12/11/2003: "Road Trip - Day 10"music: -
Here's our most recent activity - and here's to more frequent updates! I'm disappointed at GCU's lack of ethernet in its residence halls, but I will search dilligently for fast internet tomorrow. You all deserve pictures.
Day 10 (Wednesday, December 10, 2003)
11:48 am – 0.0 miles: After showering, reorganizing, and breaking camp, we leave Catalina state park for the Biosphere – the same biosphere that we visited last night and were told by the security guards that we couldn’t even look at the thing from the outside. When I asked for any information, the security guard told me he had none. Way to be useful, foolio. On the way out, the other security guard was at least useful enough to tell us what hours they were open. We pull into Bashas, a grocery store, to get some more food for the rest of the trip.
2:45 pm -19.7 miles: Scott is good enough with the stick shift, and bad enough at logging (I even called him a “lag slocker” – I was trying to say “log slacker,” but that’s not what came out) that he is driving in Tucson while I log. The Biosphere 2 is a grand project still waiting to be made great. Admission was only $6, less that the $13-23 we were expecting, so we were quite pleased and entered without much debate. The entire place felt like it was past its prime, although some construction was ongoing. The Biosphere was built in 1987 with the money of a single man (this is why it is good to have rich people in a society). The original intent of the Biosphere was to seal humans inside to see how they could live within an ecosystem using recycling and so-forth. These experiments ended in 1992, but the information and the guides didn’t seem to care to elaborate as to why. I suspect that it has something to do with a story I heard on NPR a long time ago – that the biosphere was not as self-sustaining as was planned, and that there had been clandestine insertions of materiel from the outside to ensure the viability of the project. When this was discovered, the project came to a dismal end. In 1996, Columbia University took over the management of the Biosphere 2 facility with great plans on turning it into the focal point for environmental research in the world. Recently, Columbia retreated from its plans to buy the center and vastly scaled back its research activities at the site. Financial reasons may be involved, but I personally suspect that the results being produced by the Biosphere were not what the closed-minded liberal environmental research scientists wanted. Most of the “educational” displays on the walking tour were designed to scare people about the dangers of global warming, the drastic effects of human activity on the planet, and all sorts of other unproven or disproved liberal ballyhoo. There was a clear political intent to Columbia University’s involvement at the Biosphere, and I believe that the data the Biosphere produced didn’t fit the wants of those in charge of the University’s involvement.
5:04 pm – 71.7 miles: We stop at a Phillips 66 outside of Saguaro National Park to refuel, having just witnessed a dumb cop make life dangerous for ourselves and several other drivers. We think we’ll be in Phoenix around 7:00. This day seems really short, but I guess that’s what happens when you don’t get going until noon.
10:43 pm – 236.1 miles: We are in Phoenix. Since Jeana wasn’t going to be available until after 10 pm, we decided, on the advice of Suzanne who lived in Phoenix for a year, to go to downtown Tempe, the site of Arizona State University. Tempe earns Arizona massive points – it is a beautiful, colorful, lively city that is great to walk around in. It is well decorated for the season, has nice parks, and is full of beautiful young people. Tempe is good. After we got tired of walking around Tempe, we went to the International Airport to recreate the scene from Wayne’s World and other movies of watching the planes land nearby. Our spot wasn’t quite as good as in the movies, but it was still fun. On our way back to Phoenix and Grand Canyon University, we stopped to help a motorist of the side of the road. He had a flat and couldn’t find the jack in his car, which he had just bought. We dug out our jack (in the trunk, under all our junk) and let him use it, then raced against time to get everything back together in the trunk as a street sweeper bore down on us. We returned to Phoenix proper, got in touch with Jeana, and now we await her arrival at the Applebee’s here in Phoenix.
2:13 am: Jeana took her time getting to the Applebee’s, but she finally showed up and we had a joyous reunion. It turns out that we were kind of crashing one of her friends’ birthday party – but they didn’t seem to mind that much, at least not after the Jagermeister shots the four girls shared. Scott and I split chicken wings and each ordered an entrée on top of that – I got a mediocre but filling chicken parm and scott had chicken fingers and fries. After Applebee’s we moved to an Irish bar down the street where Scott, Jeana and I caught up while the others enjoyed some more alcoholic beverages. I feel really in my element at bars, let me tell you. Finally, about one o’clock, we headed to Grand Canyon University. Jeana set us up our very own room with mattresses and box springs, a toilet – but no Internet access! We are shocked! It looks like my phone will get to use some more nighttime minutes to upload this.