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Filed under: Nature & Wildlife, Preparation & Readiness, State & National Parks, Traveling Tips

On Vacation All Year Long

October 13, 2010 by · 2 Comments 


Those of us who are not yet full time RVers must console ourselves with spending most of the year planning and anticipating our time on the road. We find it helpful to do most of our planning during the winter months, then begin more extensive preparation as spring arrives and summer nears. This year we stumbled on a service offered by at least one of our national parks that makes it easier to feel like we are vacation all year long.

WildflowersAs we were planning our visit to Rocky Mountain National Park this summer, I became aware of an offer from Rocky staff to send text messages to update us on the status of the park. I simply had to punch “40404″ on my cell phone to sign up. While some of the messages concern traffic delays and road construction in the park for persons who will imminently be driving those roads, many concern topics that are far more aesthetically pleasing.

Of course, as soon as I became aware of the service, in anticipation of our visit, I signed up immediately. One of the first texts I received from Rocky was “We are experiencing a riot of color at all elevations as the wild flowers are in bloom throughout the park.” It made me feel like I was already there!

The road advisories and traffic delays were very helpful while we were staying in the park but I found that the texts that I most looked forward to concerned the flora, fauna and wildlife in the park. Once we returned home, I nearly discontinued the service, deeming it an unnecessary interruption in my life. Then, on my first day back to work, I received another text about the blooming wildflowers and I was sold.

Elk grazing in the mountains

Elk grazing in the mountains

Since then, some of my favorites have included:

“Elk rut in full swing! Bulls bugling to attract harems of cows. Ranger programs about elk 6 pm every evening.”

“East side fall colors good ~9000’. Still some gold in higher places. Estes is getting more gold & beautiful. West side is past its peak.”

“Beautiful day in the park! Sunny, HQ 53 deg., Grand Lake 59 deg., a few puffy clouds. Forecast for hi mtns for tomorrow tho has 70% chance of snow.”

“Alpine Visitor Center at 3 pm: 52 deg., partly cloudy, calm winds. A beautiful mountain day!”

Snow on the mountains

Snow on the mountains

My husband has even requested that I forward these texts to him so he can enjoy them as well. Being the snow lover he is, one of his recent favorites was “Old Fall River Road closed because of snow. Don’t know when it will reopen. Mountains dusted white this morning.” They will also often direct you to a webcam so you can view this beauty online. This text referred us to webcams at It truly can make you feel like you are on vacation year-round. Enjoy!

For more information on finding a national park in your area that may offer this service as well, check out Woodall’s search for a national park.


2 Responses to “On Vacation All Year Long”
  1. Patty says:

    If you text 40404 you will reach Twitter, please check that number again. I would love to get text updates from any National Park. Thanks.

  2. Diane Berry says:

    I’m very sorry Patty. It’s been several months since I signed up–I should have checked more closely. I have the correct directions now: you simply need to text “follow RMNP Official” to 40404 and you will receive Twitter updates on your phone. Hope that helps! Thanks for asking…Enjoy!

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