Apache Junction Seekers

Al and Linda enjoy visiting new places and having new experiences. In 2006, we spent 4 months in Europe and originally created this blog to keep friends and family informed. After a long delay, I'm trying to catch up with what we've been doing since then and hope to carry on into the future.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Random thoughts about our trip

After three months and many thousands of miles, people, places and events tend to run together. Keeping an organized blog is an excellent way to file memories away for future retrieval. I’m constantly amazed at some of the entries I made about things that later slipped my memory—sometimes it’s almost as if I’m reading someone else’s blog, strange as that may sound. It also helps to write on a calendar where you stay each night. I’m convinced this will provide an alibi some time when I’m wrongly accused of something.

We were very lucky on the trip. We had a couple of repair items: the generator which was repaired in Missouri at a Cummins dealer and the refrigerator, for which Al was able to find a new part and swap it for the defective one himself thanks to Terry Mattson who did all the diagnostic work while we were at that Forest Service campground in Montana. We discovered that getting RV repairs on the road in the summer is next to impossible because everyone is booked up for two or three weeks out. But we didn’t have any really major issues, like the couple we met whose car had literally burned up while it was attached to the towbar on the back of their motorhome. I figure anything less than that is hardly worth mentioning. No medical emergencies other than my trip to a walk-in clinic to get some muscle relaxant to ease neck cramps. No blood, no broken bones.

We had very few traffic problems except for the innumerable construction projects which are a fact of life in summer driving. In spite of all the political posturing, it looked like a lot of states were more than willing to put those federal stimulus funds toward an obvious benefit. On the other hand, we drove some seriously rough roads and ended up losing two hubcaps.

Despite what you see on the evening news, most people are really nice. Maybe the cranky ones steered clear of us.

There are places in this country of ours that we never imagined we’d enjoy so much. In fact, we found something interesting almost everywhere we went. Of course, it helps to be interested in almost everything.

One disappointment was the almost total lack of small town cafes. I can remember traveling with my parents (yes, when dinosaurs roamed the earth) and eating at local cafes. Nowadays, it looks like the businesses have either moved out to the interstate interchange, where you find pretty much only chains, or lacking an interstate, the businesses have simply closed for lack of trade. So many of the small towns we drove through were visibly struggling and I suppose that eating out is one of the things that people cut out of their budgets in hard times. I used to think Walmart was a bad thing for driving local grocery stores out of business, but those groceries are closed even when Walmart is nowhere near. Now I think Walmart might be a blesing because otherwise many people would have no access to a good selection of products at a reasonable price.

Having an iPhone is a big help in many situations. Assuming, of course, that ATT has deigned to extend cell coverage to the part of the world you are currently in. I thought about making a list of all the places where we had no coverage and submitting it as a rebuttal to the “more bars in more places” campaign. I have formed the opinion that although the wireless providers nominally pay for the right to the airwaves, they are still using a public resource and they should be obligated to provide their services everywhere in the country.

There is nothing in the world to compare to a four-year-old grandson telling you on the phone that he wishes you would come home.


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