A quartet of tourists performs for the camera. That’s Monique and me on the right, and Monique’s brother and sister-in-law visiting from France on the left.
By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers
Via the Internet I asked the RVers to let me know their favorite spots to visit and where they planned to go in the years ahead. Hundreds of responses poured in, and names like Yellowstone, Alaska, the Utah national parks, and Florida were the most often mentioned.
Signs of abundant life are still visible at the Salton Sea, but it’s not a place we plan to visit again until drastic measures are taken to remove the stench of dead fish.
— Photo courtesy California Dept. of Parks & Recreation
But then there were some surprises – either because I would never have expected these to be preferred destinations or I had never heard of them. For instance, there was one vote for the Salton Sea in California, as a favorite place. Monique and I set down our stabilizers there in 2006, expecting to stay for a week. We left the next day.
Why? “The inland Salton Sea, south of Palm Springs, is, by all accounts, a depressing place. It’s California’s largest lake and — thanks to its toxic water and resultant abundance of dead fish — gives off a smell that’s so powerfully rancid it’s been known to waft all the way to Simi Valley. Its glory days are many decades in the past, the lake is shrinking, and many of its residents have left (or, in some cases, fled). There are a few traditional tourist attractions left (the International Banana Museum!) and a state park, but if this … article is anything to go by, its stock-in-trade these days is disaster tourism.” That quote is from an article in the September 2013 online newsletter “Curbed.”
That about sums it up in my experience, so I still don’t know why it’s a favorite destination. P.S. There’s a vey aggressive effort being made now to have the State of California solve the problems and restore it to the resort-level beauty of 40 or more years ago.
Another vote was for Nauvoo, an Illinois town in a bend of the Mississippi River. I don’t remember going through there, so I looked it up and found that it’s known for the establishment of a Church of the Latter Day Saints (LDS, the Mormons) and it is acclaimed for its beauty and history.
Standing nobly in Paris, Idaho, is the Church of Latter Day Saints Tabernacle. Despite being built on the Idaho side of the state line with Utah, it remains a center for followers of the Mormon religion.
A personal remembrance here: In 2008, we stopped in Paris, Idaho, where we were invited into the imposing Mormon Tabernacle to listen to the local organist “practicing” on the grand organ … a WOW that we reveled in for about 30 minutes. In reading the sign in front of the magnificent structure, we learned that the LDS pioneers established the community in 1863, but it wasn’t until nine years later that they found out they were in Idaho instead of their destination – Utah!
I had no reason to question the responder who said he likes “the Bourbon Trail” of Kentucky, nor Ennis, Montana, famed for fly-fishing. I never thought of Pahrump, Nevada, as a place to stop for very long, but two people casts ballots for it as a destination. It has a speedway, access to many desert places worth visiting, and extreme summer heat. Apparently lots of RVers spend more than a day there.
We’ve never heard of Door County, Wisconsin, but after reading about this peninsula in eastern Wisconsin, we will put it on our places to go next time we’re in the Great Lakes area. To quote the local visitors bureau, “With more than 300 miles of spectacular shoreline and five majestic state parks, Door County is a four-season, outdoor recreation and pleasure lover’s dream come true. If you enjoy history, discovery and fun, Door County is home to 11 lighthouses, unique communities, performing arts, entertainment, music, boutiques, galleries and mouth-watering cuisine …” yadda, yadda, yadda.
Boy, what an exploration in fascinating places! And here are a few other places that got mentioned, many of which you’ll probably agree with: the Mississippi River Road (very educational with RV caravan companies); riding along rural roads in the Northeast when the leaves are changing; Route 66; the Four Corners (UT, CO, NM & AZ); and the Great Lakes, national parks (several are on islands inaccessible by RV), stadiums and presidential libraries.
Hundreds of RVs travel down to Mexico and Central America every year, and we have talked with several who went into South America, including one adventurer who journeyed down to Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip.
One respondent listed New Zealand — I would put that on my “bucket list,” but it will probably never happen. What is on our list is the Hawaiian Islands, which we will do next year or in 2015, renting an RV and traveling in our rental rig through one or more of the islands. While we’ve been to the Islands before our days in a home-on-wheels, that will be our 50th state to visit as the Never-Bored RVers … which we remain. We’ll see you on down the road.
© All photos by Barry Zander, unless otherwise identified. All rights reserved