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Photo album - my failed Death Valley trip.

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David Prasad (2008 0226 Archive)
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Obama I Want You Poster

Invisible Rain creates wed roads in the clear-skied desert at night near Tehachapi pass
Hey, how do you intend to spend your STIMULUS PACKAGE?? Spend it on USA MADE!
We need cheap imported goods because we have below living wage jobs
We have below living wage jobs because we don't buy locally, union or USA made
Union made is the most ironclad guarantee of products made under good conditions & wages
Spend it on USA MADE! Still Made In USA

Pic 1. Barack Obama's poster links to Barack Obama's videos and posters page. I'm a member of Fresno for Barack Obama. I'm already convinced of Barack Obama. Others say they don't know what he's for. The other people running for President claim Barack has "no substance", but here's the substance. He's just as substancial as Hillary Clinton. (For balance, fairness and the American way, here's Hillary's link.) Also running for President besides Barack and Hillary is the Republican who withstood 5 years of methodical torture in Vietnam, John McCain. I'm sorry to say he offers no change from the bad policies of President Bush.
Pic 2. Ziggy Marley In Fresno at Fresno Fair in Oct. 2007 (0710??) His show was outstanding. Everybody was dancing, singing, smiling, and smoking weed! A word about weed and Reggae: I think Reggae is more enjoyable when lucid. Strange but true, you heard it here first!
Pic 3. An art piece called "bowls" at Stanford Hospital, November 2, 2007 (071102).
Pic 4. A silly doodle, "chattyfaces," from a rare use of Illustrator here at home.
Pic 5. In the wee hours of the morning I cleared the rainy Tehachapi Pass and canyon and was in the clear and starry skied Mohave desert. The last of the rainclouds in the Tehachapi give out in the distance, evaporating into the drier desert air. However a curious thing. All the roads and rock surfaces in the vicinity of the pass opening were wet, as though it were raining. In a way, it was. The rain had become invisible water vapor and was recondensing into water on the colder surface of the asphalt. Nothing else was wet; only the asphalt. A few miles farther from the pass, the roads were dry again. How about that! That's more than just your run-of-the-mill dew. The streets near the pass opening were wet because the nearby water vapor source, a rainy Tehachapi pass and canyon. it was... INVISIBLE RAIN!

Saturday, February 23, 2008, 18:00
Corkscrew Peak

After starting out at 1:30 am, I arrived at Corkscrew Peak at 9 am. It dawned on me however my day hike was not going to be a success because I forgot MY FOOD! So it was back into Death Valley doing 90 MPH and it still took me 20 minutes to get back to Stovepipe Wells for some Clif bars. After 40 minutes I got back and started to hike. The lack of a trail was more of an impediment than I had anticipated. The google satellite image made the way to the top of the peak appear to be easy to plot from the ground. The description DeathValleyNP dot gov made the route sound simple: go along the eastern slope from the south without attempting to walk directly to the summit until reaching the northern side of the mountain, at which time the way to the top will be obvious. What they failed to mention was that the way to the mountain top was on the east side of the wash, a route that is on the WESTERN SIDE of the neighboring hill. So I was going completely the wrong way. Death Valley has lots of lots of day hike sites, but none of them have trails.

I started out going the right way, but the route description said to ascend the mountain by walking north along its eastern side. Therefore, I ought to get to the mountain and start walking along its eastern side. However, the mountain is set back a ways from the road and getting to the mountain seemed a bit tricky. There was no obvious way to go, so i thought that maybe there is a ridge that everybody follows that leads to an ascendable route. Refusing to be daunted, I followed a hard, crumbly pile of rocks that had me going higher in elevation. That's good, but I did not appear to be climbing Corkscrew Peak, which sat on the other side of a wide wash. So, it looked like I was trying to climb the wrong mountain. I would have to go across the crazy wash before having a shot at this mountain. The wash was full of invisible sub-washes, ledges and gullies, and inside those sub-washes were mini-washes to trip over. It took a half hour, but I reached the start of the mountain. I was finally climbing up it, but it seemed curiously unhikable. As soon as I got the the top of the first ridge, I saw nothing but more and worse canyons to have to go up and down before reaching the northern end of the mountain. At this point I was pretty sure I would have to turn around and just hope I can make it back to my car. The way back down was trickier than the way up. Pretty soon I was falling down and getting myself closer and closer to getting "rim-rocked", which is sliding down a slope that can't be used as a way back up to a ledge that you cannot continue down from (a serious situation - you are totally stuck on the side of a mountain). I luckily found a small gully and, hopping small cacti, made it back to my favorite huge wash. Pausing to admire and photograph the natural beauty around me, I shook my hiking stick at corkscrew and said "you win this round, Cork SCRRREWW!!"

I felt like a small mouse in a giant maze. But I had a way back using a landmark, a lesson learned when I once got lost in the Kaiser Wilderness. Negotiating that wash back to the car was going to require faithful aim for a rock formation called "hell's gate." Because the visual pattern of the wash was so repetitious, I was in danger of being led away from the road and towards the distant Death Valley by what seemed to be the same sub-washes I had crossed on the way out. So I had to resist the temptation to get turned in the wrong direction. I kept calling what I was in while out there a maze, and making it to the top of that mountain to be like solving the puzzle, and of course you have to go through the same maze to get back to the car; there simply wasn't enough time to be out on a mountain with no idea the way up it. On this February Saturday, I said THIS IS NUTS! In fact, I was tired and just wanted to go home. So that's what I did. I went all the way to Death Valley, hiked only an hour and went home! I racked up 700 miles on the trip-meter. The pictures of the journey are spectacular, thanks to playful clouds from a powerful Pacific storm. The pictures are here:

By the way, the route I took into Death Valley this time was nuts. The Western entrance on State route 190 is a stupid twisty road that dives in and out of Panamint Valley before finally entering Death Valley. A highly less stressful route is to take state route 178 through California City And Johannesburg and Pretoria, California (not Johannesburg and Pretoria, South Africa, very important to note). State route 178 ends but the road goes on as a county road through stunningly beautiful country and without the stress. To get into death valley from that county road, don't follow it all the way up the state route 190; instead, turn right onto Sunrise Road (a dirt road), which ascends steadily up huge alluvial fans and into a small picturesque canyon-pass to within a few miles of Telescope Peak, eventually descending down into Death Valley. At sunrise pass, there's a side trip to the Telescope Peak trailhead, and there you can stand on one of the highest, most breathtaking views in America. I cannot emphasize how much more GORGEOUS this way into the National Park is than state route 190 and includes no cliffside driving that causes sweaty hands on the steering wheel. Unfortunately, the road is a dirt road for a large part of the way, which is why I need a drastically more capable vehicle than the one I currently have.

The southern route is even more low stress and includes access to another overlook, not as spectacular but easier to access, Dante's View. Take Highway 270 into Death Valley National Park to see that. And it is paved all the way, plus takes you right by Badwater, the lowest point in the Americas.

Death Valley National Park is one of the coolest of the National Parks, encouraging you to go out and explore the desert and see an extreme and unspoiled environment.

Proper way to top of corkscrew

The proper way to the top of Corkscrew, from what I’ve studied since my doomed effort, was to hike the neighboring hill, following it until it saddles with Corkscrew Peak, a feature that is out of view from the road. I want to go back and try this!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

America's corporations in the late 1970s feigned pain and hardship and "being unable to compete" anymore and that Americans themselves and their unions were to blame. What the Operational Executives of these great companies that have been part of America's economic success since World War II needed was enough capital to enact their grand plans to retool and reorganize themselves for a the future on behalf of stockholders (yes, that's us). To do this, they would need lower taxes, lower salaries, lower wages and health care and retirement benefits, to end regulation and regulation enforcement, to merge and consolidate, negatively impacting millions of Americans (yes, that's also us). The funds raised by these actions would pay for more mergers and allow for relocation of manufacturing operations (jobs) overseas and then to continue operations that way. The stockholders would reap the benefits, technically. (Yes, what they needed to do was pull wool over our eyes and screw us over).
To inspire this huge shift of wealth, Americans turned to The Great Communicator, Ronald Reagan, to get it done. His mighty teleprompter voice exhorted a chorus of revolt to all forces capable of standing in the way. In fact, he vilified anyone who could cry foul, most notably anyone liberal or pro-union. He claimed the folks to trust on this were the conservatives, because they supported the companies and supposedly the stockholders and [outright lie] America.
What supporting this movement and their great communicator actually meant, of course, was to dismantle the support base of the American middle class. Over time, people by the millions lost wages, health care benefits, their retirements, saw steep reductions in their access to education. Still, Ronald Reagan had convinced a majority they were doing a good thing and the right thing. This was easy to do because most people had already enjoyed the benefits of a healthy and robust economy and economic base with low cost education, and the tax cuts felt good. To them, all The Great Communicator seemed was right. The consequences of embracing the changes made to the economy would be delayed and not show up for years, at first affecting only a minority of Americans.
Today, a shadow of its former self, America everywhere is falling apart. Hospitals are closing, everything you can buy is made somewhere else, periods without health insurance are common for everyone, and almost everyone has a pre-existing condition that can really get them into trouble down the road; even homelessness is rampant and has been ever since Reagan first took office. Even State Parks are closing. America trusted Ronald Reagan and watched him wrap himself in that American flag when all they were doing was mortgaging their future and their children's future, allowing for the fleecing of America right before their bedazzled eyes.
For this reason I strongly believe the worst ever president during our lifetimes was Ronald Wilson Reagan. He got America to embrace all the doubt it felt about itself in a time of minor crisis [a dozen Americans were being held hostage during the Iranian Revolution] and in desperation throw all its trust in him and his cronies. This "inspiration" of America to hate itself would last for years, for so many bought into his vision, from "trickle down" to "supply side" to defishit spending (borrowing instead of pay as you go). The day America wakes up and says "I care about my country want to help it lead the world, not exploit and bomb it" is the day this dark age of the Reagan Revolution will finally be over.

Thanks to the Constitution of the United States' Bill Of Rights, I was able to write this!

Partido Comunista De Cuba

Friday, February 21, 2008
Fidel Castro Retires As Leader Of Cuba, Leader Of An Improbable Revolution in the Shadow of the Big Stick "Diplomacy" of America

Something strange happened to the tough-talking United States of America when right in the Monroe Doctrine's back yard, a Communist Leader surged to power on the Island of Cuba, located just south of Florida. Before the Civil War, when the United States just conquered Florida from Spain, the United States actually hoped to turn Cuba into a plantation paradise for white people and probably some non-African Cubanos to enslave African-Americans. The United States actually did conquer Cuba from the Spaniards in the Spanish-American War, but after slavery was abolished. Somehow, Cuba was given independence. But life on the Island remained hard and was run by a pro-American dictator. As you can see, I don't have a very good idea of what really happened in Cuba since the Spaniards lost it. I'm fuzzy on how things transpired that led to Castro's uprising. I don't know why Cuba didn't stay a United States posession, like Puerto Rico, or why Guantanamo Bay still is. I know the people Castro overthrew had to flee to Florida, hence the vitriol towards him here, then he turned to the Soviet Union for aid and development, placing him in the Soviet Block, making Cuba an enemy during the Cold War. But, really, how did things really happen? Why did the United States try to invade Cuba to overthrow Castro and reinstall the previous dictator? Why did the United States try to assisinate Castro (like they did Che Guevara)? What is the mindset the leads the United States to disregard the apirations of other peoples outside their borders and do whatever it wants to their countries? That's what we tried to do in Vietnam, that's what we will not succeed in doing to Iraq, that's what we continue to do to Haiti, and we have the government of Venzuela under extreme pressure for not electing a better leader (but that's OUR official opinion, not the people of Venezuela's). The first article I checked out was this one on the life of Fidel Castro.

Thanks to the Constitution of the United States' Bill Of Rights, I was able to write this!


Sunday, February 24, 2008
Obama and Clinton direct mail flyers are both bullpucky

Great collector's items, poor characterizations of each other on the issues. Both candidates fall short of ideal on a host of big issues, like health care or NAFTA, and attack one another via direct mail pamphlets on the ways they fall short.

While the negative strategy may affect vote counts, they backfire. Clinton drew first blood, it appears, with three questionable flyers about Obama, but Obama has fired back in kind with two flimsy stinkers of his own. Now Clinton is pointing out Obama falls short of consistent by not practicing what he speaks, rendering his most soaring words empty rhetoric. She called his tactics Carl Rove-ian.

New supporters who just got on board with Barack because he's inspired them may feel discouraged if the typical politics he berates become his practice. The votes then don't go to Hillary out of gratefulness for pointing this out, the votes just stay home on election day. This is a standard campaign tactic, but also one that's very Carl Rove-ian.

So is it the pot calling the kettle black [pun not intended] when Hillary berates Barack Obama for negative campaign flyers? . The good folks at are on it!

Don't feel discouraged. We are one people, one United States. Let's take control of our country because the stakes are too high to stay home. We can make a difference in affecting the future of this beloved country of ours, and the falterings of political candidates cannot be allowed to stop any one of us once we resolve to do this.

Keywords: Obama, Clinton, Political, Vote, Campaign, Rhetoric

Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008, 09:57

Ooo! Too much affirmation! It's hard to get too much of that, you know.

Keyword: non-sequitor

Sunday, February 17, 2008
Fitness By Mountain Range (FBMR)

I returned to Henry Coe and treated myself to a brutal 2nd outdoor adventure in a week yesterday (2008 Feb 16). While last Saturday was a way to get me finally out the front door, this was the first real hike day in 20 years. During this walk in such beautiful country (California's inner Coast Range in Winter, specifically The Diablo Range or Devil Range), I was challenged by what were to me unrelenting steep stretches of trail that followed hills that looked innocently soft and gentle, both uphill and downhill. According to the topo map, I hiked the easiest trail of all of them (the space between the isobars were the least compressed along my route). I bought new equipment, Gilroy discount mall Bass boot-like shoes and a Gilroy discount mall Hurley small backpack. When I got the products home, after some searching, I finally found the made-in labels I couldn't find (they are more well hidden than EVER). Who was I kidding? China. My Chinese-made Hurley backpack hung awkwardly off my back and reduced my comfort the whole way. The shoes performed magnificently. Time for me to check out an American-made backpack product, I think. Sorry I wasted my money putting nobody here to work on my equipment. Wait, that didn't come out right. Damn you, English language!

Friday, February 15, 2008
Back To The Mountains Tomorrow

Sunday, Feb. 10, 2008, 22:21
Letter To General Motors Corporation

Dear GM, in this time of economic downturn, I want to buy American built, not send my work orders to China. You're the premier American car company, so strike a blow for America and make me a car I'd like to own.
I need you to make a small, purpose-built hybrid that is decently stylish and has 4 wheel drive. Basically I'm asking for an American company-built hybrid Subaru. Such a car would be great for weekend trips on rough roads to great hiking spots or mountain biking spots or to the slopes for skiing and can store the kind of equipment that will be used, like backpacks. It has to look good, not like a Saturn. I'm really serious about that. The new Malibu has looks I can deal with, for example. If you can make this hybrid 4WD car, make sure it's easy to perform routine maintenance on and is able to deal with bumpy roads without the need for yearly repairs or suspension parts replacements, and can protect you if you roll over. If you can make this car, I would be happy to get one from you.

David Prasad (2008 0226 archive)
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