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Here is how New York looked through my front window yesterday at 3:51am, when I was packing to fly and drive from JFK to LAX to Santa Barbara: I shoveled a path to the street four times: the first three through light and fluffy snow, and the fourth through rain, slush and a ridge of myucch scraped in front of the driveway by a plow. By the time we got to JFK, all the pretty snow was thick gray slush. It was a good time to get the hell out. Fortunately, @United got us onto the first flight out to LAX flight in the morning. (We were booked on a later flight. To see the crunch we missed, run the FlightAware MiseryMap for JFK, and watch 2 February.) The flight to LAX was quick for a westbound one (which flies against the wind): a little over five hours. For half the country, the scene below was mostly white. This one… … of the ridge country between Beaver Dam Lake and Columbus, Wisconsin, said far more about snow than the white alone suggested. Those linear hills are were left by the departing Wisconsin Glacial Episode, which ended only about ten thousand years ago — a mere blink in geologic time. And here’s the snow-covered Mississippi, by Prairie du Chein, on the Wisconsin-Iowa border: Then, a couple hours later, we flew straight over the Grand Canyon, which has a horizontal immensity one tends to miss when gawking at the canyon’s scenic climaxes from the ground. One of my favorite scenes is the Uinkaret Volcanic Field, which poured like syrup over the Canyon’s layer cake of 290-1700-year old rock only 70,000 years ago:
(BTW, two of the three pictures at that last link, in Wikipedia, are ones I shot on earlier trips. The third is by NASA.) Gliding into LAX, we got a nice view of downtown… … where the temperature was 76°. When we got home to Santa Barbara it was about 70° and looked like this, out my home office door: It wasn’t the prettiest sunset we’ve had here (this one I shot on 22 January was spectacular), but I’ve rarely seen a better bookend for a cross-country trip.