Among mathletes, there’s a fun little contest that involves finding the shortest route that connects each U.S National Park. One of the latest examples can get roadtrippers through the whole shebang in two months.
Cees and Madison Hofman don’t seem to be in any hurry.
They’re a newlywed couple who, with a sidekick named Vladimir Kitten and a Toyota motor home they named Our Vie (get it?), are on a mission to visit every national park in the U.S. They cover every stop on their blog, Our Vie Adventures, as well as everything from how to leash train a cat to how to remodel a camper.
Long hikes filled with Instagram photo shoots and a phone that is constantly searching for a Wi-Fi signal in the middle of nowhere can take a toll on a phone battery. So we checked in to talk social media, travel tips, and staying charged.
Number of unread emails/texts:
Cees: 12 unread emails, three unread texts. It’s not usually like this, but I literally just cleared a bunch of texts after getting bombed by a group message.
Madison: 1,200 unread emails (yikes), 0 unread texts
Your most-liked Instagram photo:
Cees: I joke with Madison that the most-liked photo on our account is my “birthday shout out” picture. It pulled in like 4,000 likes, baby!
Madison: Cees and I share an IG account. The close second is one of Vladimir Kitten. Everyone loves him. He’s a celebricat.
Cees: Normal! Madison is THAT GOOD at editing our photos before they hit The Gram.
Madison: I process our photos on Lightroom, but if I need to post a photo in a pinch I love using VSCO filters especially A6 just in my iPhone.
Place you really wish you had Wi-Fi/cell service:
Cees: Ugh, this is a major dilemma. I wish that there was service in every National Park in the U.S. Mainly because that would make my life, and our job, a LOT easier. But, at the same time, I am glad that most of them serve as a sanctuary from our notification-driven universe. It’s nice to put the work aside and enjoy nature.
Madison: I love that we hardly ever have Wi-Fi or cell service in the national parks because it’s nice to just have some peace, but I love sending pictures to my family of places we are immediately … so service and phone battery are key.
App you’d recommend to other travelers:
Cees: Bivy. It is the COOLEST app to find adventures in your area. You can search by location for places to mountain bike, hike, climb, snowshoe, and paddle. And all the information you need is right there in the same place! It is a game-changer.
Madison: We heavily rely on the app AllStays to help us find places to sleep at night, whether it’s awesome public land managed by the BLM or a Wal-Mart parking lot. Since we are constantly on the move and our schedule is unreliable, we can’t really plan in advance.
Most-surprising app you depend on:
Cees: Ha! This is slightly embarrassing. The app is called Sanidumps. It is an app for finding dump stations for RVs. When the RV has got to go, you know?
Madison: My boring answer would be the app Wunderlist where I make intense to-do lists. My secret useful app is Plants vs. Zombies 2, which is how I pass the time while we drive for eternity; also, Spotify, because we can make road trip playlists and listen to them offline while we drive in the middle of nowhere.
Places listed in weather app:
Cees: Oh man, there are a lot:
Nizhniy Novgorod (a town in Russia I used to live in); Tver (another Russian city); Star, Idaho (my hometown); Provo, Utah (Where I went to school); Island Park, Idaho (My grandmother has a cabin here); Oakland, California (Madison’s family lives near Oakland); New York (I don’t know why I care about the weather in NY …); Big Bend National Park (This is where I am currently).
Madison: My places listed in the weather app are currently: Laie, Hawaii; Moscow, Russia; Lafayette, California; Rexburg, Idaho; Boise, Idaho; Provo, Utah; Bozeman, Montana; Chicago, Illinois; Denver, Colorado; Austin, Texas ….
I like to know the temperatures of all the places my family and friends live. I want to know if their lives suck or if my life sucks weather-wise. I also have a couple of potential future cities we may want to move to, so I know if they are livable or not year round.
Craziest place you ever lost power to your phone:
Cees: I feel like I am always losing power at the worst times. The craziest place? I would say after I stood in line for Stephen Colbert and right when I needed to show my ticket (which was on my phone) my screen went black. Worst timing ever! Luckily I was able to charge it up with my Ventev power bank and prove that I had tickets!
Madison: In Hawaii, I was trying to drive a moped from Honolulu back to the north shore. It was super late at night, raining cats and dogs, and these gale force winds were trying to blow me off the side of the road into the ocean. I didn’t know how to get home and mopeds that only go 35 mph are not exactly meant for the main freeways, but my phone died and I couldn’t look up the navigation to take the back roads, so I drove on the freeway. It was horrible. I really needed my phone that night.