Wednesday, Forrest picked me up from work and we hit the open road. After all of our planning it was a pretty surreal feeling to be leaving for real. Along the familiar road to Missoula, we even had a rainbow shine on our departure:
After a nice evening with Glen and Terry, we got up early and headed for Salt Lake. Between Butte and Idaho Falls, the temperature dipped as low as 12°F, reminding us how excited we were to be heading south.
After a long days drive, we arrived at Meghan and Eric’s house in Salt Lake City. And this time early enough in the evening to meet Zoe and relax over a couple of beers.
In the morning, after a coffee, we continued south to Moab. The sunshine felt so good! We reassembled the adventure train and then attended Robin’s school play. In the morning, it was time to get back on the road.
Although we’re really promising ourselves that we’ll move slower and travel less miles in any given day, we were on a time schedule to get to Maryanne and Seth’s rehearsal dinner. Despite the long day’s drive, we were able to snag some pictures of Sprocket crossing into his 32nd state, have some fry bread in Kayenta, and also make it to the rehearsal BBQ.
Conservation means development as much as it does protection. I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us. -Teddy Roosevelt
America has a lot of public land—in fact, more than 30% of our land area is public. In August of 2010, I heard Tim Egan speak in Wallace. He spoke about Teddy Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot, the Fire of 1910, and his book The Big Burn. The thing I remember most, and that I scribbled in my notes from the evening, was his comments on the importance of America’s public lands, “‘We didn’t have a home on Hayden Lake like the swells,’ Mother said, ‘We’re richer than the bastards! We have the national forests!'” In an op-ed piece for the New York Times, he elaborated: “Not long after I was old enough to cast my first vote, I realized that with American citizenship came a birthright to my summer home.”
The land area of the United States is about 2.26 billion acres. Of that, the Federal Government owns 605 million acres that are administered by the public lands agencies: the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, the National Parks Service, and the National Wildlife Refuge system. In addition, state governments own 197.5 million acres. The lands are administered in a variety of ways, they include recreation areas, forest land sold for timber purposes, and the lands in the National Wilderness Preservation System (cited data). Whether it is Tim Egan acknowledging the wealth the lands grant to all Americans (and millions of foreign visitors) or Teddy Roosevelt designating 230 million acres of public lands America’s public lands have been repeated acknowledged as an asset to our country.
The alarm went off at 4am and we were up, dressed, and in the van by 4:11. On our way out of Leesville, F found a doughnut shop that was open (4:13am). I’ve always sworn that I don’t really like doughnuts but that was the first fresh one I’d ever had and I had to admit that they were quite good.
We headed north. I took the opportunity to sleep in the back until we were about an hour outside of Shreveport where I swapped into the drivers seat. Forrest tried to sleep but the condition of I-49 was a little rough for him in the back (I maintain that I would have slept just fine!).
As we cruised through Dallas, it started to rain. And it rained. And rained. All the way across Texas it rained. It was about 40 and raining (what happened to going south where it’s warm?!). We did get a pretty decent hamburger at “Giant Burger” in Rhome (F had to fix a busted power steering cooler line in the rain though) And then we kept on driving. After a brief stop in Amarillo for windshield wiper blades we cruised into New Mexico. Continue reading “Louisiana to Midterm”