Along the road to progress, late 1980s maybe, the automotive industry decided the gas light was a clever thing to add to the dashboard. When the little red orb illuminates, you're supposed to feel some gratitude. But you don't, do you? It's really like getting your final warning: do it now, lest you get stranded. Under the best of situations running out of gas is a downright drag, so a little hey-bro-put-somthing-in-the-tank ought to be a nice reminder; instead it's a bummer, the jig is up. You have to give in and gas up.
Well. As far as running out of gas is concerned, I found myself and my family not in the best of situations . . .
Of the numerous "adventuring with kids" books out there to be consumed, few of them command little more than casual attention. They'll hit some reasonable, if not obvious, topics like the benefits of getting your children outside. Or what products to buy to keep your spawn comfy. Or how to select an easy hike from a guidebook.
Okay . . . fine, yes. Maybe a little dull.
That's why it's relieving to discover Michael Lanza's narrative, Before They’re Gone: A Family’s Year-Long Quest to Explore America’s Most Endangered National Parks . . .
If you've ever hoofed it to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, then you've made friends with the multiplying foot blisters, known well the rock-hard calf muscles and felt the blow to your ego as you do battle with the final set of unending switchbacks climbing out of that monster of a canyon. That's why most folks don't do it at all, and others spread it out. Hike down, camp, hike out after another day or two. Some staunch few can hike it from rim to rim in one go, spending the night on the other side, then trodding back down and up from whence they came.
And even fewer are more insane. A couple of them are my friends, big surprise . . .
If you know nothing of Dora the Explorer you're forgiven. But the kids' show has been around since 2000, adapted to 26 foreign versions and two stage versions, and takes your money in the form of books, toys, videos and games. So there's a good chance you know all about it. And this spoof movie trailer will make you laugh. Hard . . .
As a parent of young kids, my house has no shortage of books with animals as the main characters and heaps of kindergarten art fanatical of flowers and butterflies and sunshine. It's my 5-year-old who'll look up at the sky at dusk and remind me of the full moon rising over power lines and suburban rooftops. "Look! The moon is full!" she yells, and it's a reminder that always makes me proud that she's mine. She'll pick flowers, swim in rivers, go barefoot in mud puddles . . .