Tuesday, October 25, 2011


The Antelope Valley lies one hundred miles east of the Pacific Ocean, in California's high desert. We are on the receiving end of WIND, with a capitol W.I.N.D. Logic might suggest that one-hundred miles of coastal mountains and valleys ought to dissipate the wind's power. Au contraire; it simply skips over that mass, building up a running start before it cascades onto the desert.

We once had a NASA engineer from Houston here on temporary duty. Soon after arrival he remarked, "Man, down along the Gulf Coast we give these things names."

So today I went for a walk on the California aqueduct overlooking the valley. My first clue for what awaited me should have been the cold, west wind that assaulted me as I opened the front door. My second clue came in the form of the rodeo-bronc ride my Ford gave going up the hill. When I emerged from the car the wind slammed my door open with a mighty whoosh and whang.

Dedicated, health-wise idiot that I am, I got out anyway. I planned to walk for thirty minutes, then turn and walk back for a good hour's exercise. Ha. Good one. After five minutes of walking crabwise to a hurricane I considered turning back. I'm not kidding, the wind had to be rushing past at seventy miles-per-hour. I kept getting pushed sideways across the road surface. I had to lean into the force of the wind to keep upright.

Long story short, I halved the outward bound time to fifteen minutes. Only a thirty minute walk, sure; but I worked for that thirty minutes.


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