The stuff vacations are made of - monuments, marvels and events.


If you know how to camp then you already know how to do a camping vacation. It's really just becomes a question of where we can camp as we are not necessarily familiar with the places where we are vacationing. In other words because of concerns with private property, Indian reservations, government lands and the like, you can't just pitch your tent any where you like. However, most if not all, national monuments and parks have some sort of camping opportunity near by.

Reservations are generally available on line but are usually not needed. The exception might be the busiest times at the most popular parks like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.

Some vacation camping tips:

1. You don't need to take much food as you will likely be passing through a town (with a grocer store ) every day on your way to your next adventure.

2. Get to the campground rather early in the day, if possible. I suppose right after the checkout time ( usually around 1:00 ) would give you the best pick of all the available spots. But if you show up about dark, don't be surprised if they are all taken.

3. Do your sight seeing and such after you have already setup camp and/or really early before the normal camp ground checkout. That way you know you will have a spot to come back to.

4. Plan you vacation just before schools take their summer breaks or just after they reconvene. This reduces the demand on camping spots. Probably the best time would be mid fall when it starts cooling off pretty good at night. This is also a time of minimum bugs. A big plus to me!

5. State Parks are among the best camping opportunities around. Again, get there early and/or consider reservations.

The eclipse trip notes:

I had this awesome 8th grade teacher. He loved science and he taught me to love it too. Astronomy was at the top of his list of passions and mine too. There was and still is something comforting about understanding the processes of celestial bodies, particularly the sun, earth, moon and planets. So since eight grade, I have wanted to seen a total eclipse. It was not likely that I would have a better chance to see one than the one that happened Aug. 21, 2017. The moons shadow raced coast to coast across the country providing an ideal opportunity for all of us that wanted to see it.

Obviously, I thought "here is my chance". Then I started planning. Being a rather 'avid camper' ( that's probably an understatement ;-) I figured why not make a bit of a vacation of the whole thing and not just a vacation but a camping vacation. Might as well see some other sights in other places. We ended up spend almost every night in a forest service or park service camp ground and honestly I was quite surprised how easy it was to find places to camp even without reservations.

The green spots on the map were where we camped.

How was the eclipse you ask? Awesome, absolutely awesome! It was not unlike riding a roller coaster. You spend most of your time waiting to get on it. Then once on, you get a feeling of exhilaration as it begins to move but as it reaches the top of the initial climb you begin to 'feel' Oh Crap!, what have I got myself into. It's spooky how scientifically you know everything is fine yet emotionally 'feel' things are just plan strange. At the couple minutes of totality, the moon itself is as black as anything you have ever seen and as I have heard, looking like a 'hole in the sky'. Imagining a caveman's reaction, it was not hard to envision how an entire religion might have been born from such an event. To me the happening was a bit of a collision between science and philosophy.


Go Camping!

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