The views driving from Oatman back to I-40 near Needles are more of the amazing scenes form yesterday. I love the ragged mountains and high desert visually. We’ll see how I feel about being in this terrain after a few months when we return to NM.
We enjoy a beautiful drive through the eastern CA desert on our way to Ojai. From I-40 we take I-15 south to CA-18 past Palmdale to I-5 north to CA-126 to Santa Paula onto 150 to Ojai. I’d never driven this route.
Ojai feels like a familiar old friend. I’m happy to be here, but I’m not having the feeling of ahhhhh… arriving home. I’m curious to see how this develops.
From Elk City, OK we drove through the Texas Panhandle. There are very large wind farms in the Texas Panhandle.I was very surprised. Texas has such an image of conservative, oil country.
The moon setting behind a WindFarm. One day this past December, 40% of the states energy was generated by wind. This is a very windy state. Texas recently invested $7 billion in transmission lines to get the wind generated energy into the grid near it’s big cities. Before this, when the grid’s capacity had been reached, the turbines were shut down, even though the wind is blowing. I wonder how often this overload happens in other states?
From Missouri, we drive through Oklahoma. Can say I like Oklahoma. It’s not my kind of terrain. Doing long distance driving, one thing I notice is the Rest Areas. They say something about the State. Do they allow overnight sleeping? Is there hot food or vending machines? Is there separated car and truck parking? How big is the dog walk area? Is there general State information? A state map showing where you are? How modern, functional and clean are the bathrooms? Is there gasoline? How these are answered by each State gives a flavor of how the State views itself and it’s visitors. In Oklahoma in I-44 and I-40, most Rest Areas are simple off road places to park for a while. Occasionally there’s a Rest Area sign says the brand of gas and Clean Restrooms. When I pull into one of these it’s literally a Gas Station on the freeway. I assume the rest rooms are inside. There’s no designated place to park. No place to sit and eat. And that’s how the state feels to me. Not welcoming. People were friendly. But not the services.
This morning I wake up at 5:30 and can’t get back to sleep. It’s around freezing and raining. There is a thin layer of ice on the front window. Walking Sherman the ground isn’t frozen or slippery. At 6 we start driving.
It was cold and very windy all day. Blown around on the freeway with huge occasional gusts that move the van a couple feet. Late afternoon the wind stops.
Driving through St. Louis we pass The Arch. Thirty years or so ago Linda, Eben and I went up in the arch. The ride up is in little 2 person swinging seats. They lurch and jolt all the way to the inside top of the arch. When we get out the world is swaying. It’s terrifying. It feels like the whole arch is moving back a lot. We’re hundreds of feet up and the ground is not stable. Not my kind of a good time. Eben is unfazed. He’s running from window to window and looking down. Excited and amazed everything is so small. I’m moving slowly, hanging on to the walls and benches. I don’t remember how it was for Linda. My overwhelming fear didn’t let that info to be recorded. A Park Ranger says the arch is built to withstand 200 mph winds in storms and a movement of 2 feet back and forth. She says today it’s moving about a half inch. Damn. Feels like at least 6 inches to my inner ear. I’m very pleased to return to the rickety feeling car going back down.
Tonite we’re in-between St Louis and Springfield, MO. There’s a Forest Service campground here. And, it’s closed for the season. Right outside the gate is a 100 ft loop road. We’re camped there.
Temp is much warmer. No wind. Down to about 34 tonight. Up to 65 tomorrow.
From Dad’s I went back to Amherst, MA. I’d setup a new iMac for a former Ojai client that moved to Amherst when I left VT. It was running a bit slow, but was syncing a lot of data to iCloud and decrypting the hard drive. It was going to be days for them to complete. I was pretty sure it would be ok when these processes were complete.
So, I left to do Thanksgiving with my family. As I previously shared, the logistics for that didn’t workout and I got to dad’s the day after Thanksgiving.
About a week after I departed Amherst the decrypt and sync were done and the iMac was still slow. I worked on it remotely a number of times. I wanted to reinstall the macOS, but she was getting ready to lead a workshop for a week. I was heading to NM. So, we said we’d reconnect after she was done.
I went to NM. Mom died and I went back to MI. She finished her workshop. We reinstalled the OS remotely. Still slow. So, now I have an integrity issue. She paid me to setup the iMac and have it working well. It isn’t. I’m now one day drive from her again. Do I go back and take care of it? Or, do I have her take it to someone else? If I tell her to have someone else resolve the issue, do I owe her a refund? My answer to that is yes. So, I’m headed beck to Amherst.
Mom’s Memorial day…
When we awake, Sherman and I walk to the auto repair shop. This is a shop in town that a woman who lives down the hall from dad used to own. Her husband chose and trained the current owner. So, with a high recommendation to a local auto repair shop, I took Amelia there yesterday for a check-up.
On the walk down, I’m reading the eulogy and see other places to shorten it and still say what I want to say.
I’m having them look at Amelia for oil leaks. She’s has never lost any oil. From oil change to oil change she stays full. Then driving across Texas, the oil light flashes. I pull into a gas station to check and fill up gas. She’s down off the dipstick. Yikes! I get 2 quarts and put them both in. It’s STILL of the stick. SHIT! 2 more quarts and it is right on the line. I’m freaked. What could leak that much oil? Can’t be good. So, I check at the next gas fill. Down about a quarter. Next gas, off the stick. I get 2 more quarts. This time it fills her up. That’s a quart per tank of gas. But last tank of gas was just down a quarter of a quart. OK. I’ll keep watching. Next tank she’s still full of oil. Then we reach dad’s. Gas down to half tank, oil down a third. That’s the trail of sorrow that gets me to the mechanic.
They don’t find anything. There is no evidence of any oil leak or a blow of oil that a leak and wind from driving would create. The engine is clean. The undercarriage is clean. So, they assume I’m burning it. I ask how could I be burning a quart per tank and not see it. There’s no smoke from the exhaust. No carbon buildup on the exhaust pipe. Amealia’s running better than ever. Quiet. Smooth. Getting 22 mph on 55-75 mi roads. Never got more than 20 before starting our trip. I don’t understand… They don’t understand neither…
We all meet up around noon to do the setup in the chapel. Flowers. Photos. A few of her paintings. The guest book. Dad checks the sound system. The service is at 2. The pastor suggested we be there around 1 for people who are traveling. The first people arrive about 1:30. People from the retirement community. Closer to 2, people from their church begin to come. We hear stories from women in her Bible Study group. People who worked with her to support new pastors at the church.