RECAP: Leg 2 & Another Giveaway!
It feels absolutely crazy to think that we are already one-third of the way through our year-long National Parks trip.
Then again, it seems like it’s been years since our Leg 1 recap in mid-October.
Something pretty weird happens when you don’t have a daily routine. Cole and I have talked about this often lately. We had very routine-based lives — mundane or comfortable, depending on who you ask — back in Kansas City, and that style has been flipped upside down.
While our first leg ran on pure adrenaline and unending excitement, our second leg honestly became
a bit very wearisome at times. Good wearisome. Very good wearisome, even though that gets hard to remember.
To review, here are the National Parks we visited from mid-October through mid-December:
- Cuyahoga Valley
- Great Smoky Mountains
- Dry Tortugas
- Virgin Islands
- Mammoth Cave
See links to all our posts and photo galleries on our Route Map page.
In addition, we visited quite a few non-“park” NPS sites. Our Passport is filling up nicely!:
- Boston National Historic Park (the Freedom Trail, specifically)
- Korean War Veterans Memorial
- Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial
- National Mall
- Thomas Jefferson Memorial
- Vietnam War Memorial
- Washington Monument
- White House
- World War II Memorial
- Blue Ridge Parkway
- Canaveral National Seashore
- Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
- Big Cypress National Preserve
- Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site
- Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park
- Herbert Hoover National Historic Site
Of these, we were especially impressed with The Freedom Trail in Boston and Big Cypress in southern Florida. Big Cypress had two of the best ranger programs we’ve seen: a four-hour (free) canoe trip and a two-hour swamp walk.
So we’ve been on the road for four months. How are we doing?
We really wanted to take better care of our mental health this leg, so we began meditating more often. And then we started forgetting. And then we started again. We’re not super consistent. But we have tried starting this habit up again during our break (after I read Better Than Before, I wanted to start all the habits!) and it’s going well. We are going to make this a high priority in the upcoming legs.
Travel fatigue set in big time right around Thanksgiving for us. We took more much-needed breaks and sat for longer stretches at many Starbuckses. This hardly made us feel better, just grosser and more tethered to technology.
How do you relax from “work” when your work is your typical relaxing strategy? Ideas please 🙂
For the most part, we are using the same gear we started with.
From Acadia until Virgin Islands, (yes, like two months!) one of our sleeping pads leaked every night. Since we didn’t want to be without a pad at all, we alternated sleeping on it while trying hard to fix the problem (to no avail). Thankfully, Big Agnes has awesome customer service and we paid to upgrade to a brand new pad that was waiting for us when we arrived at home. Problem solved! Thanks, Big Agnes!
As for our faves, we still love our Garmin Nuvi navigation system (actually her name is Chatty) and wouldn’t be anywhere without it. Cole got new Merrell hiking shoes in Acadia to match mine, and both pairs are holding up very well to mud and water and lots of miles. We have recently had some issues with our tires getting 3 different holes in them over just 5 days, but overall she has also been good to us.
In the last few months, we have stuck closely to our Monday-Wednesday-Friday posting schedule. We still enjoy creating videos and digging deeper into successes and challenges of each National Park visit.
We ran several Purple Moose Basics postcard giveaway contests and a USAopoly board game giveaway. The best way to keep up with these contests (and score some free stuff!) is to subscribe to our blog by entering your email on the homepage and follow our social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Periscope –@switchbackkids).
But enough about us.
As much as this year is beneficial for our lives, we truly want this project to be a good experience for all of you. We are still such newbies, making things up as we go, so we decided to take a mini step back this week and have you let us know what you think would make our adventure better for you!
Please consider taking a couple minutes to complete this (anonymous!) survey. We love hearing your feedback in the comments, and would love to implement even more new ideas into our Switchback Kids brand.
We are really curious to see what you think! (And, you’ll see that there is something in it for you if you make it to the end!)
If the survey doesn’t show up below, refresh your page or simply fill it out HERE.