|Flowers on Church Door, Lovely Ouray, Colorado... home (base) sweet home (base).
Beggars Can Be Choosers
So the question begs an answer, can (or should) the RV version of the Community Wheel be re-invented al la MCI? Can we remodel the model, sufficient enough to affect a sustainable mobile society? Or, will our fresh coat of "paint" simply mask and postpone the inevitable wood rot of attrition, you know, once masks come off, guards let down and fronts are off-put? Enter "The Villain" (insert organ music here), Human Nature.
As Modern RV Man ripens (me included), he tends to get a little set in his ways and expectations. It's easy to get caught up in a twenty first century evolutionary avalanche of "My Space--Me First--Mine/Yours--Fences and one-size-does-NOT-fit-all... just like his non-RV counterparts. I fear we are socially de-evoling... that we have become accustomed to our personal "Cocoons," that we now prefer Socialization "al la carte." Why do the HOV lanes run practically empty during rush hours? We don't like to carpool... Hell, we might lose control of the radio station... have to leave ten minutes earlier... and, oh God, let someone of lesser ability drive.
The dimensions and dynamics (variables) of an MCI are as multifarious as the number of participants. Like it or not, MCI is an alternative lifestyle nowadays, and it runs against the grain of our Social de-evolution. "Communal living" is almost anti-American in today's pre-packaged world... it flies in the face of all the social, economic and environmental advantages it brings to the table.
I remember Elder Street in Springfield, Ohio; it's where my grandparents lived. Houses had large covered porches with rocking chairs, two person swings on creaky chains and old sofas. That's where we hung out. Neighbors would make the rounds, sit and chat while watching kids play stick ball in the street. Everyone knew everyone on good ole' Elder Street. How many people can say that today? Even as families we disappear into our "cocoons," then further divide into bedrooms, tv dens and Man Caves. Isolation, baby... let me text you from the next room.
Baggage Check... "Any bombs we should know about?"
I remember when a final straw broke the camel's back of my unfulfilling "career." I was a naive 49 year old when I traded my well used "treadmill" for RV wheels and embarked on a Blue Highway quest for eternal happiness. I truly believed I would suddenly un-become the person I had gradually become after 23 years in a "yes sir," clock-watching workplace. All I needed was a little freedom to undo chains that bound me. I hit the road full-time... to hell with a nice big house, toys, and new vehicles, right? You've been there.
Well guess what; "Where ever you go, there you are." My "baggage" caught up with me somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, about halfway through a coast-to-coast, border-to-border journey of a lifetime. They took about a year to find me, but eventually... when "I'm on vacation forever!" eroded into "Is this all there is?" my "baggage" showed up. You can run away from your boss, but you can't run away from yourself. That's a story for another time. The sociological point I'm trying to make is that, even (especially?) free and easy RV'ers don't always check their "baggage" at the door of the house they just sold. People's "baggage" eventually shows up... and so, too, the dirty laundry inside. How will MCI handle "situations." There will be Cliques, for they are universal and tend to form naturally. But always at the expense of exclusion.
People are People
MCI needs to emulate the sticks and bricks neighborhoods of old, only now we'll be seated around a campfire instead of on front porches. There will be a cost... maybe a little privacy lost, or spending some time getting to know someone we prejudged to not be close friend material. We need to seek out the "value" in everyone in order to find the value in ourselves. We need to step off our esteemed self image pedestals long enough to dig around... deep enough to find the good in others. That said, not everyone will be a "fit." There also needs to be a friendly "mechanism" to either excommunicate, or rehabilitate, trouble makers, gossipers and those who seek the spotlight 24/7.
View Snobs and The Geo Challenge
Just like we have "people" preferences, most RV'ers have geographical preferences, too. I peed on the "Ocean" in my previous post... got my hand whacked with a ruler. Touche'. (Note to self: Don't pee on someone else's dreamscape). The Geo Challenge would be my biggest stumbling block for an RV group. Hello, my name is Mark Johnson and I am a recovering "View Snob."
It's true... I am a boondocker/camper for reasons other than just frugality. My camper is small and light so I can "go farther," as the commercial says... camp on the edge of glory in the land of back-a-beyond... where others fear to tread (pardon the pun). It is my understanding that Boonie has been anointed "Pathfinder" status for this budding RV group of vagabonds and that concerns me a little. It's a bit like letting someone else "drive" when they like to hug the center line more than you do.
You see, Boonie is not all that in love with Mother Nature's "shock and awe" like I am. He can take or leave eye candy, where as I like to be in the middle of it. I even like National Parks (sorry Boonie), at least in their off seasons. I know they are crowded and they don't allow dogs on trails and it can be an un-solitary experience and there are rules, rules, rules, and Mr Rangers are eyeing you from every direction. But there is something powerful about Glacier in Autumn... when ole' Griz is on the prowl for food, something warm about Yellowstone's thermal blue pools, something cool about the Teton's... cloaked in October Gold, and something grand about the Grandest of all Canyons. You get the idea. I know Pathfinder has been at boondocking a long time and has many good winter spots... especially in Arizona. Still, I would be his worst nightmare lobbyist for eye candy.
Wrap It Up, Already
Judging from all the comments on the previous "Cocooned" post, I can tell there is no shortage of cynicism about forming a roving band of gypsy brothers and sisters. But I sensed some curiosity too... maybe even a "need" for such a thing. I realize MCI is not for everyone... at least the full-time version. I guess I feel like such a group would be at it's best as a come and go affiliation... "Oh you are going to be camped in Silverton, Colorado in July? Put me down for that, but I'll be skipping Moab in October... too crazy there."
I think there needs to be a small core group that does travel together most, if not all of the time. They would become the "glue" that holds the looser affiliation together. We would look in on their blogs to see where they are, what they are up to, and when and where the next stop is going to be. That allows us to choose Al la carte whether or not to join them. It could work.
On a large scale though, I have my doubts. There is often an inverse relationship between "good times" and "the more the merrier." On the "merrier" side, too many rigs could pose campsite selection problems (there goes back-a-beyond).
In the end, I would participate for the social rewards; we don't seem to fit the typical RV park prototype. Too much sitting... too little activity. Bobbie and I need to hike, bike and/or walk every day; RV park people look at us like we are crazy.
I think MCI could be a beautiful thing... play an important role in filling some social holes out on the lonesome highways... especially for singles. I like the idea of making new friends that are "outdoorsy." I like the idea of seasonal migration... roaming where the weather fits my clothes... of reuniting multiple times per year in special places... sharing a campfire, nature walks, eye candy...
Maybe this group could hold an All-Comers rally once per year... near some eye candy, of course. That in itself may be enough to encourage annual participation by fringe member RV'ers. When the rally is over and done the core group scoots on down the road, to the next stop... not in mass, necessarily... but at their own easy pace and via the route of their choice. It's important for the core group to remain loose and free if it is to sustain.
So now, imagine meeting up in Colorado's cool high country for a couple weeks during July's wildflower season... spread out in a large meadow with three bars of Verizon beaming from the iPhone. That smells pretty sweet to me, and I know of several places that fits the bill.
Please, feel free to comment further and tweak this thread. Boonie and Randy... please add your two cents... I only speak for myself.
If such a group interests you, even on a part time come and go basis, please indicate so with a comment (Anon, if need be).
Eventually there will be contact info for those who want to be on a "list."
And thanks for your participation.
Box Canyon Mark.