Wednesday, May 14, 2014

May 14 (Day 134) - An easy ride, getting ready for Arizona, blog evolution

All I did today was move 60 miles west on I-10 from Deming to Lordsburg, NM. I was able to cover this distance remarkably quickly since there was a 15 MPH wind at my back and the road was in decent shape. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so this short video of my ride today will save lots of writing! It should give you a good idea of the terrain and weather I experienced today. Temperatures topped out at around 70F, so it was really perfect out on the road. There was no birding to speak of today, but that it surely going to change tomorrow when I arrive in the Chiricahuas! I currently sit at 382 species, and I would not be at all surprised to break 400 in the next 2-3 days. As a side note, I did cycle my 6,000th mile of 2014 near the end of my ride!

59 miles today to clear 6,000 for 2014!

The first of what I expect to be be 3-4 crossings.

One thing I want to discuss is the evolution of this blog over the course of the year. Right now I use it mainly as a platform to discuss my daily rides, my searches for various bird species, and my interactions with those people I met during these pursuits. As I just told you, I am likely to clear 400 species in the next few days. I will likely be close to 450 by the time I leave Arizona in 3-4 weeks. This means that in the remaining 7 months, I will add, at most, another 150 species. As new birds become harder to find, I will have to shift the focus of the blog to include other topics. I plan to continue to highlight issues in birding, conservation, and environmentalism. However, I also hope to challenge more vigorously some of the beliefs and behaviors that we as a nation and a planet demonstrate. In short, I hope to make this blog a bit more thought-provoking and controversial than it has been up until this point. I have received dozens of emails from people around the country and the world beyond it describing how my year has inspired them to make little changes in their daily routines so as to help the environment. I hope that by addressing bigger, potential more prickly issues as the year progresses, I can cause slightly larger ripples in the blogosphere and corresponding changes in attitudes. The focus will be on still be on birds and the environment, but I plan to give you a bit more of a window into the inner workings of my brain as it digests the world that exists beyond it. 

Here is today's thought train that inspired this post. As I was riding along today, I thought about the conditions of the roads on which I have been riding this year. In general, their condition has been poor. I have to ask myself, why, in this country, do we take so much pride in our collective performance in any given Olympics and so little in the infrastructure on which our people and our economy directly rely? It seems to reason that pouring money into infrastructure spending (versus defense spending) would make the country function more efficiently. Building better roads, bridges, and transport hubs would lessen traffic congestion, save lives, and ultimately help the environment from an emissions standpoint. These actions would directly improve the daily lives of ordinary citizens, and it would help grow the American economic beast that relies so heavily on that same infrastructure. Why do we so vehemently taught some ideal America only to look out the window and see crumbling roads, overcrowded airports, and public transportation systems that in all but a few cities are a complete joke? The Swiss take great pride in their rail system, and the Dutch take great pride in flood control. Who cares how tall the Freedom tower is when the NYC subway system, although still relatively efficient, is physically falling apart over a great deal of its length? How do we instill a much needed sense of national pride in our infrastructure so that bettering it becomes the truly American thing to do? I do not know the answer to this question, but I do know that by accepting the status quo, we send our leaders and the world a message much like the Wizard of Oz sent Dorothy and her vagabond partners; It's the facade, not what's behind the curtain that actually counts. 

Western kingbird leftover from yesterday!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome video! As a blog reader it's a real thrill to "connect" by seeing you in action and hearing your voice. What kind of video setup do you have that keeps the image so smooth given vibrations and wind?