Blow, Ye Winds

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Joey here again.

Jeffrey insists that we start this post with some eye candy.  Nancy sent this yesterday from a party she attended in Brooklyn.  Jeffrey is happy that she’s happy.  And he misses her.

Meanwhile, on the Ride . . .

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Shirts with this picture are sold at Meteor Crater.  Read on . . .

Today we faced 30 mph headwinds and crosswinds.  We had to travel on a superhighway, next to motor vehicles that had trouble staying in their lanes.

We still found time to look around us and talk to people.

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Huck is a sophomore English major at the Univesity of Alaska.  He studies for a semester, then spends a semester having an adventure.  He’s biking from California to Pennsylvania, enjoying a tailwind.  Jeffrey explained the Ride.  Huck took it all in.

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What’s wrong with this picture?  Arizona has plenty of sun and wind, yet we have seen few solar panels and no wind turbines.  We passed this coal-burning power plant.

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Fascinating rock strata

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Trooper Anderson.  His special project for today—to escort highway line painters—was canceled because of the same high winds that bedeviled us.

While we were resting on the shoulder of an I-40 on-ramp, Arizona Public Safety (state police) Trooper Anderson stopped to chat with Jeffrey and George. Trooper Anderson (who happens to be U.S. Senator Jeff Flake’s brother-in-law) shares Jeffrey’s policy goals but would attain them differently. For example, the officer sees a federal minimum wage as a blunt instrument that doesn’t take into account local conditions. Yet he believes that businesses, particularly large businesses, should pay their workers a living wage.  He showed the same nuances in discussing the Second Amendment, partisanship in Congress, community policing, and other topics.

On our cause—justice for refugees and asylum applicants—we all are on the same page.  Trooper Anderson noted the chaos that accompanied implementation of SB 1070, the harsh (and largely unconstitutional) Arizona measure purporting to usurp Federal enforcement of immigration law.  He understands why (e.g.)  a Syrian family panicked when he offered them a ride after their car was damaged in a collision with an elk.  (In Syria, civilians often do not survive encounters with police.)

Trooper Anderson thinks.  He has a heart.  He “gets it.”  He’s a good guy in our book.

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Once someone was proud of this Arizona house.

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“High Winds” doesn’t do these high-desert gales justice.  Note snowy Mt. Humphrey in the lower right corner, seen from 50 miles away.

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Several times, Jeffrey’s face was blasted with wind-driven sand.  I was safe in his pannier.

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James is from Bakersfield, CA, “the hottest place on earth.”  He drives a big truck.  He pulled off I-40 and walked out to greet Jeffrey, asking whether Jeffrey was biking in Oklahoma 5 days ago.  Jeffrey did bike across Oklahoma—last May.  James had seen a similar rig.  James asked about the Ride.  Jeffrey explained that asylum applicants can have a lawyer only “at no expense to the government.”  James supports Human Rights First’s efforts to  provide those lawyers for free.

Jeffrey, my chauffeur, fought the wind for five hours.  Then he and George folded the Sprint 26, loaded it onto the truck George rented, and took a detour to see Meteor Crater, the best-preserved impact crater in the world.

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Meteor Crater

Both humans are fascinated by geology (about which Jeffrey knows a little, George knows a lot).  This mile-wide crater, made 50,000 years ago by a lump of iron-nickel traveling at 26,000 mph, is surrounded by a seemingly desolate 300,000 acre cattle ranch.  It gives one perspective on the ephemerality of everything, and the pettiness of so much of human activity.

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My chauffeur, Jeffrey

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Jeffrey’s desert chaperone, George

We returned to the Real World by returning to the highway.  The wind still was too dangerous for us to resume biking on the Interstate, so George drove us to Winona.  There, near sunset, in a sheltered spot under snowy Mt. Humphrey . . .

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. . . Jeffrey unfolded the Sprint 26, reloaded me and the necessary gear, and pedaled us another 13 miles.  We climbed from 6200 feet to 7000 feet, through blasts of wind and deepening darkness, to spend the night in Flagstaff.

Here our journey resumes tomorrow.

[Reminder:  For a better look at our photos, to see our daily progress, to donate to Human Rights First, or to sign up to follow via email, please visit rideforhumanrights.com .]

4 thoughts on “Blow, Ye Winds

  1. Enjoying the blog. Today I could feel the Arizona winds here on my couch in Buffalo, NY.

  2. Oh Jeff – I am hearing two sets of lyrics simultaneously – All We Are is Dust In the Wind and The Answer My Friend is Blowing in the Wind…..

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