountered is remarkable. Wow! What an amazing year!!! Kudos to you and Hector for weathering through all of it and to still be smiling 🙂
-Scott & Carla
2016 will always be a memorable year for us, that’s for sure!
If you publish a book, the last picture above is one you should use for sure, front cover or author bios.
Christi and Hector, you are two amazing people! The adventure was unbelievable, and you had to have courage and faith to get through it all. I’m so happy you included our ‘neck of the woods’ as part of your journey…we enjoyed having you here and to let you experience the Badlands, the Black Hills, and other wonderful spots of our area. Keep all those memories alive!
And we were delighted to spend some time with friendly faces like yours during the journey. Thanks again for hosting us when we passed through South Dakota!