I suppose it depends on the part of the country you’re from… you grow up with something and it’s familiar, so you don’t see it as odd the way an Outsider would. I remember seeing someone taking pictures of the American Robin and thinking, “A robin?!?!” But then, I grew up with them all over the yard, so they’re familiar to me. As I thought about it, I realized that the robin is really a striking bird — as are the cardinals and blue jays I saw all over Ohio. So watching Gambel’s Quail run faster than I probably can amuses me more than native Californians.
All that is to say that you might not find the following odd at all…
Like this curve sign. Where I’m from, back in the flat farmland of north central Ohio, I never saw curves warning that we should slow down to 60 mph! And here this sign was, along a hilly, blind-curve stretch of road….
Or this campfire “ring” made from a washing machine tub (I’ve since seen them around, but it took nearly three years of full-time RVing before spotting the first one):
Along the Route 89 not far from Hatch, Utah, we spotted a homemade sign for cheap camping, so we decided to check out what the cheap $$ would buy us. We found a deserted campground (except for one Class A rig — no one seemed at home in it, either) with a beautiful view, off a long gravel road.
Seems they had great plans for the place. The sign said something about a golf course, restaurant, and air strip. Well, at least they got the sign in place:
It’s not so odd to see other RVers making the sorts of mistakes you hope to avoid, like this RVer with the TV antenna still up…
… We would have liked to warn the driver, but they passed and were lickity-split down the road so fast we didn’t have the chance.
When it comes to marking up the natural world, I’m not sure whether I should be upset and call it vandalism, or consider it a nod to an ancient tradition — a modern version of petroglyphs…
Or a way of communicating to others the way hobos used to and those who mined the streams in the mountains of the West (here, an image on a tree from the Great Basin National Park in Nevada):
Signs are all around us, if we are alert enough to notice them. Here’s a stone sign, left by hikers along Apgar Trail in Glacier National Park. When we hiked the trail again a few days later, the stone was gone:
Though it’s a popular notion that the South is the Bible belt, we’ve seen plenty of evidence in the West that the Good Book is alive and well and if not read a lot, at least quoted on signs. This one of the Ten Commandments seemed to be on nearly every piece of private property north of Flathead Lake in Montana:
Watch for more oddities in future posts 🙂