Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day on the Road

For many of you the 4th of July will mean hamburger and hot dogs, with family and friends, hopefully finished off with a fantastic display of fireworks. And, I am sending my best wishes for everyone to have a great day.

It is always amazing to me to realize all the things that have happened on this day in history. Not only was it the day we, as Americans, declared our independence from England, but it was the date two of the founders died - within minutes of one another John Adams and Thomas Jefferson passed away after resolving their differences and spending their last few years in correspondence with one another. In addition, the first week in July, more specifically the 3rd, 4th, and 5th of July, saw the turning point of the Civil War, with the battle of Gettysburg. I wonder if the soldiers at Gettysburg realized the significance of their actions over those bloody and deadly three days.

For me and my traveling companions, this 4th will be spent on the road. We never travel highways and as such it takes us a long time to get anywhere. It is a wonderful way to truly understand what this great nation is all about, to see everyday people going about their daily business and living lives in which they are free to follow whatever path they choose.
The Sodus Point Lighthouse and Marina
After leaving Sodus Point/Alton and the farm, we went to Rochester and had an all too brief visit with Nana and Pada (Nancy and Jim Mangan, Griff's parents). Then we headed south through the rolling hills of Pennsylvania, to West Virginia and Ohio, eventually ending up in Kentucky, which is where I am writing from this 4th of July morning.

The trip so far has been rather uneventful. We visited the campus of St. Bonaventure University, whose graduates have included 5 Pulitzer prize winning writers. After following the Ohio River valley we crossed from Fly, Ohio to Sisterville, West Virginia on this wonderful 4-car ferry. The river was busy with barge traffic and it was a nice drive.

I was awed at the number and immensity of the nuclear power plants along the Ohio. They are completely overwhelming and when combined with the numerous coal plants one wonders where all this energy is consumed. Certainly not in these once prosperous and now struggling mill and plant towns. I suppose I am still not as comfortable with the presumption that we can control the power of nature without any repercussions or unintended consequences, as the proponents of nuclear energy claim.

Have a good holiday and I will continue this later.


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Rob Nixon said...

Sounding like avery cool drive!

Sam said...

FYI, that picture of the electrical generating station with the two huge cooling towers seems to be a coal-powered utility. The three main conveyor belts are a major tip-off. There are a great number of coaling facilities such as this one along the rivers so they can get cooling water and barged coal.

Thanks for the update!