Don’t Let the Sound of Your Own Wheels Drive You Crazy


Stereotypes, you know, in general, are kind of annoying . . . I mean, not to stereotype them or anything.

One that’s particularly loathsome (and yet one often ensuing of much slapstick hilarity) is that of the prissy girl who isn’t “outdoorsy”. “Ugh, (hair flip) I don’t do camping” is a phrase that has come out of many an uptight, high-maintenance city girl’s mouth according to modern pop culture.

As such, we’ve been led to believe that there are only two types of women on the planet: the Mary Anns and the Gingers:

. . . or better yet, the Vickys and the Maggies:

What we can assess from these characters is that nice, smart, cool girls are just as comfortable in the wilderness as they are in pig tails or flannel shirts. It’s the manipulative, sequin-wearing, gold-digging whores that would ship sweet little Hayley Mills(es) off to boarding school who can’t hack it out there in the wilderness.

There’s just one problem, though . . .

I, like, don’t do camping.

And yet, here I am, finding myself in a position where, yup, I’m probably going to be doing some camping-like activities in the next few weeks. I need to un-Vickify myself posthaste.

My next trip is something that every American should probably do, and so naturally it’s something that, as a bad American, I haven’t really done much of: visit National Parks.

It appears that, like the stereotype or not, I am kind of a city girl. I am usually drawn to places because of cultural attributes, not necessarily by nature. I like food, art, architecture . . . “things”; scenery is nice, but it’s most beautiful when one is looking at it from the terrace of a really lovely restaurant, holding a glass of wine. Is the ocean not more magnificent while looking at it through rosé colored glasses?

It never even occurred to me to question this mindset until I met John, and his ability to inspire me to see all sorts of things from a new perspective is one reason why I fell in love with him. We’re like a reverse Pocahontas & John Smith.

Ok, I really need to lay off the Disney movies.

While John has never sung to me about painting with all of the “colors of the wind” or anything (that I’m allowed to talk about in public, anyway), he has been on three cross-USA road trips. He’s got photo albums full of impressive canyons and arches and mountains and wide open space: things that I’ve sort of seen while playing Oregon Trail, but never really felt the need to see in person. He’s done these types of trips several times, so obviously he really enjoys them, and when you love someone, you get a particular kick out of seeing them in their “element”, even if it’s not necessarily something that you get. The last USA road trip John took was with his very good friend from Germany, and so for historical accuracy, he will be joining us along with his girlfriend, which is really cool.

We’re retracing some of their steps, meeting in Vegas, and then heading off into the sunset to the Grand Canyon, followed by Canyonlands, Monument Valley, Arches, Zion, Bryce Canyon, and all sorts of other anti-Vegasy things that will allow me to expand my horizons. Jury is still out on whether the other girl is a Vicky or a Maggie, but the point is, I’m really going to try to not be an uptight whore: I want to be outdoorsy. I want to prove that I can sleep outside and do things like raft or bike or eat beef jerky. I want to be able to survive without my flat iron. I want to wear a flannel shirt, and if I didn’t just have my hair chopped off at Frederic Fekkai, I would try out ponytails too.

These things, combined with living in Manhattan and craving the novelty of unused space, are why I’m particularly looking forward to this trip.

Right now I’m in my typical travel-only-type-A mode, mapping out a route and doing all sorts of research on must-sees and creating The Perfect Playlist on iTunes, you know, the most important stuff. Next, we’ll talk packing for a trip unlike any I’ve ever been on.

Anyone been to these places and have any suggestions? More importantly, what are you favorite road trip songs?

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3 thoughts on “Don’t Let the Sound of Your Own Wheels Drive You Crazy

  1. Carla Casey says:

    As I was walking that ribbon of highway . . . Woody Guthrie said this land is your land – let’s see if he was right! Download some Woody Guthrie tunes and through in Big Rock Candy Mountain just for kicks!

  2. Rach says:

    Happy to see this trip has also inspired you to write more! Horray! Wonderful Article again, wouldn’t expect any different…

  3. dolphnlvr6 says:

    Props to you! I will never camp. I’m too old and settled in my ways. I demand a bed and indoor plumbing. I’m not being prissy, but life is too short ( I’m “Middle aged now) to be uncomfortable,lol!

    Can’t wait to see you pics and hear about this one. And I wish you would write more too. You could make a commute to work be interesting to read!

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