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Dear Bob and Sue: A National Parks Podcast
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Dear Bob and Sue: A National Parks Podcast

Author: Matt and Karen Smith

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In Dear Bob and Sue, authors Matt and Karen Smith share stories of their travels to all of the U.S. National Park as well as other spectacular public lands. From adventures gone awry to memorable moments and Q&As from readers, get to know the couple behind the books and get inspired to go on some adventures of your own.

159 Episodes
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In our Mailbag! episodes, we answer questions from listeners about the national parks, ranger-led tours, road trips, hiking, camping, backpacking, gear, relationships, and pretty much whatever anyone wants to ask us.   In this episode, we cover these topics: ·     An overview of some of the closures within the national parks this year, ·     Suggestions for hikes in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, ·     Tips for avoiding altitude sickness when traveling to high-elevation parks, ·     Common mistakes people make when planning a trip to the national parks, ·     Relationship advice for couples who are together 24/7, ·     And more!   The best way to support our podcast is to become a member of our Patreon account. Follow this link to check it out.   And don’t forget to check out our new online merch store and www.dirtlander.com.   Subscribe to The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen, and if you’ve enjoyed our show, please leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcasts. Five-star ratings help other listeners find our show.   Follow us on Instagram at @mattandkarensmith, on Twitter at @mattandkaren, on Facebook at dearbobands, or check out our blog at www.mattandkaren.com.   To advertise on The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast, email us at mattandkarensmith@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
One of the most frequent questions we get from travelers is how to plan a visit to Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton NPs in a single road trip. In this episode, we cover all the details you’ll need to do just that.   Without a doubt, these three parks are at the top of our “most spectacular” list. Each has its unique history and landscape, yet they’re all great places to witness once-in-a-lifetime wildlife encounters. The other thing they have in common is that they all have mountainous regions. Given their elevations, winter weather can sneak up on you anytime during the year, which makes carefully choosing your dates to visit even more important than with many other destinations.   With the current popularity of the national parks, especially these three, embarking on a road trip to see them requires advanced planning. We suggest a year or more before your desired travel date. However, you can do it, and we’ll share all the tips and tricks we know to help you.   The best way to support our podcast is to become a member of our Patreon account. Follow this link to check it out.   And don’t forget to check out our new online merch store and www.dirtlander.com.   Subscribe to The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen, and if you’ve enjoyed our show, please leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcasts. Five-star ratings help other listeners find our show.   Follow us on Instagram at @mattandkarensmith, on Twitter at @mattandkaren, on Facebook at dearbobands, or check out our blog at www.mattandkaren.com.   To advertise on The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast, email us at mattandkarensmith@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In our Mailbag! episodes, we answer questions from listeners about the national parks, ranger-led tours, road trips, hiking, camping, backpacking, gear, relationships, and pretty much whatever anyone wants to ask us.   In this episode, we cover these topics: ·     News about a faster way to enter Rocky Mountain National Park this summer, ·     Update about cabin demolitions within Olympic National Park, ·     Travel advice for a listener wanting to visit the Pacific Northwest this fall to see the mountain larches change colors, ·     Tips for visiting Virgin Islands National Park, ·     Our thoughts about a couple of our favorite “hard-to-get-to” national parks, ·     The ranger-led tours in Mesa Verde National Park ranked from easiest to most difficult, ·     National Parks that are good for kids, ·     And more!   Click this link for more about us: https://linktr.ee/mattandkaren The best way to support our podcast is to become a member of our Patreon account. Follow this link to check it out.   And don’t forget to check out our new online merch store and www.dirtlander.com.   Subscribe to The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen, and if you’ve enjoyed our show, please leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcasts. Five-star ratings help other listeners find our show.   Follow us on Instagram at @mattandkarensmith, on Twitter at @mattandkaren, on Facebook at dearbobands, or check out our blog at www.mattandkaren.com.   To advertise on The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast, email us at mattandkarensmith@gmail.com.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Long before the National Park Service was founded, the U.S. Army was put in charge of protecting America’s national parks. One of the groups that played a crucial role in fulfilling this invaluable service to our country was the Buffalo Soldiers: African American officers and enlisted men serving in the Army.   When the regimen stationed in San Francisco was tasked with protecting and developing infrastructure in Sequoia and General Grant (now Kings Canyon) National Parks, these incredibly hardworking soldiers made jaw-dropping progress in their first season of duty.   Led by the infamous Captain Charles Young, who was later posthumously promoted to Brigadier General, this group of approximately one hundred men set out to guard and improve these priceless areas. They built roads into the parks and protected the land from poachers and trespassers, making it possible for future generations of visitors to these national treasures.   In this episode, we discuss the accomplishments of the Buffalo Soldiers, not just in these two parks but also in Yosemite and the surrounding public lands.   --- Click this link for more about us: https://linktr.ee/mattandkaren The best way to support our podcast is to become a member of our Patreon account. Follow this link to check it out.   And don’t forget to check out our new online merch store and www.dirtlander.com.   Subscribe to The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen, and if you’ve enjoyed our show, please leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcasts. Five-star ratings help other listeners find our show.   Follow us on Instagram at @mattandkarensmith, on Twitter at @mattandkaren, on Facebook at dearbobands, or check out our blog at www.mattandkaren.com.   To advertise on The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast, email us at mattandkarensmith@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Dry Tortugas National Park is in a category of its own: pre-civil war fort, 70 miles out to sea with nothing else around it, incredible history, beautiful tropical keys with campsites, and right in the path of the most powerful hurricanes on the planet. Nowhere else can you visit a place with world-class snorkeling and see the rooms where they held the most dangerous civil war prisoners.   In this episode, we discuss some recent updates about the park, provide details about visiting and camping there, and reminisce about our visit over a decade ago. What started out for us as a brief update episode has rekindled our interest in this incredible national park and our desire to revisit it someday. And when we do, maybe we’ll camp. There’s just one small detail you might want to know about the Dry Tortugas camping situation that makes Karen a little worried. You’ll have to tune in and listen to find out what that is.   A couple of links where you can find important, up-to-date information: ·     Dry Tortugas National Park’s website ·     Yankee Freedom boat ticket information   The best way to support our podcast is to become a member of our Patreon account. Follow this link to check it out.   And don’t forget to check out our new online merch store and www.dirtlander.com.   Subscribe to The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen, and if you’ve enjoyed our show, please leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcasts. Five-star ratings help other listeners find our show.   Follow us on Instagram at @mattandkarensmith, on Twitter at @mattandkaren, on Facebook at dearbobands, or check out our blog at www.mattandkaren.com.   To advertise on The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast, email us at mattandkarensmith@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This episode is a companion to our previous release, #150: Exploring Joshua Tree National Park. So many travelers to this magical part of Southern California spend time in both Joshua Tree NP and Palm Springs that these back-to-back episodes would be perfect for anyone planning a trip to the area.   Today, we’re focusing on hikes in and around Palm Springs, sharing a few of our favorite trails with you. From an easy hike through an oasis in the Indian Canyon area of the Agua Caliente Reservation to a ladder-aided scramble up a slot canyon on a Bureau of Land Management site, we discuss just a few of the fantastic hikes waiting for you in the Coachella Valley.   From fall to spring, this desert playground is a perfect place to get out into nature and challenge yourself with a heart-pounding hike before relaxing by the pool or enjoying a round of golf. And if you are looking for a real test of endurance, there is even a trail known to be the most difficult day hike in America. The Cactus to Cloud Trail rises from the desert floor over 10,000 vertical feet to the top of the San Jacinto Mountain range.   So, get out your notepad and prepare to jot down a few travel tips while we take you to Palm Springs!   Links to some of the things we discussed in this episode: ·     Info about the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway , and ·     Indian Canyons   The best way to support our podcast is to become a member of our Patreon account. Follow this link to check it out.   And don’t forget to check out our new online merch store and www.dirtlander.com.   Subscribe to The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen, and if you’ve enjoyed our show, please leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcasts. Five-star ratings help other listeners find our show.   Follow us on Instagram at @mattandkarensmith, on Twitter at @mattandkaren, on Facebook at dearbobands, or check out our blog at www.mattandkaren.com.   To advertise on The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast, email us at mattandkarensmith@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Welcome to our journey through the awe-inspiring landscapes of America's national parks! Today is part one of a two-part series about Southern California's desert playground, where we explore the magical and rugged terrain of Joshua Tree National Park. Located about 130 miles east of Los Angeles, Joshua Tree National Park is a world of its own. With over three million visitors annually, it's a favorite spring break destination, though the park reveals its unique charm throughout the year. In this episode, we give an overview of the park's most popular hiking trails and share our experiences hiking some of our favorites. We also provide a "lay of the land," including information about campgrounds, visitor centers, and a little vegetation education thrown in for good measure. And for those who want to wander outside the park boundaries, we recommend a couple of unique local attractions and places to eat and drink once the sun slips over the park's peaks. All this and a history story or two make this a must-listen episode for anyone planning a trip to the park. Next week, in part two, we'll move south of the park and talk about the diverse areas throughout the greater Palm Springs region, where you'll find some of the best hiking trails in southern California. Links to some of the things we discussed in this episode: ·     Joshua Tree NP’s bird list ·     The Copper Room at Yucca Valley Airport ·     Visit Pioneertown ·     Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown The best way to support our podcast is to become a member of our Patreon account. Follow this link to check it out. And don’t forget to check out our new online merch store and www.dirtlander.com. Subscribe to The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen, and if you’ve enjoyed our show, please leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcasts. Five-star ratings help other listeners find our show. Follow us on Instagram at @mattandkarensmith, on Twitter at @mattandkaren, on Facebook at dearbobands, or check out our blog at www.mattandkaren.com. To advertise on The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast, email us at mattandkarensmith@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In our Mailbag! episodes, we answer questions from listeners about the national parks, ranger-led tours, road trips, hiking, camping, backpacking, gear, relationships, and pretty much whatever anyone wants to ask us.   In this episode, we cover these topics: ·     Our thoughts on visiting a state park in Arkansas where a visitor recently found 7-carat diamond, ·     Suggestions about fun hiking trails for young teenagers in Utah’s national parks, ·     Places to visit in the Pacific Northwest when traveling from Mt. Rainier NP to Cannon Beach in Oregon, ·     Tips on how to prepare for a hike to Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon of Arizona, ·     And more!   The best way to support our podcast is to become a member of our Patreon account. Follow this link to check it out.   And don’t forget to check out our new online merch store and www.dirtlander.com.   Subscribe to The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen, and if you’ve enjoyed our show, please leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcasts. Five-star ratings help other listeners find our show.   Follow us on Instagram at @mattandkarensmith, on Twitter at @mattandkaren, on Facebook at dearbobands, or check out our blog at www.mattandkaren.com.   To advertise on The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast, email us at mattandkarensmith@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Who knows better what could go wrong while hiking in a national park than the people whose job it is to rescue hikers? That’s why we connected with a national park ranger to hear first-hand tips about hiking safety. In this episode, we interview Sara Shoemaker, a law enforcement ranger at Canyonlands National Park (Needles District) in southern Utah.   For several years, we’ve exchanged emails with Sara, and we recently met her while visiting her park. It was then we cooked up the idea to have her be a guest on The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast to share practical advice on staying safe while on the trail. Hopefully, you’ll pick up an idea or two from Sara that will help make your future hiking adventures enjoyable and safe.   We start the episode by briefly reviewing the ten essentials of hiking and sharing a few stories about our near-dangerous encounters while hiking when we were not fully prepared for what we encountered on the trail.   A link to a blog post about the hiking ten essentials: ·     Washington Trails Association Ten Essentials   The best way to support our podcast is to become a member of our Patreon account. Follow this link to check it out.   And don’t forget to check out our new online merch store and www.dirtlander.com.   Subscribe to The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen, and if you’ve enjoyed our show, please leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcasts. Five-star ratings help other listeners find our show.   Follow us on Instagram at @mattandkarensmith, on Twitter at @mattandkaren, on Facebook at dearbobands, or check out our blog at www.mattandkaren.com.   To advertise on The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast, email us at mattandkarensmith@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
A national park that started out as a state park more than 90 years ago, Big Bend is often called Texas’ gift to the nation. With over 1,200 square miles of pristine land, this park has a wide range of ecosystems, from sprawling deserts to mountains reaching nearly 8.000 feet.   From November to April, the weather is ideal for visitors to hike in several regions of the park. In this episode, we discuss some of our favorite trails in the desert, mountains, and along the Rio Grande River.   Another unique feature of this park is that it shares a border with Mexico. And unlike in the past, you can now cross the Rio Grande River during scheduled times and visit a charming Mexican village a short hike away. If you’re planning an early November visit, check out the Terlingua Chili Cookoff in the small town by the same name, just a few miles to the west of the park.   A link to one of the places we discussed in this episode: ·     Terlingua Chili Cookoff information   The best way to support our podcast is to become a member of our Patreon account. Follow this link to check it out.   And don’t forget to check out our new online merch store and www.dirtlander.com.   Subscribe to The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen, and if you’ve enjoyed our show, please leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcasts. Five-star ratings help other listeners find our show.   Follow us on Instagram at @mattandkarensmith, on Twitter at @mattandkaren, on Facebook at dearbobands, or check out our blog at www.mattandkaren.com.   To advertise on The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast, email us at mattandkarensmith@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In our Mailbag! episodes, we answer questions from listeners about the national parks, ranger-led tours, road trips, hiking, camping, backpacking, gear, relationships, and pretty much whatever anyone wants to ask us.   In this episode, we cover these topics: ·     We reveal our ambitious 2024 New Year’s resolution (and you can join us!), ·     Our gear suggestions for a family who wants to get started camping, ·     A discussion about the difference between “strenuous” and “dangerous” trail descriptions, ·     An overview of Glacier National Park’s 2024 shuttle program, ·     Clarifying which reservations you’ll need in 2024 to visit Carlsbad Caverns NP, ·     And more!   A few links related to the topics in this episode: ·     Where to purchase your self-guided tour tickets for Carlsbad Caverns ·     Family camping checklist from REI ·     And for all you Dirtlander fans, here is a link to our Floral Bison t-shirts   The best way to support our podcast is to become a member of our Patreon account. Follow this link to check it out.   And don’t forget to check out our new online merch store and www.dirtlander.com.   Subscribe to The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen, and if you’ve enjoyed our show, please leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcasts. Five-star ratings help other listeners find our show.   Follow us on Instagram at @mattandkarensmith, on Twitter at @mattandkaren, on Facebook at dearbobands, or check out our blog at www.mattandkaren.com.   To advertise on The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast, email us at mattandkarensmith@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
For many visitors, hiking is their go-to activity in the national parks; it is for us. But there are so many other activities the parks have to offer. In this episode, we talk about a dozen or more things you can do in the parks that are unique and amazing. From dogsledding to synchronized firefly tours, the parks offer activities that will thrill the entire family. Here are a few of the ones we discuss: Walk on the catwalk underneath the New River Gorge Bridge, Horseback ride, Attend the bat flight program in Carlsbad Caverns NP, Raft down a wild river, Hike to and spend the night in a backcountry chalet or lodge, See the first sunrise in the US, Pick fruit in an orchard, And more! The best way to support our podcast is to become a member of our Patreon account. Follow this link to check it out. And don’t forget to check out our new online merch store and www.dirtlander.com. Subscribe to The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen, and if you’ve enjoyed our show, please leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcasts. Five-star ratings help other listeners find our show. Follow us on Instagram at @mattandkarensmith, on Twitter at @mattandkaren, on Facebook at dearbobands, or check out our blog at www.mattandkaren.com. To advertise on The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast, email us at mattandkarensmith@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
As the temperatures drop up north, it’s time to start thinking about warm-weather escapes. In today’s episode, we have the perfect destination for you: Saguaro National Park and a whole bunch of other incredible public lands in Southern Arizona.   Join us as we take you on a journey through both districts of Saguaro NP, Catalina State Park, Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, and the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum, all within a stone’s throw from the always-bustling college town of Tucson.   We even take you on a few side trips an hour or two away from Tucson: Chiricahua NM, to the east; Casa Grande Ruins NM, north of town; and Organ Pipe Cactus NM, in the secluded desert to the west. And if you are missing the cold, snowy conditions back home, you can always take a day trip to the top of Mount Lemmon, where you can ski, do a little shopping, and be back down to the warmth of Tucson just an hour or so drive away.   A link to one of the places we discussed in this episode: ·     Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum   The best way to support our podcast is to become a member of our Patreon account. Follow this link to check it out.   And don’t forget to check out our new online merch store and www.dirtlander.com.   Subscribe to The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen, and if you’ve enjoyed our show, please leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcasts. Five-star ratings help other listeners find our show.   Follow us on Instagram at @mattandkarensmith, on Twitter at @mattandkaren, on Facebook at dearbobands, or check out our blog at www.mattandkaren.com.   To advertise on The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast, email us at mattandkarensmith@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In our Mailbag! episodes, we answer questions from listeners about the national parks, ranger-led tours, road trips, hiking, camping, backpacking, gear, relationships, and pretty much whatever anyone wants to ask us.   In this episode, we cover these topics: ·     Glacier NP announced their vehicle entrance reservation plan for 2024, ·     Grand Canyon NP is temporarily closing a stretch of Bright Angel Trail until mid-April 2024, ·     We answer a question about where some of the best places in the national parks are to see moose, ·     Our opinion on which airport is the best to fly into when visiting the Grand Canyon, ·     Whether we have a goal to visit all the national parks in Canada, ·     And more!   A few links related to the topics in this episode: ·     Glacier NP’s 2024 vehicle entrance reservation plan, ·     Detail about Grand Canyon NP’s Transcanyon Waterline Project, including the the 2024 Bright Angel Trail closure, ·     And for all you Dirtlander fans, here is a link to our Bandana Moose t-shirts   The best way to support our podcast is to become a member of our Patreon account. Follow this link to check it out.   And don’t forget to check out our new online merch store and www.dirtlander.com.   Subscribe to The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen, and if you’ve enjoyed our show, please leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcasts. Five-star ratings help other listeners find our show.   Follow us on Instagram at @mattandkarensmith, on Twitter at @mattandkaren, on Facebook at dearbobands, or check out our blog at www.mattandkaren.com.   To advertise on The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast, email us at mattandkarensmith@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Southern Utah is home to five must-see national parks, but if you’re traveling to this part of the American Southwest, you won’t want to miss the other incredible things to see and do. In this episode, we take you to 20 of our favorite places we’ve discovered over the years. Each site is worth exploring, from slot canyons to one-of-a-kind landscapes to priceless cultural treasures.   Places we discuss in this episode: ·     Kanarra Falls ·     Cedar Breaks National Monument ·     Willis Creek Narrows ·     Kodachrome Basin State Park ·     Hole in the Rock Road ·     Lower Calf Creek Falls Hike ·     Goblin Valley State Park ·     San Rafael Swell ·     Dead Horse Point State Park ·     Corona Arch ·     Newspaper Rock State Historical Monument ·     Hovenweep National Monument ·     Bears Ears National Monument ·     Natural Bridges National Monument ·     Moki Dugway ·     Goosenecks State Park ·     Valley of the Gods ·     Monument Valley ·     Rainbow Bridge National Monument ·     Buckskin Gulch   The best way to support our podcast is to become a member of our Patreon account. Follow this link to check it out.   And don’t forget to check out our new online merch store and www.dirtlander.com.   Subscribe to The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen, and if you’ve enjoyed our show, please leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcasts. Five-star ratings help other listeners find our show.   Follow us on Instagram at @mattandkarensmith, on Twitter at @mattandkaren, on Facebook at dearbobands, or check out our blog at www.mattandkaren.com.   To advertise on The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast, email us at mattandkarensmith@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Find a comfortable seat and sit back as we take you with us on our boat tour to Rainbow Bridge National Monument, located just steps away from Lake Powell in a remote corner of southern Utah. On a recent road trip earlier this month, we were lucky enough to snag a reservation for a boat tour. And while the temps in early November can get downright cold on the lake, we had beautiful weather for our trip to this jaw-dropping national monument. Revered by the Navajo as a sacred site, Rainbow Bridge's remote location makes it accessible only by a multi-day backpack trip or boat ride. This remarkable natural wonder, famous for its impressive size and striking geological formation, is a majestic sandstone arch. Carved by erosion over millions of years, it stands as one of the world's largest known natural bridges, spanning 275 feet and reaching a height of 290 feet. In this episode, we talk about our experience visiting this natural wonder, stories of the early explorers to the area, and a bit of history about the formation of Lake Powell. Links we discussed on this episode: ·     Our 2023 Holiday Gift Guide, ·     Where to get more info or to sign up for the Rainbow Bridge Boat Tour The best way to support our podcast is to become a member of our Patreon account. Follow this link to check it out. And don’t forget to check out our new online merch store and www.dirtlander.com. Subscribe to The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen, and if you’ve enjoyed our show, please leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcasts. Five-star ratings help other listeners find our show.  Follow us on Instagram at @mattandkarensmith, on Twitter at @mattandkaren, on Facebook at dearbobands, or check out our blog at www.mattandkaren.com.   To advertise on The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast, email us at mattandkarensmith@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Listeners frequently ask us to create episodes about road trip itineraries, and in this episode, we outline a stunning 8-day driving loop through public lands in northern California and southern Oregon. On this journey, you’ll visit three national parks and two national monuments, while driving 800 miles through a beautiful swath of the American West that’s off the beaten path.   Starting in Redding, CA, we take you to Lassen Volcanic NP, Lava Beds NM, Crater Lake NP, and Oregon Caves NM before wrapping up the trip in Redwoods National and State Parks.   From some of the most dramatic volcanic landscapes in the country to the world’s tallest trees along the Pacific Coast and more, this road trip is everything public lands and nature lovers would want.   All this and more, coming up next!   A link we discussed on this episode: ·     Where to watch Ken Burn’s documentary The American Buffalo   The best way to support our podcast is to become a member of our Patreon account. Follow this link to check it out.   And don’t forget to check out our new online merch store and www.dirtlander.com.   Subscribe to The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen, and if you’ve enjoyed our show, please leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcasts. Five-star ratings help other listeners find our show.   Follow us on Instagram at @mattandkarensmith, on Twitter at @mattandkaren, on Facebook at dearbobands, or check out our blog at www.mattandkaren.com.   To advertise on The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast, email us at mattandkarensmith@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
It’s that time of year again, so get ready to be scared out of your wits! Just kidding, but we do have a fun lineup of stories in this episode about ghost towns in the national parks. While you can find deserted towns, remnants of bygone boom/bust cycles, in many of our national parks, today we will focus on just a few.   From once thriving mining towns near Death Valley, to the site of a now-defunct copper mine in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska, to the Thurmond Ghost Town in New River Gorge National Park, we share the history and the stories of paranormal activity in these historic places.   But no episode would be complete without a mention of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, so imagine how happy Karen was when she learned that this week marks the Centennial of this natural wonder. And fittingly for this time of year, we’re celebrating Bat Week. That’s right, Bat Week, an entire week dedicated each year to these flying mammals, who, as you’ll learn in this episode (spoiler alert), are NOT flying rats.   All this and more, coming up next!   The best way to support our podcast is to become a member of our Patreon account. Follow this link to check it out.   And don’t forget to check out our new online merch store and www.dirtlander.com.   Subscribe to The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen, and if you’ve enjoyed our show, please leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcasts. Five-star ratings help other listeners find our show.   Follow us on Instagram at @mattandkarensmith, on Twitter at @mattandkaren, on Facebook at dearbobands, or check out our blog at www.mattandkaren.com.   To advertise on The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast, email us at mattandkarensmith@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In our Mailbag! episodes, we answer questions from listeners about the national parks, ranger-led tours, road trips, hiking, camping, backpacking, gear, relationships, and pretty much whatever anyone wants to ask us. In this episode, we cover these topics: ·     A change to the America the Beautiful park pass starting Jan. 1st, 2024, ·     Whether we ever considered van life and our opinions on this lifestyle, ·     Some safety considerations when camping in Big Bend National Park, ·     A discussion about previously designated national parks that have since been demoted, ·     And more! The best way to support our podcast is to become a member of our Patreon account. Follow this link to check it out. And don’t forget to check out our new online merch store and www.dirtlander.com. Subscribe to The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen, and if you’ve enjoyed our show, please leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcasts. Five-star ratings help other listeners find our show. Follow us on Instagram at @mattandkarensmith, on Twitter at @mattandkaren, on Facebook at dearbobands, or check out our blog at www.mattandkaren.com. To advertise on The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast, email us at mattandkarensmith@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Buckle up, folks, for another road trip loop! In this episode, we’re taking you on an epic trip through the heart of Appalachia to four national parks and a national park service scenic byway. We’ll travel to national parks in five states: Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, New River Gorge in West Virginia, Shenandoah in Virginia, and Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee. From the world’s longest cave to one of the oldest rivers on earth to the most visited US national park, this 1500-mile road trip has it all! And as a bonus, we share some of our favorite places to eat along the way and suggestions for a few other must-see destinations. Here are a couple of links to items we mentioned in this episode: ·     Tickets for cave tours at Mammoth Cave National Park ·     Information about booking your New River Gorge Bridge Walk   The best way to support our podcast is to become a member of our Patreon account. Follow this link to check it out.   And don’t forget to check out our new online merch store and www.dirtlander.com.   Subscribe to The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen, and if you’ve enjoyed our show, please leave us a review or rating on Apple Podcasts. Five-star ratings help other listeners find our show.   Follow us on Instagram at @mattandkarensmith, on Twitter at @mattandkaren, on Facebook at dearbobands, or check out our blog at www.mattandkaren.com.   To advertise on The Dear Bob and Sue Podcast, email us at mattandkarensmith@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Comments (8)

Amy Dorr

Love this podcast! We moved to NM almost a year ago and can't wait to visit Carlsbad and the national park. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

Apr 7th
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Chris Aaront

Great podcast! After listening I was inspired to add Dead Horse Point State Park to my Utah vacation itinerary. My dad and I recently stayed two nights in one of the park's yurts. It was definitely a highlight of our trip. Thanks for the great recommendations!

Dec 28th
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Nancy Heimburger

Hello! just thought I'd pass on this tid bit on Smokey the Bear. This is our little town in the Northwoods of WI. I wonder if this makes us famous?!

Mar 20th
Reply (1)

Nancy Heimburger

We loved our Alaska trip in 2014! took the bus ride - for 11.5 hours! just shy of the very end yahoo! long day but so nice to go way into the park. didn't know about the resort at the end, would have stayed there a night or 2. next time... our favorite hippie town was our last 2 days, Talkeetna! Met Mayor Stubb's the cat. Next trip is March 2022, northern lights. probably stay in Fairbanks or North Pole. Hard to hit up a winter place in March since we live in the Northwoods of WI when we'd rather go south for some warmth, but it'll be a magical winter trip! can't wait! love listening to all your travel adventures, keep em coming!

Mar 7th
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Ed Johnson

this might be the best podcast I have ever heard. The subject matter is exactly what I have been looking for. The audio quality is perfection, jaw dropping, stupendous, I also need a thesaurus. I could listen to these two for hours and hours. I am envious of and eternally grateful for the wealth of information you both posess. I am currently doing my mundane work dreaming of the days when I will attempt to follow in your footsteps of getting as many park stamps as possible. Thank you for all you do.

Jan 29th
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Jenny Danek

Love everyone of the episodes! You have become my walking companions. Sadly, I am all caught up. Need more soon.

Jun 11th
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Lisa Tranter

loved it! great hosts and so enjoyable. you can tell they are having a great time with the pod cast.

Feb 1st
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