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by Lloyd Treichel
Dateline: March 3, 2005 -- Benson, AZ
Future Travel... Soon I will leave here heading west with stops along the way and arrive San Diego about March 25.
The last post was from south Texas east of the 100th meridian. From there I followed the Rio Grande River through west Texas to El Paso. Eventually I arrived here at Benson, AZ.
West Texas ... is a place most people would rather avoid. I am one of the few that enjoy the drive since there is nothing to interrupt the view all the way to the horizon. However, there are antelope herds, solitary hawks searching for snacks in the brush below, cattle ranchers scratching out a living, piles of tumbleweed line the fences, towns approaching ghost town status and Border Patrol blimps scanning a desolate horizon for a desperate Mexican seeking a job on the US side of the Rio Grande.
That solitary drive comes to an end as US Hwy 90 approaches I-10. Ten miles away I already see the freeway and its line of semi trucks moving at "warp" speeds. Driving stress is back.
That journey across Texas can not be done in a single day. On one of my stops I stayed at Alpine, TX. While there, I visited the nearby...
Marfa lights ... I arrived at sunset (at the viewing site) and could see the ridge lines to provide a reference for the lights. Considering that the hillside was -- perhaps -- ten miles away, I could only marvel at the speed of movement of some of the lights.
There were many variations to the appearance -- and disappearance of the lights. Some lights remained stationary and visible for a short time. Some seemed to bounce. Then there would be a series of lights that would "march" single file and would disappear individually or all at once.
The lights were first observed by original settlers in the 1880s -- long before cars and modern lighting systems.
While I was viewing the lights, a couple arrived who were looking at the lights. They had camped in the area many times over the years and after dining in Marfa would stop to see the lights. They had come some times and never saw the lights. Other times they had come and were able to see the lights and then would stop for the remainder of their viewing time.
This same couple had talked about the number of people who have studied the lights with telescopes -- or even on the hillside where the lights seem to appear. There still are no explanations.
It is great to know that with all of man's scientific knowledge and technology, there are things that remain unexplained.
New Mexico... follows after leaving El Paso, TX. The elevation continues to rise until finally crossing the Continental Divide at an elevation of 4585 feet in New Mexico. It is hard to see the uphill -- let alone the downhill. This picture was taken through the windshield on the down hill side. (Thanks to Tom Atkins for suggesting taking pictures from the dashboard.)
Benson, AZ... has an antique tractor pull each February. One of those tractors was a restored International Harvester Model H circa 1950. That was the model that I drove as a pre-teen on the farm in Wisconsin.
Tombstone, AZ... is about 25 miles south of Benson and each year it deserves a visit. The whole town plays the western motif. In addition to the horse drawn stage and buckboard, the residents roam the streets in western garb.
Food... There is no cinnamon roll to mention, but I found great food at the PEI WEI Asian Diner in Tucson. As you enter, you place your order. In a few minutes your meal is brought to your table. The dishes are mild to spicy including the variety of flavors and preparation available for Asian dishes.
I don't have any answers, but...
Bush's plan to privatize Social Security... Let's follow the money. Demand for stocks going into these private accounts will cause the stock prices to rise. That's good for the market indicators and the CEOs whose bonuses are based upon stock price increase. Since these are private accounts, somebody other than the government will handle the fiduciary role. That would be the brokerage houses who will maintain the accounts -- for a fee. At retirement the private accounts are turned to retirement income annuities by insurance companies -- for a fee.
Since I first wrote that paragraph, I noted they now are called "personal accounts". It appears they weren't "private" with government control.
Since USA agriculture -- and others -- depend on cheap labor, does the government really want to stop illegal immigration across the border with Mexico. With traditional fence building and the latest technologies available, the USA could build a very secure fence from San Diego to the Gulf of Mexico. Recall that the Russians made a very effective fence which lasted for decades.
TOE-ER on the RV and TOE-EE on the car being towed.
ADORIBL -- seen in Tucson
"Storyville USA" by Dale Peterson. If you have ever wondered how places were named, then this is the book for you. The author takes his two children on a geography tour of the USA and searches the history of the naming of towns along the way beginning at Start, Louisiana. Some of the towns visited were Monkeys Eyebrow, Accident and Zigzag. Told with humor and a gift for words it is a joy to read.
Speaking of place names, I graduated from De Pere High School, Wisconsin. De Pere was named by an early explorer when he had fallen in the river and as he crawled up the river bank, he exclaimed, "It's deep here".
Actually the name De Pere is a corruption of Rapides Des Peres.
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