Monday, August 16

Altamount Pass

The future is here. I hang my ass out the window to take this photo of the wind turbines at Altamount Pass just beyond Livermore on HW580. We are about one hour from San Francisco having just come through the valley. No wonder the turbines here, too - the wind gusty (wind speeds are up to 8 meters per second) and sounds like a growling animal. The turbines form scattered lines on the ridgeway across an area of about 15 kilometers in diameter. Hundreds are visible from the road. A quick Internet troll notes that there are over four-thousand of these babies, making this the world's largest wind farm by number of turbines. There are at least seven varieties visible, including one type that is vertical like an egg-beater. There are no paved roads leading to them either and the wind, anyway, is too strong for a leisurely walk. A small parking area is located at the top of the pass (about 1,000 feet altitude) for trucks and us to check our breaks before the steep decent. We have been here before -emergency poddy stop.

The turbines in my photo are the larger type with blades - and I am guessing here - five-meters in length. The towers must be 25 meters in height or higher. 100% of the windmills in action as we pass while usually only a batch in play depending on the wind direction, force and etc. I have watched these things go up since the mid-1980s. Pretty cool.

We have a discussion at the French Hotel about whether smoking should be a choice.
Me: "What if I told you that you could not have that piece of cake you are eating?"
Madeleine: "That would not be fair!"
Me: "What if I told you that piece of cake was going to cause you to die a slow and awful death?"
Madeleine: "Well, I guess that would be fair."
Me: "Would you still eat it?"
Madeleine: "Probably not."
Eitan: "I would not."
Me: "Why do you think people smoke?"
Eitan: "Well, mostly because they become addicted. When they are a teen-ager."
Madeleine: "They smoke even though their parents say no."
Me: "Good going. Have we learned anything?"
Madeleine: "We can eat cake?"