Saturday, November 26, 2022

Moving across the country in 1991

I just ran into this photo (by Amazing Nature) - I won't ever forget my last night in Florida before moving to AZ in 1991: Standing between flooded areas of Paines Prairie, shining lights over the water and catching the eye shine of scores of alligators. Standing in the way of a fire ant tribe on the move, probably because of the flooding. Suddenly feeling dozens of them attacking my lower legs, simultaneously, as if on command. The next day, on the way north in Tallahassee I ran into the big Limulus mating on the beach. I had never even heard of that phenomenon. Along several states, I 10 seemed to be the only road not under water. In Baton Rouge my motel neighbors were so noisy that I went over to ask what was going on: They were celebrating that they lost three boats in the storm (crab fishers) but nobody was killed. They invited me to their church the next morning. Texas was endless, but the peaches were great. A whole box of them was stored on the head rest of my car , their aroma competing with the stench of 3 huge dead Limulus that I could not leave behind. I saw ranches that bred paint mules as big as horses. In NM I was invited by an old mountain rancher to help round up his cattle. On the Continental divide my old Golf Diesel over-heated, being loaded with all my stuff and dragged up to some cliff dwellings in the San Juans. At the border to AZ a dust storm closed I 10 (it was the fourth of July). I arrived in AZ 4 days after leaving Gainesville with great memories and legs spotted with ant stings that seemed to last for weeks. All that was part of a totally unplanned move from my first US job that I hated to accept an invitation to work at the U of A instead. From the people who put me up for my first night in AZ I traded 2 dead Palo verde root borers for one of my Limulus skeletons, but their cat chewed them up before the night was over ...

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