Mud.

With Earl out of town in Chicago this weekend (moving things into our storage unit and looking for more places to live) I found myself with a little time on my hands today. I originally planned on flying this afternoon but winds were gusting to nearly 30 MPH so it was better if I stayed on the ground. I decided to go driving along the eastern shore of Lake Ontario in the Jeep. 

I enjoy following the “old version” of state routes. These are easily identifiable: the original routing usually splits off at a curve. The state route follows a very straight and wide alignment but the original route veers off and then comes back to the state route farther up the road. I found one such routing today along NY Route 3 in southern Jefferson County. The original routing had this lovely sign.

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This presented me with a challenge for the Jeep. I hadn’t been off-roading in a while, so I followed the remains of this road, which ended up taking me through some farmland, closer to the shore of the lake and then ending abruptly at the remnants of a bridge. Along the way there were places where I could splash the Jeep in the mud.

This is what was left of the road at one point.

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I did come across a scenic view of a tributary from Sandy Creek that flows into Lake Ontario. 

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I was all by myself in the middle of nowhere and it was quite peaceful. I had a lot of fun off roading for a bit. A highly recommended exercise.

Safety. 

Has society become so unpredictable that we can’t be trusted with a spoon or knife without precautions?  

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Sun.

Over the past couple of years solar farms have been appearing across some of the local landscape in our county. They are especially prevalent around the county buildings near the old county airport.

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I’m happy to see this type of growth in our region, as there’s a lot of open space that is being used with this clean energy generation. If Earl and I still lived on the big swath of land we owned back in the early 2000s, I’d probably be pushing for a solar farm of some sort on our land.

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While I kind of understand the community resistance to wind farms, I really don’t see why folks have fits about solar farms. Back when the Paris Accord was signed back in 2005, some of the reasoning as to why solar farms are bad for us were baffling. A retired science teacher in North Carolina was concerned that the solar panels would divert the sun away from vegetation. She claimed the solar panels would retard photosynthesis. The vegetation around the solar farms in this area are thriving. Perhaps she just wanted to throw out the word “photosynthesis” to prove to the town council that she was a scientific genius. She also claimed that no one could tell her that these panels didn’t cause cancer. So much for an open mind.

There have also been claims that the panels will suck all of the energy out of the sun and burn it out. My only response to this, “and these people vote”.

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There are efforts to build solar roadways elsewhere in the world. Basically, pavement would be replaced with solar panels which can also have LED lighting embedded in them. These panels would be wired to cabling in raceways along the roadway, which in turn would be tied into the local power grid. Imagine, all that asphalt replaced with solar panels. How awesome would that be? No more worries about an eyesore in a nearby field!

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Another great idea is the addition of solar canopies to parking lots. In a previous job, when I would visit an office outside of Dallas, Texas, the biggest complaint from the local folks was that the new company building did not have a parking garage. Their vehicles were sitting outside, baking in the August Texas heat. Imagine if a relatively inexpensive parking lot canopy made of solar panels was installed over the area. Cars in the shade and electric power generation in one swoop. This would even benefit us in the northeast. Snow off the car in the winter while providing electric power for the surrounding area.

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We can have such a bright future if, as a society, we stop clinging to the past of young, fairly ignorant technology and keep moving innovation forward. Both wind and sun are an unlimited source. Being part of the Paris Climate Accord, no matter how “symbolic” it appeared to be, was a positive step in the right direction.

We need to focus on building a brighter, cleaner future. Stagnant thoughts and ideas will never get us anywhere. We have a future to build. As a world, let’s all build that future together.

Wind.

There’s been a lot of talk over the past 48 hours about Climate Change. I’ve heard also sorts of people debate as to what is happening with Climate Change on a global scale, its impact on the economy, who is responsible for Climate Change and whether the climate is even changing or not. Many believe that Climate Change is part of a cycle and that the Earth will take care of itself. Scientists believe that humans are having a definite negative impact on the climate and we may be mucking it up to the point of very dire events over this century.


Of course, Trump announced yesterday that the United States will be pulling out of the Paris Agreement, an effort initiated on our behalf by the Obama Administration in 2015, because he feels it doesn’t give the United States a fair advantage on the global stage. Sometimes being a leader isn’t a fair game.


Participation in the Paris Agreement is completely voluntary. Canceling the United States’ participation in this agreement is symbolic at best. Hopefully, Trump spent too much of his political capital with this latest distraction stunt to further erase any hopes of him being re-elected for a second term in 2020. Realistically I doubt that he’ll make it to 2018 in the Oval Office, let alone 2020. Though, admittedly I have underestimated the stupidity of the general population and I will probably continue to do so. Optimism and all that.


The Maple Ridge Wind Farm can generate power for about 140,000 homes. With 195 Vesta turbines placed over 75 square miles of land in Lewis County, the wind farm has an installed output of 321 megawatts of power. The wind farm surrounds some farm land of relatives on the paternal side of my family. It’s about 45 miles north of our home. With all the talk about renewable energy this week I went up and parked the Jeep in the Visitors’ Center parking lot, listening to the wind turn the turbine situated closest to the center.  


Admittedly, the turbines are large and definitely a part of the landscape. There’s no escaping them, so I understand why folks would be hesitant to live near these fairly recent additions to the Tug Hill Plateau. But looking at the bright side, there’s no smog, no toxins being released into the air and no threat of a nuclear meltdown.

Just the whisper of clean energy being produced by a renewable resource. Somewhere nearby, 140,000 homes were able to light up their evening because of these guys doing their thing with the wind.

And I find that to be absolutely amazing.

Let’s keep the momentum moving forward. Even if we don’t have to do it, let’s want to make our planet, our only home, the cleanest it can be. Let’s not be selfish.

Let’s give more than we take.