Stuff

Tonight we’re at the blue dot: Salinas, California, 1130 pedaled miles from Albuquerque.

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Today’s 53 miles from King City was hard. Over half of it was on bad roads . . .

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Sand!  Jeffrey pedaled furiously in low gear and did not get stuck. But he got lost.

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Slow and b-u-m-p-y.  For hours and hours.

. . . and into unrelenting 15 mph (24 kph) headwinds, with gusts even higher.  These leaning trees tell the story!

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The wind blew the fount of aerated water.

The sights made it worth the effort.

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This far downstream (north), the Salinas River was dry from 2013 to 2016.  Last winter’s rains restored it.

Salinas River Valley foodstuffs feed America and the world.

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We see Andy Boy boxes in NYC supermarkets and restaurants!

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Newly planted, or soon to be.

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Grapes.

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Onions?

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What is all this?

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Leafy greens.  Do we eat the tops or roots?

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Grapes as far as the eye can see.

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Across the road:  baled hay.

These enterprises need lots of labor . . . for now.

Craig stopped to talk.

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L to R:  Craig, Mickey.  See Craig’s shirt?  He has donated over 27 gallons of blood.

Craig is a substitute teacher and Greenfield resident. He said that the increasing mechanization of farm work means that fewer laborers are needed. Craig believes that joblessness, and population growth leading to climate change and competition for resources, are the roots of the world’s troubles. He respects hardworking immigrants, and says others in town are unemployed and are looking for things to steal.

We think Craig overstates the case against population growth. Technology has improved quality of life and slowed (even reversed) population growth as families come to value quality over quantity.  And stagnant populations tend to have stagnant economies.

Still, Craig points to a serious issue.  As machines do more and more work, what will humans do—particularly the uneducated?  What happens to a society in which workers aren’t needed?  If climate change and work upheavals create refugees, but their labor is superfluous, who will take them in?

We don’t have an answer.  Maybe an immigrant will come up with one.  (Immigrants are where new stuff comes from.  Forbes Magazine says so!)

“Brilliant,” you say.  “Which immigrant should we let in?”

There’s the rub.

We can’t know who will be the next Steve Jobs (the late America-born co-founder of Apple).  Jobs’s biological father was a Muslim immigrant from Homs, Syria, who met Jobs’s biological mother at the University of Wisconsin.

Do you understand, Mister President?  The iPhone from which you tweet . . .

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. . . would not exist without Jobs, who would not have been born if Muslims, or Syrians, had been banned from the United States.

Let’s help ourselves, play the odds, and make it easier for good people to immigrate.  They, or their children, will find The Answers and stuff.  Or not.  We won’t know until they try.

To find good people, let’s start with asylum applicants.  They stood for something, or stood up for something, and had to flee because of it.  One can apply for asylum only from within the U.S., so asylum applicants further stand out for having the resources, or the resourcefulness, to make their way here.

To present a cogent case for asylum, most applicants need a lawyer.  Few applicants can afford one.  Until the law allows (or compels) the government to provide one, let’s help Human Rights First continue to find and train volunteer lawyers to help people of principle, who face persecution abroad, have the meaningful hearing every asylum applicant deserves.

We’ll cap the day with congratulations to Olga.

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Jeffrey got us lost in a maze of sandy roads. Olga found us a way out.

Olga had various government jobs before moving to the private agricultural sector as a safety monitor. She agrees that asylum applicants deserve legal counsel. Olga is soon to go to Flagstaff, Arizona—we just biked through there!—for her younger daughter’s college graduation. The new grad will bring her marketing degree to join her mom and her agronomist big sister in the Salinas River Valley.

What a happy occasion for this nice person who got us onto the the right road!

3 thoughts on “Stuff

  1. if only you could attach a sail to that bike on those kind of days! Is san jose the goal? if so, you are almost there…. congrats…. although I know it is the journey itself that is more of the prize so to speak – and of course the people that you meet.

  2. Beautiful pictures Jeffrey albeit the roads certainly looked very challenging. Looking forward to your return. Lots happening here!

    M

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