By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers
A few days ago, Monique and I completed a whirlwind, unforgettable tour that took us to most of the “must-see” places in the Grand Circle of Utah, Colorado and Arizona, with a peek into New Mexico. We saw a lot and still had opportunities to be in nature, along with Monique’s brother and sister-in-law from France.
In a blog early in our trip, I wrote a piece about why I take numerous photographs, emphasizing that I then delete more half of them, keeping the rest for memories and other future uses. I was expecting at least one comment from among our nature-loving readers suggesting that I spend less time with the camera at my eye and more time savoring the views. Just because no one questioned that doesn’t mean I don’t have an answer.
During our 35 days on this trip, we saw an incredible number of scenes that are already bringing back fond memories only a few weeks later. I’m not one of those National Geographic-type photographers who spends weeks in one spot waiting for the perfect sunrise or a mountain lion ravaging an elk. I like to take a few shots of what I see and move on.
Yet, when I find a vista that speaks to me … that has some quality that whispers, “Stop, sit, stare” … I usually obey that loud whisper. During our recent travels, as we hiked into a canyon in Capital Reef National Park, I perched on a rock at the base of a cliff and looked at the 180-degrees of escarpment across the canyon floor. No matter which segment of that view I focused on, I found something interesting, something worth staring at, something that changed an endless wall of rock into a special place.
That’s my Photo 101 lesson for this posting. Take time to soak up your surroundings until it becomes implanted on your brain, so that when you look at the pictures, your mind will fill in the depth of the experience.
While on our May-June 2011 trip, we stayed in National Parks, National Forests, State Parks, Nellis Air Force Base and private campgrounds. Over the five years on the road, stopping for at least one night at 380 places (a few twice, a couple three times) of all kinds, we have never found what I call “the perfect campground.”
Take all the criteria for being perfect — like all the hook-ups being on the right side, level parking, a campfire ring, adequate space to back in the trailer without hitting a rock or a tree, shade, phone and internet working well, all bathroom needs adequately supplied – and we have yet to find one that gets an A+. Two more examples: fresh water pump-faucets too hard for kids to use and dumpster container tops too heavy for little folks to open. I’ll emphasize that we tent-camped all our lives before RVing, so we don’t need much in the way of amenities. I’d be interested, however, in your comments about the perfect campgrounds you have visited.
Our Grand Circle Tour was wonderful despite a few set-backs, which I will list in general terms: My camera was rendered useless by dust that got into everything requiring an overnight stay at a camera shop; temperatures got down into the 30s; after getting to where I should have had cellphone service, my phone didn’t work and had to be replaced; temperatures got over 110 degrees; park wi-fi systems didn’t work; the #7 glowplug in our diesel went out; we hit winds over 60 mph while hiking and in the trailer; a mouse got in the trailer; I was practically unable to walk because of a hernia (had surgery last week); a brand new heavy hose fell from its storage place under the trailer while we were on the road, and, I’m sure, I had to contend with a few other issues.
HOWEVER, for you new RVers, it’s all part of the sport … It just usually doesn’t happen in 35 days. That’s when it’s time to focus on what you like about RVing and go back though those photos one more time to capture the moments worth keeping.
Independence Day Weekend –Whatever is on your schedule for this weekend, try taking a deep breath sometime along the way to appreciate our national and personal independence. And please take a minute to say thanks to those men and women who show their bravery by signing up for the military, knowing that they have put their lives at stake to preserve your freedom.
From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.
© All photos by Barry Zander. All rights reserved