23 May, 2005

Empty spaces

Burrowing across the great states of California, Nevada and Utah, I learned a few little lessons.

California is wetter than you'd think. The rivers out of the Sierra Nevada are as grand and terrifying as any river in the world. It's just they are like that for only a couple weeks per year, and only above the dams. But wow, the American River had to be going at 15,000 or more cfs, in a channel that all summer goes at about 1,500.

Nevada got its name from the Spanish word for snow, which makes sense because the mountains are all very snowy at this time of year. Even on Highway 50, which never goes over 8,000 feet, there was snow near the road. The higher passes were impassable, so I guess they were higher impasses.

Utah is a theocracy. I knew this intellectually before, but the pervasiveness of it never came clear. Like -- the tallest building in Salt Lake City is the Latter Day Saints (LDS) church office building. Nothing can be legally built taller. This is similar to what Ottawa and Washington, DC do -- buildings can't be taller than their national seats of government. But somehow, an exclusive religion seems different from an inclusive civic government.

Time to hit the road again.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?