Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Correction!! The numbers are way off in the preceding post, regarding megawatts and electricity usage of households. I see this now from looking at some wind power stats in Weatherford, OK. I think what I may have been told on the phone outside the Sunray facility in CA, is (rather) that the entire complex, made up of a lot more than just the two segments I visited, could supply the 120,000 households/day.

For some reason I've been drawn to wind turbines on this trip. Got off I-40 somewhere after Vega, TX after again seeing a large wind farm and... hey, why not go look at the turbines? Maybe I'll run into Bick Benedict, now in the wind electricity business and he'll give me a tour. Well after a half hour on washboard gravel and dirt, the towers seemed barely any closer, they are probably over 275 ft tall... It was a fun tangent still... locusts, or crickets, who knows, bouncing off the car...


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Had to get a few more shots of high plains TX, close to the OK line. It's such an interesting area.
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Weatherford, OK... here is one wind turbine blade, on display across from City Hall:

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More Romantic Road Ruin:

Monday, August 17, 2009

44 megawatts of power are generated daily from this solar generating facility, taking up, I'm guessing, 50 acres -- salt water is heated in pipes that run across the mirrors pictured below, which go to boilers which drive turbines. I wasn't allowed in, but did have a conversation with an engineer on the phone outside the gate. He says that comes out to about 120,000 homes' daily power needs. This is also technology from the early 80's.... how about that! There are new approaches featuring mirrors that focus light and heat at towers and more pipes which then conduct the heat to 600 degrees.... much more efficient.
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More Mojave Pictures

Great-tailed Grackle. Saw a number of these with their mouths open... Do they pant to keep cool? Or is it Cawing? Here are a few pictures taken between Barstow and Needles, CA:
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Click on these photos and they should enlarge in high resolution, and you will have the best chance to appreciate the scale of things, which is hard to capture with a camera. The train, which now looks tiny, would vanish long before approaching the mountains in the background.... check out the bowl effect -- the way the earth tilts so gradually, approaching the mountains, also in the picture below.
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Area 66 house in Yucca, Arizona:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Great Idea:


I'm all for this -- you will be great!! Hv fn.

Play the video below... you'll liiiiiiiiike this psychedelia from a giant kaleidoscope, one of many on display in the building where I am currently performing (Ventura County Fair):


video

Fair edges the Pacific, someone is having a blast...

New fair friends Nancy and Cowboy Gil with Turkeys
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Ventura midway.... in area, this is a huge fair compared to Sonoma (not counting the race track in Santa Rosa), yet there are others in California even bigger. Spoiled rotten with this one, the ocean is right at the edge of it, invigorating air, there's lots going on.... very nice people to work around, and great audiences.......
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Mehr kinder schweine
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El Valle
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Tagus Ranch Motel vs California Central Valley
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Tehachapi wind farm, Ca, between Bakersfield and Barstow and west of the very hot Mojave Desert, pictured below:
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I had to use the pogo stick to get this shot, the line you see running close to the bottom is I-40. Although the high desert (northern AZ/NM) is amazing, the Mojave has a quality... I kept reminding myself that lots of things can live here, but passing through in 114 degrees heat is an amazing experience, and seeing out into the preserve is very different from the vistas in NM, it's sort of 'dirty,' 'sandy,' a good place to train a Mars Rover... the scale is just as impressive, looking into a valley and a small mountain range in the middle of it... strange stuff!
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East of Needles, CA... probably just east of the Colorado River, still in AZ:



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East of Flagstaff (below)... if you look closely you can see a large mountain ahead.... about 80 miles away.

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Dinos at Hopiland truckstop:

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Below is the beautiful Rio Grande Valley from the crest of the Sandias, behind Albookooky. About 11,000 ft... in the last photo, you can see the "La Luz" hiking trail cutting back and forth across the moraines. It's a full day to get to the top. No hiking this trip!! But driving up and walking on the crest was a blast.





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New Mexico gets rail service! Real commuter rail service, not just for tourists. The folks who regularly use it are paying its operation costs and it is considered a great success so far. The Rail Runner presently operates from Belen, 20 mi south of Albuquerque, to Santa Fe. There are plans to expand to Las Cruces in the south, and maybe later, a little farther north. Nice Road Runner paint job...

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Passing through tribal lands on the way to Santa Fe:

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Probably just south of Santa Fe, below... in the distance you can see the Sandias:
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Rail Runner video:
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Tucumcari Welcome Dog

TX panhandle.... you can see in addition to changes in vegitation and the sky opening up, the ground is getting cut into washes, arroyos, and small buttes... I believe this is still east of Amarillo.
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Just over the TX state line in Shamrock, TX -- according to the convenience store clerk there is an "Aursh" heritage in Shamrock, it took a little while to understand she was saying "Irish." She didn't like my saying I thought it was a requirement to know what huevos rancheros was in this part of the country. Oops.
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Weatherford, OK, lots of windmills
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Somewhere in OK, on the way to the sun and big sky......