With the smoke and the fire and the stars at night

Up again in the morning bright

With nothing but road and sky in sight

And nothing to do but go...

—old hobo poem

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Cycle of Wonderment and Awe and Insanity

Do you remember the movie, The Gods Must be Crazy? It took on a cult status, even though some criticized it for being politically incorrect and portraying the Hottentot people as being simple-minded, when in reality, I thought it made the whites look pretty simple-minded. 

But before I digress, assuming you saw it, remember when the pop bottle falls out of the sky and hits the guy on the head, then he picks it up with wonderment and awe, having never seen such a thing? This "gift" from the Gods starts a whole chain of events...

OK, hold onto that feeling of wonderment and awe that the guy had when seeing the bottle, as I take you through the cycle of wonderment and awe and insanity—a cycle that can last anywhere from a month to six months, but seldom longer.

OK, here we go. Your camping gear is packed away. You open the door into your new home (though you know in your heart it will be temporary, though you can pretend), and you walk inside—and the wonderment and awe suddenly hits you at how you can just close the door and shut out the elements.

You stand there for a moment, soaking it all in. And over here, more wonderment and awe, as you have all the water you need to wash dishes! And you can just turn this little handle and the stove comes on, no need to light a match and hope the wind doesn't blow it out! And look here! You can open this little door and turn this knob, and wonderment and awe, hot water and an endless shower! And oh my gosh, here's the bed, all made up and ready, and you can actually sit down and don't have to crawl into it on the ground while wondering if your knees are going to hold up.

And on and on, this feeling continues for days and even weeks, then gradually begins to fade as you get used to living in a house again, though every night, as you crawl into your comfy bed, you can't help but remember the cold and windy nights and luxuriate in your good fortune.

But eventually, winter passes, and you begin to forget the pain and uncertainty of camping. The bad memories of cold nights and rainy, windy days are gradually replaced with the wonderment and awe of memories of coyotes howling in the night, bright stars hanging just above you, the smoky campfire, that cowboy ain't happy without lonesome feeling of happiness...

When this transformation is complete, you know you're history, and there's nothing you can do about it. You start unpacking your camping gear, give notice, and stock up on ibuprofen for the knees, knowing it will be a few months before the cycle has turned and you can't wait to rent a little cottage again.

I don't understand it, but that's just the way it is. If you have a hitch, they call it hitch-itch, but if not, I think they just call it insanity.


  1. Some nice thoughts here Chinle & some great photos as well.

  2. Perfect!

    Loved that movie. The "recipient" of the bottle finally trying to give it back to the gods. I guess that's what you're doing every time the cycle becomes ripe.

  3. Just bought your book, "GhostRock Cafe" for my Kindle! Can't wait to read it! I love your photography!

  4. Thanks Al, for the great comment, much appreciated.

    And Lucky Duck, I loved that movie, I had to watch it several times. I think the Hottentot guy was a genius.

    Happy Trails, I hope you enjoy the book. The sequel, The Slickrock Cafe, is set here in Moab, though I call it Radium. :)

  5. Hi Chinle! Finally just finished "Ghost Rock Cafe" and it was wonderful! Now Chuck is reading it!I am looking forward to Slickrock Cafe next! We are go anxious to get on the road again! But then we have a long summer in Virgin... 6 months workamping... but we will be off 3 days a week with lots of time to explore! We loved Moab last year and I did a few blogs about it and Bluff is another favorite! Keep on writing! You got talent girl !!!!

  6. Happy Trails, email me your email addy and I'll send you a complimentary copy. Thanks for the good words!

    chinlemiller at gmail dot com

  7. Loved that movie. Love your pictures.

    I remember those tent camping days well before full timing. I'd never even been in an RV before full timing. So every time I would get back "home" and that start longing for the isolation, the beauty....that camping itch and I'd also remember vaguely how uncomfortable I was at times. So I'd buy another piece of gear designed to deal with that discomfort. Worked OK with car camping but not so much with backpacking. LOL Full timing has eliminated the cycle. I just take everything with me. It's GREAT!!


  8. Sherry, I'm hoping my little Burro will help out this way, as the tent camping is just getting too hard, especially with 4 dogs and now 2 cats. You sound like one who knows the feeling well, and I look forward to living more like you do and forgetting the pain of tenting it! I hope our paths cross!

  9. Chinle, thanks.... but just bring it down to Virgin when you come for a visit! RVSue will be coming too maybe ya'll could come at the same time! Course Chuck and I gotta work, but we are off 3 days a week!

  10. That would be fun! Any idea when Sue's going to be there? I do have it in paperback, too.

  11. We just bought the kingle version, but you are welcome to bring a signed copy anytime! LOL!
    I have no idea when Sue will be there.... Sue follows her spirit! She will be there when she gets there! Haha! My e-mail address is:
    May I have yours?

  12. kingle??? lol what the He##@@!! is a kingle! LOL! KinDle!