After tolerating grey wet weather for a year and a half in the Puget Sound, we set off ‘round the U.S. to look for somewhere to live that was at least drier. And I’m beginning to wonder where we will live that is safe, comfortable and affordable. We have driven through earthquake zones, into and out of tsunami zones, along volcano escape routes and through chain up areas where it is illegal to drive in the winter without snow chains to negotiate six foot snow drifts.
There is tornado alley in the Midwest; a hurricane risk all along the Gulf coast and up the east coast; disgusting humidity in the Southeast and searing high temperatures in the Southwest; rain, fog and more rain chills the Northern California coast right on up into Canada. It’s a little too rural in much of the Northwest where the interstate highway slip roads need cattle grids but urban life doesn’t appeal either.
Southern California is just beautiful but is an eye-wateringly expensive place to live where even the gas is tainted (did I say that?) to give you less miles per gallon.
Let’s see. What have I missed? Great stretches of the Midwest are flat, hot and dry in the summer and flat, cold and snowy in the winter. Diverse places throughout the country harbor vicious mosquitoes that have a particular taste for Jimmy’s flesh. Also worth a mention are the results of weather systems – fire from lightning strikes rip through millions of acres in the West. Floods are not limited to coastal areas. Oh, and there are landslides to dodge.
An innocuous looking lavender dotted line delineates the caldera on the Yellowstone Park map and we innocently drove all around it before I realized it marks out the Yellowstone Supervolcano(a phrase nattily coined by the BBC) which blew 2.1 million years ago, 1.3 million years ago and 640,000 years ago covering most of the North American continent in volcanic ash. So guess what? By my calculations it’s due again any time. Scientists will tell you there is no evidence for another such catastrophic eruption on the one hand but on the other hand recurrence of these events is not predictable.
The fact that I’m afraid to get out of the car out west for fear of stepping on a rattlesnake or startling a bear would pale into insignificance when Yellowstone’s magma chamber started to rumble.We could just keep on the move. The problem is we can get a little prickly with each other in the confined space of a 30 foot trailer and the thought of this box being our only home for the foreseeable is a little daunting – by mutual agreement.
Could you co-exist with your spouse in 240 square feet of living space minus 60 square feet for the beds and 16 square feet for the bathroom (that’s probably generous, my elbows are permanently bruised). Four years so far living in 164 square feet. Could you do it? Answers on a postcard. Oh, no, not a postcard. We don’t have an address. Comments please.