We’re busy preparing for the journey ahead!
Our goal: to visit all National Parks in the continental U.S. this year, and hopefully make it to Europe too!
We’re both extremely excited and lucky to have this opportunity! We plan to leave April 1st, which leaves us just over two weeks to get ready.
Tomorrow is Lisa’s last day of work at Microsoft, which consists of just a telephone exit interview. Today she’s busy packing-up her condo to make room for her neighbor’s daughter’s family who will be taking care of it, our cats, and fish, while we’re on the road.
Wm is looking at various cameras and laptops to document the trip with. The choices are many and difficult! He’s also been watching WaMu stock closely, which along with personal savings, has helped to make this trip possible. (There was a bit of a scare on Friday where it lost 70% of its value, but it recovered half of that, so the trip is still a go!)
After considering RV’s, motor-homes, custom vans, hybrid-sedans, SUV’s, and luxury cars, we’ve decided to just take Wm’s Subaru WRX STi. It’s very lightweight and agile, is in great condition w/low miles, and best of all: doesn’t cost anything! He recently got new brake-pads, and upgraded its exhaust & ECU to offer better fuel economy (plus performance) for the long road ahead. He also added an in-dash GPS navigation system, Pioneer’s AVIC-Z110BT, to make it easy to find National Parks, gas stations, food, coffee, etc. (One of the first tests of its voice recognition was "find the nearest National Park", which amazingly actually worked!) It’s a small car, however, so we’ll be packing light.
It turns out it’s cheaper (not to mention more comfortable) to stay in various hotels inside or near the parks, rather than rent/buy an RV for several months, so that’s what we’re planning to do. Wm was recently convinced that he didn’t need a hot shower every day, so camping is on the menu as well, to keep costs down.