Saturday, August 14, 2010

Day 2: Lots of Driving & Heavy Industry

Day 2 has come to a close.

It started out pretty well. We pulled out of Winslow and headed East on 40, making our way across Northern Arizona.

Our first point of interest: we passed the Cholla Power Plant.  There were huge piles of coal laying around (just visible on the left in the picture) so I assume it is a coal fired power plant.

It made me think of how great it is that someone figured out how to burn coal to generate electricity in the first place, and how great it is that our lives are extended by decades as a result of what we can do with it: power hospitals, power our refrigerators so we have fresh, wholesome food at home 24/7, power the factories where they make the refrigerators, keep lights on in peoples homes so kids can do their homework after dark, basically allow us to do anything after dark, basically power our entire civilization. 

It sure beats the pre-industrial alternative: death by age 40.  Ayn Rand was right on when she said to go hug your nearest smoke stack.  I didn't hug these, but I saluted as I drove by.

Then we had some really great rocky landscapes for a while:

At one point I was driving along side a freight train...

...and I was surprised that I was going faster than the train.

And then, I saw another smoke stack, way off to the left, behind the next row of rock formations. 

I don't know what it was exactly, but there was a branch line of the railroad leading over to it.  Here you can see where the railroad line crosses through the line of rocky hills between the smokestack and the building.  That whole section of the drive was very Atlas Shrugged:

Eventually I made it into New Mexico and stopped at Albuquerque for coffee, gas and a break for the dogs.  There was a nice little grassy area next to the Starbucks where we got some fresh air and stretched our legs (all 10 of them!)  Then it was onward through the rest of New Mexico.  It was a lovely drive:

There is a little town called Tucumcari, NM that I have driven through before, and I took the Business Loop through the town when we got there.  Slightly off the main road was this, which I had not noticed before:

It's a quonset hut next to a grain elevator!  I thought that was pretty great.  Both of them such purely functional structures, with wonderful form/function synthesis, right there together.  *sigh*

I also saw my first horizontal stop light in ages.  I know it's not the first time I've seen one, but the first in a really, really long time.

Then it was flat for a while.  We crossed into Texas at some point.  The pavement in Texas was superb.  Smoothest roads I've driven on in a long time.

I'm not sure if it started in New Mexico or Texas, but there was a barrage of grain elevators and large agricultural structures, and I took as many pictures as I could.

Yikes!  I'm glad I wasn't on that project team!

Then, as we approached Amarillo, just when it was time to get out and give the dogs some exercise, we hit (most unexpectedly) upon this:

So we stopped.  I'd seen pictures of the Cadillacs sticking out of the ground.  They're right out in the middle of a field, with cows all around and everything.  You can just walk right in.

But as you approach, you start smelling spray paint, and see the ground littered with spray paint cans, and you realize that the whole thing is just a bunch of overweight slobs spraying their names on the cars and throwing the cans around on the ground.  It was pretty disgusting.

Todd left his mark:

But then it got EXTREMELY interesting, for Paul and Todd:

You can't see it, but Todd was Quivering. All. Over.  It's going to be interesting when we get to the farm and they see their first horses.

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