Miles traveled: 423
Location: Los Banos
Left San Diego wearing leather and wishing I had unpacked my foul weather gear for a sweat shirt to wear underneath it. By the time I was in Los Angeles, was looking for a place to take off the leather. Then for who knows what reason Alice Miller‘s book The Body Never Lies kept coming to mind. I guess it was because the trip through the furnace of the Southwest had made such a big impression on my mind that when I hit high country north of Los Angeles that my body started talking to me not only about what it was going to be like but the preventive measures I should be taking.
The Mongols Nation I was headed north on I-5 going through Los Angeles early this morning where there was a high density lane on the left that was separated from the 5 or so other traffic lanes to the right by a double yellow line. Then out of nowhere appeared a caravan of maybe 10 or 12 Mongols riding smack dab in the middle of the two yellow lines (which made a small lane maybe 6 inches wide) with a great deal of skill just zipping through the traffic. You can certainly say a lot about the Mongols but what you cannot deny is that they road the yellow lines between the traffic with a great deal of grace and elegance. They were gone too fast for me to get my camera out to get a shot of them.
Speaking of California Traffic. A couple of days ago, I did an article on The family auto as a gateway to drugs addictions and lawlessness. Well much to my surprise, most of the 423 miles I traveled on I-5 today had a speed limit of 65 MPH. Now, no where can I remember interstates with such a speed limit from the east to west coast of the nation. So, I decided that if this is the speed limit that I would so travel it. That regulated me to the right lane. It was a crazy dance of trying to mesh with cars coming on to the interstate and/or cars cutting in front of me without a good sense of space and me having to hit the brakes.
So, I decided I would move with the flow of the traffic which was about 80 MPH for the most part. Now, think in terms of a posted speed limit that is 65 and traffic moving at 80 to 85 miles per hour. By the way, speed limit for trucks was 55 MPH. Its crazy: highway speeds are set for the design of the roads. Also, the extra 15 MPH at those speeds makes the fuel consumption sky rocket. I have seen it written where automotive fuel as a percent of the average family budget has reached about 9 to 11 percent. Then there were the accidents I saw today during the fast moving traffic on I-5. On the south bound lane vicinity of Los Angeles was a care turned upside down. Then again in the in the north bound lane were maybe 4 or 5 horrendous accidents.
Could not figure out why this situation is allowed to persist. The accidents, balance of payments, smog, oil dependency and etc are some of the great issues of the day and a good first step to the solution is simply to enforce the basic traffic laws. I remember one law enforcement officer telling me that it would be impossible. And today, I was reminded that back in the day when Clement Riley was the police chief or some such thing for the state of Connecticut that he said 66 miles per hour was breaking the speed limit and you would be ticketed. Let me tell ya, traffic slowed down to 65 MPH at the Connecticut state line. So, if the police are only ticketing where the fines are high, it could be said that they are cherry picking and setting up other drivers for a like fleecing.
This is not unlike what the police do with drug dealers. You see, the civil forfeiture laws mandate that all money and property confiscated from drug busts goes to the law enforcement agencies involved in the busts. As a case in point, I have seen Florida Highway Patrol directives that automobiles involved in drug busts on the highways would only be confiscated if they were newer models that would generate income as a part of the confiscation procedure. Then again, I have seen a Department of Justice (DOJ) memorandum on the internet saying that Federal Attorney’s would focus on high income operations to generate revenue for the DOJ.
One of the single largest consequences of this procedure has been the police corruption across the nation.
It would appear here that this practice has unleashed another problem that is every bit as damaging as corruption. It gives law enforcement agencies income streams that are apart and independent of the tax revenues from the community they are responsible to in their protect and serve responsibilities. Setting priorities of efforts is normally a responsibility of the elected officials within the community. However, the police may or may not have their own priorities when the community falls short in allocation of funds and as such focus on those activities that will generate supplemental revenue.
Agro Industry: The size of the agro industry is overwhelming. It seems as if everything from Bakersfield to where I am overnighting in Banos is agro industry and on no small scale. The same sense of desert coming up to the side of the road with canals of fresh water paralleling the road at times. I guess it takes this kind of business to feed the nation.
Sunday Workforce: What I was not prepared for was the Sunday workforce out harvesting the produce.
Tried to get a photo of some of the portable harvesting sheds along side the road but could not. This was a big operation and my guess is that there were over 60 men and women out in the hot California sun involved in the harvest. Saw buses and porta-poties identical to the ones I had seen in the Imperial Valley a couple of days earlier by the portable harvesting sheds.
The Grapes of Warth: Shortly after passing the harvesting shed, my mind flipped back to a scene in the movie of the Grapes of Wrath where this share cropper family’s house was being run over by some giant bull dossers from an agro business that was taking over their land. You can see it in the . Indeed it is a powerful DVD well worth watching if no other reason than the destruction of the small family farm by agro business.
Family Farms: Then it occurred to me that I had not seen a single family farm in several hundred miles of a business that came right up to the road. Concluded that the family farm was a myth propagated by politicians and agro business to guarantee the free flow of subsidies to farming. No doubt this is a powerful lobby with high stakes finances. If there is any doubt about it, I invite you to watch the documentary King Corn
Well, it is now 11:27 pm and it has been a long day. My clock is winding down and tomorrow is a short run to Menlo Park. So, I will wish each and every one of you well.