Checking for Invasive Species
July 6, 2011 § 2 Comments
ROAD TRIP, Number Two: When I saw a sign saying “Invasive Species Check” at a Montana rest stop I laughed thinking of some invasive species I’ve known. Now I know that what the government checks are searching for resembles millfoil on boat propellors rather than aliens, but I’ve come to the conclusion that we tourists actually fit the invasive specie category quite well.
Consider the middle-age Asian woman traveling with a tour group who stepped off the boardwalk in Yellowstone in defiance of warning signs in several languages and pictures showing how dangerous the hot water can be. She walked over to a boiling thermal pool and actually stuck her finger in, her face registering surprise. Yep, we tourists want the full experience, blisters and all.
We invasive species like to advertise our comments on our clothing. Consider the young man in Cody, WY proudly wearing a t-shirt from Wisconsin that said, “Smell the Dairy Air.” Perhaps he was a dairy farmer; or maybe not. Nuff said.
Then there’s Jan and Mike from Pennsylvania traveling near Cody, WY on a brilliant blue Harley trike complete with trailer who were hauling their own invasive species: about a dozen Beanie Babies, penguins all, strapped to the back of the bike. Have penguins, will travel.
The great thing about being among the many “Amuricuns” who are traveling this summer, camping, and doing the tourist thing, is that we all fit right in. Whether you’re wearing shorts with stars and stripes in honor of the 4th, or a pink cowboy hat, you’ll fit in. (I’m sitting here writing this shamelessly in a blue and white garage-sale flowered Hawaiian mumu.) The more cameras around your neck, the better.
In some places, bigger cities than Thermopolis, WY where we found ourselves last night, it’s not cool to walk around with a camera dangling from your neck. Visitors to Paris attempt to fit in with the locals, wearing the obligatory scarves tied in the Parisian fashion and keeping cameras tucked alongside monochromatic outfits to be surreptitiously whipped out as needed.
But, not us, we’re the proud, the free, tourists one and all, invading every corner of this fine land in search of that all-American phenomenon, the great family summer vacation. It’s guaranteed that we’ll discover some intriguing invasive species along the way.
© Inger Logelin, 2011