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Watching the Weather

I generally start my workout at the gym with a 30 minute session on an eliptical or some other Rube Goldberg-like device designed to increase my heart rate and excersize the fat around my middle.  I swear I have the best excersized fat in the world -- it never leaves, it just goes along for the ride, but I digress.   Those 30 minutes are usually spent watching CNN on one of the big TV monitors at the gym, and the last two days while CNN does its best to cover the RNC in Tampa, there is a continual graphic at the bottom that updates us on the progress of Hurricane Isaac as it bears down on Louisiana.   The storm is aiming for, and as I write this, heading straight up the Mississippi delta along LA-23, a road I went down and back this past May on my last big motorcycle trip.
photo 2
That road runs right down to the furthest tip of Louissanna, and ends at a map-dot named "Venice", right where the red hurricane symbol is on this picture.  When I went down there in May I was struck by the desolation and the erie, almost creepy lack of "life", other than a lot of petrochemical plants and some run down shacks.   Apparently this area was hit pretty hard by Katrina seven years ago today, and what was there never really came back.   The highway was a long, four lane, cement road, but it had no traffic and no signs of life.  There's a lot more here: http://grgardner.livejournal.com/59794.html  It was a place I couldn't wait to get out of to be honest.  
DSCN0024
That whole Louisana coast was rather depressing to me, in some places reminding me of the movie Deliverence.   Rampant poverty, shacks and shanties, houses on stilts, abandoned stores and gas stations.  I had to keep asking myself, "why?"  Why would anyone choose to live there -- the heat, the humidity, and the damn storms -- another one bearing down on them today.   Looking at the CNN anchors, all dripping wet, wind howling and blowing, water and waves crashing, makes me cringe.   I look at the picture above and think to myself, "that whole place is now under about 5 feet of water and facing 75 mph winds!     Hell, I was in Florida a couple of weeks ago, and it was 90 and 90% humidity, and the air was so thick you could feel it when you went outside -- like a heavy hot wet blanket enveloping you.  

No thanks.  As much as I love (as everyone here loves) to bitch about the weather in the PNW, we at least don't get monster storms rushing at us.   And truth be told, we've had quite a lovely summer this year, unlike last year.  And it shows no sign of abating either, which is a pleasant surprise.  

So yes, I'll take the weather here over the weather in the Gulf.  Especially this last weekend.   My friend garlandj and I went on his first big overnight motorcycle ride on his own bike -- a 500 mile loop through the North Cascades in Washington with an overnight at Sun Mountain Lodge outside of Winthrop, WA.  It was a wonderful relaxing weekend, riding some roads that were even new to me on part of this route, and enjoying the warmth and the spectacular scenery.  And not worrying about hurricanes.    It likely will be the last weekend overnight bike trip this year as the summer is widning down, but who knows?  Maybe if it stays this nice I can sneak in another weekend ride.
photo 1
Meantime, I'll turn off CNN and the hullabaloo over the RNC and Hurricane Isaac, and savor the weather here for now, and be grateful I'm living where I don't have to worry about storms and heavy rain, and can head out on the bike to a view like this.

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