U.S. Continental Divide

June 11

The night of June 10th I camped at Jenny Lake.  In '66 after business school, Marge and I took a belated honeymoon for two months before I started work at Sohio.  As I mentioned in the last blog, a twister tore down a fir tree and dropped it down on our tent with Marge in it.  I was trying to find that exact spot.  Below is a shot of our campsite in '66 that Marge emailed to me.  We have it in our scrapbook.

The area has changed so it was difficult to get my arms around it, but staying in this campground evoked an interesting group of strong emotions.  First, imagine Marge, pregnant with Wendy at the time of the accident, yet Wendy was born well and developed well. Marge had a serious head injury and months of amnesia and yet her brain health is better than mine, I’m sure!  Marge has had numerous orthopedic problems that have been solved by a combination of diligent exercise and The Cleveland Clinic.  The message is, that often times in disastrous situations things work out perfectly well, and things always look worst when you are in the midst of the situation.

It rained all night and was still raining when I awoke on June 11th, but it gave me the opportunity to get some well needed rest.  I packed up a wet sleeping bag and did some additional touring of the park.  Yellowstone is one of the most actively visited parks.  Next to it is Jackson Hole.  They have done an extraordinarily good job of managing the crowds at Jackson Hole, but Yellowstone is pandemonium.  At 9:30 a.m. the road to Yellowstone was jammed with cars traveling at 25mph 100 ft. apart.  It shows the need for additional parks and for providing more nationally funded outdoor recreational venues.  Instead of driving north through Yellowstone, I drove south through Jackson again and then north through Idaho. It rained virtually the entire time so I got very few photographs – for the next trip I need a waterproof camera mounted to a helmet to make this whole process easier.

Most of what I saw was high prairie 5,000ft-6000ft with intensive growth of agriculture – potatoes and sugar beets.  There are vast expanses of this in valleys that are several miles wide.

 

There were several interesting things in Idaho.  First, there is extensive irrigation. Even though it was raining, the irrigating devices were working.

It is interesting, however, that with the exception of Idaho, the states through which we have traveled all have bits of the same type of ecosystem – desert or near-desert, high prairies, valleys with lush vegetation looking a lot like Ohio, and of course, mountainous areas covered with snow.

I drove approximately 450 miles, fatigued and not realizing I was putting weight on my rear brake the whole time instead of just my foot peg.  The brake is not responding correctly so I need to get it to a BMW dealer in Missoula.

There were two other breakdowns today.  Joe’s rear drive stopped working on his 1200GS Adventurer.  Fortunately it is still under warranty.  He had to be towed to Missoula.  Pete’s low oil pressure light is on, so his bike also had to be towed – but a different tow company since his bike is registered in Canada!  Frank and Gerry are somewhere in Montana. I have had an exhausting day so my plan is to fix the brakes on my bike and tomorrow (June 12th) take the day off.  I will proceed on to Canada on Saturday or Sunday minimizing the off-road experience so I can be sure to make my Monday flight out of Missoula.

Great Divide States Statistics Comparative to Ohio

OH

CO

NM

ID

MT

WY

Population

11,485,910

4,939,456

1,984,356

1,523,816

967,440

532,668

Area

44,825

104,185

121,665

83,642

147,165

97,818

Gross state product

 

$418 B

 

$200 B

 

$61 B

 

$43 B

 

$28 B

 

$24 B

Median household income

 

$42,240

 

$48,198

 

$36,043

 

$39,934

 

$35,239

 

$44,275

% below poverty level

 

12.5%

 

11.1%

 

19.3%

 

14.5%

 

14.2%

 

10.3%

Total tax burden per capita

 

$1,963

 

$1,532

 

$2,103

 

$1,898

 

$1,754

 

$2,974

 

Here are some interesting facts:

  1. Ohio has near the same population as all five Great Divide states combined, yet they are 13 times the size in area.
  2. Ohio has a larger gross state product than all five Great Divide states combined even though there is quite a bit of extractive gross state product in mining and oil that come from these states.  I believe the largest component of Ohio’s gross state product is still manufacturing.
  3. Although I have not checked this carefully, the total tax burden per capita in Ohio is not unusually bad.  This, of course, does not take into account the tax for the higher income component of the population.
  4. The poverty is much more oppressive in the Great Divide states than in Ohio.
  5. Note that Colorado has the highest median household income.  That is largely because Colorado the most entrepreneurial state of the six (including Ohio).

To me the most amazing part of these statistics is that the nearly 11mm people in the five Great Divide states have ten senators, but the 11mm people in Ohio only have two senators!

The people who have devised how to produce these blogs and who put them together on a daily basis – Terri Martin, Carolyn Orlean and Nancy Keene - have the weekend off, so the next one will be coming out sometime on Monday when the office reopens.

That’s all for now. Have a great weekend!

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