“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” – Albert Einstein
This is one of my favorite quotes. And to illustrate its veracity, I posit the ridiculous legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act by the House of Representatives. They spent in excess of $3 million which might have been used to mitigate some of the evil effects of the sequester this august body also imposed on “we, the people…” I think I’m starting to sound like a broken record (remember them??) accusing Congress of malfeasance but I can’t help it when my representative certainly does not represent me and my beliefs but rather those of the ultra-Christian and ultra-conservative oil patch.
Speaking of the environment, my wife and I just completed a long road trip. We left our beloved Las Cruces (and its triple digit temperatures—June is the hottest month here in the high desert) for the Puget Sound area to visit family and old friends. We traveled through Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington state. Such a journey in many vehicles would have left a large carbon footprint, let alone being a catastrophe for the wallet, gas averaging over $3.60 in most of the area. However, about a year and a half ago, we made the decision to purchase a Toyota Prius. I’m well aware that the sticker shows higher EPA rating for gas mileage in the city than on the highway. We are extremely pleased with the car’s performance on this trip: 3,882.7 miles averaging 58MPH (this included some city driving as well as high altitude driving, over 10,500FT) and getting 47.7MPG. Crossing Snoqualmie Summit in WA, we hit some rain—first extended usage of the windshield wipers since we bought the car in Dec. 2011. Not only did the cabin heat come on, but we were treated to the action of the wipers, The passenger side unit is anchored in the middle of the windshield and has an odd eccentric motion as it sweeps away the precipitation. Now if only there were an affordable electric that would get about 500 miles to a charge……..
One negative about the trip was the plume from the Silver fire in New Mexico. Rising to almost 30,000 feet, it is visible for hundreds of miles. And today, apparently the winds have shifted and are carrying this smoke into our region. The Organ Mountains are not visible and one can smell the smoke in the hazy air.
But the air was not hazy for the days we were in Tacoma. Majestic Mount Rainier came out and as always was a thrilling sight, seemingly suspended in the sky.
And, of course, to desert rats like us, Puget Sound and Commencement Bay demanded our attention. Why? Just look at that expanse of water!!!
And, finally, one of the sublime geological formations that seem strewn about the Western U S. This particular one is called Wright’s Arch in Southeastern Utah.
As much as we Americans may disagree about our ridiculously ineffective politics and policies and as much as we may embody the quotes of Albert Einstein referenced above, any of us who have traveled in this country, especially west of the Mississippi river, can not but appreciate its beauty.