by Randal Sumner
This summer as is our routine, my wife Liz and I went to Idaho
for a while, camping and fishing on the St. Joe River. Our stay
as usual was great, fishing was a bit slower than I like but it
was hot and the water was low and the water temp was warm. The trout
begin to be unhappy at about 66 degrees and at 71 it can get lethal
for my fishy pals, I fished a little earlier in the day and we went
swimming in the afternoon heat.
The drive back to Yakima as most of you know is some what a visual
shock from the lushness of a cedar forest to the tedious boredom
of the dry land wheat country. I can only see so many miles of brown
treeless vistas and blue sky baking in the heat. To break the monotony
I began to watch the huge lumbering motor homes that were sharing
the highway, in particular the names painted on their plastic skins.
Who comes up with the names? What are the psychological implications
of these names? Is there a focus group somewhere advising the manufactures
on the names? For example does a giant rig named Intruder sell better
than a giant rig named Bounder with a picture of a kangaroo? Maybe
Intruder is for the type A personalities, it just doesn’t seem like
a friendly kind of a thing, and Bounder with a kangaroo doesn’t
make me think of a smooth calming ride.
Then there are the Indian names, which make some sense as in the
indigenous tribal people traveling from place to place looking for
something to eat with the seasons. Although I am not sure that image
is one of a luxurious lifestyle. One of my favorite names is Perpetrator,
which takes the idea of Intruder to the next level. As in “Hop in
honey lets take the old Perp out, for a ride”, or” Its not just
a motor home it’s a Perpetrator”
Twenty-Seven years ago this month Liz and I and my brother Gary
and his wife rented a motor home named Commander from his undertaker
boss for a jaunt to San Francisco. We returned a week later with
the plumbing fouled, a six-inch wide tear in the aluminum skin from
front to back (picture a sardine can being opened) and the shag
carpet crunching underfoot from a half-gallon of spilled pea soup.
On the drive home I tried to explain to Gary that a trip like this
was all a part of the big tapestry of life. You know the old “its
not destination it’s the journey” lecture. Clearly cheering people
up is probably not my best interpersonal skill.
We can laugh about it now, but I still cringe when I see an old
smoking Commander on the open road. If you own one of these behemoths
please don’t get upset at my observations I was just trying to keep
my sanity on the long road from Idaho.