Making It Happen

It’s time. What seemed to be a catastrophe is really an opportunity. Time is now on my side to tackle not the Ultimate Road Trip, but the The Optimal U.S. National Parks Centennial Road Trip. Yes, this one was created by Randal S. Olson, too and includes stops at 47 National Parks. Perfect! Again, he states it takes a minimum of two months, but I want to spend a year completing it–taking detours, making stops at interesting places along the way, setting up camp in National Forest near the parks, and hiking with Kenobi. Kenobi and I are working to get on the trails nationwide.

It doesn’t make stops in each of the 48 continental states, but let’s go where we can while these National Sites are still protected. There is a dog issue with National Parks vs. National Forests. National Forests are all dog-friendly with leash and trail regulations, but not all National Parks are dog friendly. Something I’ll have to research and make adjustments when needed.

Other deep thoughts include when to leave and where to go in what season. Hopefully, we’ll be off and running toward the north/northwest by August. If this timing and direction work out, we should be getting to the northeast next summer. Although I don’t mind being in the most north of the U.S. during winter, I’d rather avoid being in the most south during summer–just me. What can I say, I’m an ice queen. Kenobi doesn’t do well in the hot weather either which brings me to more considerations.

The appropriate gear for him. I have seen cooling gear that attaches to his harness. Every item of this type requires soaking it in water and hooking it up under the dog’s belly. Has anyone used this: Ruffwear Swamp Cooler, Cooling Vest for Dogs, Graphite Gray (2017), Large? Chances are that this does work. Kenobi certainly gets colder faster after treading through the deep snow and his harness gets wet. But in the heat? How long does the item stay damp? What keeps it from becoming warm/hot? Might it cause the dog to become hotter? Please leave a comment below if you have any advice on dog items that keep them cool.

But the real challenge is the cost. How will I make a living while on the road? I am now a contributor to iStock and Shutterstock, but $1.80 per download doesn’t fill me with confidence. I’m working on it. We’ll see what comes up. I also need to create an accurate budget of the cost–camping, park entry & car fees, gas, oil, regular maintenance of car, possible flat tires/breakdowns, tolls, motel cost, laundry, food, health care, vet care, hiking boots, other possible gear replacement, food, etc. Feel free to comment with advice on this matter, as well.

Next up: Reviewing lessons learned from our cross-country trip in 2015.


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