Road, Railroad, Rollin’ Tumbleweed

Everything in life seems to fit into some category or other. Traveling down the road as we do in our motorhome, we observe regional characteristics that we fit into categories of our own designation.

The scenery varies from rolling hills of central New York to the flat plains of the southwest, the huge farms of the food belt, the loblolly pine forests so common in the south, abundant wetlands and lake regions and ocean beaches.
For years we have referred to the three R’s of the roads we traveled as incessant miles of “Road-RR-River.” For miles we would seemingly match pace with trains on the track and boats on the river, running parallel to our road.

Now that we have traveled more extensively in the south, the 3 R’s have taken on a new character; “Road, Railroad & Rollin’ Tumbleweed.” Roads and railroads still remain but the Rivers give way to acre upon acre of arid land, huge open-range ranches, mile after mile of flat dust-blown plains, sometimes made up of plain empty sand or covered with desert brush. Long miles are lined with fences extending into eternity and frequented with plenty of rolling tumbleweed picking up dust and debris as it tumbles in the wind.

Rollin’ tumbleweed? That our path as well, rollin’ down the road. We add and subtract to ourselves, acquiring some dust, dirt and sand but mostly experience, new acquaintances and a collection of endless adventures. Soon, we settle down and stop rollin’ for a while as if the wind stopped pushing and we make ourselves stay put for a night or a week or two. We just have to control our restlessness, settle in and stay out of the wind to stop rolling.

In a rest stop on the way to the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) sites near the Yuma Proving Grounds on the Arizona/California State line, Paul was entranced by a bit of tumbleweed on the move. “It actually makes noise as it rolls.” Not loud, not harsh, not calling for attention as such, just a subtle “swish swish” of a noise, going the way of the wind and whim—just like us. But we have a purpose and learn from what we gather.

Long freight trains graced with double-stacked shipping cars don’t escape our attention. The goods that form our nation are on those trains. Goods meant to fill the big boxes duplicated over and over in every city in our country; goods for building, goods for consumption and supply. It is mind boggling to think of the items that pass by us every day. The push to buy locally, to decrease reliance on importing and trucking goods and the competition by small farmers and manufacturers to ‘beat down the reins” of the large farms and corporations wanting to smother them needs our attention and proper legislation.
It’s time to hook up and get back on the road. What will we acquire today? Hopefully, it will be more wisdom and insight beyond just plain picking up dust and dirt in keeping up with the rollin’ tumbleweed. Perhaps we will see a country moving forward to improved conservation, global relations and better times for all.