What I learned on my recent road trip to the southwest United States:
▪ National Park and National Monument campgrounds are staffed by volunteers! Typically these were retired people who spend months in their RVs at the campground dealing with all aspects of the campground including bathrooms;
▪ Foreigners visit our national parks and monuments in vast numbers. They come to be in the great outdoors among amazing natural wonders;
▪ Big Bend National Park reduced the cost of lighting by 95 percent by switching to LED bulbs and PV panels at individual charging stations;
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▪ Just outside the National Parks and Monuments local economies are thriving with coffee shops, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, RV parks, craft stores, new construction, and businesses providing horse back riding, river rafting, and many more outdoor activities;
▪ There are few billboards, leaving the view open to natural wonders;
▪ McDonald’s in Moab, Utah, pays $12 per hour starting wage;
▪ It is sunny and windy in many southwestern states, but there are few wind and solar farms;
▪ The Rio Grande is a very narrow river dividing the U.S. and Mexico. The scenery is breathtaking on both sides of the border;
▪ New Mexico revels in its Mexican heritage by naming schools, roads, towns and shopping centers Spanish names;
▪ Mexican-looking people and white folks greet each other when entering small-town restaurants.
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