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Pondering while Wandering

| Updated Sep 29, 2013

th-2It’s hard not to notice things when traveling.  A few jump out and practically hammer you upside the head like national parks, storms and wonders of the world.

A lot of the time, though, it’s the small, weird and unusual, or just the difference between here and there (wherever you are) that can make a road trip memorable.

It’s a shame not to pay attention.  Not to keep your eyes open and your other senses honed.  These are the things that make the journey fun, until you get to wherever you're headed, if you're headed anywhere, that is…

Some are fun and thought provoking!  Here are a few oddities I’ve managed not to miss:

-A town where there is a prison museum- also sported a big flashing road sign that said not to pick up any hitchhikers because there was a recent escapee.

-Lumber companies have such lovely names such as: Forest Land Svc, Evergreen Tree Experts, Environmental Forestry Svc.

-There is a town called Inkom (pronounced income) that is a remnant of an old oil town. Dead and in the Red.

-On the road, why do I see only 2 blades of a giant windmill go by on those incredibly long trucks? Where is the third blade?

-Why have I never actually seen any game at a game crossing? Don’t they know how to push the button for the red light?slides  13622

-And I have seen animal tunnels under the road. Really? How do they know where they are? Wouldn’t it be great if you were a mountain lion? Just wait on the other side for something tasty to come through.

– I saw a man with 2 prosthetic legs with dollar bills all over them.  I’m guessing they were very expensive.

– Watched a lady walk down the highway with an American Flag.

– A terrible name in a small town was Century High School. I would not want to go there. I don’t know if anyone makes it to graduation.

-Drove past a water park at Dry Creek. HMMMM?

-Saw orange robed Buddhist monks at a small town (population 132) café in the Ozarks.  Very surprising.

-Stopped at a Cowboy Church. They were having a small rodeo. I get it!th-1

– In Idaho, a town was having porcupine races.

– I got to touch real mammoth bones in a small museum in Nebraska while a college student was prepping them.

-Went to a very cool, very creepy insect museum near Colorado Springs. Not to be missed. Some were bigger than my head so I’m glad they were dead and under protective glass.

-Saw a TV ad in Idaho.  “If you buy a car from us, you get a free gun!”

-Saw a sign on the highway for “Beetle Cleaned Skulls”. Ewww.

-Drove over Drinkwater Pass right to Stinking Water Creek.

-Atomic City is right near some old volcanoes that could erupt anytime in the next 10,000 years.

-Watched a dung beetle push a large ball of you know what, about 20 times the size of the beetle, with it’s hind legs backwards and upside down. (Now that was pretty cool!)

Pondering while Wandering 1-Almost stepped on a slug the size of my hand in Oregon.

-Listened to a big pack of coyotes up in northern WI, while laying in my small and very thin tent, which turned out to be wolves.

-Listened to an eerie banshee screaming at the same lake- super scary- that turned out to be a loon.

– Had my white t-shirt turn solid black with lake flies up in Minnesota.  (Could skip that one.)

-Saw 1 ½ million geese fly in to managed wetland area in one day!

So-   Listen in on a conversation at the mom and pop cafe in Small Town or to the night sounds.

Taste a strange local dish you haven’t tried- (the fried pickles and gator in Louisiana are delicious).

Feel the moss, wind, or the sponginess of a giant slug between your toes .

See the jillion stars on a clear night in the wild.  Look up, down and sideways.

Smell the freshness after a rain in the desert- or the pungent odor of a feedlot.

Ponder the mysteries of the road.







Mike Wendland

Published on 2013-09-29

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

12 Responses to “Pondering while Wandering”

September 06, 2014at11:35 am, Tim Hayden said:

We saw him yesterday:-) lol. Or maybe his twin? ???:-)

February 09, 2014at10:37 am, Mary said:

I just loved the last sentences! I need to do more of that.

January 10, 2014at4:24 pm, Vicki said:

Took a trip from Tucson, AZ to Mount Rushmore. On the return decided to stop every time I saw one of the brown roadside signs, local event advertised by the road, or local museum and site advertised. Had the best time ever and now it is part of my travel experience.

January 10, 2014at3:06 pm, Tom Crosby said:

Looks like elephant hall in Lincoln ne.

January 10, 2014at6:59 am, Lisa Gruner said:

Exactly my thought! Eyes open for the next interesting and cool thing slong the way….

September 30, 2013at12:34 pm, Susan Adame said:


Thanks for the great article!

September 30, 2013at10:29 am, Janet Arnold said:

Laura, I ponder a lot when I travel. Here is another one for the list. Who named a road off Interstate 15 in the California desert Zzyzx Rd? And…why ?
Great article, thank you.

September 30, 2013at9:43 pm, Jim Temple said:

That sign would come at a good time if you were finishing the alphabet game.

September 30, 2013at7:56 am, Mike Wendland said:

They run those “buy a car, get a gun” ads down in Georgia, too, in TV, on biullboards and in newspapers. Shotgun or rifle. Take your pick. The rack in the back is extra.

September 30, 2013at6:04 am, Campskunk said:

i saw the “buy a car, get a gun” promotion, too – i think we were in mountain home, idaho at the walmart for the night. whenever i have to travel cross country and drive past all this stuff, i know what i’m missing now. there’s a story every mile up and down all these roads.

September 29, 2013at5:19 pm, Tom Gallivan said:

“Smell the freshness after a rain” …there’s a word for that smell! …petrichor… discovered that word a few years ago on a “word of the day” site. It resonated with me and somehow feels right. Thanks for your interesting and enjoyable post. Just picked up our new E-Trek last Wednesday and am doing the learn it in the driveway thing. We’ll be heading out for our first trip, a mini one of two days. We live in Vermont so we don’t have to travel too far to experience some incredible beauty, especially this time of year.

September 29, 2013at5:09 pm, Al said:

Actually Inkom is pronounced about how you’d sound it out. Ink-um. That darn Idaho accent could have sounded like anything though. 🙂
But I did laugh at your take on Century High School. (Most of the people who live here would also argue whether it is a small town. I know from experience and agree with you. They need to get out more.) A fun post though. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts when you’ve driven through my neighborhood.

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