Have set off from Gunnison CO and heading counter clockwise around the West. Many folk to see along the way, but my dates are indicative – everyone is flexible, which is great. Conversations so far have been very insightful – everyone is keen to talk, and very open in sharing their perspectives.
Aside from conversations with friends and strangers, a few things are shaping the travels.
First, national parks. Nobody does a park experience better than the National Park Service. I got the Lifetime Senior pass before I set out – while it gives me access, seems I need to book ahead for some parks. Back in the day you just drove in.
I came up against reality at Mesa Verde. I showed up early to visit the Cliff Palace, and got talking with a lovely family from WI – Lee, Angie, David and Julia. Being from Green Bay, we obviously talked football. It came up that they had booked tickets months ago for their 2-week western tour. When I told them my predicament, mum Angie said that she was not going down to the site so I could have her ticket. What a generous offer, and I promised to never again trash talk the Packers! Some pics below.
Next, country radio. It’s a given out here – I first came across country when dad listened to it in Peoria. The words of songs remind me of developing mission statements for companies – there are only some many words you need to use in the random word generator. For country songs, you choose from ones like: lovin, lyin, cheatin, cryin, drinkin, dyin. But I won’t be doing country music bingo to spot the words.
And gas. The price has gone down from around $5 to $4 a gallon. I’ve got into the habit of topping up when I see a low price, but almost got caught out in southern Utah when the dial said 49 miles left! I’d forgotten to top up. Fortunately a gas station was only 19 miles away. Lesson for John.
Businesses are feeling the pinch. I’ve been told by a lot of places that visitor numbers are down, from coffee shops to restaurants and tourist sites. It seems that folk are feeling the pinch from inflation, income and the economy generally.
I find that it’s taking a lot of time to travel a short distance. This is because of all the interesting sites along the way – history, heritage, conversations. I guess I’ll need to pull a few all-nighters to eat up some of the miles.