Generation Z. Cruising in an RV.: WOW: Becoming the Three Special Kinds of Tourists

Monday, September 16, 2013

WOW: Becoming the Three Special Kinds of Tourists


@Christ of the Ozarks, largest statue of Christ in America, 6th in the world in Arkansas
Settled in Cottonwood, Arizona for a month, a place we covered last year (see Link 1) when we were looking for a base, I turn once again to WOWs, Wonderings on Wanderings. Bill and I have traveled together, fulltime, for the last four years. We began as tourists, traveling for pleasure, visiting places out of curiosity. This post is about the three special kinds of tourists we have become, inviting you to take the chance to be the one or all.

braving the biting cold @ the Arctiic Circle
Our trip to the Arctic Circle in Canada stands out. It was not easy but we wanted the bragging rights. We braved 3 days and 2 nights on dirt-gravel road through an unbelievably beautiful and unique place with nary a soul. It rained so the mud built up and tore the grey water drain pipe loose from its support. Bill had to crawl under to fasten the pipe with his own belt. After, all the shocks had to be replaced (see Link 2).

beside Rocky @ the Philadelphia Arts Musem
The thesaurus offers the following words as synonyms for the word tourist: globetrotter, jetsetter, traveler, etc. But we think we have become more than tourists. An RV gave us the wherewithal to move around North America in a relentless, continuing, and incisive fashion. In the first 8 months we stayed 3-4 days at a place but after that we did so for 3-4 weeks. Although we have been just tourists for most of the days, we have also been adventurers, explorers, and even pilgrims at different times. The following shows how to distinguish differences in these three special kinds of travelers.

@Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota
An Explorer is defined as a person combs an area for the purpose of discovery. Synonyms include trailblazer, adventurer, and traveler. When we became Thousand Trails Elite Members and bought a 37-foot motorhome towing a dinghy, we invested further into the RV cruising lifestyle. Thus we were able to explore an area more completely with the dinghy. Bill and I had great fun researching the place and plotting our itinerary for an exploration from our base camp
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@ the Nubble Lighthouse in Maine
 Bryce National Park in Utah
A LLBean (see Link 4). In Canada, we met all four different faces of the province of Ontario: a government hub, rural town, a bustling metropolitan center, and a famous tourist spot (see Link 5).
lthough we missed some things, like the Sand Hills and Chimney Rock of Nebraska just some miles south, we discovered many man-made wonders such as Mt. Rushmore and natural wonders such as the Badlands in South Dakota (see Link 3 and its subsequent companion post). The same thing happened in Maine where we found haunting lighthouses, fresh excellent lobsters, rugged beaches and great July 4 sales at

Worthington Glacier enroute to Valdez, Alaska
An Adventurer is a person who has, or seeks, activities or places for excitement or an unusual experience, despite risks. Synonyms include daredevil, traveler, and explorer. I must admit that Bill is more of an adventurer than I am. He scuba dives, skis, flies a plane, etc. I just play with my smartphone or laptop, an armchair sort of a girl.  I love watching tennis but I can’t play it, not even pickleball. I have been and probably will always be a nerd! I took some small risks though, even just cruising in an RV
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Bill, river rafting with HS friends
For example, when we stumbled upon the Worthington Glacier on the road to Valdez, Alaska, Bill immediately went up to climb it while I stayed behind, scared I might slip and hurt myself (see Link 6). When we went with Bill’s friends, the Unbearables, for a reunion in Crested Butte, Colorado, everyone went river-rafting. I stayed behind to write the blog post about it instead (see Link 7). At Grandfather’s Mountain in the North Carolina stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Bill went across the Mile-High Swinging Bridge to see what’s on the other side.  I stayed behind to take his photo instead (see Link 8).

Mile High Swinging Bridge at Grandfather Mountain
on the Blue Ridge Parkway
A Pilgrim is a person who journeys, especially a long distance, to some sacred place as an act of devotion or an original settler. Some synonyms are wayfarer, pioneer, and traveler. Both Bill and I became pilgrims once these past 4 years. We diverted from our planned itinerary to Minnesota and first visited the Grotto of the Redemption in the northeastern corner of Iowa. There we saw the complex of 9 grottos made from 43 different kinds of gems and made entirely by the hands of 3 men (see Link 9).

Grotto of the Redemption in Iowa
Clearly, we have crossed the line from being tourists to becoming explorers. T. S. Elliots’  ‘We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time‘ is a favorite quotation. But I am not the adventurer that Bill is. What we hope is to be more of pilgrims, though, because then we can deepen our faith. Both Catholics, we can easily be pilgrims together! Which of the three special kinds of tourists do you want to be?
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