10,300 mile Park-to-Park Trek

Blog Entry #1 August 4, 2013 – Introduction to our Park-to-Park Trek

Introduction: In 1920, the National Park Service, the Nation Park-to-Park Highway Association and the American Automobile Association jointly sponsored a tour following the route of an envisioned a Part-to-Park highway linking the twelve National Parks in the western United States.  The purpose of the tour was to promote interest by neighboring communities in providing the […]

Blog Entry #2 August 7, 2013 – Engine Preparations

We did a complete rebuild of the original F-134 4 cylinder engine as part of our original restoration in 1976 (more details on this type of engine in the future).  It turned out pretty well, providing us 53,000 miles of relatively trouble free performance over the next 36 years as we drove the Jeep station […]

Blog entry #3 August 8, 2013 – History of our Jeep

1950 Willys-Overland Jeep Station Wagon – 2012 History of our Jeep Engine:           134 cu. in. 4 Cylinder “F” head 72 hp @ 4,000 rpm Transmission:       3 Speed Column Shift 2 Wheel Drive with electronically Actuated Overdrive           7 days to the start of out […]

Blog entry #4 August 15, 2013 – On the road; Cary, NC to Johnson City, TN

 Finally got on the road at 10:30am today.  With all the personal and company organization to do in preparation for the trek, Jean and I actually did not start packing for the 2 month trek until this am.  Several folks asked if we had a list of things to do in preparation for the trip.  […]

Blog Entry #5 August 16-18, 2013 -Disaster turned Adventure

Disaster turned Adventure It is the wee hours of the morning of the 20th of August, and it is only now that I have settled down well enough to reflect on the events the past four days. While cruising at our usual mind-bending speed of 55mph down a 4-lane stretch of open road in eastern […]

Blog Entry #6 August 19 to 23, 2013 – On the Road Again! Kentucky to Colorado

After discovering and repairing the loose ignition wire on Monday, August 19th, I set off to the local shop to replace the muffler that we had blown out the previous Friday evening (access Entry #5 if you would like the whole gruesome story).  The muffler replacement started with a reciprocating saw massacre of my exhaust […]

Blog Entry #7 August 24 to 27, 2013 – Start of Park-to-Park tour; Denver to Thermopolis

Saturday August, 24, 2013 As previously reported, we reached Denver, Colorado the evening of August 23rd.  Following the suggestion of Lee Whiteley, the fellow who, with his wife Jane, documented the original Park to Park Tour in their book The Playground Trail, we stayed on the southeast side of Denver; out of the inner city […]

Blog entry #8 August 28 to 30, 2013 – Thermopolis to Yellowstone

Got up early and went out to the Jeep at our lodgings in Thermopolis to see if I could find the source of an annoying intermittent stumble in the engine at idle.  30 minutes later I was no closer than when I started.  The Jeep was otherwise running relatively well, so I buttoned things up […]

Blog Entry #9 August 31, 2013 – Grand Tetons National Park

We left our cabin west of Cody, Wyoming and traveled 30 miles further west to the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park and then south down the eastern side of the lower loop road toward Grand Teton National Park. As we proceeded southward through Grand Teton National Park we could see the Teton mountains off […]

Blog Entry #10 September 1 & 2, 2013 – Grand Tetons National Park (continued)

Explored Grand Teton National Park with our daughter’s family on September 1st and 2nd.  On Sunday, September 1st we drove up to Jenny Lake, a 1-1/2 mile diameter lake bounded by the moraines left by the last glacial period.  Its waters are crystal clear and around 65 degrees F.  We first attempted to follow a […]

Blog Entry #11 – on to Yellowstone National Park

Good Morning! It is 6:30am Sunday morning (for those of you that are looking after my soul, Jean took me to Mass last evening) and I am trying to sum up the three days that we spent in Yellowstone Park with our younger daughter Jeanette, her husband Mark, and their three pre-teen sons Luke, Eli, […]

Blog Entry #12 September 3-6, 2013 – Lodging in West Yellowstone, MT

Been a busy last few days for Jean and me taking in many of the experiences at Yellowstone National Park with our daughter Jeanette, her husband Mark and their three pre-teen boys. We will get you caught up on that shortly; however, there is one item that I wanted to share with you while I […]

Blog Entry #13 September 6-8, 2013 – Yellowstone to Glacier National Park

Jean and I in the jeep and our daughter Jeanette and her family in their van all left our lodging outside of the town of West Yellowstone mid-morning on September 6th.   Our paths diverged less than a mile from the house.  I accused them of wanting to get away from the old geezers just as […]

Blog Entry #14 September 6, 2013 – Going-to-the-Sun Road & meeting Laurie

Pulled ourselves together the morning of September 9th, had a hardy breakfast at St. Mary Lodge on the eastern side of Glacier National Park, and headed for the Going-to-the-Sun Road which traverses the Park in a roughly east/west direction.  I say roughly, because it has a “few” twists here and there – both horizontally and […]

Blog Entry #15 September 10, 11, 2013 – Libby, MT to Packwood (Mt. Rainer), WA

On September 10th we awoke to another beautiful morning.  With the exception of a couple of short-lived thunderstorms in mountainous areas, we have only experienced one day of sporadic light rain in the last month on the road.  We are aware of this because our Jeep station wagon has vacuum driven wipers. Wiper explanation:  Unlike […]

Blog Entry #16 September 12, 2013 – Entering Mt. Rainer National Park

On September 12, 2013, Jeff, a fellow Old Willys Forum member and resident of Puyallup, WA, made the 1 ½ hour drive over to our lodging in Packwood, WA in his nearly as-original early 1950 Jeep station wagon to guide us through a tour of Mt. Rainer in our Jeeps. Jeff with his early 1950 […]

Blog Entry #17 September 13 to 16, 2013 -Lacey, WA & Corvallis, Oregon

We arrived at the Lacey, Washington home of Herb & Barbara (former neighbors in Cary, NC) the afternoon of September 12, 2013 and had a nice meal with them after relaxing around the fire pit in their back yard overlooking the golf course.  Barbara is very active in this “55+” community promoting wellness programs and […]

Blog Entry #18 September 17, 18, 2013 – Crater Lake National Park

Jean and I spent the night of September 17th in lodgings affiliated with the historic Prospect Hotel in Prospect, Oregon about 50 miles from the southeast entrance to Crater Lake National Park. Constructed in the 1880’s, the hotel was in existence prior to the 1920 Park-to-Park tour. We drove through Crater Lake National Park using the […]

Blog Entry #19 September 19, 2013 – Lava Beds National Monument, Glass Mountain

We left Prospect, Oregon mid-morning on September 19th on our trek toward our next stop big stop, Lassen Volcanic National Park in northern California.  A couple that met on a few occasions in the Crater Lake area suggested that we swing through Lava Beds National Monument on our way south.  It was well worth the […]

Blog Entry #20 September 20, 2013 – Lassen Volcanic National Park

Honestly, we had not heard of Lassen Volcanic National Park before it was brought to our attention as one of the stops on the 1920 Part-to-Park Tour; and we are pleased that it was.  Ironically, although Lassen Volcanic National Park was one of the scheduled stops on the 1920 tour, due to lack of roads […]

Blog Entry #21 September 21 to 23, 2013 – Mono Lake & June Lake Loop

Jean and I spent Saturday and Sunday September 21st and 22nd in Reno, Nevada where good internet connection and comfortable accommodations permitted us to get caught up on company and personal business. Monday morning, September 23rd, after a good breakfast at a locally owned restaurant, Jean and I headed south toward our lodgings on the […]

Blog Entry #22 September 24, 2013 – Conquering Tioga Pass on the way to Yosemite National Park

The morning of Tuesday, September 24th was filled with a combination of excitement and apprehension; for me anyway.  Jean continued with her undaunted faith and trust in our ability to meet any challenge.  My concern was based on our pervious evening’s “sampling” of the Tioga Road leading to the east entrance to Yosemite National Park.  […]

Blog Entry #23 September 24 to 25, 2013 – Yosemite National Park

On September 24th, after catching our breath from the traverse of 9,900 foot elevation Tioga Pass (see previous blog entry “Conquering Tioga Pass”) we we entered Yosemite National Park’s east entrance.  We then proceeded on to our first stop; Olmsted Point overlook – named after the famous landscape architect, who laid out plans for Yosemite […]

Blog Entry #24 September 26, 2013 – Kings Canyon National Forest and Sequoia National Park

We left Fresno, California mid-morning of September 26th and headed toward Kings Canyon National Forest. A note of explanation here:  As one of the 12 National Park stops on the original 1920 Park-to-Park Tour the participants visited what was then called “General Grant National Park”.  Today, as best as I can determine comparing the 1920 […]

Blog Entry #25 September 27, 28, 2013 – Hoover Dam, Nevada

Most of Friday, September 27th was spent driving from Bakersfield, California to Las Vegas, Nevada.  Las Vegas was selected as a convenient launching off point for Zion National Park in Utah; the 10th scheduled National Park stop on our Trek. Las Vegas also provided decent internet connectivity and a selection of church service options. Welcome […]

Blog Entry #26 September 29, 2013 – Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

On Sunday morning September 29th we left Las Vegas on our Trek to Zion National Park.  As far as we could determine, much of the 125 mile stretch from Las Vegas, Nevada to Littlefield, Arizona used by the original 1920 Park-to-Park Tour group has been covered over by I-15.  We usually avoid Interstates; however, since […]

Blog Entry #27 September 30, 2013 – Zion National Park

We arrived at out cabin in Springdale, Utah Tuesday evening, September 29th; settled in and walked down Springdale’s main street to have some dinner at one of the many interesting cafés and restaurants.  Springdale is nestled in and directly adjacent to the south entrance of Zion National Park.  The town has managed to maintain a […]

Blog Entry #28 October 1, 2013 – Overheating Challenge & Jacob Lake

Woke up at dawn Tuesday, October 1st at our cabin in Springdale, Utah on the southern edge of Zion National Park.  Our plan was to head out toward Grand Canyon National Park, the 11th National Park on our Trek.  We had stayed up until midnight the previous evening to hear if they would be closing […]

Blog Entry #29 October 2, 2013 – Grand Canyon National Park, Glen Canyon Dam & Horseshoe Bend

Since the Grand Canyon National Park was closed, the folks at the Jacob Lake Inn provided us with a hand-sketched, not-to-scale map of a 30+ mile un-paved and mostly un-marked single lane route to a location outside the National Park boundaries where one could view the Grand Canyon from its north rim.  Due to road […]

Blog Entry #30 October 3, 2013 – Monument Valley and Four Corners (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah)

Left Page, Arizona the morning of October 3rd and headed toward Cortez, Colorado – at the foot of Mesa Verde National Park.  We were well aware that Mesa Verde would most likely also be closed due to the Government shutdown, so we decided to make the best of travels by driving through Monument Valley and […]

Blog Entry #31 October 4, 2013 – Mesa Verde and Wolf Creek Pass

We left our lodging in Cortez, Colorado the morning of October 4th for the short trip to Mesa Verde National Park and then on to Salida, Colorado by way of Wolf Creek Pass.  As anticipated, we only got a few hundred yards into Mesa Verde National Park before we were met with road closure signage […]

Blog Entry #32 October 5, 2013 – To Lube or Not to Lube – Salida and Canon City, Colorado

OK, so I woke up early the morning of Saturday, October 5th in Salida, Colorado thinking “wouldn’t it be great if I could get the Jeep’s oil changed and chassis greased before we left for Denver this morning?”  I’m sure that others wake up Saturday mornings with the same thoughts – doesn’t everyone?  Seriously (and […]

Blog Entry #33 October 6, 2013 – Finale of the Park-to-Park Tour loop in Denver

Sunday, October 6, 2013 was a big day.  We were back in Denver, the city where we, as well as the 1920 Park-to-Park Tour group, had begun and completed our respective National Park tours.  We felt that it would be appropriate for us to finalize the tour by traveling to the very spot where the […]

Blog Entry #34 October 7 to 9, 2013 – Bad day at Black Rock; Denver, Colorado

Let me start out by saying that this entry does have a happy ending. Let me start out by saying that this entry does have a happy ending. If you read the blog entry for 10-6-13, you may recall that in Denver, just two miles short of the official finish of our Park-to-Park Tour loop […]

Blog Entry #35 October 10 to 16, 2013 – Denver, Colorado to Cary, North Carolina

It is Sunday morning, October 20, 2013 and Jean and I have just had the opportunity to reunite with our fond friends at Church.  I mention this so as not to keep anyone hanging – yes, we did make it home to Cary, NC from Denver, CO in six and one half relatively smooth sailing […]

Blog Entry #36 – Epilog with Acknowledgements and Statistics 11/27/13

Jean and Dan return home to Cary, North Carolina after traveling 10,300 miles through 15 states to visit 12 western National Parks over 63 days in Jenny, 1950 Willys Overland Jeep Station Wagon OK, so here we are back in Cary, North Carolina snug and warm in our modest abode the evening before Thanksgiving.  Five […]