The NPS100 Road Trip

A couple of months ago, my friend Don at sent me a message asking if I would be interested in taking a road trip. Not just any road trip, but a special road trip to commemorate the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. That was all the information he had at that time, so of course I said yes. Let’s do it, and we’ll figure out the details as we go.

We quickly agreed that we would have to celebrate the NPS birthday – August 25, 2016 – at a NPS site. We didn’t want to be driving around that day. We settled on a four-night trip. Then I agreed to pull my kids out of school for it. I mean, this birthday party is only going to happen once; school happens all the time. So it looks like it’ll be the four of us on an epic adventure.

YellowstonenorthOur preliminary planning was a mess. With only four nights to spend, we could only get so far away from our home base in Missouri, and still manage to spend any appreciable time at NPS sites. Then we had a little trouble figuring out if we should stop at as many sites as possible, or just make sure we hit the ones that were important to us (for one reason or another). We eventually agreed that the stops should be fewer and based on what NPS sites we were most interested in visiting. Since my kids were coming along, things that would interest them needed to be taken into account.

Screen Shot 2016-04-16 at 3.10.23 PMA week or so ago, we made a final change when we agreed to extend the trip to a full week, plus weekends. This doubled our available time, and made it possible to visit more distant and more majestic NPS properties. We agreed to refer to it as the NPS100 Road Trip.

Lastly, we needed a narrative that we could wind into our NPS100 Road Trip. Since we knew our most distant destination would be Yellowstone National Park, we elected the Roosevelt Arch as the final destination of our NPS pilgrimage (even though we’ll see some cool stuff on the way home, too). And since we would be beginning our expedition in Missouri, we decided to start the journey at the NPS Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis. Starting at an urban site whose trademark is a 630′ stainless steel arch, and ending at the NPS’ oldest arch in its oldest park just made sense…and so the #Arch2Arch moniker was born.


So… you know where we are starting and you know the point most distant. But you don’t know all the cool places we’ll discover on the way there and back. To be honest, neither do we. But we will slowly reveal our plans for the NPS100 Road Trip as we get busy planning. We certainly hope you come along for the ride with us. You can follow our tag @NPS100RoadTrip on Twitter and Instagram, plus we’ll probably be socializing about the trip on our individual channels, so be sure to search for the #Arch2Arch tag as well.

One Response to “The NPS100 Road Trip

  • What an awesome plan – I’m working on getting my kids up to Rushmore, hopefully this is the year.

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