Why did I think I’d no photos with ORANGE in them?
For more entries in the Orange multi-photo challenge, click here:
Our tolerance levels are tested when we’re cooped up in our shoebox RV. Bad vibes bounce right back to the perpetrator and can ricochet between us with increasing ferocity. Some days I bite back caustic remarks in a bid for peace in the box. Some days I don’t. Some days I try to couch accusations as innocuous statements so as not to be seen to be blaming him.
“The water should be nice and hot. I turned the water heater off when I got up for a wee at 3:00.”
“Was it on all night?” himself asked, his voice raising in alarm as our water heater can be temperamental and hot water spews down the outside of the trailer in its own campaign to escape the box.
“Not all night. Just half the night.” I valiantly left it at that. He knew he had turned it on and left it on. If he thought I’d done it, he’d have let me know. If he thought I’d accused him of doing it, he’d have let me know that too.
The merits of sarcasm, nagging, letting rip and knowing when to shut up often “debated.”
“You said we need gas. Turn here!”
“Do you think the pumps are still working?” Standard Oil was broken up under the antitrust laws in 1911 some of which eventually became Exxon, Mobil and Chevron. As you can see we were in Cow Springs which is on Route 160 in Arizona on the way to Monument Valley not to be confused with Wild Cow Springs Recreation Area in western Arizona not to be confused with mad cows. Speaking of which himself may have brought them to mind when I entreated him to “Turn here!”:
It seemed a reputable tourist destination from the look of the sign. Don’t you think so? Though I am the designated navigator himself picks and chooses when to listen to me. He didn’t turn so I cannot confirm if they were real dinosaur tracks.
The good news is that we made it to Monument Valley despite my misdirection:
On the one hand it’s a wonder we can find our way out of a cardboard box. On the other hand our navigational skills strangely complement each other so we get by, through or around most obstacles to our destinations.
Jimmy navigates by cities, towns, pubs (sadly few in the U.S.) landmarks and an innate sense of direction. The last being something that eludes me as I can get turned around in a gas station as though I have been spun blindfolded. I can, however, read a map, use a compass, orientate myself (most days) with directions given in north, south, east and west and navigate by route numbers and road names on a town plan. “Turn left here, take the second right, go half a mile and the campsite will be on your left.” And there it is.
“How do you do that?” Jimmy is convinced a type of sorcery is at work when I find my way around an unfamiliar town merely by consulting a map. But he is quicker to read and interpret road signs, judge appropriateness of road conditions and take decisions. “I’m not turning there!”
“But the map says . . . . oh, no, you don’t want to turn there.” I’ve directed him to turn, trailer in tow, into a junkyard, a muddy farm track, dead end streets, supermarket parking lots and non-existent roads.
So between us and with a big dollop of tolerance for each other’s foibles we have found our way throughout Europe and the U.S.
Navigating in the U.S. comes easy to me as the road system – interstates and in towns – makes sense to me. I know my east from my west even if do very occasionally fumble my left and my right. Odd numbers on roads generally indicate north and south and evens east and west. In town, if we’re at 4400 Main Street then 5400 Main is ten more blocks. If we’re just passing First Street then Sixth will be five blocks away. Watch out for those pesky Streets vs. Avenues! Fifth Street is an entirely different notion to Fifth Avenue. Add Fifth Street SW and Fifth Avenue NE to the mix and then you really have to think it through before striking out across town but it’s all logical if you’re paying attention.
The grid work of a town plan is a just mathematical puzzle – up two, across three and down one block and voilà, there is the restaurant. There must be a bit of spatial awareness attached to this thinking that Jimmy doesn’t apply to the problem. But truthfully, I think he just doesn’t try. He doesn’t have to. No more than I have to get out of the car when it is raining (and even when it isn’t) and pump gas. By and large the U.S. road system is instinctive to me. I grew up on it. I don’t have to figure it out. It just makes sense to me like speaking English makes sense. Lubbock, Texas is the exception to this where even the locals can’t give you directions.
Generally I can follow squiggly routes on the map and end up where I intended except when under pressure, especially time pressure calling for quick thinking and spot-on decision making. Those are the times I give Jimmy as much information as I can and then let him make the mistake, I mean decision. He seems to think I don’t know is not an acceptable answer when asking me which way do I go here? and insists I say something specific even if when I have no idea.
Perhaps the issue of blame is important when we are lost.
The road system in Europe still baffles me. Their ancient roads have evolved over centuries, not been planned and laid out coherently like in the United States. Modern motorway systems are logical to someone who likes numbers but cities are often rabbit warrens of narrow lanes. Many streets have origins long before America was a twinkle in C. Columbus’ eye. The Jewish Quarter in Cordoba is one of many places to get lost on claustrophobic winding streets that even a Mini Cooper couldn’t maneuver. And I can’t apply any logic to European country roads.
How we ever made our way through France to the south of Spain and back again – new to RVing – is beyond me.
We even got lost in the Channel Tunnel Terminal and ended up on an empty platform – our departure time imminent and no possibility of a U-turn with a 26 foot trailer behind us. After a panicked phone call a Terminal Land Rover took us on a tour of the platforms, up one and down another, to lead us onto our train.
Now wasn’t that an omen of things to come?
Hee haw! Hee Haw!
I think it’s so hilarious,
To see you climb a rock,
Where it’s so precarious.
I promised lilmisspoutine that I would post some cute donkey photos and as the above is none too flattering here are some cuties from Monument Valley:
After an extensive 15 second search on Google, I have determined that donkeys and burros are the same creature. If you know differently, oh never mind!
I’ll be back in tropical weather on Monday. Please excuse my butterfly mind.
After completing 5/8 of a life on the edge of each other’s nerves – we had towed the trailer 11,654 miles and put 20,122 miles on the odometer in the car. In a country that is 3,000 miles wide by 2,000 miles top to bottom that’s pretty good going. We’d drawn a very drunken diagonal line down across the U.S. map from Washington State to Florida and back along the southern border and west coast. A two-year-old with a crayon could have scrawled a tidier route. But in the process we perused 26 of the 48 states on our agenda of looking for the perfect place to live in the continental U.S.A.
Some states only merited a quick drive straight through to the next state. I won’t tell you which ones as all us patriotic Americans are proud of and proprietorial about our own states and I am sure we didn’t do them justice by not stopping to poke around. Other states kept us fascinated for days, sometimes weeks. But we were just tourists. Visiting The Everglades, Monument Valley, Mount Rushmore or San Francisco for the first time is a real kick but they are not areas we would consider living due to weather, remoteness or cost of living. And we were just so enthralled with the sight-seeing sights in this diverse and stunning country, we often didn’t bother to do our homework on towns as potential homesteaders.
The next stage of the route would take us east across the top of the country, up into New England and down the east coast with a bit of the inevitable to-ing and fro-ing. Getting in the way of the search was a spacious apartment in sunny and probably-too-expensive California that was calling us.
I was longing to get our furniture out of storage and put my underwear in a drawer instead of having it stuffed in a shoe box and to hang up my clothes instead of playing lucky dip in a jam packed locker. Jewelry was tangled up in a box and fine chains and long necklaces formed a monkey’s fist of silver and gold, beads and crystals. I doubted I would ever wear them again. I wore the same jeans and hoody for days out of sheer inertia.
The same rotation of clean clothes came off the top of the stack day after day rather than create an avalanche of tee shirts to put together a new look. We dressed, hobo unchic, in cotton clothes that were washer/dryer-ready-to-wear. And I’ll let you in on a little secret. Unmentionable articles of underclothing aside, we sometimes scrutinized and sniffed our outerwear for an extra day’s service before consigning it to the laundry bag. My prissy nature came out when faced with dirty laundramat machines that may have seen dog blankets, greasy overalls, muddy trousers and almost certainly much worse.
Books and files were hidden deep within a hell hole under the bed instead of being to hand on a bookshelf. Wrenching my right shoulder to lift the mattress and locker lid and hold it up, I then wrenched my left shoulder to haul out the printer, two sleeping bags and a bag of wrapping paper and ribbon (yes, of course ribbon is essential on an RV) to gaze at a cardboard box of books through a gap just big enough for my head. As I grunted and strained with the weight of the mattress and locker lid on my shoulders himself would ask, “Can I help you with that?”
“NO!” I would bellow in frustration and risked decapitating myself with the trap door of the dungeon. A feeble flashlight that doubled as the oven light barely glowed much less illuminated the book titles so reading choices were often made by feel. Sometimes I thought oh stuff it and lay on the bed listening to my iPod until whatever inkling of motivation to do something creative or productive or even vaguely educational passed.
Should we stop somewhere to live in an apartment and try to regain our sanity or continue to play happy trails?
Please help us find somewhere to live. See opinion poll.
Due to Jimmy’s American wanderlust we have a Plan, a sub plan and a sub sub plan. The Plan is to find somewhere to live. It gets lost sometimes. The sub plan is to see as many national parks as possible as we ramble around. The sub sub plan is to take in every city and town and place in America that has crossed his consciousness while growing up in 50’s and 60’s England.
Song titles and lyrics, film titles and settings have led us on detours of hundreds of miles from the see-the-national-parks route by veering off to Tombstone, Cheyenne, Chattanooga, Route 66, El Paso, Houston, Deadwood, Monument Valley, St. Louis (but only if you pronounce it Sint Lewie) Laramie, Key Largo, Dodge City, Tacoma, Garryowen, Big Rock Candy Mountain, Tallahassee, San Francisco, San Antonio (abbrev. San Antone), San Jose, Seattle, New York New York, Chicago and on and on in a maddening zig-zag across the United States. Our route from west to east and then west again looks like Zorro has attacked the map with his sword.
The Plan has also been partly determined by talking to people everywhere we go. The simple statement, “We’re looking for the perfect place to live,” always elicits an enthusiastic response. We’ve added thousands more miles to our groaning car’s odometer. Back tracking and unplanned side trips have taken us to these perfect places:
Each place has been visited and is under consideration and this haphazard list will undoubtedly be expanded, explored and rated one to ten but we’ve come to suspect that local pride in one’s own state, town, community or vacation destination may be a source of prejudice against the rest of the country. As endearing as this is, we are learning to sift through people’s comments and opinions in the same way you would read with suspicion a real estate agent’s glowing description of an aging or surprisingly underpriced house.
Our needs and tolerances seem to be so very different from just about everyone we’ve spoken to. Are we expecting year round perfection where it just doesn’t exist, just like the perfect man (or woman, before himself cries foul!) doesn’t exist?
Where is your perfect place? Please help. We’ll go and have a look and give you all the credit.