Saturday, May 13, 2017

The trip across the top....

Like all good things in life, this trip is coming to an end and draws short on time.  We had to scurry across the top of the US, picking up our son from college in Minnesota, and getting back to Massachusetts for other of life's responsibilities.  Here's some of what we saw on the 2,000 miles across...

We stopped at the Minute Man Missile National Historic Site in Philip, South Dakota.  One interesting thing we learned is that with our treaties with Russia, we've gotten rid of 450 of the damn things.  But we still have 450 left, buried in Silos in the ground, ready to take off for any target around the world.  Each is about 20 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.  

My dad spent his professional life working for Lockheed in Charleston, S.C., who made (make) the submarine-based Polaris and Poseidon missiles.  During the cold war, there were no doubts that our town was heavily targeted by the Soviets.  I don't like the things.

Anyhow, here's a bit of humor from one of the Minute Man Missile Silos:

We briefly visited the Corn Palace in Mitchell South Dakota, because we were camped there.  I thought it would be really silly, and maybe it was.  However...

They did have some AMAZING graphics made out of corn ears.  Here's my all-time favorite singer, player, and song writer, Willy Nelson, out of corn.  All that black is ears of black corn, and the yellow, obviously, yellow corn.  To the sides you can see tufts of corn rush.  They had a lot more images of  pop stars around the corner....

Eastern South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin were farm country, and the big agricultural chemical giants advertised heavily.  Their goal is to get farmers to buy "Roundup Ready" seeds.  These seeds have been genetically modified to make them resistant to the Roundup Herbicide.  You're supposed to plant the seeds, and then hose your field down with Roundup, which kills all the other plants except your genetically resistant plant, increasing your crop yield.  

So first, you pay them for the seed, then you pay them for the Roundup.  Most of these seeds are what are called terminator seeds, which means that they are not genetically viable.  So, you can't just take the seeds from your crops and use them to plant the next year's crops.  In essence, you're trapped into buying more seeds from the agro-chemical company every year...and more Roundup.

The problem, of course, being that spreading poison out in the ecosystem is never a good thing.  Recent news reports have included a lot of law suits against the makers of Roundup, alleging that it is a carcinogen.  Others think that there's a direct correlation between the increased use of Roundup and colony collapse in bee populations.

Near my son's college in Mankato, MN, is a small herd of  Buffalo that are in a Prairie Restoration effort.  Conservationists think that having a large herbivore is necessary to maintain the natural prairie conditions that would have historically existed here.  This is kind of cool, because when my son first looked at the college, this restoration effort had not started.  Since then, they've fenced a huge tract of land, introduced the buffalo, and done controlled management of undesirable plant species.  Apparently, there's one male and 14 females here.  They all look youngish and much smaller than the wild ones we saw in South Dakota.

I like septic truck humor.  You gotta appreciate someone that has that tough job and can still joke about it.  This sewage sucking service truck is a little hard to read, it says "Yesterday's...Meals On Wheels."  I've seen others that said "My Wife Keeps Her Nose Out of My Business," and one with a couple playing cards shown that said "A Straight Flush Beats a Full House Any Day."

We camped in western New York at Evangola State Park by Lake Erie.  There was a huge windstorm with big waves.

It was wicked cold.

But none-the-less beautiful

Sunset over Lake Erie

This was part of a series of cool long granite mountains, oriented Northeast along the St. Lawrence River - leftover from the period of glaciation that scoured out the St. Lawrence.

Looking across the St. Lawrence in Quebec.

Please follow these instructions.

An amazing hillside of yellow Coltsfoot flowers.  We have never seen so many so densely growing.

Trans-Canada highway in Quebec.

Well now, here's a sign you don't see every day...

That's just one more place that we didn't have time to visit and take photographs :-)

No comments:

Post a Comment