Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Westen Stats

There is nothing worse, in my opinion, than viewing the world through the lens of a camera, when I have the option to view it with my unaided eye. Okay, I wear corrective lenses, so the world would be a fuzzy mess without some aid. But I hate the constant stop-start that turns a 5 mile hike in an amazing landscape into a 5 hour hike with a 4" screen glued to my face.

What occasions this thought? I've uploaded all my pictures from the 4 week trip, and am still filing the 865 shots.

This seems plenty, but then, what's in a number? Why don't I have a shot of the moon rising over the road into Bryce Canyon? Why don't I have a shot of the cohorts who joined me for stretches of the trip, one of whom managed to snap 700 picture in just 4 days? Why don't I have a picture of the incredible ranch-branded carpet in the motel in Billings, MT? Or of anything in California, more or less?

Apparently I prefer to look at the world through the tube of a ballpoint pen, logging incident and letting things show their shape at the end of the page. In my mind, the image is more accurate, more fully realized. But for you, dear reader, and for me when the memory of this trip is submerged by a mountain of quotidian tasks, by the cloud cover of some paying job somewhere, it might be better to have pictures. Next time, I'll take more pictures.

Meanwhile, my last gainful employment taught me to keep lots of records. Here is the story that the numbers tell of the Great American West Road Trip:

highest elevation: 9,105; Bryce Canyon, CA (not the canyon, Rainbow Pt)
lowest elevation: -282; Death Valley, CA
northenmost latitude: 48.5N West Glacier, MT
southernmost latitude: 33.125N Calipatria, CA

states covered: 10 CA, AZ, NV (only incidentally), UT, CO, WY, MT, ID, WA, OR
miles driven: 6,178 (add another 505 for the Salton Sea debacle)
total gallons of petrol: 116.23 (bless my lil Prius)
highest gas price: 4.06 Laytonville, CA
lowest gas price: 3.28 Casper, WY (Why indeed?)

photos taken: 865
good photos taken: that is TBD, my friend.

smallest town population: 68 Wamsutta, WY
average number of road signs on a one mile stretch of highway in WY, ID, OR, MT, AZ or UT: 2
average number of road signs on a similarly sized stretch in CA: 7 (Caltrans is much, much too busy.)

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