Psuedo Kerouac Day 2, Green: Eco to Soylent
My second day in the trek across America really opened my eyes to a few things. Sure I have heard the smog jokes, and even seen a bit of smoky haze associated with daytime “live” shot out of Los Angeles, but today I got a full video shot of what it is like and how it ruins the scenery that is the painted desert between L A and Palm Springs.
If you are joining this journey late, I got a job offer of a lifetime to transport a vehicle across the country from bay-2-bay (San Fran to Tampa) with all expenses paid and I jumped at it like a sugar craved kid towards those intoxicating candy canes at Christmas time. But let’s get back to the trek…Alright?
I had heard the constant bickering and foul-mouthed comments on the freeway system, but possibly I just hit it on a good day ( a Wednesday). But as soon as I got to the Pasadena exit, a thick and gray haze began to en gulp the entire roadway. I have seen the smog residue in Florida on a breeze less day, but our crossing sea breezes tend to clean the area of this environmental hazard pretty much by lunch time in the Summer.
Maybe it is just my Florida lungs, but I decided I needed the whole enchilada and convinced myself for the art form I had to take in a multitude of deep lung exercises to see just how it would effect me if I decided to job in the gray matter. I had a bit of difficulty taking in deep breathes, and somehow my throat stayed a bit raspy until I popped open another Diet Dr Pepper and coated my tonsils with the elixir.
I guess it is true that sometimes you could physically take a knife and carve out of piece of this gray pea soup. Another of life’s urban legends kicks me in the respiratory system.
The next sight to hit my eyes after exiting Los Angeles on the I-10 corridor which would become my constant traveling companion was the sight that reminded me more of a modern Netherlands than Tinsel-town. Rising above the haze and traffic were these towering electric producing wind turbines, basically configured into a wind farm to harvest any wind power from a multitude of directions.
Not just large towering skyscraper windmills, but also small units getting that level of breeze just kissing the surface of the Cali landscape. I really wish somewhere in Florida could invest money and constructive resources to produce such a harvest of our nightly sea breeze crop, and think of the extra power a hurricane would produce on the short term. But it is great to see green technology in a region that also has some environmental woes.
Then I begin the trek into what some called the painted desert portion of my trip. I had previously been warned that the L A to Tucson road trip could be a boring trip of countless hills and valleys with only sagebrush and sand for miles. So maybe I was predestined for the worse, and got the thrill of seeing the sediment rock formations and the compressed materials etching out intricate patterns in the rocks.
Of swirling miniature dust storms picking up trash, sand and even the lone tumbleweed and whirling it round and round within its wind-aided tentacles. But then again, I am an optimist. I actually loved this portion of the trip. Seeing the land that so many fought for day and night, that millions of settlers hoping for a new life, financial rewards or even a change of scenery.
I even tried to catch up with one of those souls seeking a change of Scenery, but Ex-Rays LHP Scott Kazmir had left the Anaheim Angels Phoenix Spring Training site before I got there. Going through Phoenix, I got the feeling why people lived there. But then again, it was Spring time, not the pounding heat of late July or August.
But the real fun hit me in Tuscon. First off, I got to the hotel and got a rare chance to sit by the pool and catch up on a few missed shows on my laptop loving the luxury of the moment. I had made reservations for later that night at the oldest Mexican restaurant in town, El Charro, and was excited by the reviews and accolades given to this authentic established local fare.
I got the “Carne Seca Plate” which gave me 1/4 pound of awesome Sonoran Sun dried Angus beef shredded and flash grilled with green chiles, onions and special spices. It was served with guacamole, homemade Pico de Charro salsa, arroz and frijoles refritos or Charoos and a choice of flour or corn tortillas.
I picked both types of tortillas and also asked for a side of green and red chile ( did not want to offend the cook). Washed down all this authentic goodness with an intoxicating in-house sangria that took my socks, shoes and maybe even my little toe away. Oh, did I mention this is the oldest Mexican restaurant operating in the United States?
I was in Tuscon heaven. The bar at the hotel also had Karaoke tonight, and a coupon for 2 free drinks for moi. I went into the lounge and ordered an adult beverage, met some University of Arizona grad students, sang a few cover songs then my stomach began to do back flips on me. I was starting to sweat in the 47 degree temperatures and was told I looked a little flushed.
I could tell from the pain it was not the food I had just joyfully ingested, but something had crept up on me, possibly the bold Florida bravado of not wearing a coat during the 40-odd degree days in San Francisco and Victorville,California. I went into the room and even as it was 55 degrees in there, I was sweating like I had just run a marathon. But this couldn’t happen, I am on a schedule, and sickness was not on the agenda.
Believe me, I did not take any pictures of the next 8 hours….It was not good. I found out later that morning that the whole hotel staff and some guests had also fallen to an unknown virus that seemed to hang on for about 2 days, then finally disappear. This was not good, I had to be in Fort Stockton, Texas by nightfall on the next day.
For some reason during a feverish haze I had visions of the movie “Soylent Green” running through my mind…..What was in that green mole’ again?
To say this mystery ailment was about to put cramps into my schedule,stomach and wallet were understatements. Guess you’ll have to check back later for the latest to see what transpired next……(story cliffhanger moved used by so many of the serial Westerns I watched in black and white as a kid).