The lessons we learned during Big Trip #1 held true. All of them. We still brought too many clothes.
Total days on the road
65–34 days fewer than Big Trip #1.
Total states visited
15–NC, GA, TN, MO, NE, IA, KS, CO, WY, UT, NV, AZ, UT, TX, AR. See the map here; we circled roughly counter-clockwise after visiting family in GA. The Airstream has now been to 40 states, and Bugsy has been to 41!
Number of campgrounds / campsites
Not counting sleeping in the Airstream in front of friends’ houses in NC, GA, and CO, we camped in 25 campgrounds and 28 campsites (because we stayed in the Alpine campground twice, and had to move spots because we stayed an extra day in Tucson). That’s 14 fewer than Big Trip #1. Our favorite campsites were Grand Canyon North Rim, Dead Horse Point State Park, Joshua Tree, Organ Pipe, and of course Austin.
Number of National Parks visited
8–Great Basin, Grand Canyon, Zion, Capitol Reef, Joshua Tree, Saguaro, Big Bend, and Hot Springs.
310.95 miles–more than Big Trip #1, which was 34 days longer!
The longest was 13.1 miles, in Great Basin National Park, and Utah, with 145.35 miles total, was far ahead of second-place state Arizona, where we hiked 77.29 miles. Great Basin was the park where we hiked the most miles (27.4); close behind were Big Bend (25.8), Grand Canyon (25.1), and Joshua Tree (22.1).
Our favorite hikes included Butler Fork Loop and the alpine lakes near Park City, White Pocket and the slot canyons near Kanab, Cosmic Ashtray near Escalante (J disagrees), Fisher Towers near Moab, and our epic and harrowing long hike in Great Basin NP. Interesting… they’re mostly in Utah.
Only 30! That is waaay fewer than Big Trip #1. This is partially because in beer cities like Nashville and Austin we now only hit our favorites, and if we visit a new-to-us brewery we really enjoy, we are now more likely to return to that one another day rather than try to hit as many distinct breweries as possible in a city. Tucson, where we made it to 8 breweries, was our biggest brewery town on this trip.
Fish tacos consumed by yours truly
Favorite place for being outdoors
UTAH. We knew we love southern Utah, with the Route 12 corridor and GSENM, and it turns out we also love the very different northern part of the state. Arizona is a close second, where we especially enjoy the hiking near Flagstaff and in Organ Pipe.
Tucson, AZ, where we’d visited many times years ago when we had family there, blew us away with how it has grown up since we’d last been. The food and beer scenes are top-notch, and while it’s bigger and flashier than it used to be, it still feels manageable and friendly.
Biggest pleasant surprise
Favorite breweries, in no particular order
A non-comprehensive list:
- Tarantulas in Flagstaff, Salt Lake City, Big Bend
- Badger in northern Utah
- Elk in Grand Canyon
- Mule deer everywhere
- Big Horn sheep in Moab and Joshua Tree
- Jackrabbits in Joshua Tree and Saguaro NP
- Coyote in Big Bend
- Great Horned Owl in Big Bend
- Little brown dog everywhere we went
License plate game results
During all that time on the road, we were able to find every state license plate but ONE: Rhode Island, and we didn’t see a West Virginia until our last day of driving in Virginia. Draw your own conclusions.