On the road with Lance

April 4, 2012 

My husband and I acquired a travel trailer a few months back — that is to say we paid through the nose for it — and we like to call it Lance. I’ve never really been into naming vehicles, but this trailer just demanded a handle.

I talked about Lance in front of a friend one day, and after she figured out that I was discussing a travel trailer, she looked at me skeptically and asked how we chose the name. I took her into the backyard, and there sat Lance — name factory-emblazoned in 24-inch letters on all four sides. What else could we call it? My theory is that when the founder started the company, he had a son named Lance. I’m just glad the guy’s kid wasn’t named Roger.

So, in January, we started off on alittle winter jaunt to Arizona to give Lance a whirl. One of our first adventures was a fourwheeling romp through Canyon de Chelly. I’d not been in an honest-to-goodness Jeep in years, and at the outset, I thought that in the future I might like to take up off-roading in my spare time.

It was fabulous! All of that bouncing and sliding and crunching through water and ice and other dangerous natural elements, such as dirt and fresh air. Three hours later, when it took me several painful minutes to extricate myself from the Jeep, I threw in the proverbial off-road towel and repaired to Lance for three Advils and a beer.

Shortly thereafter, warmer weather beckoned, so it was south to Sedona. I expected to see John McCain around every turn in the road, but alas, not even a Cindy sighting. I suppose they were off in Washington doing the people’s work. I wanted to make the trip to Sedona because I’d heard it was full of spectacular scenery and also the site of a vortex.

The vortex, in this instance, is where three types of energy are emitted from the earth. It is a spiritual place for many, and God knows I needed to get in touch with my sensitive side. According to the literature (and by that I mean Google), there are three types of energy in Sedona (which was news to me because I always figured there is only one kind and you either have it or you don’t — depending on the day). At any rate, the three types are: electrical, which is masculine, magnetic, which is feminine, and electromagnetic, which is neutral. I’m not sure how you know which field you’re in. My guess would be that if you experience a sudden urge to buy Jimmy Choo stilettos and get yourself a mani/pedi, you’re in feminine territory. If, on the other hand, you’re suddenly scratching your crotch and wishing you had a shotgun ... well, you get the idea.

Being an intrepid hiker and experienced off-roader, I was ready to set off in search of “The Force.” We like to consult with the local experts for sightseeing advice, so we talked to the kid at the hardware store who filled our propane tanks. He directed us to an absolutely gorgeous spot along the river. As we meandered down the trail, I suddenly had the feeling that I was in the presence of something out of the ordinary.

Sure enough, in mere seconds we encountered a group of women who had their arms wrapped around huge trees. Admittedly, I’ve been called a tree-hugger in the past, but I had a feeling this went beyond anything I’d ever experienced. Adopting our most accomplished nonchalant demeanor, we slowly walked by. I admit that I tried my hardest to eavesdrop on the conversation — if it was the end of days and they were about to be beamed up, I wanted to grab onto their shirttails. But alas, no. My hearing’s just not as good as it used to be, and it’s really cramping my snooping style.

We moved on, left the huggers behind and continued along the creek. Alone. Red rock, clear water, soft, soft sounds — the crunch of our boots in the sand almost intrusive. And finally, in a clearing, a mass of cairns — river rocks piled atop one another. Seven, eight, nine or more, in precariously balanced perfection; hundreds of them, along the creek, spilling into the nearby small canyons. We sat and relished the wonder.

I was awed in Monument Valley, humbled in Canyon de Chelly, but this place — this place called Buddha Beach — spoke in illusive and ethereal whispers. Thank you, propane boy.

Suzanne Davis is happily retired and living in the South County with her husband and their three dogs.

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