Aside from a phlegmy cough (you're welcome) that makes me sound as though I'm barking for attention every six or so minutes, I'd say we're about back to normal here; the rash is gone, as is my fever, which is perfect because we've hit the road to explore the western side of the U.S. and though my curiosity requires so little, it does seem to require that I'm well. So, thank you heaps for your get-well and congratulatory wishes; I'm convinced they got me back to healthy in record timing.
Do you have any travel planned? Whether it's a weekend trip in your car or a month-long holiday with your passport and your universal plug adaptor, I'm betting you want to make the most of your time away. How can you travel with more curiosity? How can you incorporate more wonder into your experience of being someplace new and someplace familiar? Herewith are my tips from the road.
Seek out color palettes. So far, I've noticed that many of my favorite vistas are favorites simply because they show me color in a new way. I enjoy monuments and national parks as much as the next gal, but really, it's Roy G. Biv that gets me every time. In your travels, be on the lookout for nuances in color along with combinations that look stunning to you. Delicious. Alarming. Unreal. Make a viewfinder out of your hands and hold it out in front of you, studying the environment for color only.
Pretend that what you're seeing is actually something else. When I dodged window reflections and snapped this picture of oil tanks being pulled through western New Mexico, what did I see? Ants marching single-file.
And when we looked out over this area of the Petrified Forest? American Stonehenge.
Play with the speed of your exploration. On a whim, we decided to spend just one night in Holbrook, AZ, visiting the national park, instead of our original plan to stay two nights. This meant that by the time we arrived at our campground and unhooked the car from the RV, we had about two and a half hours before Petrified Forest would close for the night. Not to mention a race against sunset. Unexpectedly, the time constraint was exciting; we remarked to each other that something about it felt like a scavenger hunt. With 28 miles of park road and all the accompanying scenic overlooks to cover, we made quick work of choosing where to pull over, gambol over dusty rocks, and ooh and ahh together. Sure, we could have easily spent an additional morning ogling Martha's Butte (skipped it) or seeing if Puerco Pueblo was more impressive than it looked from the road (skipped it), but we were curious to learn how long it actually takes for us to feel as though we've really seen a place. Turns out, two and a half hours was sufficient. If you're the type to read every museum label or study the visitor's guide in great detail or pause in front of each trail placard, you might use your next trip to experiment a little with your sightseeing tempo. Give yourself a challenge, set a limit, create a mission. For us, catching the Painted Desert on the far north end of the park before sunset was the goal. We knew we wouldn't feel satisfied if we missed that. Having a time frame and a bare minimum as far as destination was concerned kept us in-check when we were tempted to take a second spin around the Blue Mesa loop road. On the other hand, if you're more Speed Racer in your tourist approach, try the opposite. Read everything. Learn the exhibit as though you're the next docent. Collect details. (Bringing along a sketchbook is especially helpful for this.)
Well, Mountain Standard Time is a saucy little minx. She snuck up on us sometime yesterday. Looks exactly like Pacific Daylight Time, but with a heavy dose of defiance. Anyway, this is most decidedly not Monday lunchtime—not here, not anywhere—but I trust you're happy to hear from me regardless. :-)
Notes from the week of March 20
CAMPED AT AMERICAN RV PARK & HOLBROOK / PETRIFIED FOREST KOA
+ Palette Generator, my resource for creating the palettes in this issue
+ Brooklyn (beautifully done)
+ Sriracha (fun and quick; watch it)
+ the sunset we'd been trying to beat in the park; hot pink streamers in front of us, cornflower blue behind us
MEALS EATEN, DRINKS DRUNK
READ & NODDED MY HEAD
+ "God (or something good) is in the details. Pay attention to the very very big things, and the very very small ones. Get up close; drop your mittens, drop your bags, hunker down. Muddy knees don't matter; the season's first snow drops do"
LOCAL COLOR EXPERIENCED
+ Travis, the Freightliner mechanic who got us road-ready for this adventure
+ the park ranger who greeted us upon entrance to PFNP