Sunday, February 01, 2009

Round-trip with Questions

Coming back from a 645-mile, one-day marathon to Baker City and back, I sucked up and snapped away at dim scenery on a less-than-postcard-perfect afternoon and evening.

Question: while driving on a lonely stretch of interstate, is it more dangerous to yammer on the cell phone or snap digital photos?

Do we need anti-photography/driving legislation?

Moving right along….

By the time I got to the Gorge on this westward return leg, shadows hid the chasm's cascades and cliffs.

The most compelling images came earlier, to the east of the Gorge. Twilight near Boardman offered power pylons, grain elevators, probing semi headlights and the flickering of my lane’s white lines .

It’s been several months since I’ve traveled I-84. The biggest change is the proliferation of wind farms along ridges. The slow. graceful rotors signal progress. But 75 years ago, so too did the big dams on the Columbia.

Unintended consequences.

Let’s hope that the whirling white monoliths don’t do to the the flyways what the dams have done to salmon runs.

Are these rows of whirling blades technological follies or are they salvation from global warming?

The big semis were another surprise. In this economy, what could they be carrying besides debt? Had I not been in a hurry to get home, I’d have lingered at a truck stop to gather the road gossip. “Just what are you hauling, partner?”

For a feel of the trucker’s life on the road, I recommend John McPhee’s “Uncommon Carrier.”

My 12 hours on I-84 was a journey of questions.

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