Posts Tagged ‘Blue Highways’

Nickel and dimed

December 3, 2017

Bare trees, gray light; oh yeah, it was a cold night.

We’ve a cold front moving in, dagnabit. The Lord must be punishing us for voting Democrat.

Well, never fear. The Republicans will keep us warm by rooting through our pockets, looking for spare change to lay on real-estate developers, oil and gas operators, multinational corporations, banks making payments to offshore subsidiaries, and religious schools.

You’ll recognize the headline as having been lifted from Barbara Ehrenreich’s 2001 book of the same name, which took an extended look at the millions of Americans slaving away full time for poverty-level dough.

Jessica Bruder has done something similar with “Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century.” She follows a cadre of rootless neo-Joads, 21st-century tinkers and gypsies crisscrossing the country in their “wheel estates” — beater RVs, vans and cars that also serve as their homes — in search of grueling, low-paying jobs.

It’s a fascinating read about Americans who are literally struggling to make a go of it. “A man who couldn’t make things go right could at least go,” as William Least Heat-Moon wrote in “Blue Highways: A Journey Into America.”

And another quote about going: “There but for the grace of God go I.” Our “leaders” would be well served by a little more meditation on interdependence and a little less study of the Book of I’ve Got Mine, Get Yours.

The next 60

March 28, 2014
The Soma Saga in its present configuration. I'm thinking about losing the rando' bars for some short-reach drops, beefing up the bar tape and fattening up the tires.

The Soma Saga in its present configuration. I’m thinking about losing the rando’ bars for some short-reach drops, beefing up the bar tape and fattening up the tires.

Thanks to all of you for the most excellent birthday wishes. No. 60 was a quiet day around Chez Dog — since Herself was road-tripping for business purposes, the party was an exclusive affair; just me, the menagerie, and all those voices in my head (happily, they don’t eat much, not even ice cream).

Today, a milestone behind me and various millstones ahead, I continued what I’m calling Ride the Neglected Bicycles Week. So far it’s seen the Voodoos Nakisi and Wazoo, the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff, and the Jones all get out of the garage for some vigorous thrashing, and there are still two days left. Tomorrow’s supposed to be 60-something and mostly sunny. You can’t stop me!

When not riding, I’ve been reading about riding. “Life Is a Wheel” is Bruce Weber’s account of his second cross-country cycling trip, undertaken at age 57. I had been aware of his ride — a writer for The New York Times, Weber blogged about it for the paper — but the book had somehow slipped my mind. I saw the review, downloaded the book, and so far Weber and I have spent an enjoyable few evenings together.

Like other road books — “Travels With Charley,” “Blue Highways,” and of course, “On the Road,” “Life Is a Wheel” is giving me notions. Nothing so elaborate as a cross-country ride, mind you, certainly not in springtime. But taking a few days away, under my own steam, sounds like a wonderful departure from business as usual.