Midday midway ramblings from the heart(lands)

Although I’ve written some posts this month, I’ve copied those over from facebook, because to be honest I’ve been a bit lost for words after writing about the deep significance of the Run for the Wall bike ride last month.

What does seem significant though is that last Sunday, 20 June, the day I finally started the drive from California to my home state of Massachusetts, it was exactly 6 months to the day since I’d first arrived in the ‘golden’ state. At the outset, I would never have imagined that I’d spend five of those months in one state. But then California is huge and so varied.

It’s also notable that this was my second time of leaving the west coast to head east. On the first attempt last month, we’d encountered a heat wave in the desert lands of Arizona and New Mexico, and in the 110 degrees and higher altitude of Albuquerque, the van and I weren’t doing too well. So we turned round and headed back to the relative cool of California’s ‘June gloom’ to get better prepared.

I have to be honest and say that I was also attracted by a last dose of camping with our Volkswagen family of friends and more VW events. I had a fantastic time and amazingly my camper won a prize at the VW Classic in Irvine. At this biggest VW event of the year, we took away a plaque for 3rd place in the Bay window category. What a boost to set us on our way this time round!

Those magic memories have kept us motivated on the road and now we find ourselves a smidgen off being half way to our Massachusetts destination.  This time we are both better prepared and came through AZ and NM in fine fettle, and no doubt the right energy helped us along.

Today, we’ve stopped at midday (and almost mid-way) in MacDonald’s to cool down and pray for rain here in Oklahoma, in a town called Clinton. A family I met yesterday (also in MacD’s) in Tucumcari, New Mexico, were praising OK state as being friendly, sensible and a nice place to raise a family. They moved here from California a few years ago. OK (Oklahoma) is right here in the middle of this vast continent, 1500 miles from the ocean; can you imagine that? No blue sea over the horizon.

I wonder what perspective that gives its people?

I’ve long been fascinated by the relationship between human behavior and location/terrain/population density. Californians around LA behave differently to those up north in the same state. They drive aggressively and have no respect for others drivers, especially those in slow old vans! On numerous occasions in my four month stay, Californians told me how crowded they now feel. Aggressive driving is one outward sign of their stress, they say. Coming from a country that is also crowded and where stress levels are high, one day I decided to compare the population density in CA with that of the UK. I found that my own UK has three times the number of people per square mile compared with California. Can we draw any conclusions from this data, I ask?

Talking of countries and behavior, I note that the G20 has just finished in Toronto, yet I do not know much about what transpired. I have been driving all week and trying to find out news by tuning into the radio across country but the only program worth listening to is NPR (independent national public radio) and unfortunately NPR stations are often impossible to find on the dial. Here in MacDonald’s there is Fox News on the flat screen TV, a station that is very popular with some, but sadly there is no point in trying to get true news information from this source, for it is as biased as they come; just ask my New England friends!

I mention all this, because I wonder when one lives in the middle of a nation as large as America, insulated by 1500 miles in each direction, what does the average person think about the rest of the world and how does the average Joe perceive other countries, customs and cultures?

My 1971 VW Westfalia pop-top camper has now carried me over 7500 miles on a journey of experiences. I’ve met many other ordinary folk, including the zany family of VW enthusiasts, who have shared their stories and differing viewpoints and opinions with me. I have had my eyes opened and my mind expanded through listening to others’ experiences of life. And without exception I can say that I have met a huge amount of warmth, kindness and generosity of spirit in the miles traveled so far. And for those who have expressed concern about a woman traveling alone, I can honestly say that I have not once felt afraid. I’ve only lost a heartbeat when camping overnight in the wilderness and the silence has been broken by the night call of a wild animal. Isn’t that amazing?

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5 Responses

  1. Good to hear from you ! Have a safe trip, and keep on BUSSIN !!! LOVE, Doug and Janel

  2. “I’ve long been fascinated by the relationship between human behavior and location/terrain/population density”. I love your comment! I have always been interested with the effect of latitude on human populations but I had never thought of looking at density.

    Re the G20 Summit, perhaps this BBC link will give you some of the news you are looking for:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/10430151.stm

    BIG Hugs
    G xxxxxxxx

  3. I meant to say “I have always been interested INnthe effect of latitude..” – not WITH. Doh!

  4. Can I get ANYTHING right this morning?!?!? I meant “IN” not “INn”. Double Doh!

    • Gabrielle, Thank you for all your comments – whether it be INn or IN, there’s nowt (n’OUT) wrong with any of your comments anytime. You are eternally wise. I never thought about latitude – interesting!

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