Friday, January 21, 2011

Trip Planning - 2011

The Boys have begun planning for their annual trip. Over the past many years, they have alternated years in doing more ambitious and (slightly) less ambitious trips. 2009 was the Grand Canyon hike; a big one. Last year was the better part of a week in Great Smoky Mountains National Park; a more moderate (and driveable) one. I was copied as a bit of an afterthought on an email string earlier this week covering, in general terms, where they are intending to go this year. The site of this year's festivities has been decided as the Upper Midwest, specifically western North and South Dakota. Dave, Leo and Ted will be going. And shockingly, me too! They were discussing a saturday to saturday trip, and a date of July 30 to August 6 worked for me as well, so after years of threatening to do so, I am planning on going with them. I can't tell you how excited I am and how much I hope it does work out.

That part of the country is bigger than it initially sounded to me, and covers a vast number of great outdoors locations. Without having done any substantial investigating yet, I know that the western part of South Dakota has Black Hills National Forest, Devil's Tower National Monument, Wind Cave National Park, Custer State Park and a number of national grasslands. North Dakota has Theodore Roosevelt National Park and others. And Mount Rushmore is around there somewhere. In other words, more nice scenic places and great hikes than you can count.

Planning still seems to be somewhat up in the air, although a lot of the background legwork has been done by Leo and Ted with regards to flights, dates, mileage, etc... There will be a planning session perhaps next weekend to go over as much detail as possible and get at least dates, flights and rough itinerary set. I don't expect to be able to provide much input, but it will be fun to be a part of and I do have a few opinions. One of the leading options at this point seems to be flying into Denver, driving north into SD through Nebraska, spending the time in SD and ND, and then making the long drive to Minneapolis to fly home.

From the emails, there are a few things that will need to be accounted for, as each person has their personal list of "musts".

  • Leo must see Devil's Tower. Non-negotiable.
  • Ted has been in all but 5 of the 50 states. 2 of the 5 he doesn't have are Nebraska and North Dakota. He can't be right there and not get those 2 states. Also non-negotiable.
  • Dave doesn't seem to have any specific musts (that I know about yet) but does want to make sure we balance all the potential driving with some time actually spent settled someplace. Dave apparently has less tolerance for endless hours in the car than Leo and Ted.
  • I don't have any specific need to see any particular park or site, but my one requirement would be to allow a few minutes to get a geocache in any state that we are in. This shouldn't be a big deal at all. I would be able to get 5 new distant and large states if the flights do end up Denver in and Minneapolis out. Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Minneapolis. Wyoming I already have, and Montana is not prohibitively far away, depending on where else we end up. One advantage of my wants in this regard are that Dave would also like to bag these states.

Much more to come, but I am am thrilled at the prospect of finally taking part in one of these trips. If nothing else, it gives me an excuse to buy some maps and books about the area and do a little research, which is fun in and of itself.

No comments:

Post a Comment