Title: The Road Has Eyes: A Relationship, An RV and a Wild Ride / Art Rosch
Genre: Non-Fiction / Travel / RV -Camping / Spiritual
Publisher: Amazon Digital
Date of publish: September 2014
Were they crazy? Could Art and Fox leave the house and move into an RV full time? Art was a photographer/astronomer and wanted to escape city lights. Fox needed to explore her Native American roots. They started learning RVs. They were victorious but not before they courted utter disaster. The humor of this book seems to lie in the disasters. THE ROAD HAS EYES is a surprising and fun read.
This memoir is about making the transition from living in a house to living in an RV. In 2004 Art and Fox resided in a cottage in the woods of Marin County in Northern California. They had purchased a used recreational vehicle for travel to the southwest. Fox had recently discovered that she was one half Chiricahua Apache. This confirmed a nagging suspicion that had haunted her for more than forty years. The couple could use the RV to explore their passions. Fox wanted to connect with her Native American heritage and Art wanted to go places where he could master his photography and enjoy his enthusiasm for astronomy. They pointed themselves and their rickety RV towards Arches National Park and hit the road without any experience or preparation. The book begins with the story of their meeting. Art was using the internet to get into foolish and comical situations. He met Fox through a mix-up, through one of those fated coincidences that seems ordained by the spirits. Soon they were living together and the idea of RV travel was deeply appealing. They quickly got into trouble. Every crisis led them to people whose kindness and generosity had no ulterior motive When they finally got to the area of Moab, Utah the trip took on an eerie tone, as if they had traveled back in time. The Four Corners area is inherently surreal. Strange things began to happen; strange powers began to emerge through Fox. Art writes about her psychic abilities in childhood and the ways in which they were stimulated when the pair began their travels. In THE ROAD HAS EYES Art describes the process of acquiring a more sophisticated motor home. The search for a new vehicle took them to Florida. The return drive in a 38 foot RV coach was an epic journey. Art and Fox were following the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Driving across the south on Interstate Ten was like descending through Dante’s hellish circles. All the campgrounds in three states were filled with refugees from the storm. A Canadian family wanted company and offered to treat the adventurers to a three day binge at Disneyland. Sure! Why not? Art’s chapter “Disneyland as Hell” is a comic masterpiece of social observation. THE ROAD HAS EYES-A RELATIONSHIP, AN RV AND A WILD RIDE THROUGH INDIAN COUNTRY is an exciting and funny exploration of America as seen through the eyes of two odd characters who chose the road less traveled.
When I was a kid my grandmother decided that the smog and wet weather in southern California was detrimental to her health. She sold her house, bought an RV, to which she promptly hooked up her Cadillac, and she traveled around the western states chasing dry acclimate weather year round. We would visit her at KOK campgrounds around the area where she would stay for the maximum time then be off again to some new destination. It was obvious that she and her neighbors were a different sort of crowd. I often wondered what kind of people would be happy with no roots and no permanent home. Sure the campgrounds and RV parks were nice and full of great amenities, but to live life like a pinball just seemed odd to me. Reading this book sent me back to those days and gave me terrific insight into the community that she was a part of.
The synopsis starts off with the question, “Were they crazy?” It is a question that is never quite answered outright, but I can imagine the legions of outsiders who may have been thinking it. This book takes the reader on an adventure with the great outdoors as a backdrop and a burgeoning supporting cast of characters from across the country, seen through the eyes of the author and his partner, through filter of life experience and a stark spirituality that eschews the written page to draw you in as if you were actually there to experience the stark joys, the near-crippling fears and aggravating frustrations.
The author explores the pitfalls and joys of life on the road with charming honesty that it reads less like a book and more like a great evening with friends and the slide show of their latest great adventure. Yes, I know that last sentence, seriously tells my age, however it is with fond warmness that I recall many evenings in my childhood spent in just such a way.
At the end of the book the Mr. Rosch includes his ‘information guide’ to owning, buying and running an RV, complete with anecdotes. If you are contemplating such a life changing journey of your own and the preceding book hadn’t kept your attention then a read through the appendix will probably convince you that this life is doable.
All in all I have to say this was a seriously enjoyable, not-to-be-put-down kind of read and I am glad to have had the chance to gain some insight, not only into the life of an author (an opportunity I always enjoy), but also into a lifestyle that I once looked at quizzically wondering if my own grandmother had gone slightly nuts in her old age. It takes a special person to live that lifestyle and no, I don’t think they were crazy, more like inspired
This book was well worth the price of purchase.
Art Rosch was raised in the suburbs of St. Louis. He attended Western Reserve and Wayne State University, but wasn’t much of a student. He worked through his teens and twenties as a jazz and blues drummer. He met a girl who liked poets, so he became a poet. He found that he was attracted to the writing more than to the girl. He began exploring the novel form in the late seventies and wrote his first novel around ’77. It was terrible.
In 1969 Art moved to the San Francisco area. His first sale was to Playboy Magazine in ’78. The story won “Best Story Of the Year” and he enjoyed fifteen minutes of fame. Since then he’s been doing what most writers do: collecting bales of rejections and honing his craft. He has published in EXQUISITE CORPSE, TRUCKIN’, SHUTTERBUG, POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY and, yes, CAT FANCY. Art loves science fiction and fantasy and much of his writing is inspired by the work of Philip K. Dick and Jack Vance. He teaches courses in amateur astronomy and photography through local parks and recreation centers.
Don’t forget check out Lian Asks: 5 Questions with Artur Rosch part 1 . Later as part of the spotlight we will take look at Art Rosch’s phography and 5 Questions part 2.