Segment 4: Cruising Speed

Today was Albuquerque to Oklahoma City, 536 total miles, almost evenly split into 100 mile chunks. I actually wasn't going to go as far as OKC but I was making good time so I pushed it. 

I learned that the map of Superchargers on Teslas website isn't updated as frequently as they bring stations online, but the map in the cars Nav system has the latest. A new SC (supercharger) recently came online in Amarillo, TX, which nicely cut what I thought was going to be a 210 mile leg in half. 

After the Incident of Segment 2, I haven't experienced any range anxiety whatsoever. For one thing, I don't have any more girlfriends waiting outside airports in the freezing cold for me - from here on out it doesn't really matter when I finish each day.  

For another thing, I give myself a very heathy charge margin for each leg. Also the distances between legs is very reasonable - I'm not anticipating any battery-stretchers.  

The final thing is holy crap it's flat out here! I've always lived in or very near mountains and the flatness out here is actually kind of eerie to me. Beautiful, but eerie. 

So what do I do on these long stretches? Mostly listen to podcasts about self improvement or how to hack being better at life, but when I can't take that any more I crank up the dubstep and think.  

(I wonder how many Tesla drivers out there rock the drum n bass beats? )

I saw a lot of windmills today, even passed a few convoys of wide load trucks hauling windmill parts to wherever.  

It makes me feel like I'm getting a tiny sneak peek at what the future we want is going to be like. Electric motors replacing combustion engines. Power produced cleanly. Cars driving themselves. Dubstep cranked to 11.  

My mind wanders more.

I thought about how often I'm compelled to leave the city and seek refuge in nature, in the wilderness, the mountains. The frantic pitch of the city, the prison-cell body feel of the concrete walls and asphalt ground and billboarded field of vision, dodging the millions of other drones in the streets who just like me seek refuge in their phones in an effort to tune it all out because it's too much. 

I can escape the wilderness often because I'm privileged to have a good job, access to a car, and to have grown up in the wilderness and so have a deeply embedded recognition of what it does for my psyche.  

But that's not a sustainable or scalable solution. Having cities that suck so bad that every weekend millions of their privileged inhabitants flee in their Subarus and Patagonia jackets to the mountains is a terrible system. 

What if our cities didn't suck so bad? 

What if our cities were more like gardens or forests themselves, spaces rich with biological life and interesting spaces to explore and secluded refuges that we could go to recharge? 

The idea that human environments are separate from "natural" environments is a false one, deeply and thoroughly criticized by basically everyone. And yet, there is a huge gulf between our personal experience of Yosemite and our experience of downtown SF. Or Fresno. Or wherever. 

As the sun goes down and I drive towards a sky fading into bands of orange and purple and grayish blue I think about a city filled with life, with ancient Redwood Groves, ponds and streams, birds and lizards and mice, and real dirt, along with and on top of and integrated with well built beautiful buildings and spaces for people to live, work, play, be. I think about a city I don't need to escape from.