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April 21, 2010

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After failing twice to get over the Sierras yesterday we spent the night in a motel at a much lower elevation and woke to falling wet snow. The motel was empty because the weather's been so shitty--more precip already than they typically get all year in Glennville. It was lucky we turned back when we did. We dropped out of the fog into green grass and sunshine as we took a backroad to Bakersfield where they're still pumping oil out of the earth, the bucolic curves of hilly pastureland yielding suddenly to scars of industry--the derricks, pipelines, and refineries that make "Great American Roadtrips" possible, if not inevitable. On the trainride down an elderly Irish couple had complained about having to see unpicturesque scenery such as stripmines and clearcuts. "But that's why they laid these tracks in the first place," I explained. History is painful; most prefer Disney. I have to embrace it, go in to get out. We finally made it over at Tehachapi where the trees grow tipped in the direction of the wind and a forest of turbines spins out enough energy to power 3 million households at peak. Meanwhile, in the Gulf of Mexico the wounded earth gushes blood in a black tide killing all it touches. I bear some of the reponsibility for that--one measure of which is dollars spent on gas. Damn.