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  • Writer's pictureThe Rough & Tumble

Down in the Valley

We've spent the last six weeks in the San Joaquin Valley, California's central valley, with the Coastal Range to the West and the majestic Sierra Nevada's to the East. In the strict, technical sense, California is no longer in its seven year drought, but during our six weeks here, we've had three, maybe four, days of rain. Which is not much rain. (The skies did manage to open up a little bit on the couple days that we had designated to pack and move the camper, soaking the lawn we'll have to pull it through. We'll keep you up to date if we go all 2017 and get the camper stuck in the mud when we try and move it.) Usually, December and January should have thick, gray fog every morning, enough so that there are multiple car pileups and school officials postpone school until the sun has a chance to burn the fog away. But that hasn't happened this year, because in order to make fog, you need it to rain first. That can be seen as a good thing. There have been fewer car accidents because people can see when they drive and school districts haven't had to start tacking on days at the end of the school year to make up for all the foggy days they had to observe. The trouble is, when you don't have fog, you don't see the mountains.

I don't want to say that the San Joaquin Valley has it worse off then other valleys, but it's conveniently located between two of CA's biggest urban sprawls, LA and the Bay area, so it's got it pretty bad. So on top of the dust, chemicals, and cow manure that comes with being an agricultural hub in 2018, the Central Valley gets the smog and car exhaust from the bay and the wildfire smoke and air pollution from LA, which sort of puddles down in Bakersfield before catching the 99 up to Fresno and the upper valley, bringing with it a whole gift basket full of respiratory problems, environmental concerns and free, bad smells. Oh, yeah. Also, you don't see the mountains thanks to the great grease fire in the sky.

What I'm trying to say, is that down in the valley the air pollution is really bad. This is burying the lead a little bit, but it's keeping with the spirit of this weeks' song, "Down in the Valley." You see, this song is a master class in burying the lead, revealing a story slowly and with stark details the listener brings from their own experience. It's like a choose your own adventure story, where all the adventure parts are missing but the ending is still there and you're left trying to figure out how you got there. Which is sad. A little bit like the air quality in the valley.

Anyway, enjoy "Down in the Valley."

We're getting back out on the road this week and are really excited to be back in the camper, pulling our home around to your town. Check out the tour dates to see where we'll be in the next few weeks.

And now, it's time for Double Americana!

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