Group to visit 43 Utah state parks

May 12 2011 - 10:20pm

Images

ANTHONY SOUFFLE/Standard-Examiner 
An RV carrying Chris Dallin, Russ Smith, Tim Hughes, Barbara Riddle, Bill Francis and Vaughn Jacobsen travels down the causeway at Antelope Island near Syracuse on Thursday to mark the start of their road trip, a 2,200-mile journey to visit all 43 state parks in Utah in just three days.
ANTHONY SOUFFLE/Standard-Examiner 
Tim Hughes glances back as he prepares to start on the road trip on Thursday.
ANTHONY SOUFFLE/Standard-Examiner 
An RV carrying Chris Dallin, Russ Smith, Tim Hughes, Barbara Riddle, Bill Francis and Vaughn Jacobsen travels down the causeway at Antelope Island near Syracuse on Thursday to mark the start of their road trip, a 2,200-mile journey to visit all 43 state parks in Utah in just three days.
ANTHONY SOUFFLE/Standard-Examiner 
Tim Hughes glances back as he prepares to start on the road trip on Thursday.

ANTELOPE ISLAND STATE PARK -- Prior to entering an RV that will serve as home to a group of travelers for the next three days, each of the road trippers joked about their sanity.

"This is crazy," said Vaughn Jacobsen.

Joining Jacobsen on the 72-hour adventure are friends Barbara Riddle, Tim Hughes, Russ Smith, Bill Francis and Chris Dallin, all of whom are involved with the Antelope Island Stampede Committee.

The goal is to visit all 43 Utah state parks in three days, covering close to 2,200 miles. While those visits will not be long -- probably only about 15 minutes -- the quick stops will give the passengers time to get their picture taken in front of the park sign and have their Utah State Parks Field Guide books stamped.

"That means someone from the park will have to be there to stamp the book at 1 o'clock in the morning," said Hughes, who noted that there are a lot of people helping in this endeavor.

After leaving Antelope Island State Park at noon Thursday, the first stop was Willard Bay State Park, followed by Hyrum State Park and Bear Lake State Park.

The road trip coincides with the Utah Tourism Conference and National Tourism Week, and is an official Travel Day Event designated by U.S. Travel. The RV stopped briefly at the Utah Tourism Conference in Park City Thursday night to meet up with the Utah Tourism Industry Coalition, Utah Office of Tourism, and other tourism entities.

Then it was back on the road headed to Jordanelle State Park.

"If you take the movies RV, Wild Hogs and Fast Times at Ridgemont High and shake them up, this is what comes out," Dallin said.

The idea, which was Dallin's brainchild as he spoke with Jacobsen on the phone early one morning, is providing the group with a fun weekend. But the road trip also has another purpose.

"The point is to promote the state parks from a citizen's view," Jacobsen said. "They don't have to leave the state to see something beautiful."

So, in their own way, this group is offering a challenge to fellow Utahns.

"If we can visit all 43 in one weekend, then you can see one this summer," said Riddle, president and CEO of Davis Area Convention & Visitor's Bureau.

The trip is funded privately and through donations. The biggest donation is the RV, provided by All Access Recreation Club and outfitted with a GPS tracker. During and after the trip, the road trippers will blog and share video and photos through updates at www.utahstateparksroadtrip.com.

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