The picture above tells a lot of my story today, driving from Reno to Salt Lake City. There is actually green grass among some of the unusually bright green sagebrush I saw as I left Reno. As I continued east, sagebrush as I remember it became visible, but not always consistently. At one point, I was looking at a scene with sagebrush as I remember it, the really green aforementioned sagebrush, and sagebrush that was all dried up and about ready to roll (tumbleweed).
I took this picture about half-way between Valmy and Battle Mountain. Many Nevada towns have their initial inscribed on a prominent hillside. Reno has “R,” Sparks has “S,” and Battle Mountain has—get your juvenile giggle on—”BM.” Yes, they really put that on the side of something that doesn’t quite look like a hillside overlooking their town.
This is roadway I haven’t traveled since, as a kid, my father took me to visit my Uncle Len and grandparents after my parents divorced. I remember the side of a mountain bearing the fully spelled out text, “Battle Mountain.” I didn’t see that this time. Instead, I saw “Bowel Movement,” or rather its initials used as a euphemism.
I’ve been thinking about Wells, Nevada, since I set out. Wells is basically a no-account town most of the way to Wendover on the Nevada-Utah border. But I remember one year as a kid, when we moved from San Francisco to Pittsburgh in a Jeep Wagoneer towing a U-Haul trailer (with a moving van coming separately).
The day before we left, it rained hard enough in San Francisco that the water was piling up on 23rd Avenue where we lived. The storm drains couldn’t drain the water fast enough. That storm caught up with us a little west of Wells. There was a multiple-car pileup, due to ice, that we slid right into. We wound up going into Wells to give our statement, then continued on to Salt Lake City, staying with my grandparents while we got the front end fixed.
I also remember Wells from a return trip from Pittsburgh—when I was a kid, we took a few trips across country between Pittsburgh and San Francisco, so I’m not sure if this is when we were moving back to San Francisco a couple years later. The car had mechanical trouble. We wound up getting towed to, you guessed it, Wells and staying overnight while it got fixed.
I stopped in Wells for gas today. As with the rest of the drive, it was uneventful. But having driven clear across Nevada, seeing very few trees (mostly along rivers and streams), it was a bit of a surprise to see small trees east of Wells. They were clearly distinguishable from shrubs in that they had central trunks and branches. But not much larger.
Wendover is a bigger place than I remember. As with Winnemucca and the other towns I passed, I-80 no longer goes down city streets; bypasses have been built on the north sides of these towns (I didn’t recognize any as having been built on the south). But it even has tall buildings now. I could have stopped there for gas instead of Wells, but I’m fussy: Chevron really seems better in my car, and this isn’t the first car I’ve noticed that in. I remembered Wendover as a final stop for slot machines before hitting Utah and I certainly didn’t remember whether it had a Chevron station. For the record, it does now.
I encountered some sprinkles as I traversed Nevada, but the rain didn’t really start until I’d crossed into Utah. From the vantage point just east of Wendover, the Great Salt Lake looked like a mirror. I never had a really good angle for a photograph, partly because I was heading east.
So I’m in my hotel. I’m tired so I’ve grabbed some of my mother’s vegan broccoli macaroni and cheese that she sent me off with. It rocks. It absolutely rocks. It’s infinitely better than what they have at Amy’s Drive Thru in Rohnert Park. My mom sent me off with two pretty good sized containers. I’m most of the way through the first one and had a slice of her always excellent vegan pumpkin pie.
Rain is also in the forecast for tomorrow, but it looks like temperatures will be high enough at least to cross the Wasatch Mountains east of Salt Lake. I will be trying to make it to Lincoln, Nebraska. That means also crossing the Rockies. Wish me luck.
I’m still heartbroken about leaving California. I just wish I could find a real job there.
Another metaphor would be rats deserting a sinking ship. Brexit has gone completely wrong, I don’t think anyone actually sees a way through the mess, and I think anyone who thinks they see a way is delusional.
The thing of it is that no one, not a single one, has put forward a convincing case that they could have done better than Theresa May at coming up with a deal. They blame her anyway and carry on with their delusions that they could indeed have done better.
And now that it looks like the Tories will lose a general election, they are indeed abandoning the ship. They should be pilloried for their hypocrisy and their self-righteousness.
Cartoon by Ben Jennings, via the Guardian, fair use.
The picture that accompanies the story makes the fire appear catastrophic, but firefighters say they’ve saved the structure. And as usual, Donald Trump made an ass of himself, suggesting “flying water tankers.” Such water drops would collapse the structure. The Atlantic has more photographs.
Lori Hinnant and Samuel Petrequin, “Notre Dame Cathedral is ravaged in blaze; Macron pledges to rebuild,” Boston Globe, April 15, 2019, https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/world/2019/04/15/paris-notre-dame-cathedral-flames/xxj3cTUPh1XtTMfTte2VNL/story.html
- Edward Malnick and Christopher Hope, “Tories face 60 seat loss amid Brexit backlash as ‘Corbyn bound for No 10,’” Telegraph, April 13, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/04/13/tories-face-election-wipe-party-course-lose-60-seats-hand-corbyn/↩
- Lori Hinnant and Samuel Petrequin, “Notre Dame Cathedral is ravaged in blaze; Macron pledges to rebuild,” Boston Globe, April 15, 2019, https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/world/2019/04/15/paris-notre-dame-cathedral-flames/xxj3cTUPh1XtTMfTte2VNL/story.html↩