Tom’s Dashboard. An RV with no Name!
Thirty-five days on the road in an RV with no name. Marla, Twinks, Hillary and me, plus all the stuff we could squeeze into the 34 foot Canyon Star (2 guitars, 1 keyboard, 2 computers, cameras, golf clubs bread maker… There was even room for ice cream.). Hard to believe thirty-five days have passed. Some call it camping. More appropriately, as Amanda describes it, we were glamping. Rouging it is when we have only a 30 amp hook up. (We need 50 amp for everything to work on the RV.)
The trip was in part a attempted re-creation of a 2 week trip we took in 1992. How things have changed in 25 years! “You cannot step in the same river twice,” and you cannot visit the same desert in the Southwest twice.
No LSD here!
We experienced a lot of the Southwest. Wonderful natural beauty that is hard to describe, and difficult to imagine. Who or what created all of this; Painted desert, Petrified Forest, El Morro, Glenn Canyon, Antelope Slot Canyons, Sand Hollow, Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef and Arches National Parks, the Colorado River and the Rockies? The natural beauty is a complement to the stories of the people who have lived on these lands, the Native Americans (Anasazi, Zuni, Pueblo, Navajo….), the Spanish/Mexicans, American explorers and conquerors, the Mormons.
Native Americans are Still Trying to find their Lives!
We had numerous experiences with the Native American history. There are sites across the southwest that flourished until roughly the 1300s, and then most were abandoned. The reasons are not known, and the purpose of the various discovered buildings in the Pueblos in unclear. Historians/Archeologists seem to describe every other building as having some religious or ceremonial purpose. The fate of the Native Americans is not a pretty one. They were conquered by the Spanish/Mexicans and then the Americans. The Americans stole their land and sequestered them on reservations, only to take that land too if oil was discovered. The current status does not seem good. There is some tourism, but little ability to provide customer-focused services that make visitors feel welcome. Casinos provide income, but we saw few examples of other industries.
Our National Parks are International
As Marla pointed out, the natural beauty attracts many people, and lots of international guests come and explore our country in rented RVs and in large bus group tours. I think they are attracted by both the natural wonders and the American culture. We have wide-open spaces that they love!
To Squat or not to Squat
We were surprised by the number of Asians. In 1992, we ran into mostly Europeans on this journey. Today, we were surrounded by mostly Chinese. Think of it this way. If with the growth of the Chinese economy, 1% of their population can afford to travel, that is 14 million people who can visit our National Parks. If you have been to China the picture below will show one of the cultural challenges. (Note by Marla. Even in fancy restaurants in downtown Tokyo you will find restrooms with squat toilets. And most of the toilets throughout Asia are squat.)
Over-Dressed for the Occasion
People watching is always a fun part of traveling. In the national parks you run into all kinds. Typically we see a lot of city folk, dressed up with hiking boots, hiking sticks, and rugged clothing from L.L. Bean only to walk on level paved paths. We also see the other extreme; people hiking the same trail in their ruby red slippers or high heels.
It was both a challenge and refreshing trip, and we are very thankful that we continue to have the opportunity to travel and explore this great world we live in. And I am thankful to have such a wonderful companion to continue this journey with. (Me too, Marla)
As always copyrighted by Thomas C. Hemling and Marla J. Selvidge