Sunday, January 09, 2011

Monument to October


When I learned, sometime in November, that I wouldn't be able to keep traveling, I was pretty much crushed. I'm not going to talk about it... there's nothing I could say that would do any justice to how I felt. But when I look back on what feels like the two lifetimes I already spent, in September and October, I realize that all the good memories are from October. I did many things in September, and it was all interesting, but they were just things I did. I camped by a field of sunflowers in Wyoming, I rounded a hill to find a herd of buffalo in the North Dakota wilderness, but these memories have no emotional component, no fondness attached to them. They simply happened. And yet everything from October is charged with fondness, down to the mundane minutes of doing laundry in the windowless little laundry room of an Idaho hotel.

I didn't completely appreciate how much my love for the land is really a love for my friends. All the places I love best are places I visited with good people. And it's not so much that doing laundry with Katie is enjoyable because we're such good friends, as that--and this is a fine distinction--she has become such a good friend because even doing laundry with her is enjoyable. And as I can't do that subject justice either, I'm going to stop talking about it, and present instead this monument I have to October.

Our first day on the road, I asked Katie to write down the name of every RV we saw. I can't remember why I wanted her to do this. I suppose I thought it would make an interesting anthropological study, or maybe I just wanted to give her something to do. I didn't know at that time whether the task I'd set would become annoying, or whether we might run out of names on the second day. What in fact happened is that it never got boring. We always had something to interest us on the road, and never found an end to the new names.


I have in front of me three notebook pages of RV brand and model names. So much a part of our daily life was writing these down that even after Katie left me, I could not stop looking at every RV I passed on the road, with that little flicker of excitement that it'd be something new. Something hilarious. I present now our list of RV names as a poem, because it might as well be. It is illustrated by a few photos I haven't yet shared. It is simultaneously boring and hysterical. When you read it, I invite you to imagine what these monsters look like. I invite you to imagine what their designers were thinking. I also invite you to imagine what kind of sick people Katie and I must be to be so fascinated by this for a whole month. This poem is about America and it is about us.

I also invite you to take a liking to the name that tickles you most, and leave a comment telling me which it is.

Poem of RV names of America

Superchief
Flagstaff
Intruder
Alpenlite
Allegro
Excel
Phaeton
Hichhiker
Jamboree
Cougar
Lance
Komfort
Ameri-lite
Puma
View
Real-lite
Condor
Escapade
Tiger
Wildcat
Bigfoot
Outback
Okanagan
Sports Master
Montana
Cruiser
Topaz
Allegro Bay
Sundance
Admiral
Arctic Fox


The Narrows, Zion National Park

Open Range
Layton
Raptor
Fun Finder
Salem
Shadow Cruiser
Bounder
BigHorn
Quantum
Dutch Star
Cameo
Razor Adventurer
Flair
Kountry Star
Prevost
Carriage Cameo
River Canyon
Mako
Aerolite
Chateau Sport
Durango
Mallard
Wilderness Yukon
Calay
Trav-L-Mate
Frontier
Alliance
Rockwood Signature
Lite Craft
Kodiak
King of the Road
Sandpiper
Southwind
Escaper
Road Ranger
El Dorado
Outlook
Pursuit
Chalet
Suncruiser

First snow, Katie's hair

Rialta
Lazy Daze
Eagle Cap
Pleasure Way
Chinook
Lexington
Sonoma
Shamrock
Trailblazer
Zinger
Alfa Gold
Rockwood
Inferno
Seneca
Spirit
Alumascape
Palomino
North Star
Challenger
Wolf Pack
Cub
Montara
Skamper
Super Condo
Hurricane
Ranier
Walkabout
Odyssey
Chaparral
Ambassador
Sightseer
Cherokee
Prairie Schooner
Holiday Rambler
Ideal
Potomac
Laredo
Arista
Santara
Caribou
Surveyor
All American
Sunrise
Independence
Passport
Prowler
MB Cruiser
Hi-Lo
Free Spirit
Springer
Tango
J Flight
Outfitter
Journey
Freelander
Safari Condo
Travel Supreme
Fuzion
See Ya'

Lake in the Sawtooths, Idaho

Aspect
Flite
Sunseeker
Alaskan
Cruise Master
Starcraft
Hornet
Taurus
Attitude
Titan
Fiesta
Georgetown
Jazz
Titanium
Sun Dog
Eagle
Brookside
Americana
Ameriscape
Fourwinds Breeze
Crossover
Vortex
Meridian
Brave
Companion
Commander
Sunset Creek
Searcher
Leprechaun
Voyager
Elkridge
Pace Arrow
Snow Villa
Everest
Ultrasport
Lakota
Fun Runner
Royalite
Shockwave
Grey Hawk

Hoodoos, Bryce Canyon

Access
Experience
Esprie
Fireball
Designer
Spree
Grey Wolf
Streamline
Executive
Lexington
Nomad
Snowbird
Carri-Lite
Resort
Casita
Bristol Bay
Escalade
Centurion
Monaco
Diplomat
Overland
North Shore
Northern Lite
Crusader
Open Road
Hideout
Baja
Autumn Ridge
Infinity
Knight
Dynasty
Antique
Desert Fox
Six-Pac
Jet
Ultra Super C
Stellar
Squire
Heritage
Thumper

Me, Great Salt Lake

The end. Of the poem, and of my reminiscences of the trip. There are new adventures to write about as well as a change coming to the blog, but that will all have to wait until later this week.

1 comment:

Mom said...

Okanagan because it instantly brought to mind the beautiful Okanagan Valley in British Columbia.

For twelve weeks in the summer of 1971, my dear friend Roberta and I traveled and camped around the U.S. and Canadian west.

On our way from a week of fun at the Klondike Days in Edmondton, Alberta to our next destination of Victoria, Vancouver Island, B.C., our route took us through the Okanagan Valley.

Great to read your new post. Can't wait for more.

Love,

Mom