|From Yellowstone National Park|
Ft. Smith, AK to Calhoun, TN
We left early in the morning after a wonderful breakfast at the hotel. Guesthouse Inn is quite nice despite it being probably 2nd least expensive hotel of the trip.
We changed drivers several times, at lunch at a Zaxby's, dropped by and picked up Papa John's for dinner, and made it back to Calhoun right at 12 hours. Long day of driving but it really wasn't that bad.
We cleaned out the van and then reflected on the trip. There were 19 major locations we saw during the trip. In order of appearance, they are...
St. Louis Arch
Corn/Wheat Fields of Midwest
1880's Western Town
Badlands National Park
Black Hills National Forest
Bighorn National Forest
Yellowstone National Park
Grand Tetons National Park
Crater Lake National Park
Oregon Coastal Road
Redwood National Park
Sequoia National Park
Grand Canyon National Park
Petrified Forest National Park/Painted Desert
I asked my family to rank their top 5 locations. The following lists the top 5. The top 3 really aren't that much of a surprise, but the last 2 might be considering that we didn't know we were going through them. The remaining of them were not even close. A couple of surprises in here I thought, but overall a solid list for anyone wishing to travel. Keep in mind of the diversity of ages and experiences where the votes came from...
Grand Canyon National Park - No surprise here as 3 people listed it as their number 1 choice; however, 3 people didn't rank it all. Nonetheless, the Grand Canyon is probably a highlight of any trip out west.
Yellowstone National Park - 6 of 7 people ranked the park in their top 5, which some could make it a case at being #1 on this list. We'll stick with it at #2 in accordance with total points though. Again, no surprise considering all that we saw there, including a bear.
Redwood National Park - 5 of 7 people ranked this in their top 5, and one of the people who didn't had already been there before. One person ranked it #1. The redwoods are majestic, and the highlight was the short 1.5 mile walk through these towering trees.
Crater Lake National Park - 5 out of 7 people ranked this one. We made a last minute decision to go here and diverted from our plan. Lucky that we did because it outranked some other popular spots and one person ranked it #1.
Big Horn National Park - The largest surprise on the list, but the drive through here it quite impressive. Only 3 people ranked this but one ranked it first and two ranked it 2nd, so the points added up quickly. Surprising still because we re-routed to drive through here not knowing how rewarding it was going to be. The winding road through the mountains were worth the extra time which also got us to Cody, WY and closer to Yellowstone.
There it is. The top 5 locations as voted on by the Brown family. Feel free to agree or disagree if you have been to these locations. Anyone wanting advise if you are traveling through these areas, feel free to email me. Also, don't forget to see all of the locations and photos on our PICASA PHOTO ALBUM.
Dad just said that it wasn't fair to rank these and that the best thing about the whole trip was us all being together for it. I couldn't have said it better....