It’s high time I got my butt in gear and start writing about the F.A.R.T. we went on last year. The dawning of October was just the kick in the pants that I needed to get started!
You may be thinking to yourself, “Self, what in the world does F.A.R.T. stand for?” F.A.R.T. = Fall Automobile Road Trip. We’ve referred to this epic road-trip as the F.A.R.T. so frequently that even our fellow Young Adult Sunday School Class members started calling the trip that, as well. You may also be wondering what the motivation was for taking a fall road trip. This trip was truly a combination of things that Bryan and I both really like. For starters, Bryan loves fall. Combine that with my life-goal of visiting all of the national parks in the United States (we went to three of them during this trip) and our mutual love for hiking — and you get a trip that was made for both of us.
This trip would have been a total flop without all of the hard work that Bryan put into planning it. He put a lot of thought into how far we could drive each day and where we would spend each night. October is a popular time of year for Shenandoah National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and having reservations made months in advance for campsites, lodges, and hotels was crucial. This itinerary is what helped keep us on track throughout the trip. Yes, it is in Excel (we’re both engineers, we can’t help it). 🙂
In addition to the itinerary, we also had a good idea of what hikes we were going to do each day. Prior to the trip, we bought several books (Guide to the Blue Ridge Parkway, Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway, Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Best Easy Day Hikes Shenandoah National Park) to help us narrow down which hikes we wanted to do.
Pre-selecting our hikes helped us to make the most of our time because we weren’t wasting time during the day trying to figure out what we were going to do next. Here’s a list of all of the hikes that we did. The ones that are highlighted in green are the hikes that I would wholeheartedly recommend.
The map below shows (more or less) the path we took, though it doesn’t represent the Blue Ridge Parkway very well…I gave up on trying to drag the route marker from the highway to the Blue Ridge Parkway because it wasn’t working very well.
We loaded up Bryan’s car and hit the road for what would be a road trip of epic proportions.
Odometer (Beginning of F.A.R.T.)
F.A.R.T. By the Numbers
4,085 photos taken
3,756 miles driven
62.1 miles hiked
44 state license plates spotted (plus D.C.)
14 states visited
13 days traveled
3 national parks explored (plus all 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway)
1 1950/1960s-style family photo taken
1 Treeing Walker Coonhound rescued
1950/1960s-Style Family Photograph
“Preserve your memories, keep them well,
what you forget you can never retell.”
-Louisa May Alcott