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Dear Bob and Sue
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Dear Bob and Sue

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  2,467 ratings  ·  411 reviews
This complete version of Dear Bob and Sue chronicles the journey of Matt and Karen Smith, who took a mid-career break to travel to all 58 U.S. National Parks. Written as a series of emails to their friends, Bob and Sue, they describe their sense of awe in exploring our national parks, and share humorous and quirky observations. The national parks are among the most stunnin ...more
Kindle Edition, 314 pages
Published November 1st 2012
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Mary No, but you can go to their website and see some of the pictures they took.
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3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,467 ratings  ·  411 reviews

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Karen Hedrick
I did not really care for this book as I found I could not relate to the authors. It seemed to me they were rushing through the national parks just to say they had been there. They admit they hurry through the trails and do not stop to enjoy them-because she does not want to use an outhouse and they want to get back to drink beer.I was hoping the book was written by people who really appreciated these national treasures, but that does not seem to be the case.
Aug 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
I don't believe I have ever found a book so irritating. The premise is great: two empty-nesters seize the initiative, quit their jobs, and spend a year visiting all the National Parks. My question would be "why?" They raced through most of them, in some cases doing no research (visiting Cuyahoga Valley with intent to ride the scenic railroad through the valley--why not get on the website and find out what days the train runs? ). On at least one visit to a popular park, they made no reservations ...more
Sharon Kennedy
Jul 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour, non-fiction
I loved this book! I loved the idea first of all that a couple would give up their jobs for a couple of years to visit all 58 of the National Parks that were designated "National" Parks - a fine distinction!, and then even more that they would write about it in the form of emails to the friends who inspired them to do this.

I got a real sense of the people - Karen's squirrel encounters, Matt's "OC without the D" and his plan to buy Sue a knife with Tammy on it (because the centre had run out of t
Jun 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book -- it seemed like such a clever idea (a series of e-mails to two particular friends, from a husband and wife as they were visiting the national parks) and that had perked my interest. But, aside from some descriptions of animal sightings, I had a very hard time getting into it and will admit that I didn't finish the book. Truthfully, what was the most off-putting for me was the relationship between the husband and wife authors. There were so many snide comments ...more
Jennifer Meiring
Apr 05, 2018 rated it liked it
I am a huge fan of the National Parks and was very excited to read this book. Unfortunately, the authors' negativity made it hard to enjoy the book. When they actually talked about the parks and the wildlife (with the exception of the "buffalo"), I really enjoyed it, and I've actually added Lassen Volcanic NP to a trip I had already planned for this summer because of their reviews. But the majority of the book was spent complaining -- usually about the "misbehaving" children and park visitors, o ...more
Mar 01, 2017 rated it liked it
This is the story of Matt and Karen's Smith's adventures through the Fifty-Eight U.S National Parks. It's not a travel guide. It's more of a 'let's go there just to say we've been, hike around a bit and then move on' sort of journey. Their trip is recounted through e-mails to their friends back home.

Parts of it are funny, parts of it are irritating. The mix-ups, their opinions of fellow travelers (why do people who take the time to visit a gorgeous natural setting spend their time talking about
Jun 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book! It was fun touring the parks with Matt and Karen. I feel like I was there with them snowmobiling through the cold, hiking up the trails in the heat, eating PB and J sandwiches and pizza and having to listen to some of those rangers! Fun read!
Feb 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
My husband asked me not to read this book in bed because I could not stifle my laughter and my laughing disturbed him more than once. Karen and Matt Smith quit their jobs and travelled to see all fifty eight National Parks in the United States, they wrote this book as if they were writing emails to their dear friends Bob and Sue, describing their trip...what they saw, what hike they did, where they stayed and what they ate. They have a disclaimer at the beginning of the book saying this is not a ...more
Lee Ann
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
We were listening to this on Audible. It sounded like a book that was made for me, as I also get goosebumps when I see the brown national park signs and blog about our travels to the parks and elsewhere. I think they are on park number 5 of 59, and I have given up. One, Matt is condescending and patronizing towards his wife and I started to wonder why they got married in the first place. Two, for all his pride about being an obsessive-compulsive planner, he makes key mistakes like not checking t ...more
Gail Owen
I love the idea behind the book. The final product in print, not so much. I often felt that I knew learned more about the hotels than I did the actual parks.
My suggestion to the authors would have been to forgo all the flying back and forth and just rent an fully equipped RV. Such a small change would have allowed you to spend more time enjoying the park and less time dealing with accommodations that you were not enjoying.
Not everyone is going to enjoy every park. I get that! However, if I wer
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it
I got this book for free, or nearly so on my Kindle. Since I love to travel, and particularly to national parks, I thought this would be of great interest to me. It turned out to be mildly interesting, not exactly what I hoped it might be, but a decent enough read to finish it. It's about a couple in their early 50's who quit their jobs with the intent on visiting every single National Park in the US. This book was written in "letter" format - as if they were emailing friends back home. The auth ...more
Chris Witkowski
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyable account of Karen and Matt Smith's quest to visit all 58 (59 now) National Parks, told through a series of emails to their good friends, Bob and Sue. Their children were grown, they both had jobs they could leave for long periods of time and they had adequate financial resources to enable them to travel extensively.

Some of the book is a travelogue, but mostly it is a delightful, often quite humorous, take on the joys and pitfalls of travel. Having just returned from a two we
David Thompson
Jul 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Coincidentally, I read “Dear Bob and Sue” while travelling northern Europe and began to change my approach on travel based on what I was experiencing and the narrative Matt and Karen were describing.

They lay it out pretty clearly in their disclaimer: “If you’re looking for a guide to the National Parks, this isn’t one. If you like long eloquent descriptions of mountains and rivers and rainbows, you won’t find them in this book. If you want to read about a couple accomplishing an incredible feat
Jun 27, 2018 rated it did not like it
Dear Bob and Sue by Matt and Karen Smith

I read up to the 76% mark of this book on my tablet, before I finally gave in to my gut feeling by the first 10% and called it quits. I know that there is a warning in the author's preface to not expect a travel guide, recommendations, or descriptions of the natural beauty surrounding them in the National Parks, and that should have been all the warning I needed, so the blame is on myself for trying to be fair and "read it out." Seriously , each visit is m
Jan 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
I’m calling it quits on this book after 30 pages. I love memoirs, but this just feels like what it is, a series of long emails about one couple’s travels to 58 different parks. It’s too disjointed for me, without an overarching theme or narrative. I'm wondering if the fact that it was self-published and may not have had a professional editor contributes to this. It’s for a book club which is why I have given it a couple tries (and it would have worked for one of my Book Riot Read Harder 2018 tas ...more
Jun 25, 2018 rated it did not like it
I haven’t even finished this book but I figured I would review it now in case I never do. What a cool concept for a book - and for ones life! What a great adventure to set out to visit every single National Park, I thought it would be such an amazing story. But nope. It read like a very dry tour book for the most part and maybe I’m just a tough sell but it wasn’t” laugh out loud funny” as the book description promised. I read about 60% of the book waiting for it to get better. To be perfectly ho ...more
Lisa La Rue
Jun 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
Really disliked this book. These are the only people who could make Rocky Mountain National Park sound boring AF. Actually they made the whole “visit all of the national parks” thing seem like a chore. Other tourists are there for them to make fun of. The format of the book is one directional emails and it the rhythm is “ this happened, then that happened then we went to the next park.” This book was dull at best and unpleasant at worst. Skip it and read either a real guide book or a real novel.
Tammy Adams
Jun 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
After reading over 200 pages I couldn't take it anymore. Every park seemed like a repeat - nature! hike! take pictures! wildlife! complaints about service and accommodations! eat food! complain about fellow travelers! be a grumpy old dude!

I've been to many of these parks and thought I'd enjoy this but no such luck. It was so repetitious that it became extremely boring. Too many good books out there to waste any more time on this one.
May 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
I hate this book. I dislike the writer and his wife immensely, especially his wife. They are arrogant, think they are awesome hikers, though she won't "pee" along the trail and "is jealous of her husband because he can", and they think they know as much as the rangers. And they never do. They pay scant attention to their actual surroundings. I believe they are just doing it prove something.
I hope I never meet them! I would have so much to say!
Nov 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book for those who like to travel and/or hike, especially to National Parks. They give a lot of good advice, such as when to go, times of day to avoid, plus lots of tips on restaurants and lodging. It is a good, funny read. I really enjoyed this one! Makes me want to go to more National Parks.
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
2.5 ⭐
I loved the idea. An epistolary telling of visiting all the national parks. But I wasn’t a fan of the authors. They both try very hard to be funny, sometimes pulling it off, for me, sometimes not. He is very deprecating and offers more complaints of fellow travelers and tour guides than anything else. I also would have appreciated more focus on the parks and less on their nightly drinks.
Karen Faber
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Now I want to be friends with the authors and I want to go to all the national parks.
Jun 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
would love to take a trip like this one day. It gave alot of detail about the parks and what to do. Really enjoyed this book
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable and sometimes humorous account of a couple who quit their jobs and visit all of the US national parks.
Jan 03, 2019 rated it liked it
⭐⭐⭐ 1/2 I was excited to read this as Frank and I enjoy hiking, nature, and our national parks. I think that in an effort to get to all 58 NP, Karen and Matt rushed through a bit. I also felt they were both a little pretentious and maybe just not of the same rustic style that Frank and I are accustomed to. They spent $517 for one night in the lodge for Yosemite. I’m like, nope! Give me a tent and a week and I’ll be fine. I did like hearing about the parks and it sparked my interest in planning f ...more
Jun 30, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm really of two minds about this one. First, I have to say that I am a HUGE national park enthusiast. I love these treasures. I think that I have for a long time, but what really fueled the fire was the Ken Burn's special on the history of the National Parks. To see the pristine beauty that our country has preserved for all its citizens - and what a truly radical idea this was in its time - well, it simply fired my imagination and desire to see so many of these places. I'm not sure if I'll get ...more
Kelly Anderson
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018-books
My husband and I listened to the audiobook of "Dear Bob and Sue" on a current road trip we're taking. We both love National Parks, and were interested to hear what Matt and Karen thought about some of our favorites. What this book should actually be called is, "Matt and Karen's Search for Beer." They spent more time complaining about each other than spend time in the parks, and made us roll our eyes more times than we could count. Not a huge fan, and probably wouldn't have finished it if it wasn ...more
Barb Fay
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Curiosity prompted me to buy this book because my husband and I have a little project to visit all 88+ Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites during the 100th anniversary year. I wanted to see how Matt and Karen recorded their visits to all National Parks to get an idea of how I might record our own visits. I thought I would read a few entries about some of the parks, but ended up reading every single one, from beginning to end. What a delightful read! We are not hikers like Matt and Karen, but ...more
Sep 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
A middle-aged couple fortunate enough to be able to quit their jobs and spend the next two years visiting all 59 national parks. They tell their story in a series of emails to their friends, Bob and Sue. This made it easy to find a stopping place in the book. I enjoyed reading about their adventures, especially seeing bears up close and personal in Alaska. Matt calls himself OC without the D but I think he really has OCD. He complains constantly in the book of small children, people on cell phon ...more
Trevor Lipply
Really enjoyed reading about all the National Parks from their point of view. I learned a lot about how parks that I had never really given much thought. However, they seemed to find something to complain about in nearly every park. Sometimes they did not follow the rules, like touching something they weren't supposed to or feeding wildlife which I didn't really like. They liked to hike fast just so they could pass the person in front of them, and they made fun of other visitors constantly. I wo ...more
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“One Man’s Wilderness. The book’s success made Dick famous among wilderness enthusiasts.” 0 likes
“plane. Bill was putting gas in the left wing when he looked over at us and said, "You okay with a little turbulence?" Without hesitating I answered, "Yeah, no problem." I thought about it for a minute then asked, "How much turbulence are we talking about?" "It shouldn't be too bad." Then why did you mention it? I thought to myself. Now I was the one worried. I dug through my backpack and found my tube of ten-year-old Dramamine. Karen had a full water bottle so I swallowed a pill with a couple of long gulps. Bill asked which one of us wanted to sit up front with him. I looked at Karen and she said, "God no!" Karen climbed in the single back seat and Bill placed our backpacks next to her. Karen kept the plywood Kobuk sign at her feet. With the co-pilot seat pushed back into Karen's knees, I wriggled my way across the pilot's seat and settled in the front right seat of the plane. It was hard getting in without bumping against the controls and switches on the dashboard. I could imagine the windshield wipers flapping and the radio blaring like a high school practical joke when Bill started the engine. Or worse, that in flight he wouldn't find that one critical setting that I'd changed until it was too late and the plane was plunging to the ground. I decided to not say anything and assume he would check them before the flight like pilots are supposed to do. Besides, I'm sure he's had more clumsy passengers with bigger butts than me shoehorn themselves into the co-pilot's seat before. Bill taxied the plane slowly to one end of the pond giving us room to takeoff and allowing the engine to warm up. When Bill turned the plane toward the direction of our takeoff and gunned the engine, I was surprised at how close we were to the trees on the approaching shore. But my concern was unnecessary; by the time we reached the trees we were well above them. In an instant, we were high enough in the sky to” 0 likes
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