Friday, October 25, 2013
San Diego: wrecked; the right stuff; no more; changed
Martin in England sent this link to a series of photographs of ships wrecked along the British coast, some dramatic, some with captions of a vanished era.
Whenever I’ve driven across this country, particularly from the Midwest to California, I’ve found myself thinking as the sometimes endless miles went by at sixty or seventy miles an hour, of those who in the 1800s walked across those plains and deserts and mountain passes.
I interrupted reading STRUMPET CITY, a good novel set in Dublin, Ireland, in the early years of last century, to read all of Mike Roddy’s THEY RODE WEST account of biking across the country with friends in 2009.
Before moving on the THEY RODE WEST, here is a passage from STRUMPET CITY: The moment filled her with an oppressive sense of mortality. She wanted to leave the garden and get back into the house, to feel its four walls putting comfortable bounds to a world which was too wide and careless to hold intact for any certain period the happiness it now and then offered.
The novel is generally about the early days of organizing labor with main characters some of whom are among the monied class; some among the poorest; and three Catholic priests. I haven’t quite finished it, but find it well written and memorable.
I found Mike Roddy’s bike ride memorable, too. The people he and his friends met along the way--mostly generous; a sense of humor; the regional differences in people and places; a good eye for telling detail; and the pitting of bodies and wills against distance and time and wind--a headwind is as undesirable on a bike as on a boat--and rain and thirst and long climbs up hills and mountains, just as some of our ancestors once did.
Published reports and personal observation show that most contemporary Americans are obese and sedentary. I am pleased to know that Mike and his friends, and others they met riding who are doing the same thing, some women, some considerably older than they, have proven that there are still among us some who could have been pioneers.
You may have seen that the U.S. government, such as it is, is going to stop printing paper charts. An interesting counterpoint to the shipwreck photos.
This will not be a problem for me. I do not own any paper charts. I do have multiple copies of electronic charts, some in devices with waterproof cases.
I will probably buy a paper world atlas and stow it in a Ziploc bag on GANNET in case of cataclysmic multiple failures.
As I noted when I flew from Chicago to San Diego just over two weeks ago, the weather was better there than here.
Today it is sunny and 70ºF/21ºC aboard GANNET; in Chicago it is freezing and there has been talk of snow.