Captain’s Blog, Supplemental (again)

It’s funny – sometimes I think I’ll have nothing to say in a blog entry, so I start cogitating and ruminating and come up with some ideas – and then life happens (as I recounted in my previous entry, “Westward ho, the wagons!”) and I have an overabundance of stuff. Well, once I’ve thought of it, I hate not to use it, so you get a bonus entry for August 7.

1. I have to remember that duct tape is not waterproof. At least, that’s the only explanation I can come up with for why the duct tape that was holding my temporary trailer tag on began coming off. I replaced it – only once – and got home with a valid tag. Of course, it expired today, but the trailer’s in the garage so I don’t really care. I’ll get a new permanent plate this week.

2. In Mineral Wells, TX, there is a very large, very abandoned brick building. It’s about 8 or 10 floors tall and quite massive. Many of the windows are broken out, and all the ground-floor openings (doors and windows) are boarded up. I wonder what it was and when it was last used?…

3. In Breckinridge, TX, I drove across a bridge that crosses a lake. The lake is so low that it’s more of a streambed now, with the (useless) boat ramp ending way before it gets to the remaining water. I also saw an old roadbed down on the lake bottom and assume it was the original road from before the lake was created. The pavement was gone, but the raised bed was still there, along with some culverts where it crossed the original stream.

4. Note to self: Check out air cards for the laptop before going on your long trip; there may be several days where you have access to a cell tower but no wi-fi spots nearby.

5. Texas has designated several “trails” that look interesting. The only one I wrote down was “Texas Fort Trail” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Forts_Trail) but there are others.

6. As I had watched the land get greener and change its use in Nebraska, I also watched it change uses and dry out as I traveled west in Texas. Some of the drying-out was due to drought – I saw some areas with lots of recently-dead trees – but it was also simply moving from one ecosystem to another. You don’t notice it mile by mile, but you do if you work on an hour-by-hour basis. I also noticed the truck was working harder to climb hills, indicating that the hills were in addition to an overall increase in elevation.

7. I saw several abandoned farm houses in various states of decay. For some reason, they reminded me of the island mansion in James Michener’s book “Chesapeake”, which ultimately disappears along with the entire island it’s on. They also reminded me of the ranch in “Centennial” where the rich family didn’t have to own all the land in order to control it. All they had to own were the water holes, and that gave them control of the land in between. That ranch, too, decayed.

8. And then I thought about all the things humanity has made, which will eventually decay, and I realized that sometimes we make changes that are, for all intents and purposes, geologically permanent: such things as Interstate Highway tunnels and cuts through hills and mountains; open-pit mines; mountaintop-removal mines; and so on. Without making any value judgments on any of these, I think it’s amazing that some of the changes we have made to the Earth’s surface will likely outlive our species.

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