Things you may be surprised to learn

Things you may be surprised to learn

Well, some things are just too interesting not to mention, but they definitely don’t warrant their own post. Here are a few wild things I’ve noticed:

People still yell: “I’m king of the world!” 

Kids yell this. Kids that were born after Titanic was released. How is this possible? Was it mocked in some Disney cartoon? It happens whenever there’s a prominent geographic feature with a steep drop and a railing — somebody will proclaim their kingship and it’s usually a kid. Maybe us grownups want to yell it too, but we’re just too shy to do it. There was also a teenager who gave a canyon a Tarzan yell of dominance … after driving up the side of it to the overlook with her family in their minivan. Weird shit, man.

iPad owners use the thing as a camera

I don’t understand this at all. Using this thing as a camera … a primary camera? I guess. This one is an old-person thing. A woman was prepped to get an eclipse pic with her iPad. Good luck! Maybe as a backup camera. Maybe she dropped her flip-phone in the toilet and broke her “real” camera.

Most laundromats are owned by a religious nut

Did you know that to convert a Muslim to Christianity all you need to do is explain that since God definitely had a son, and it is written that Allah had no son, then Christianity must be the one true religion? Do this to a Muslim. They’ll give themselves a dope slap and repent instantly. At least that’s what I’ve read at the laundromat comics.

VW vans are still very popular

’80s-era ones are still pretty common. The Twinkie-styled ones are pretty rare. There’s one in every campground. More in California.

Southern drivers don’t know how to use right turn lanes

Seriously, in the south, if a person is turning right, they’ll signal, never move over, then just turn right. Even if there’s a huge, empty right-turn lane, they won’t use it. I don’t know why this is. Maybe it’s the moonshine.

50% of visitors to the National Parks are foreigners

Go up to a person in a National Park and you’ve got a 50% chance that English isn’t their primary language. There are foreign tourists everywhere. Maybe it’s just because National Parks have no permanent population that it seems so out of whack. In Chicago, 50% of the tourists could certainly be foreign, but there are so many locals around that the English language still dominates. There are no locals in Zion. Bring your phrase books.

On that note: Asian tourists HATE the sun

Seriously. They hate the sun. They cover themselves up entirely — gloves, goofy hats, sleeves, pants. Sometimes layered. Even in the desert heat. It’ll be 100 degrees and you’ll pass a whole pack on the trail in winter gear. They seem comfortable.

Building your own “teardrop trailer” is kinda a thing

These things are everywhere and very cool. People get plans online then trick them out to their own specs. Some are veneered wood. Some are stainless steel. Some are painted. Everybody that’s built one loves to chat about it.

Astro van, hula dancer.
Astro van, hula dancer.

So is tricking out your Astro van and giving it a wild paint job

We’ve seen four of these. Four! One had Che Guevara in blue and teal on the side. Another was just stylized shapes and squiggles. The first one we saw at Glen Canyon. Then Zion. Then Capital Reef. I need to learn more about this. We road-tripped in an Astro van growing up, but it didn’t seem as cool then. Finally, we got close to one and figured it out.

There’s a LOT of Jesus radio out here

A lot. There seems to always be somebody talking about Jesus on the dial. There’s also still a lot of ’90s rock. I guess I’m part of the last generation to use the radio. Me and the religious weirdos, too low-tech to podcast our way through life like the kids these days.

If a rattlesnake doesn’t rattle, it can’t poison you

Seriously. If a rattlesnake bites you before it rattles, it doesn’t inject any poison. It’s just a love bite. The rattle primes the poison pump. This is a lie, but I tell it to myself when scrambling through tight spaces anyway.