Snow Birds and Other Flights of Fancy
We have traveled around Arizona looking for the perfect weather and the perfect campsite—over 4,000 miles worth so far from our doorstep to the south. Sometimes it feels like we have driven a spiral of roads leading us to nowhere.
After weeks of searching and feeling dissatisfied almost every turn of the way my mind turned inward to the philosophy of camping. And I’m not talking about the philosophy of the physical part of camping. I want to talk about the types of people we have met on this trip and their reasons for being out under the blue sky of Arizona. We have met people from many parts of this world. And each is camping for a different reason.
We have met people that call themselves “full-timers” and they have given up their personal property by selling their homes and hitting the road in their vehicles. We have met people that are “homeless” living out of their cars in search for a new life or a new job—or both. We have met people that are rich beyond means and just playing cowboy in the Arizona desert (riding their four-wheelers around the campground to keep their shiny boots from getting scuffed up). We have met people from Europe who are seeing the U.S.A. in their Chevrolet. Just a few stories follow.
Meet Myra. She left her home in the Midwest with just her car and a bag of clothes. We didn’t get much of her story but she was living out of her car until someone gave her a tent. She was tucked, unbeknownst to us, into the junipers just a few yards from where we parked our trailer. She is looking for a new life and has found freedom. She bought a cello at a garage sale in Arkansas, adopted a wandering dog and called him Banjo, and is making just enough money to buy food and ice from playing her cello in the desert. She found a huge flat red rock and plays there daily. The tourists that fly by in their jeeps on the road see her, stop and listen to her, and throw her tips. I wanted to adopt her and take her under my wing. But she’s doing fine without a surrogate mamma.
Then there is Bill and Evonne. A lovely couple from California. He is a disabled vet from the Vietnam war and she is a self-professed old hippie. They are full-timers, sold their house five years ago and live in their motorcoach. They spend time visiting their kids and grandkids (otherwise known as “shrimps” if you listen to Bill).
My favorite person so far has been Ray. He owns a gift shop in Gila Bend—just miles from the Mexico border. Visit his shop. Cactus-n-Stuff. You can buy Mexican pottery, Mexican arts and crafts items, and little knick knacks that will remind you of the southwest. He told us a story of finding a rock. Well, it was more of a 200 pound skull-shaped rock with a row of teeth. He was kind enough to let me take a picture of him and his rock. Thanks Ray!
And then there was the sweet and dry-witted shop owner that snuck me a few sips of Mexican Moonshine Tequila. Talk about smooth and smokey. Oh my! If only I could find some of that white fire north of the border.
The southwest has a way of sneaking its spines into your heart. And then it’s too late to deny that you’ve lost your soul to the red rock country, to the brown desert, to the desert creeks that snake through the desert and bring life to everything that gets in its way.