You are here: home   Blogs   The GOAT Blog   Learning from tourists
The GOAT Blog

Learning from tourists

Document Actions
Tip Jar Donation

Your donation supports independent non-profit journalism from High Country News.

Ed Quillen | Aug 11, 2008 09:25 AM

My idea of a perfect vacation is one that does not involve my driving a car, and I managed that on a couple of earlier trips to Oregon with planes, trains, and my daughters' cars -- one lives in Eugene and the other lives in Bend. This time around, starting nearly a fortnight ago, I needed to rent a car at the Eugene airport so we could visit the coast near Florence and get from Eugene to Bend and back.

On those excursions, I'm pretty sure I made myself one of the more unpopular drivers in the Beaver State. I was a tourist, driving slowly to savor the scenery. I wanted to gaze at those jagged volcanic peaks, clumpy lava flows, immense trees, thundering waterfalls, seaside cliffs. and scores of other spectacles that are rare or non-existent in my high-desert valley in Colorado.

Many other motorists, however, were Oregon residents just trying to get from here to there to go about their daily business. I could sense their impatience whenever I glanced at a rear-view mirror. When I could, I pulled over to let them by, but that certainly did not happen often enough to please them.

I knew just how they felt, since I live in an area where my mundane travels often take me on Colorado's scenic byways. Often I've wanted to holler "Look, I know Mt. Elbert is the highest peak in all 3,000 miles of Rocky Mountains, but just how long do you Kansans need to idle along while staring at it instead of the highway? I'm meeting somebody for lunch in Leadville, and I'd like to get there before dinner time." Or "Hey, Texans, bighorns are just sheep, so get over it and get down the road. I was supposed to be in Cañon City 15 minutes ago."

In other words, I tend to forget that one reason I live where I do is the scenery that attracts people from all over the world: the big peaks on the flanks of our valley, the foaming rapids in the river, the remnant structures from the mining days, the eagles and the muleys and the bighorns.

So instead of swearing at those slowpoke rubber-necking tourists who get in our way, perhaps we should be grateful to them for reminding us of the splendor of what we too often take for granted.

And how about...
Aug 13, 2008 09:47 AM
And how about those tourist that Whiz by your favorite, beautiful spots at home? Any positive spin on them? They fly by at 90 in a 65 zone and sometimes I just want to say "This is a beautiful place. Can't you enjoy the scenery for a little while?"

Email Newsletter

The West in your Inbox

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Follow our RSS feeds!
  1. The death of backpacking? | Younger people don’t seem interested in this out...
  2. Why I am a Tea Party member |
  3. The privatization of public campground management | All the info you need to decide whether you love o...
  4. Efficiency lessons from Germany |
  5. The Latest: Interior commits to restoring bison on select lands | The “odd ungulate out” gets a tentative win.
  1. The death of backpacking? | Younger people don’t seem interested in this out...
  2. A graceful gazelle becomes a pest | Inrroducing an African gazelle called the oryx for...
  3. What's killing the Yukon's salmon? | An ecological mystery in Alaska has scientists and...
  4. Plains sense | Ten years after Frank and Deborah Popper first pro...
  5. North Dakota wrestles with radioactive oilfield waste | Regulators look at raising the limit for radiation...
© 2014 High Country News, all rights reserved. | privacy policy | terms of use | powered by Plone