Our National Park to Park Highway Journey Begins

All the planning has come down to this day. Stage 1 of our National Park to Park Highway Trip officially begins today. We are packed up for our practice trip to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Cedar Breaks National Monument.

School for Big E ended just three short days ago. While the rest of the country was out traveling for Memorial Day weekend we were cleaning, prepping, and packing, getting ready for this journey.

When this day came I thought I would feel all excitement, but to be honest I’m still caught in “Get ‘er Done” mode. Did we pack everything? Did we forget something important?

I thought it’d be good to interview the Mountain Fam crew to see what they think about this National Park to Park Highway Adventure.

Sorry to disappoint you Little G. We’re not headed to California just yet.

What to Pack for a Seven Week Road Trip – Part 1

Packing for a seven week road trip is a daunting task. What will I wear when we visit the Grand Canyon in July? I don’t think they’ll let me in the visitors center in just a swimsuit. What about Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks in the Rainy Pacific Northwest?  How will I fit all of those layers into one backpack?

Since we’re living out of our truck, we’ve adopted a backpacker mentality. Each family member gets one backpack for all of the clothes they will need for the entire National Park to Park Highway Trip. Those of you who have thru-hiked the Appalachian trail may think that one backpack just for clothes is a luxury, but for a mom with dirt loving children, it’s not much space.

I will be wearing my outdoor essentials, and plan to bring those for my tots too.

Comfortable Cotton
I believe in layers for me and my kids. Leggings, wool socks, shorts, t shirts, fleece sweatshirts, jackets and hats will all be along for the ride, but my go to outfit will be a comfy cotton dress.

I wrote about this in my 6 Tips for Style in the Wild post, so you may already know that I’m a fan of the outdoors skirt. That’s why I approached Synergy Organic Clothing to be a trip sponsor. They have a wide variety of soft, easy to wear skirts and dresses that look great.

The Leaf Flame Boatneck Dress from Synergy Organic Clothing is my favorite. The leaf pattern on the sleeves makes me feel classy while the cotton spandex blend fabric moves when I do. I love the ease of movement while still feeling stylish.

Looking at their website you may think you need to be a supermodel to wear their clothes, but take it from me the clothes are as comfy as they are chic. They also have great womens leggings, tops and jackets and all of their applique is done by women in Nepal for a living wage. I like that my clothing choice can do some good in the world.

Foot support
Hiking outdoors requires a good set of shoes. And we’ll be doing a lot of hiking. We’ll be packing waterproof sandals and comfortable tennis shoes for each of us (except Baby L who isn’t quite walking yet).

I’ve always been a fan of regular tennis shoes or trail runners for hiking instead of clunky hiking boots. That’s why I approached Vionic to sponsor our National Park to Park Highway Trip. They have well designed shoes and sandals that help with body alignment and the ones I’ve tried are all light and comfortable.

What’s unique about Vionic is their orthaheel technology. With arch support designed into every sandal, your feet are working for you for proper body alignment. It took a while to get used to, but after a few days of wearing Vionics it felt like my back and legs were creaking into the places they’re meant to be.

I really like their Muir Sandal (love the name!) as an outdoor water hiking option. With the Vibram outsole for traction I’ll be set to go. I also like the orange and pink pair Sunset Mary Janes they sent. No surprise. I’m not shy of color.

Outer Wear 
The big question in packing clothes for the family is how warm we will need to be. It is summer on this trip, but we’ll be sleeping in the mountains in several places. I’m bringing a winter hat and mittens for each of us – these are essential, but should I also bring winter jackets?

Next week on Stage 1 of our National Park to Park Highway Tour we’ll be camping at 10,000 feet in Cedar Breaks National Monument. We’ll be there the very first day the campground opens. A local ranger said there’s still snow on the ground. For that trip I will bring winter coats, but for the rest of the trip I’m hoping rain jackets and warm fleece sweatshirts will suffice.

My jacket of choice is thisOutdoor Research Women’s Ferrosi Hoody . It’s lightweight, water resistant, stretchy, comfortable and such a great color! I’m a fan of color in the wild and pink is such a better choice than blaze orange. Plus the Outdoor Research Women’s Ferrosi Hoody won Outdoor Gear Lab’s Best Buy Award for Fall of 2015. They agree it’s a great jacket.

Head Games
I’ve already mentioned that I’ll bring a winter cap and mittens for each of us, but what about when the weather is beat down hot and sunny? For that we also have hats.

Little G got a Kid’s Rambler Sombrero Hat from Outdoor Research that’s UPF 50. I like the wide brim for shade protection and the strap to keep the hat from flying away. Plus the brim floats in case she drops it in the water. Pretty cool.

I’ll be wearing this Maldives Hat from Outdoor Research. Not only is it stylish, it’ll protect me from the sun, hides unwashed and uncombed hair, and it doubled as an umbrella for Little G when we were caught hiking in the rain.

Sierra Trading Post
Last week I was invited to a blogger party celebrating the grand opening of Sierra Trading Post in Salt Lake City. I’d never been in one before so it was fun to see what all the fuss was about.

Sierra Trading Post is known for having awesome prices on quality outdoor gear and I saw that for myself. Clothes, shoes, packs, camping gear, even pet supplies were all available at 30% off the regular retail price. Pretty good deal. If we end up needing an extra fleece on this trip hopefully we can pick one up at a Sierra Trading Post along the way.

We’ll obviously be doing laundry on this trip too, but I’m wondering if I’m missing something. If every piece of clothing you’d wear for the next seven weeks had to fit inside a backpack, what would you put in? Leave a comment or contact me on twitterinstagram and facebook. I really do want to know!

Thank you to Synergy Organic Clothing, Vionic Shoes and Outdoor Research for sponsoring our National Park to Park Highway Tour. Check out all our sponsors on our sponsor page. This post includes affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you purchase something by clicking through these links. 

Road Trip Safety on the National Park to Park Highway

We’re heading out for Stage 1 of our National Park to Park Highway Tour in just one week! The original Park to Park Highway Tour in the 1920s had to carry all their own spark plugs, tires, tools, and gasoline for those long stretches without gas stations. Luckily we won’t have to bring the service station with us, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be prepared.

We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about Road Trip Safety in preparation for our big trip. I wanted to share the top three things we’re doing to make sure we stay safe on the road this summer.

Lifeline Road Kit
It’s always smart to have emergency equipment. Our truck comes with a spare tire and jack, but we wanted something more. That’s why I reached out to Lifeline First Aid to request their Truck Road Kit. It comes with safety triangles, jumper cables, road flares, work gloves, a safety vest, a flashlight and even a first aid kit. I love that the first aid kit is stocked with plenty of bandaids. Sometimes that’s all my kids need for an owie to feel better. The sleek carry case is nice, but a bit large for our luggage limited truck.

In addition to the Truck Road Kit, Lifeline sent us the Lifeline Trail Light 5 First Aid Kit – a light weight first aid kit with enough supplies for our family of five when we’re out on the trail. It weighs less than 12 oz! Too bad the iodine prep pad leaked in its packaging on its way over so we had to throw those out. I feel much better prepared for our seven week road trip bringing these along.

After hearing about our National Park to Park Highway Tour a blog reader suggested I look into Urgent.ly, an Uber-like app for car maintenance. You download the app to your smart phone and if there is an emergency it’s easy to get help. Authorized mechanics and tow truck companies come to your aid on demand, you can track their progress on the app and even connect with family members in case of emergency.

It’s pretty cool to know that no matter what part of the country I’m driving in, I will be able to contact a tow truck with the press of a button on my phone. I especially like that there is no fee to join, I only pay if I need roadside assistance. Thanks to Urgent.ly I won’t have to carry all of my car maintenance supplies like the drivers of the 1920s National Park to Park Highway Tour.

Before You Go
There are plenty of things you can do before leaving home to prepare for road trip safety. Have food and water in your vehicle. Know how to change a tire. Make sure you start out with a full tank of gas. The one that I struggle with the most is perform scheduled maintenance.

This time since we’ll be gone for seven weeks I made sure to contact our mechanic for a automotive check up. We’ll be taking the truck in to get lubed, rotated, refilled, and checked out before we put five to six thousand miles on it. It’s just one more way to prepare for Road Trip Safety.

So readers, I’m curious who has road trips planned this summer. Where are you going? What do you do to prepare? Leave a comment or contact me on instagramtwitter or facebook. We’d love to hear from you!

This post includes affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you purchase something by clicking through these links. Thank you Lifeline First Aid for sponsoring gear for our 2016 National Park to Park Highway Tour.

Celebrating The National Park Centennial

We’re getting excited for the start of our National Park to Park Highway adventure. One way that we’re preparing is by getting the word out! @MountainMomTots will be co-hosting next week’s #outfam twitter chat with Outdoor Families Magazine. The theme is Celebrating the National Park Centennial with an Epic Overland Trip and we’d love for you to be there.

Join me Wed May 25, 2016 at 2:30 MST to talk about road trips, national parks and exploring new things.

If you’ve never done a twitter chat before it’s easy! Just search for the hashtag #outfam (short for outdoorfamilies) from 2:30 – 3:00 MST next Wednesday. It’s the best part of twitter.

We’re not the only ones planning a special trip for the National Park centennial this year. These other outdoor bloggers have some pretty spectacular adventures planned as well.

59 National Parks
Shelly and Don Hafner accomplished their goal to visit 59 parks in 59 weeks in June of 2015 but that hasn’t stopped their adventurous spirit. As the host for #campchat Wednesday evenings on twitter, @59NationalParks continues the National Park love. He’s planning an awesome road trip for the Centennial with fellow blogger Missouri Howell.

Missouri Howell
Jeff and Don will be traveling #arch2arch in August in honor of the actual 100 year anniversary on August 25, 2016. Their National Park Service Centennial trip begins at the Gateway arch in St. Louis and continues until the iconic Roosevelt Arch in Yellowstone.

National Park Quest – A Journey of Artists
Karla and Andres began their journey to visit all of the National Parks in April of 2016. Their goal is not only to visit all of these outdoor places, but to create artistic maps and posters for each of the 59 National Parks.

A young couple travels to all 59 National Parks in their 1989 Toyota Motorhome named Vie. Along for the ride is their cat – the adventure kitty!

Ranger Doug – The WPA National Parks Poster Restorer
As a retired park ranger and artist, Ranger Doug is traveling through all of the National Parks speaking about his artists’ work restoring and reproducing National Parks Posters. In the 1920s and 30s the Works Project Administrations created promotional posters for the National Parks. Very few are left, but from those Ranger Doug has remastered the look and created unique posters for many more National Parks and Monuments.

59 Before 18
This outdoor adventure family had a goal to visit all of the National Parks before their kids turned 18. As an outdoors mom I can get behind that! They reached their goal in the summer of 2015.

Switchback Kids
Cole and Elizabeth are traveling to all 59 National Parks on their own dime. They’re taking the journey in sections, returning to their home base in Kansas City between weeks of adventures and exploration.

The 100 Years Tour – Visiting more than 400 National Park Service Sites
This young married couple wasn’t satisfied with just visiting the 59 National Parks. Ryan and Jenn included all of the National Monuments, Historic Sites and areas that come under the National Park Service jurisdiction on their itinerary. The adventure begins in Florida in June 2016.

Our National Park to Park Highway adventure fits right in with these other epic journeys. Each of these bloggers have different circumstances and pressures on their time, but they’ve found a way to enjoy the outdoors and celebrate the National Park Centennial.

That means you can too! Even if your National Park Adventure is to visit ONE place you’ve never seen before – GO DO IT! And be sure to tell us all about it when you do.

Happy Adventuring!