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Monday, July 16, 2012

Real Explorers Don't Stop At 7-11's, and Marks Top Eleven List

Man hath still either toys or care 
But hath no root, nor to one place is tied, 
 ever restless and irregular, about this earth doth run and ride. He knows he hath a home, but scarce knows where; 
He says it is so far, that he has quite forgot how to go there.
Henry Vaughn

I suspect a few readers of this twice-weekly rag identify with Mr. Vaughn's Bible-speak... the "Ever-restless" types, anyway. Thomas Huxley once lamented, "I am content with nothing, restless and ambitious... and I despise myself for the vanity, which formed half the stimulus to my exertions. Oh would that I were one of those plodding fools who... set their hand to the plough.Of course, there were no RV's when Vaughn and Huxley penned those poems... just covered wagons.

Owning an RV does not necessarily make one Explorer material anymore than taking a Caribbean cruise would. So how does one really know if they have the "genetic mutation," the predisposition to develop full-blown wanderlust? Well, here's my Top Ten list. You have the Wanderlust gene if...

  1. As a two year old you kept running away from home to see the block.  
  2. As a child you tried to put wheels on your Clubhouse.
  3. As a teen you quit your lawn mowing/baby sitting jobs as soon as you had a hundred bucks in the bank.
  4. As a High School student you tried to convince your parents that colleges on tropical islands would give you a more rounded education.
  5. As a college graduate with six figure indebtedness you turned down a corporate six figure starting salary in order to "give something back" before you had it to give... in Ecuador.
  6. As a thirty year old you still only had a hundred bucks in the bank.
  7. You tried to trade your first child for a plane ticket to Bora-Bora.
  8. You go to International Airports to shop and dine.
  9. You kept remortgaging your house to fund vacations.
  10. You joined the Army to see the Middle East
  11. You bought a top-of-the-line RV and retired at 49... with no pension plan whatsoever. 
You see, Nirvana-ville is a bit of a moving target for restless nomads. At first it glows bright... like a treasure chest full of golden coins and jewels. But all too soon, it grows tarnished by familiarity and routine. If this sounds familiar, you might want to be "tested" for STD's (Severe Travel Disorders); It might save endless soul-searching. 

In order to be a true Modern Day Wanderer one must reject societal anchors of convention, things like regular jobs, home ownership, spouses, children... family reunions in Toledo, Ohio (gawd almighty). To be successful vagabonds one must be a seeker of the RV Holy Grail, a nebulous concept, really, which lends both to its mystery and the unending search. The RV Holy Grail is the "button" you can't quite put your finger on... that "something" for which there is a loss for words to describe. You fumble around with a simple direct question like, "Why would you sell your beautiful big house and move into a little accordion box?" You hem and haw, then throw up your hands and say something like, "If I have to explain it to you, you wouldn't understand." 

The "drifters" of old knew when their "gold" was tarnished and that it was time to saddle up and move on down the road less traveled... kinda like how an alcoholic knows he's about to go on a bender. Me? I get a little short with people, like "Go away, leave me alone." I've perfected that look that says, "No Trespassing, Violators Will Be Shot Dead... Then Prosecuted." The problem with the search for the "Holy Grail" is that you must make sure not to find it, for that ends the "game."  You see, It's not whether you win or lose, it's that you Play; it's not the kill, it's the hunt. It's not the destination, it's the Journey... the wonderful, but often false, sense that, "I'm moving, therefore I progress." Alas; if "growth" was only that simple. The dirty little secret is that some of us are really just running away from something. Hmmm, sounds like I better start packing :))

Sometimes it dims the soul of this wanderer, our over-populated planet... that seemingly all things novel have been consumed, digested, and shat upon the ground. There are no real frontiers to brave anymore... no "virgins" to soil; just the poo of previous tourists, waiting to fill the recesses of my Vibram Soled boots. Don't believe me? Look at what's being done to Everest, for crying out loud. It's nothing but a giant porta potty on top of a landfill. I fear for our Nature... all the natural unspoiled places a motor and knobby tires can get one to.

I feel like I've been to Everest, though... several times, and I didn't think it all that cold nor hard to climb. You see, the "Far Reaches" now gets served up on HD flat-screens to the warmth and comfort of living rooms, be they "sticks and bricks" or slide-outs. Not only have "Mother's virgins" been soiled, they've been gang-raped by Expedition dot com pimps who pray on the not-quite-extinct hunter-gatherer instinct to slay a Wooly Mammoth, live in a cave, and subsist on pine bark and wild berries... with Reality TV documentary crew in tow, of course. 

We are but the puppy dog that sees his reflection in a wilderness lake as a wolf. In the absence of McDonalds and 7-11's, Nature and real exploration would eat us alive in less than a week, tops. Ah, pool boys and desk jockeys... donning spandex and Poly Pro tights to go out and play Explorer Man! The lengths we go to; such vain and comical attempts to scratch primordial itches. Lewis and Clark must roll with laughter in their graves. 

From the depths of oceans, to land, to the far reaches of space... one fine day National Geographic is going to run out of new material. I just got back from a trip to Mars, you know; it had red dirt, some ice, and a few craters left over from extinct volcanos. Now, on to Pluto (yawn). 

Here is Part II of our journey to Bullion King Lake and beyond. We were never more than one day's hike from fast food.

Like it? 
Then share it.

Hate it?
Then do nothing...

The Box Canyon Blog... 
"Always stepping in the poo of previous tourists"
Happy Monday!


  1. Thanks for the giggles. A fun post.

  2. You are welcome... Mondays need a few giggles.

  3. Well, that number 11 would be me, except I was 47 and my top of the line RV was a well-used Toyota pickup with a topper on the back and a mattress and four dogs and an old Coleman one-burner stove, which I still have.

    I think you hit the nail on the head and I still wonder why I do this, live this way. My broken back is hardly mended at all, and I'm ready to go camping in a tent, hit the road. I just can't help myself.

    Last time I hiked Bullion King was with my dad many years ago. Fond memories. Fantastic photos, as usual, Mark.

  4. Spotted Dog,
    I felt your procrastination and angst while reading your last post. It must be difficult, the "circles." The slow healing back does not help, I know... Been there, and still gimpy after 3 long years. Sometimes it feels like the things I need the most to survive this crazy world ar being taken away from me, one by one. Tie a knot in that "rope" and hang on... things will improve and Ms Destiny will reveal herself. You are welcome to kill some healing time with us in Lovely Ouray... I will get you free passes to the Hot Springs Pool... that would feel good... and there are some other RV'ers showing up soon.
    Take care,

  5. Wow, Mark, very generous of you. I LOVE that pool, used to go there at night in the winter and just sit in the hot part and stargaze, as much as you can with the town lights. I can feel the warmth right now. :)

    I'm looking for a tent that I can use w/o having to bend over much, then I'll be all set. May come over your way and camp up by Courthouse or on that road that comes out at Sam's Place (Divide Road). Could use some cool air, though it's actually been pretty nice over here, but will get hot soon. Thanks again!

  6. A lot to think about in this post. I am definitely a gypsy, always wanting to go somewhere, traveled through magazines and books for over 25 years. I did go to Spain on a school trip when I was 16, this may have started it or maybe the Girl Scout camping trips. I always saved my money so that I could travel, and I didn't quit my jobs, just kept working until I was 50. Now I work part time to support my habit and retain some of my savings. There are a lot of RV bloggers that get offended when someone says we are running away from something - this I agree with partly - I am running away from the takers - I was always a giver. But I am also running to something - freedom and a new found life. Now I am learning to speak up and ask for what I want and not to constantly be offering or giving help. I still help others, but in limited amounts. My new motto is to try and live without fear and without guilt.

  7. Spotted Dog,
    Great! I know of some boondocks right near Ouray If you would like to save a little gas...
    That 105 degree mineral water is going to feel good, and the stars are still there :))

    That's one good thing about getting older, wisdom. We come into our own and shake off the "chains" (guilt and fears) that bound us for so many years... we treat ourselves better, too, because we finally realize we are worthy of it.
    As for offending some RV'ers... it is not my intention. I'm just throwing out some food for thought... provoking... questioning... for myself, as much as for anybody else. I learned a long time ago that when one puts themselves "out there" they risk disagreement and criticism. As I get older, I take it less personally :))

    You are soooo right. I guess you noticed the RV theme lately... I can't wait till September when I give "notice" at work. I Wonder where we'll Wander???
    Thanks for commenting, all of you.

  8. In third grade, my Mother's Day card to my mom (homemade, of course)was an imagined scenario where a moving truck pulled up to the house and my parents announced we were moving. it didn't matter where, only that we were MOVING. I was known for dropping strong hints.

    I've been staying put for the past year. I may have to remedy that.

  9. I meant to mention: where your photos were taken is very beautiful and that header photo is outstanding (no pun intended)!

  10. Regarding your comment about putting themselves "out there"...
    I have found when I put myself out there many people understand me better and many have felt the same way, we develop a common bond. The negativity and criticism, while they may have some merit, tell me what kind of person I'm dealing with. If I get to know them better will they continually be negative, downer people? Something to ponder and test.

    Your photos are stunning. What kind of camera do you use?


  11. Totally related, as usual, especially the part about the creeping crankiness. Been feeling that a lot during this crazy heat wave; I feel like a caged animal. I have new respect for zoo and circus animals these days. The wanderlust is so extreme these days that just the other day I was trolling ebay for a "small" camper just for me because it kills me to wait for my husband to have time off from work! I'm usually off every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and while I can't go very far I still feel the need to GO! Had my tent cot 2 months and I'm already looking to trade-up! ;) Keep dreaming, Mark, you're not the only one traveling whether your eyes are open or closed, whether you're moving or standing still!

  12. Yep, I'm always running away from something alright & it's called boredom & routine.

  13. Went for a hike to Columbine Lake with Bobbie and John Q... a reader/friend from Indiana. We followed our hike up with some San Juan IPA's and pulled pork sandwiches from Ouray Brewery. Yum... and the sandwich was good too. Warning: I will be Commenting Under the Influence, so here goes...

    Your wanderlust presented early on... a child prodigy of
    pilgrimages! :)) Good for you.
    thanks so much, I'm glad you enjoyed the images. It's hard to take a bad photo above timberline in Colorado...

    Travel Bug Susan,
    You make an excellent point... just be who you are. Regarding the camera, believe it or not, most of my images are shot with my Canon Digital Elph 12 mega pixel. It is a big camera in a small package! Thanks for commenting... and reinforcing my risk taking with a pen. :))

    I feel your pain... your "itch," you are in RV Heat! (that's the alcohol talking, not me).
    Seriously, when trapped in "the maze," humans tend to act out. Upgrade woman, before you hurt someone :)) And I will keep dreaming...
    Thanks, It's good to know I'm not alone.

    I hear that!!!
    Can't wait to see what you do with your Arizona Bungalow... I'm so jealous :)

    Thanks all... I think some more RV friends are rolling into town this week, so if you are in the area and want to make some new friends, take a hike... or just go to the Ouray Brewery, mosey on over to Lovely Ouray! I smell a party...

  14. 12. If you have taken more great pictures of the Colorado mountains and its great hiking trails than anyone else! Happy to hear that John Q made it safely to lovely Ouray- He called before leaving to see if I was to make the trip- Sorry to say but no- But I seem to be constantly changing the yearly travel which I think is a fun thing- no more 10 months in Florida- Have had the 34 footer for sale- many buyers with cash but cash never shows up but I really do not mind one way or another-if sells fine if not fine!take care

  15. What an outsanding hike today into the high coutry of Ouray. Perfect weather, puffy white clouds, no wind or rain,
    water falls, creeks, colorful flowers, jagged peaks, red mountais, green basins, a deep blue lake, and with great freinds. I was on scenic overload. Thanks for sharing the hike. Wish Steve and others could have experienced it.
    John Q

  16. Walden Steve,
    I like # 12, thank you. It's my "purpose," I guess.
    Hey, what are you asking for your Motorhome!!!! Do you deliver???? More info please!!!

    John Q,
    thanks for your good review of our hike to Columbine lake... and for the beer and meal, too!
    I think I'll post that today... out of order, because I'm getting behind. But who cares.


  17. "You are in RV Heat" - so that's what what Chris has! Maybe you can become an RV broker with all of your walks through 4J for us.

    Your pictures are gorgeous as usual. This blog has been a "deep gulp" of fresh air during the drought this summer.

  18. Chris and Mindy,
    Ha! Yes, men go into "RV heat" too, more than women. Although, I'm seeing more and more single women untie their aprons and hit the open the road.
    Thanks for your comment... I know you are counting the days till Lovely Ouray is your backyard. See you soon!!!


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