November 11, 2015 – Sun, 70 degrees
Miles Today: 41
Miles to Date: 9,735
States to Date: 25
My first day in the desert. Eleven hours sleep last night; pot of coffee courtesy Ocotillo Motel; breakfast burrito courtesy The Red Feather; gentle breeze and gorgeous day courtesy whatever God you favor. Everything was perfect, except the lousy pavement on the side road alternative to Interstate 8. Then again, the minor annoyance helps us appreciate the perfection of everything else.
The Imperial Valley is full of hay farms. Most of it is exported to Chia and the Middle East. Some say it is due to Colorado River water regulations. Others say its because the land is too contaminated to grow crops for US consumption. Either way, it’s bizarre that we’re irrigating the desert to grow hay to ship halfway around the world.
The Imperial Valley is the lowest place in the USA, well below sea level. Everything from here is uphill.
The fields are full of birds. Dozens of snowy egret feast upon mown hay. At sunset, whole flocks rise out of the fields and fly in graceful formation overhead.
That hay/water issue has been in the news lately. Apparently Saudi Arabia emptied their aquifers growing hay for dairy and have gone elsewhere including dry, irrigated places like southern CA and AZ. It is a difficult issue. It seems like one could farm where water is plentiful if you’re just going to ship the crop 10K miles.
Larry – Thanks for filling in the blanks. I am not news savvy while traveling. I agree. Hard to believe you have to go to a place where hay is not naturally grown and then ship it around the earth. Humans are nuts – which I suppose it what makes us humans.