July 7, 2016

The 12,000 Mile Travel Log, via Road Signs: The Southern Half

                  The Mojave Desert, California, in the Summer of 2012
           In re:  The 12,000 road miles traveled solo by yours truly in the Summer of
           2012.  It was Discovering the Real America . . . compliments of  Dwight D.
            Eisenhower, the American president who provided us with the US interstate
            highway system.  I traveled  24 States, several state highways, and Interstate
            Highways 5, 10, 20, 35, 40, 55, 70, 77, 79, and 80.

            One more thing:  The photos are not here for the sake of artistic beauty or
            technical prowess.  They're here for the sake of evidence, being that it's not
            every day that someone travels 12,000 road miles, solo, in a 60 day period.
            Incidentally, I know that the Tennessee sign is out of focus.  But, it proves
            that I was there the same summer I was in every other State of the former
            Confederate South, except for Florida, as well as states ranging from the
            very Northern state of Massachusetts to the West Coast state of California.

            Of course, the actual evidence is in the debit card records, as far as go the
            gas station stops and motel bills, ranging from Cambridge Massachusetts to
            Oxnard California and several places in between.  If you do go on such a trip,
            you will need an entire brake replacement during the trip, and a replacement
            of your tires.  The 60 day road trip cost me approximately $10,000.  


                                    After I hit Memphis, Tennessee, I went back to Texas.
                                    I was headed to Dallas, when I heard that there was go-
                                    ing to be aerial spraying done there, to combat the West
                                    Nile Virus.  I spent a few days in Tyler and then went to

The outskirts of  Albuquerque

           Brief Memoirs

           The California coast caught me off guard.  It wasn't as beautiful as much as it
           was majestic.  It was the mountain range at the coastline which had the effect.

           Iowa smelled extremely toxic, and I had no idea that the Amish lived there.

           Southern Illinois was flamingly redneck and pro-gun ... far worse than the South.

           Cambridge didn't strike me as the happening place, even though I met a burgeon-
           ing Ukrainian photographer there, and met-up with a few writers, even one from
           the Iowa workshop.

           I was able to smell the oil refineries in Louisiana long before encountering them.

           I was able to detect the magnolias upon entering Mississippi.

           In Georgia and South Carolina, the landscape was long needled pine on flat land,
           until suddenly, the terrain in Georgia started ascending.  

           I will politely refrain from mentioning which place had the worst of this and
           the worst of that, except for drivers.  The worst were, without doubt, in Myrtle
           Beach South Carolina and Albuquerque New Mexico.  The best drivers encount-
           ered were Pittsburgh and Washington, DC.  However, Toledo had fantastic driv-
           ers during the days when I used to date a Michigan lady.  Furthermore, through-
           out my 2013 travels, made between the Shenandoah Valley and Lake Erie, many
           drivers in Charlotte Virginia, near the university there, were the most polite.
           None the less, Pittsburgh drivers are the second most polite, far more polite
           than those in DC.

           As far as goes cities, I preferred Saint Louis and Pittsburgh.  San Antonio, for
           whatever reason,  was too perfumed for my asthma.   Houston was toxic and
           the cab drivers of Austin placed far too many chemically laden fragrance things
           on their rear view mirrors.  Being at a red light in Austin was a guaranteed asth-
           ma attack.  I know that they are called air fresheners, but they actually pollute
           the air, being that they are comprised of synthetic chemicals.  None the less, I
           appreciated the 80 mph speed limit signs going from Houston to Beaumont.
           I didn't make it to Dallas, because I learned of the aerial pesticide spraying
           to be done there, while I was en route to there.  They were combating the
           West Nile Virus, and I would have been a pesticide casualty, on account of
           my asthma.  So, I turned around and went back into Arkansas for a few
           more days, after having spent a few days in Tyler Texas.

           I personally liked the panhandle of Oklahoma.  The people were neighborly
           in Eastern Texas, and I did not mind Arkansas in the least.  But, it's not the
           place to go if you want to change the world.  Plus, I had trouble with asth-
           ma near the Arkansas bluffs.

           Memphis was a surprise in that people didn't drive as slowly there as they did
           in many parts of the former Confederate South.  Concerning the former Con-
           federate South, people were found to be the coldest in Vicksburg Mississippi
           and the friendliest in Augusta Georgia.  However, in Vicksburg, very polite
           manners were seen.  It's just that the manners were accompanied by staunch
           robotic mannerisms.  That is the one place where I felt like saying, "Well,
           excuuuuuuuuuuuse me.  It's a great place to go if you want to feel uneasy.

          The police in Malibu were the most easy-going, not running around trying to
          ticket as many people as possible, as seems to be the case in South Carolina.

           Santa Fe was the artsiest place, but its environs were unfriendly to my asthma.
           The stars were the most beautiful in Western Texas, but the smell of chaparral
           there was an assault on my respiratory tract.  None the less, the Route 66 area
           out West was like going back into the early 60s.  All that I needed was a white
           T-shirt and a pack of Lucky Strikes rolled up in one of the shirt's short sleeves.

           New Mexico had the most mystical looking clouds, and I had no idea that there
           existed Navajo Nation police cars on the state highways there.  When those cars
           showed up on the scene, you instinctively knew that the police in them were not
           going to be vexatious or abusive, trying to give you a ticket for every little thing.
           The Navajo Nation police would simply let you be.

           Palms Springs California had the rows of modern windmills, as did Western
           Texas.  Palm Springs didn't have the chaparral problem, though. 

          California had the most treacherous road, incidentally.   In Oxnard CA, I had
          to turn on the motel heater on a couple July mornings.  That was the most de-
          luxe motel I encountered on the trip.  I received a pass to go see the Dallas
          Cowboy's football camp which is held in Oxnard, but I left before summer
          camp began.

          Then, when I was in Oklahoma, it was 106 degrees Fahrenheit.  In Arkansas, 
           it was 104.  In the Mojave Desert, it was 102.

          The fan of my automobile circulation system broke in New Mexico.  In fact,
          smoke was coming out of my dashboard vent when that happened.  The place
          was Las Vegas New Mexico when I lost my fan.  So, I improvised with a room
          fan through the car's cigarette lighter.  I had zero air conditioning in 106 degree

          Incidentally, my asthma prevented me from even trying to drive to Las Vegas
          Nevada.  You see, a caravan of recreational vehicles (Winnebagoes) were head-
          ed in that direction, and those things were too fragranced for me.  So, I went
          through the Mojave Desert merely to avoid the parade of Winnebagoes head-
          ed to Nevada.

          Falling Asleep at the Wheel is the #1 Danger

          When you do a 12,000 mile trip solo, you get a lot of insights.  None the less,
          falling asleep while driving is the ultimate hazard, and if you travel even 2,000
          miles solo, you will fall asleep at the wheel more than once.  If you don't have
          the reflex action to immediately wake-up, don't try any kind of road trip.

          On a trip of that length, you will be repeatedly pulling over to the side of inter-
          state highways, to get emergency sleep.  When you do, you get entertained by
          the large Mac trucks that fly by you.  They cause a car to rock, and for a few
          moments each time, it feels like sailing in the ocean.

             I took the trip for health purposes, in search of a place where the people aren't
             so gluttonously obsessed with flooding  autos, motels, taxi cabs, restaurants,
             stores, malls, and homes with chemically laden fragrance products which have
             not been tested for safety and which do trigger asthma in a number of people.

            Of course, the American Lung Association, the AMA, the AAAAI, the EPA, the
            ACAAI, etc, all recognize that fragrance chemicals trigger asthma in susceptible
            persons.  Those exposed the most to either chemicals or alkaline environments
            end up becoming the most sensitive to irritants and those low weight molecular
            agents known as chemicals.  This includes people in their workplaces.  Mount
            Sinai Medical Center concluded this, in its research of the WTC cleanup crew

            Cleaning Supplies and Household Chemicals

            Understanding Asthma - American Lung Association

            Chemical Asthma Triggers and Irritants

            Asthma Triggers: Gain Control (EPA site)