Exploring America’s National Parks

Before I continue with the next post on our trip through Utah, I have to announce something I’m pretty excited about. My next book will be coming out soon—and it’s a topic that is particularly special to me: exploring America’s National Parks.

This book is the culmination of 14 years of working with Bert Gildart, who has been contributing to Airstream Life magazine continuously since 2004. Bert is known for his romantic and inspirational articles about national parks and other American destinations, and for his incredible photography (especially wildlife photography). He also happens to be the only person to contribute to every issue since the magazine began in 2004, other than me.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know that my family has visited a lot of national parks over the years. Last time I counted we’d been to over 140 of them, so I’ve got a lot of advice to share. Visiting the parks has been an obsession that started even before we had an Airstream, and over 20 years later we’re still actively seeking out more every time we get in the Airstream. (Flaming Gorge Nat’l Rec Area, in recent posts, is an example.)

National_Parks_book_front_cover For a long time Bert and I have talked about writing a book together, but it was only a couple of years ago that we got serious about it. We decided to write from two perspectives: Bert’s warm & fuzzy style of travel essays about a few selected national parks, and my practical style of “here’s how you do it.” Because we are very different writers, we hoped the contrast would give you a better understanding than any single writer could.

The book is called EXPLORE: Enjoying America’s National Parks From Your RV.  We used the term “RV” instead of Airstream because the book can be useful to any RV traveler, but just between you and me, you’ll find photos of Airstreams almost exclusively on the pages.

This is book I’ve wanted to write for many years. I used to do a slide show about visiting America’s National Parks at rallies, and every time I did it the room was always packed full, and people asked lots of good questions. It seems that lots of Airstreamers have figured out that the best of America is tucked away in the national park system—and they want to share in the joy of exploring it.

The book is in layout right now, so I don’t have a final page count but I think it will run about 150-180 pages. [UPDATE: final page count is 184 pages!] We’re going nuts with photos, so it’s extensively illustrated. I’ve put some thumbnails of the first few pages below, just to give you the idea.

Like my other books, I’m going to offer Airstreamers an advance purchase deal.  The book will be shipping in late December 2018 for $29.95,  but if you reserve a copy before December 15 you’ll save $11.95 per copy.  Click here for more info on that.

Like I said, I’m super excited about this. I hope a lot of you will benefit from this book and get going on your own national park adventures. They’re the greatest bargain in America and, in my opinion, the ultimate “bucket list”.

EXPLORE: Enjoying America’s National Parks With Your RV, by Bert Gildart and Rich Luhr, 184 pages, softcover, 10 3/4″ x 10 3/4″ Collectors book format. Available in the Airstream Life Store and Amazon.com in December 2018.


  1. RichLuhr says

    I just had to add that I’m extremely gratified by the response from all of you! Since I posted this blog last night we’ve received dozens of pre-orders..

    Publishing books like this wouldn’t be possible without the support of people who pre-order. Thank you! I hope you really enjoy the book, and that it helps you plan some great adventures.
    — Rich

    PS: If you bring your copy to Alumapalooza next May, or meet me on the road, I’d be happy to sign it for you.

  2. David B Johnson says

    Great news, sign me up. I’m not a big fan of visiting National Parks due to the crowds, even in the off seasons. Maybe I can learn from the experts on a better way to visit. I admit our beagle is just not welcomed in National Parks, and I get that. She is very cute though.

    We have enjoyed Airstream Life since we got our Airstream trailer in 05. It is a great inspiration to our traveling ways. I met Fred Coldwell last summer, and Tom Palesch is a good friend in Minnesota. Good Airstreamers who contribute, or have contributed to Airstream Life.


    • RichLuhr says

      Good point about the crowding. I addressed that in the book, because I don’t like crowds either. There are over 400 parks and only about 9% of them have crowding problems—and even those aren’t bad if you plan to visit during the off-season or away from holidays.

      You’ll rarely find crowds at places like Chiricahua, Sunset Crater, Organ Pipe Cactus, Saguaro, Tumacacori, — and those are just a few examples in Arizona! Skip the Grand Canyon and hit one of those parks next time you’re in Arizona. There are wonderful and uncrowded parks in nearly every state.

      Labor Day and Memorial Day weekends are always busy in the national parks, so at those times we usually boondock or courtesy-park until everyone else has gone back to work. 😉