Kickin' on Route 66 :: June-October, 1997

Subject: Catching up on some events.
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 1997 17:12:43 -0700

22:24 OK RV Park; Holbrook, Arizona :: 25 SEP 97

There were a few bad days last week and, fortunately for you, the minutely detailed retelling of the events was lost when the following message appeared on the computer screen:

RESUME FAILURE: press any key to continue.


I'll recap in point form.

- Upon arriving in Santa Fe, in the dark, we promptly got lost in the narrow, winding canyon roads above city centre, eventually having to back down 100 meters of the narrowest, curviest road in our 50' rig.

- We drew spectators and detractors ("Why don't you get a smaller car?!?!" quipped one particularly witty local) but no help until a very kind couple we flagged down lead us out of the maze. Thank-you, whoever you are.

- After climbing 2,000 feet out of Santa Fe on a somewhat wider canyon road, we arrived at Hyde State Park and promptly overheated the engine while trying to park the trailer. Tempers had already overheated in the thin air of frustration. While waiting for engine and tempers to cool a t-storm blew in. Gave up on parking the trailer and went restlessly to sleep.

- Next morning, began trying to contact old family friends who live in Albuquerque--no initial success.

- Ominous sounds from the engine, and ominous skies overhead. Spent the whole day trying to figure them both out. On a Saturday, of course. A very helpful sales agent at an Oldsmobile dealer pointed us to some mechanics; no ominous sounds by the time we got there, but after explaining conditions and noise, mechanics conjectured possible engine rebuild. Contemplated options: rebuild; new engine; new truck. All day. The rain held off until the afternoon. Opted for an oil change.

- Watched the latest Michael Douglas film, "The Game". Good, mindless escapism.

- Had two nice meals at The Plaza Cafe, in Santa Fe.

- Another restless night of half-sleep.

- Still no sign of the engine sounds in the morning. Nor, for that matter, was there any possibility of sun.

- Headed for Albuquerque.

- Got stuck in the mud while seeking sections of old 66 off the interstate. Two hours later, a tractor and a pickup with a winch hauled us out. Well, several friendly locals operating a tractor and pickup hauled us out. We got back on the interstate and booted it for Albuquerque.

07:45 OK RV Park; Holbrook, Arizona :: 26 SEP 97

- The pall hung over us after arriving in Albuquerque where the rain continued intermittently into the night. But I finally managed to contact my friends and, after dropping the trailer in a KOA, we managed to find a good bit of 66 going through Albuquerque. Finally stopped worrying the engine was about to go.

- In the crisp, windy morning we left the trailer in the KOA and headed down old 66 into Albuquerque where we found the old town had very little old about it, containing tourists and tourist shops in equal measure. A vintage photo of the old town plaza seemed not to resemble the fabrication we were visiting. We were hungry and set out in search for food, finally finding grand satisfaction at a Greek restaurant near the university.

- Albuquerque is home to the National Atomic Museum. Having previously visited the Peace Museum in Hiroshima which delineates the human impact of deploying The Bomb in excruciating detail, I was curious what an American museum housed on a military base would have to say. I shouldn't have been surprised that no mention whatsoever of how the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki suffered immediately as a result of the explosion and firestorm, and continue to suffer to this day from lingering effects of the radiation. A 1963 film, "10 Seconds That Shook The World," documented the scientific and military events building up to the explosion of an atomic bomb over Hiroshima at 8:15 AM, August 6, 1945. It graphically detailed the suffering of US soldiers in the taking of small Japanese Islands leading up to a full-scale invasion. Dropping the bomb would save hundreds of thousands--perhaps millions--more casualties. It also showed the wasteland of Hiroshima after the bombing. But it did not describe how many times during the subsequent Cold War we narrowly avoided following the path of nuclear explosions. It did not present any images of human suffering, the bodies piled deep in the river, the flesh burned and hanging in tatters, keloids and birth-defects and other lingering effects of radiation sickness. Instead, it returned to a rebuilt Hiroshima filled with laughing children calling it "mute witness to the atomic age," or some such drivel. It is not mute. Hiroshima's Mayor still sends a telegram to the responsible head of state each time a nuclear test is performed. The Peace Museum catalogues the horror of nuclear war. Meanwhile, the National Atomic Museum in Albuquerque displays, without the slightest irony or recognition of madness, a dizzying array of nuclear-tipped weapons including bombs, missiles, smart bombs, artillery shells and the grand-daddy of them all, the ICBMs, Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles. One long wall shows time-lapse photographs of nuclear tests: an altar to the mushroom cloud. A Trident warhead is on display alongside a model of the Trident submarine that carries it. 24 silos house one MIRV (Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle) missile a piece. Each missile contains eight (10?) Re-entry Vehicles which are independently targetable. The explosive force of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs was 20,000 kilotons. The bombs in the Re-entry Vehicles are measured in megatons, more than 1,000 times more powerful. And there are about 200 of these RVs in a single Trident submarine. 200 mushroom clouds 1,000 times larger than Hiroshima and Nagasaki for each Trident submarine in the fleet.

- Chilling.

- To end the day on a lighter note. We took the world's longest tram up to Sandia Peaks and enjoyed the sunset. And from there we headed to Rio Rancho for a reunion with family friends I hadn't seen since 1979.

- The next morning, we left Albuquerque, pretty much leaving the previous days' misfortunes behind as well. It remained cool, but the sun shone and the brisk wind blew off any lingering clouds.

~~~ Responses Sought ~~~
Fairness for everyone would be possible only if everyone's interests were the same, if everyone were in agreement as to what baseline considerations must be in place for a procedure to be labelled "fair."
  graphical element Stanley Fish
There's No Such Thing as Free Speech:
And It's a Good Thing Too