Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Day 2 on the road again - the rain, the parks and other things

Day 2 from the road with gas selling for $3.09 in Tucson, Arizona. This is one of the cleanest cities I have ever seen and looks like you could eat off the highways when compared to much of Texas’ trash-strewn roadways.
The best way to see the USA is in a Chevrolet, or in my case, a Ford Escape. Flying thousands of miles way up in the cloud-covered air is no method of appreciate the native beauty of this land. It must be done face-to-face, in person, up close and personal and other standard clich├ęs.
I am a major fan of the National Parks Service and the nationwide system of national parks, monuments, memorials, recreation areas and other lands under that agency’s auspices. I made a wise investment in a National Parks Pass which, for $50, gains me access to any park charging an admission fee. Today alone I saved $15.
Whether it was the Chamizal National Monument in El Paso or the unbelievably beautiful Saguaro National Park in Tucson, it is a program that is worthy of everyone’s attention, including a bigger piece of the federal budget. We underfund our parks system woefully; we think it’s a luxury when the truth is that this is our heritage and our history. It is educational, it is inspiring (to see a valley filled with those giant cacti is awesome) and it is America.
No complaint? (You knew there would be one). Not enough national park land in Texas and none in North Texas. Why? Not enough history to preserve? Bunk! The Eisenhower Home in Denison should be under the guise of the National Park Service. Dealey Plaza should be a national memorial. And don’t get me started on the second most recognized symbol of liberty in this nation – the Alamo. It should be a national park.
I’ll be totally anal and continue my quest to fill up my Passport (a fun way to investigate park service properties through stamps and imprints) and tomorrow promises Casa Grande Ruins and Tonto National Park. I should add more than 20 visits on this trip and still won’t make a dent into the final total.
But I want to try until I die.
Finally I want to delve into time and continue to ask the question, “Why can’t all our watches just get along?”
As I woke up this morning in Van Horn, Texas, the room phone delivered my wake-up call promptly at 7 a.m. And it was pitch black outside. How could that be?
Easy. Van Horn is the last outpost of civilization in Texas within the Central Time Zone. As soon as I crossed the Hudspeth County line, it gained (or was it lost?) an hour.
I watched the sunrise over Main Street as I departed the hotel …at 7:45 a.m., which in Dallas is like spotlight bright. It was weird but when I queried the front desk clerk about it, she shrugged her shoulders to say, “No biggie! We’re used to it.”
Once I crossed into Arizona, I gained (or lost) another hour. Not because Arizona is in the Pacific zone, but it refuses to recognize Daylight Savings Time. So it was 11 a.m., now 10 a.m. when it used to be 12 noon when it was … AAAAAAAARRRRRGGGG!
When will the government stop fooling around with the clocks? The answer is never since a part of the Transportation Bill will “extend” daylight savings time for two additional months. “Standard” time will no longer be the “standard.”
It’s so silly, unless you’ve been driving for 11 hours and you want dinner but the clock reads 4:30 p.m. Your tummy says “Let’s eat now,” but your brain asks you to wait.

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