I Talk to Strangers

22 Jun

I’ll admit it. I violate that childhood law. When I travel, I talk to strangers. I drove for 12 – 13 hours a day excluding gas and rest area stops. Doing that for 4 days each direction meant that I had a lot of alone time. I have an active imagination so I can keep myself entertained. I was actively rewriting that novel I’ve been writing for 25 years and composing new blog postings with really clever ideas. Of course I didn’t have a computer keyboard handy and promptly forgot those clever ideas by the time I called it a day.

I’ve tried to use a voice activated tape recorder while I drive but that results in long stretches of road noise spaced between those few ideas that are often rework of ideas I’ve written about before. Listening to that much noise puts me to sleep so I don’t hear those tired old idea after all. I’m happier thinking I should have had that tape recorder. The vaguely remembered ideas sound much better then.

So that brings me back to the strangers. When I stop, I often overhear interesting conversation and have few qualms about asking questions as a way to join in. There was a lady in Oregon who was talking to a truck driver about her dog. She said they were heading home to Texas. I had to ask where in Texas. She is almost a neighbor; Sherman is only 45 miles away.  In Idaho the people in the camper next to me  were taking their 9 Schnauzers home to Portland after a dog show in Montana. I don’t think that there is an RV that is large enough for me to travel with 9 dogs but that was better than the lady in a hatch back with 8 dog crates of small dogs. I did not talk to her because I really questioned her intelligence.

Another couple with a small popup travel trailer and only 1 dog, said they were on their way from Vermont to Portland, Oregon to visit their daughter and grandchildren. We discussed the really ugly 100% gravel hot Wyoming RV park that was packed in the full hookup with cable section. We were in the electric only section which still had a couple of open spaces.  They were looking forward to the RV park beside the Columbia River that listed trees and grass. Why would anyone want to stay at this one more than 1 night while passing through? Oil and pipeline workers seem to be happy just to have a place to park. If that park earned 7.5 of 9 points, how bad must the one be down the road with only 4 points of the 9? Hopefully I’ll plan better for any future trips. Wyoming has long stretches of really empty landscape. It would be hard for any RV park to actually be pretty but 100% gravel doesn’t top my list.

After my father retired, my parents traveled a lot putting 150,000 miles on their modified Dodge van. Many of those miles between Illinois where they lived, Florida where my brother  lived and Washington for me. My mother would tell stories about my father being gone for an hour on his way to the restroom because he met and talked with everyone along the way. She prided herself about keeping to herself. I always thought that was such a shame. Part of the fun of the trip is meeting new people from different places. They may give you an idea about where to go next time.  I have to side with my father on this. I’m lucky because my husband doesn’t object to my conversations with strangers. He doesn’t usually start a conversation himself but is never critical about it. Maybe when we have 150,000 miles on our camper we can both say we talk to strangers!

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