July 10, 2006

Because It's Not There

AT THE END OF SUMMER, when most folks will start returning to their typical routines of school and work, I’m going on vacation to the Southwest. Ironically, my vacation will likely involve visits to places I wanted to visit when I actually lived out there, but never actually got around to visiting. You know, because I always thought I’d have the time …

But now I’m older and wiser and this fall I shall have the time. At present, I plan to spend most (perhaps all) of the trip in California – first visiting friends in Los Angeles, then heading out to Death Valley National Park, and perhaps the Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park as well. Then, if time permits, it will be off to the Grand Canyon and driving around the Arizona desert.

Things are all still very tentative at this point, and my plans will depend a lot on flight schedules, hotel availability, and so on. It may be that my California trip only lasts a few days, followed up by a nice long weekend here in New England. Still, as my plan goes right now, on the second part of that trip, you can see I’m going to a lot of places because of what’s, well, not there.

Of course, I must say I’m not going to be too adventurous on the trip, at least not outside the urban settings with which I am familiar. I’ll be doing nearly all of my traveling via car, and will stay inside it except for sightseeing and what not. That’s because continued exposure to nature is foul and dangerous. Why, in certain circumstances, continued exposure to nature can prove both embarrassing and fatal.

Don’t just take my word for it, though. Observe the National Park Service’s Web page on “hiking smart” in the Grand Canyon. Note how the first image involves some pasty-looking white guy on the canyon floor, laid out flat on his ass. Note how said pasty-looking white guy is receiving help from rescue crews. Furthermore, note that said pasty-looking white guy hasn’t even yet received the bill for services rendered, which officials often issue when the person being rescued is an idiot.

All of these things are not good. This is why, as a pasty-looking white guy myself, I intend to stay far and away from anything more strenuous than a brisk walk during my trip. It is also why I intend to stay as close as I can to places with the little things – indoor plumbing comes to mind – that I’ve come to consider somewhat essential in life.

On a more serious note, one thing I do plan to do prior to my trip is to pay for the thing “beforehand.” There’s a lot to be said for staying in nice places and eating out at great restaurants, but especially so when the rooms and meals have been a) paid for in advance or b) paid for with money set aside for the purpose. As with prior vacations, my plan is to take my base estimate for my costs and then double it, thus ensuring that I have extra cash to spend and very little guilt about spending it. Yeah.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at July 10, 2006 09:30 PM | TrackBack
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