The thick scent of heavy perfume is in the air. A child in the distance is wailing. The largest, whitest, sweatiest guy you’ve ever seen thought it was a good idea to take his shirt off. Finally, the challenge of photographing “mullets” strikes you as something fun to do. And you? All you wanted to do was see some of the amazing cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde. But you got way more then you bargained for, didn’t you? Oh, and did you see that super hot cougar in the hiked up mini-skirt in high heels walking down to Spruce Tree House? Yeah, you can’t un-see that.
Today we did what we knew we shouldn’t do on Labor Day Weekend. We took a trip into Mesa Verde National Park. We did it intentionally to continue proving a point to ourselves about our project, “The RV’ers Guide to the National Monuments of the Southwest.”
The point was simple. The adventure today wasn’t seeing and exploring some amazing cliff dwellings. The adventure today involved getting packed into places with a ton of other sweaty tourists in order to see some amazing places. Where relaxation, solitude, and amazing memories should have existed, we instead found ourselves in a conga line of cars crawling along to each of the attractions. Space Mountain at Disney has shorter lines then the ones in the main park visitor center.
The National Parks of the United States are incredible places to be sure. And I’ve visited many. But every time I’ve visited the experience has been cheapened. Gift shops, tour buses, wall to wall tourists. Does it have to be this way?
The answer is simple. It doesn’t have to be that way at all. A short drive from Mesa Verde and you can find yourself exploring, “Canyon of the Ancients National Monument,” or “Hovenweep National Monument.” Do you get to see ancient ruins there? Yes. Are you following somebody’s grandmother who thinks it’s wise to bathe in Shalimar Perfume prior to coming to the park? Most likely, no. It could happen, but it’s an outside chance to be sure.
The entire idea behind creating the first RV’ers Guidebook to the National Monuments of the Southwest came about after visiting a few myself, in person even! And what I found in the monuments was every bit as amazing at the National Parks with one major difference. The giant crowds weren’t there. The monuments are sometimes more remote, and often there are fewer services. But what they’re lacking in “amenities,” they make up for with the freedom for you the visitor to have an actual honest to goodness adventure!
Yesterday while visiting Hovenweep we got to be completely ALONE visiting the Holly Group of ruin sites. They were beautiful, and our imaginations were captured. I was so fixated on the amazing scenery and ruins that I nearly stepped on a young collared lizard. Yes, there was no other foot traffic for the day at that location, so the lizard was sunning itself in the middle of the path. I surprised the lizard, and the lizard surprised me.
Our Kickstarter project isn’t some crazy way for me to pay for a 6 month vacation. It’s a way for me to share with the millions of RV owners out there adventures for their next trips. Plus the project is going to be a ton of work. 44 National Monuments in 6 months……whew! And by doing this, will we overrun the National Monuments with visitors? I don’t think so. Many of these places require you to be an adventure seeker. Not everyone wants to slog through 4 miles of sand dunes to see some pretty rocks. But those people willing to do that? Yeah, the guidebook is for you, and we hope you’ll help back it by September 14th!