Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mr. McGuire: "Wind."

We drove the 600 miles from Moab, Utah, to Dubois (DU-boyce), Wyoming, over the course of two days, stopping for one night in Provo, Utah.

From Moab to Provo, the route took us through desert plains and some mountain passes as we neared Provo. There were very few towns in this stretch.

Just south of Provo, we were greeted by the mountains of the Wasatch Range east of Provo. We unhitched at the RV Park and then drove around Provo.

Looking to the north, east, and south around town showed the snow-capped peaks. We thought that people would find excuses to run errands around town just to observe the seasonal (if not daily) changes in the view of the mountains.

On the way to Dubois, we caught the last hour of the Salt Lake City rush hour. Nearing the Utah-Wyoming border, we stopped at the Echo Reservoir, near Echo, Utah, to change drivers.

We noticed the wind speed picking up.

When we reached the border, it was time for--what else?--a stop at the Welcome Center. Armed with maps and brochures, we set out on a 100-mile stretch of I-80.

It was really windy now. Electrical information signs along the interstate informed us that wind gusts were 45+ mph. When we stopped for gas, the gusts seemed to be on the "plus" side of 45.

Since Kate was driving, I was free to daydream a bit. As I did, my mind wandered off to the 1967 movie, "The Graduate."

Do you remember one of the scenes early in the movie where one of Benjamin's father's friend approaches Benjamin at his graduation/welcome home party? The conversation went:

Mr. McGuire: "I want to say one word to you. Just one word."
Benjamin: "Yes, sir."
Mr. McGuire: "Are you listening?"
Benjamin: "Yes, I am."
Mr. McGuire: "Plastics."

Even as we passed an area with these colorful shrubs--dark reds, reddish browns, and golden browns--I couldn't help but think how I would re-write that conversation between Mr. McGuire and Benjamin.

I would give Mr. McGuire the one-word response: "Wind."

The vast uninhabited areas of west Texas and especially southern Utah and southwestern Wyoming, plus the strong winds that we found in these areas, have led us to wonder about establishing a wind farm empire somewhere in these areas. Interestingly, some group may already started developing such a farm.

But there are so many more hills and so much more open space.

As if to underscore the effect of the wind, our first night at the campground three miles east of Dubois was marked by gusts of 45+++ mph. About 10:00 pm, we lost power.

The temperature at dawn the following morning was 29 degrees with a wind chill of 17.

It was a bit chilly for hiking in the Grand Tetons, so we went looking for a realtor and a couple of engineers.

(By the way, legend has it that a year after the movie’s release, the fledgling plastic industry took off like a rocket.)

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