Friday, July 3

On the road

The drive through Utah was beautiful. Southern Utah is spectacular. We're holed-up for the night in St George, Utah where the current temperature is 104° (no complaints -- it's dry and feels good).

St George UtahParts of I-15 south of Salt Lake City are posted at 80 mph. That's fun -- especially when there are no other cars or trucks nearby.

A friend from Pennsylvania commented with surprise on my Facebook reference yesterday to the fact that parts of Oregon are in Mountain Time. I think that most easterners do not truly grasp just how large the western states are. For example, Pennsylvania (one of the larger eastern states) has 46,058 square miles. Oregon (one of the smaller western states) has 98,386 square miles.

Another thing which challenges popular perceptions is the fact that most of both Oregon and Washington State are arid desert -- vast open lands, much of which is farmed. Part of the desert effect is related to the position of the Cascade Mountains to the west. The mountains collect most of the moisture before the weather fronts move east with little rain left to drop.

A crop that I had never seen before is the Pacific Albus. These versatile hybrid poplar trees are being farmed throughout the drier portions of the northwest.

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