Lots in Common

This morning’s weather forecast dictated our travel decision.

Jeffrey couldn’t fight a 20-30 mph (32-48 kph) headwind for 100 miles to reach Mullen before dark. Never mind gusts of 40 mph that could blow us off the road.

We harnessed the NW wind to speed us 55 miles east from Ogallala to North Platte. The wind will slow somewhat when we try for Thedford tomorrow.
•Tanya and Jeffrey are registered nurses.• They compared notes. Tanya works in eldercare and relieves stress through a second job at the motel. She has a big heart and empathizes with asylum applicants who can have a lawyer only “at no expense to the government” to help exercise their legal rights.
The GPS sent us toward North Platte on a bike route that started with pavement.
Then the GPS directed us onto sand and gravel. Jeffrey calculated that backtracking to take the “avoid highway” car route would take longer than wallowing through 5 miles of this.
The backroads have their charms, though. We darted into a barnyard to watch this procession.
The truck driver gave us thumbs-up and thanked us for getting out of the way. He admired our “rig”.
Away they went, munching and mooing.
What a relief to return to pavement! The wind wasn’t quite a tailwind, but it was close enough to boost us to a 20 mph cruising speed when we had good pavement like this. Sometimes the road turned into the wind, and Jeffrey fought to attain 9 mph. We were right not to try for Mullen.
This recounts unauthorized immigration into other nations’ (Northern Plains tribes’) territory. (What’s that you say about failure to control the border?)
Our route paralleled a busy railroad track. We saw a mile-long coal train, shorter trains, inspection vehicles. This machine maintains the roadbed.
This train had two locomotives at the front and another at the rear.
In Sutherland, soon after we crossed from the Mountain to the Central Time zone, we paused at this 100th anniversary (2013) commemoration of the Lincoln Highway. At right is an old gas station. The mural evokes the past.
A coast-to-coast route was named after Lincoln, before roads were given numbers.
Corn (spilled from trucks?) mixed with roadside gravel. Sights, sounds, and smells of agriculture are everywhere.
The Golden Spike Tower in North Platte “offers the best view in the world of the world’s largest rail yard, the Union Pacific’s Bailey Yard, where every day approximately 10,000 railcars are sorted and sent on to their next destination.”
North Platte. Note the grain elevator and the water tower.
•Nikita and Jeffrey are registered nurses.• Nikita supervises a memory care facility with too little staff and 60 residents. The work is overwhelming. She also is part owner of the motel where we stopped. She supported the RIde by giving us a special rate.
•Brandy and Jeffrey are part titanium.• Brandy barely survived an encounter with a 1500 lb (680 kg) bull that didn’t want to be loaded into a feedlot truck. She got her revenge. She ate him.

Brandy works several jobs to help support her extended family, including a son who works multiple jobs and soon will attend college to study diesel mechanics and crime scene investigation.

Somehow the richest country in the world can’t keep its roads repaired, its hardworking citizens financially secure, its people healthy without bankrupting them, or its legal promises to asylum applicants.

Brandy and Jeffrey commiserated but could not find a way to return to the principles of 1933-1981, when the wealthy paid high Federal taxes (the top marginal rate in that era was at least 70%; under Republican President Eisenhower, it was 91%) and the American people prospered and felt good about our future.

But to the breaking of our legal promises to asylum applicants, there is a solution.

Yes, support candidates for public office who are true to our principles as a welcoming people. Vote for those who believe that the Refugee Act of 1980 means what it says.

And to hold candidates’ and officials’ feet to the fire—and to provide practical help at no charge to people who have a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, social group membership, or political opinion—support Human Rights First.

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