GUARDIAN Thoughts After 5,400 Mile Drive

Sorry for not posting more often this past few weeks, but the day job and family demanded our attention. We previously posted some observations and offer more after driving 5,400 miles in two weeks.

Navajo Girl

Navajo Girl

–Without question the USA is BIG, beautiful, diverse, a true sleeping giant, and probably in for many months of bad economic times. Unemployment dominates every newscast and coffee shop conversation throughout the Midwest. Three of our family are out of work (lost jobs) and none of the younger college set can find jobs.



–Wisconsin farmsteads are well kept and a joy to see driving the back roads from Madison to Minneapolis. They look prosperous with clean fields and plenty of dairy cows.

–An outfit called CARBON MOTORS plans to build a factory–or occupy an existing plant–for the exclusive production of police cars. They are pitting cities in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio against each other for the 1,500 jobs they claim to create. The cars will be built for the single purpose use, not retrofitted brand names.

–In rural Michigan it seems like every residence has a boat, car, tractor, or shed for sale in the yard.

–Restaurants are full up in Minneapolis and Lansing. Partly due to graduations, but people are still dining out.

–Many on unemployment are working part time “under the table” which will create a financial burden on employers and state budgets.

–Didn’t see many coppers on the highways, but that can be attributed to stealthy cars with “visor lights” as much as layoffs–like the 145 Michigan troopers out of work.



–Wind generators are as much a part of the countryside in many places as trees. Especially large concentrations abound in Wyoming, Kansas, and even Minnesota. Propellers and giant tubular center columns are seen aboard trucks on most major highways.



–Chicago is one of the most beautiful “big cities” in the country. Lots of new towers, including the latest Trump venture. The view from the waterfront of Lake Michigan is spectacular by day or night. Good bus system with hybrid power.

–The capitol building in Madison Wisconsin sits on the highest real estate in town and streets radiate off in all directions with “Capitol Boulevards” all over the place. Charming, but also confusing to strangers. The lakes within the city limits are an added charm.



–The best idea Eisenhower stole from Hitler was the Interstate “Defense Highway” system.
While not pretty in many areas, it speeds cars and goods to destinations from coast to coast.

–Freight trains are big, powerful, modern, profitable and haul more coal from the West than one can imagine to generate electricity in the East.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. “–Many on unemployment are working part time “under the table” which will create a financial burden on employers and state budgets.”

    State budgets deserve every problem they have. They spend money they do not have and expect citizens to pay whatever in taxes politicians who want money to buy votes and power need.

  2. David Zarkin
    May 25, 2009, 6:42 am

    This police car business reminds me of the Checker Car Co. that built only cabs and had a short life in the 60s or 70s. I am dubious of such a venture; Dodge is doing a brisk business here with cop cars. Regarding people working under the table in the Midwest, they must all be dwarfs and hoping they are finding lots of loose change. The big story that you missed here buddy is that the Pawlenty for President ego trip got a boost when the governor commandeered the budget process. Funding cuts to cities, counties, hospitals and nursing homes will mean lots of lost jobs and make the recession even worse in Minnesota. Regarding restaurants in Minneapolis, I went with a group of 20 to a Japanese restaurant on the river Tuesday night and we were the only customers in the place. Hard times have arrived in the Heartland. Look for more foreclosures as the governor shifts the tax burden to the cities and property taxes skyrocket. Who can afford it?

  3. Or…(shock, horror)…they could stop spending.


    Sure is prettier than a nuke plant!

  5. Gordon (assessing the Kansas wind farm): “Sure is prettier than a nuke plant!”

    Beauty is obviously in the eye of the beholder. But from an aesthetic standpoint only, I’d say a single nuke plant is likely “prettier” than the thousands of windmills that would be required to generate the equivalent amount of power.

  6. Don’t knock the under the table market. Right now it’s the only one working. In many world economys the black market is the market. Free and unecumbered by the government. Very popular in Idaho.
    Why do Idahoans want nuke plants? In order to have nuke plants, you need Socialisim. Thats why they have so many in France. Show me one nuke plant run by private enterprise and refuses federal dollars. Oh I forgot, Socialisim in Idaho is OK if it’s for sandbagging big business profits. The people just can’t have it.

  7. Bikeboy: Oh, I dunno; I think the windmills are kind of attractive, too.
    I guess a nuke plant would be kind of pretty for at least a few minutes if it ever blew up, but they don’t generally do that. Once watched an atomic-bomb test from not far away (yes, I’m radioactive), and it was beautiful. The whole sky lit up, like instant daybreak only brighter. But still wouldn’t want them going off around me anymore.
    Besides, windmills could be Kansas’ version of trees.

  8. How come the greenies are not squakn’ about all the bird kill from the wind turbines? They sure want to destroy water power cause of fish kill… huh?

    Hey did ya hear that if we all paint the roof reflective white/silver it will save 11 years worth of auto emmissions…? Is that true?

  9. Largest Wind Turbine: < 7 MW
    One Reactor: 1000+ MW
    USA Energy Generating Capacity: 1,087,791 MW

    Several small to medium reactors available on the market now:

    VK-300 300 MWe, Russia
    CAREM 27 MWe, Argentina
    KLT-40 35 MWe, Russia
    MRX 30-100 MWe, Japan
    IRIS-100 100 MWe, Westinghouse
    SMART 100 MWe, S. Korea
    NP-300 100-300 MWe, France
    PBMR 165 MWe, South Africa
    GT-MHR 285 MWe, USA-Russia
    BREST 300 MWe, Russia
    FUJI 100 MWe, Japan-Russia-USA

    How much is the upkeep on those windmill things? I see lots of pictures with the blades stopped on hot calm days.

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