Good Morning Ted and Jody:
Yesterday on the way home from lunch I could see a column of black smoke after the 8-mile marker on WA504 and then saw a fire truck pull into the RV Park on the hill overlooking Silver Lake. I pulled off the side of the road at the bottom of that hill by the dock on the lake side of the road and shot a sequence of photos of four fire trucks fighting an RV on fire:
I do not know if anyone was hurt. When I left, the fire was out and no ambulances had been involved, so I hope for the best.
Warmest regards, Ed
038 Before It Was a Spaceport Named Renovation it Was A Windswept Valley
fiction in 1190 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
[Present Day in the other universe] “I think the best way to proceed is to have you,” Special Agent Fleishman said, “Introduce Alfred here to yourself some 15 years earlier. Then both of you can talk to younger Deborah and convince her that she needs Alfred’s logistics to help her build the spaceport and rockets to save your planet.”
“But, we can’t travel in time in our universe like we can in yours,” argued Stephen.
“If I take you back and hold on to you, you can,” replied Special Agent Fleishman. “However, it will take a great degree of effort on my part and I can only hold you there for a short time at each go. The question is, are you able to convince your younger self of what you yourself think is a good idea now?”
Stephen nodded and said, “Yes, I do think it is important to have organization skills you call logistics to get the job done. Let’s go persuade my younger self.”
The three men vanished as Special Agent Fleishman pivoted.
[15 years before the present in the other universe] Special Agent Fleishman, Alfred Blanchard, and Stephen materialized in Stephen’s office 15 years earlier. The younger Stephen was working at his desk and looked up. The Younger Stephen sighed and said, “I must be working too hard and you are ghosts to who have come to tell me to ease up. I can’t you know. Do you know why I can’t?”
Stephen replied, “Yes, you can’t because Dillon, the senior astronomer, just told you that an asteroid will destroy this planet in a quarter of a century. He frightened the dickens out of you. Indeed, you went out and had a drink of alcohol for the first time since you Daniel left this office and left you in charge. Yes, I fully understand. What you don’t know is that Deborah also got the information and sat down and thought about it and will be here in a very short time with her initial thinking on the matter of how to save the planet.” Stephen folded his arms and waited.
In a very short time, the door to the office burst open and Debora flew in and said, “We need to build rockets to go up and blast that asteroid into smithereens.”
Stephen swept his arm as if to say, ‘SEE!’ Then he said, “And I have brought you a man who has two names and can help Deborah get things organized.” He turned to Deborah, “Deborah, meet Alfred Blanchard. He will be your boss, but you will be in charge.”
The younger Stephen was standing by this time and asked, “You look like me but older, Who are you?”
“I am you,” replied Stephen. “I have to go now, Alfred can explain everything. If you have questions write them down, leave them on top of your desk and I will get back to you.” Special Agent Fleishman held up a finger and he and Stephen pivoted back to the present day.
[Field Trip 15 years before the present in the other universe] Alfred Blanchard looked down from a rear seat of the helicopter into a u-shaped valley that was formed between two rows of old mountains worn down by ages of erosion from ice, water, and the wind. At one end of the valley was an expanse of ocean, at the other, a high desert cut into by a dry river bed. Alfred estimated the valley to be 15 to 20 kilometers in length. It also appeared to be a gradually rising plane from the ocean to the high desert. The high desert riverbed cut a narrow line that ran the length of the valley, Unlike river valleys on Earth, this river did not twist and turn. It ran straight and true to the ocean. It was almost as if some one had laid a strength edge down and used a trawl guided by the straight edge to cut the river bed. However, this time of the year, it carried no water. Alfred thought, ‘That river is more like a storm drain or the Los Angeles River, which has been guided by cement.’ Turning to the other passenger, Deborah, he asked, “Is the river naturally straight?”
Deborah responded, “Yes, the sediment here is very fine grained sandstone washed down from the high desert to the east. So there is nothing to cause the bed to divert, just cut down. While you can’t tell from this height, the banks are some 25 meters up from what would be the river’s crest in the wet season.”
“I presume there is a rainy season and the river carries water then,” said Alfred Blanchard.
“Yes there is water in it for two weeks every winter when the rains come in from the ocean and turn the high desert into a solid bed of flowers,” added Deborah. “Then every thing dries up for the rest of the year.”
“Does the valley ever flood?” asked Alfred Blanchard.
“No, never,” replied Deborah. “That is one of the reasons we chose this location other than the constant of winds. The valley is so old that the flooding stopped once the river dug down to half of its current depth some thousands of years ago. Indeed, the stand base in the valley is deep enough o absorb the annual rain without needing tributaries or small washes like in most valleys of a similar geology. The water stays confined to the bottom half of what you see below.”
“Where is the nearest sea port?” asked Alfred.
Deborah tapped the pilot on the shoulder and indicated she wanted more altitude. The helicopter rose about a thousand kilometers so they could see farther. Deborah pointed to a smudge in the North about 50 kilometers away. “There, she said, the Port of Mono.”
“Can we fly to the coast and follow the coast north to the Port of Mono?” asked Alfred.
“Deborah tapped the pilot on the shoulder again and got him to fly the route Alfred had requested.
As they flew Alfred could see the beginnings of coastal settlements or towns that were connected by rail to the port. The rail connection was only ten or so kilometers short of reaching the u-shaped valley. He nodded and said, “Are there any problems with extending the rail line to the valley and into it?” he asked.
“Not that I know about,” replied Deborah. She made a note on her computer to check.
Alfred Blanchard said, “Check to see about roads in from both ends of the valley as well.”
Deborah nodded and made more notes.
“We need to get a crew of geologists and surveyors in to tell us about building on this porous ground material,” said Alfred Blanchard. “We will also need to find the closest source of water.” He chuckled, “I can’t imagine running a spaceport without fresh water. But then with the ocean right here and the sun all but two weeks a year, we can make our own with a distillation plant.”