Fifty-four days to make new memories

Published 1:41 pm Tuesday, August 17, 2010

By JENNY ELLISON/Guest Columnist

My husband, David, and I frequently record television programs about our National Parks. One that really caught our eye was the “National Park-to-Park Highway Tour” produced by Brandon Wade and based on the book “The Playground Trail” by Lee Whiteley.

It was the story of the AAA sponsored tour of the National Parks in 1920.

They began their trip in Denver and made a counterclockwise tour of National Parks and covered more than 5,000 miles. What made their trip even more remarkable was the fact there were very few roads at that time. They began their trip in October and took 76 days to complete the trip. We looked at each other and said, “That’s our next trip!” After about a year of planning, it was our trip this year.

We began reading all we could about the trip and the route. I took the original route of the 1920’s trip and stayed as close as possible to their schedule and route.

It didn’t always work out, but it was as close as possible in the 54 days allotted for our trip.

While the original trip was done in cars, we used our GMC truck and 31’ Airstream travel trailer. We left Trussville on Monday, May 17 to reach Little Rock, Ark. We returned to Alabama on Thursday, July 8, which was one day ahead of schedule.

We ended up driving 9,447.5 miles, with David driving all but the last 100. He has calluses on his hands.

I normally blog and take photos along the route and this trip was no different.

The blog can be found at

On the blog you can view a tornado we chased and a video we put together of the eight gigabytes of digital photos we took of the trip.

We visited 13 national parks, drove in 15 states and saw four national monuments.

We encourage many people to try a trip like this when they are younger and will have no regrets later when they are older. Save!

It takes time and money to do this type of trip, but the rewards are great.

Jenny Ellison is the director of alumni/public relations at Southeastern Bible College.