My 6,000 mile roadtrip through the South and Southwest had many goals and unattainable expectations. But, I have learned from experience that having unattainable expectations is far superior to having none at all. I have many planned epilogue posts coming that will give you more details of the effect this trip had on me and my future plans. I need time to more fully develop my thoughts about the trip, so they will not be coming out in a sequential order, but will be interspersed with some of my usual post topics. Let’s start off with a few things that were immediately obvious.
The South and especially the Southwest are hot, dry and windy places. To this old Midwestern boy those three things are kinda like what I imagine hell to be like. 😎 I hope I don’t offend my southern friends with this glaring statement. People who have lived there most of their lives, including my older brother, are used to those conditions, but I am not. I like it that nighttime temps get down into the 60s and 50s even in the summer. Anything over 100 degrees is suffocating to me. Yes, there was a difference between the Florida heat and the Arizona heat, but they were both HOT.
Everything in the South is “sort of green”. But it is a very muted green compared to the land north of the Mason-Dixon line. Here, the Spring greens are vibrant. Much of the South, and particularly the Southwest, have many road signs declaring this creek or river. Although, I never saw any water in them! They were nothing but dry gulches. Yeah, I know flash flooding is common a couple of times a year, and that is where the water goes during those times, but that isn’t enough for them to be deemed a river.
Grass and Trees
I love trees and green grass. The variety of trees that we have in the northern States is astounding. My old homestead of 21 years was surrounded by many mighty oaks, colorful maple, poplar, cherry, apple, walnut, and birch trees. The Southwest landscape was dominated by small gnarly bushy thing called mesquite trees. I wouldn’t call them trees at all. I guess when they are burned they add a unique flavor to barbecued meat, but that’s about it. My Midwestern trees provide wood for lumber, and are a joy to see in the Spring and colorful Fall months. They were a pain to pickup off the lawn in the Fall, but even that makes for some wonderful compost for future years’ veggie gardens.
These reasons are enough to make me want to stay in the Midwest. Given that global warming will not be slowing down anytime soon, the South will do nothing but get hotter and drier in the coming years. By the same effect, the Midwest’s winter will become milder and less icy and snow. From that standpoint alone, I am sure I am where I belong.