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Thursday, September 11, 2008

De-Escaping, and a few more pix

I’ve got to hand it to The Boy: he didn’t flake out on us this year, and we were set to enjoy the last couple days at the hideaway. But I’m sure The Boy got it from his mom’s side of the family, because if it’s not him it’s one of the in-laws.

So this morning, after breakfast, we were sitting around reading — the October/November double issue of Asimov’s for me, Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and a guy whose name escapes me at the moment for her. The Boy had called earlier, and Mrs. Fetched invited him up to eat lunch with us (we were going to grab a pizza from DJ’s Diner). So it was close to 11:30 when the phone rang again.

“Dad’s going to the hospital,” Mrs. Fetched said, “we need to pack up.” Our week cut short, once again. And of course, we’ve been home for several hours and it looks like he’s not going. The only thing more disgusting than having our trip cut short is to have it cut short for no good reason. Now y’all tell me: is it reasonable to expect that the phrase “he’s going to the hospital” means he’s either in the ambulance or being taken by someone? If he’s thinking about going to the hospital, that‘s something that might happen. Precision in language usage has never been a hallmark of either Mrs. Fetched or her family, and after 20-very-odd years I still fall for it.

Next year, we leave the phones at home. If it’s that important, they can come and get us. And probably will.

So… how about a few pix? The clouds were flying a little low this morning and cut off the hilltop across the way. We got sprinkled (or heavily misted) on while I threw things in the car.

Fog over the hill

The DJ’s Diner had two walls taken up largely by mugs. I was sorely tempted to buy a mug and put my URL on it. This is one of those moments when a wide-angle lens would have been useful. :-P

wall of mugs

The picture of the store I posted yesterday had a companion on the other corner, but it was (judging from the sign) closed a long time ago. There must have been a fair number of people in the immediate area to have supported two stores back when. There isn't any other sign of a town, nor does Google Maps show anything. But I’ve learned that there are, or used to be, towns or at least clusters of commerce roughly five miles apart on the highways around here. I suspect that, as motorized travel becomes more expensive, those places will reconstitute themselves.

Long-closed country store

So now we’re home. At least I don’t have to go anywhere for wifi.


  1. There's no place like home. Sorry your trip got cut short.

  2. Hey Far! Gee, sorry to hear your vacation was cut short! Viewing those old stores/gas stations is like going back in time, eh? There's a few places like that here, although any pumps not in use must be removed (tanks dug up and removed)...

    I suspect, that when motorized travel becomes more limited, there will be a whole lot less of everything, including places like those..They're dieing now, then they'll be finsihed altogether...

  3. Hey guys.

    Boran, sorry you didn't get to keep an eye on things a little longer. :-P

    Yooper, don't you think shorter trips will require more and more scattered commercial/retail outlets?

  4. Hi Far!
    "Yooper, don't you think shorter trips will require more and more scattered commercial/retail outlets?"

    No, I would expect a contraction of commercial/retail outlets into one place, making shorter trips to them unecessary. For those who live outside these centers, the one a month trip into town will be just that, fewer trips...As energy depletes, there will be fewer and fewer trips made.... Less building and more retrofitting. As the distance between commerical/retail outlets become closer and closer (also the population to them).

    I'm forever talking about a reversible transition.. However, this is nothing like John Boy Walton jumping into the family pickup and running down to Ike's to check on that college acceptance in the mail.

    Back then Ike's likely was the first place to have electricity, not all places got it at once...one at a time. This time around, places like Walton's Mountain will likely loose power all at once, while the power that is available is diverted to Charlestown (where the economic and population center is).... So I suppose, I envision a retreat to viable small towns....

    However, the dynamics of these little outlet stores/gas stations in the country side(as shown in your pics) have already departed in much the same way as they came in, slowly and one at a time.....I'm so certain of this because I've seen the economic decline here in the U.P. for going on near 50 years... "Say it ain't so Joe..."

  5. Hi again Far! Perhaps, a little bit off topic, I'd like to share something with you..

    Today as I thumbed through my "Country Lines" magazine (Michigan's electric cooperatives publication) in an article entitle, "Power Poker", it stated;

    "According to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), which oversees the realiability of the bulk power grid covering the United States, electricity use nationwide will grow more than twice as fast as committed power generation resources over the next 10 years. Unless additional power plants are brought into service quickly, NECR predicts that many parts of the country could fall below targeted capacity margins within the next two or three years, sitting the stage for frequent brownouts and blackouts."

    In the next two or three years....

    Thanks, yooper

  6. I dunno, Yooper. When people depended on feet (their own or a horse's) in the past to go somewhere, the retail outlets came to them. I've already heard about some places that are requiring (or giving preference to) mixed residential-commercial developments.

    Maybe it's a matter of population density: here, the rural counties are regaining headcounts lost to urban growth from 1900 to 1970; the distribution and skill sets of the people are different now, but people nowadays are used to changing careers… the next career change will eliminate the need for workouts at the gym, for all the other things that might be said about it. ;-) The thing is: in many cases the structures are still there and mostly in good shape, people have returned; as motorized transportation becomes less common, the dynamics will again support the return of those little farm towns & villages. That might not be the case in places like the UP, where the mines are depleted and conditions aren't exactly conducive for feeding a large population… but climate change may have something to say about that as well.

    Interesting report from the NERC. Sometimes I think I've set much to aggressive a timeline for FAR Future, other times I think I was too generous. It'll probably be both, in some ways.


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