Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mental snapshots

As we traveled through the green and boggy South, green corridors of the East, green farmlands of the Midwest, and then home again to our beloved dry desert Southwest (but still greener than usual), we realized that we weren’t taking as many pictures or writing journal entries as we do during a bicycle tour. In fact, the only time we did write journal entry was when we went for a bicycle rides.

We also wondered if the bicycle has trained us to tour in a certain way or if bicycle traveling had just fit us from the beginning. For example, we don’t tend to go out of our way for the traditional tourist sights, (like monuments, seeing where someone died or was born, etc.). We used to think that this was because those extra turns of the pedals just weren’t worth it or were way out of our way. We were fulfilled by watching and talking to people, landscape changes, and just being together and sharing experiences. But after our last little road trip, traveling in our little truck pulling our little pop-up camper, we began to notice that we still didn’t go out of our way to look at names carved in granite or a reenactment of the good ole days of the “Founding Fathers, or see where General Stoop N Poop “lost” everything (Would that have been a statue with the General upon a horse with the horse squatting on his haunches?). What we did was watch people, talk to folks, and enjoy the changing landscapes. It was like we travel on a bicycle, but hindered by the element of speed.

Chugging down the road in our little truck allowed the landscape to change very quickly as our eyes were glued to the window watching it all pass by so quickly (even though we traveled at about 50-60 mph). Even this slow speed was often way too, too fast as one beautiful or interesting “snapshot” after another presented itself again and again to our eyes. While we were able to snap off quite a few pictures of what passed us by, many times the camera was not attainable quickly enough or a bush blocked what we had just seen by the time we did get the camera, or the camera just wouldn’t turn on quickly enough that we began to joke about it. We developed a motion of taking a picture by tapping our forehead with our finger and then with an invisible camera and called out “Mental Snapshot!” We got some really great “MENTAL SNAPSHOTS” on this trip. Can’t show ‘em to you though. Unfortunately only the two of us can see them and, you know how that is, they will fade quickly without some external stimulus. Oh some will pop up much later at the mention of, say, the Shenandoah Valley, or that campground on the Louisiana coast. Alas, most will fade like the memory of yesterday’s clouds, lurking somewhere in our minds, but with no way to retrieve them. Still we had a good time and a few laughs tapping our heads, mimicking snapping an invisible shutter and yelling “MENTAL SNAPSHOT”

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