David: We got up early enough to say farewell and thanks to our wonderful hosts, Mike and Kim. They finally left at 7.30 and I fear that we may have chatted so long that Mike was late for a meeting on the effects of the Federal Government shutdown which started today.
I should mention that my entirely objective and impartial view is that the shutdown has arisen because the “nutters” in the Republicans (known here as the “GOP”) are holding the country to ransom by trying to re-argue the benefits or otherwise of the Affordable Care Act. Seen through UK eyes, this seems a small step along the inevitable journey towards creating an NHS for the USA. The medical corporations and insurers have fought this all of the way but they are like Canute – they cannot hold back the inexorable logic which will lead the US in that direction. One paradox of the goverment shutdown is that it does not affect “Obamacare” which still comes into effect today. So the one thing that the Republicans really object to is the one thing they cannot affect. It’s institutions like the National Parks which they have closed instead.
We were not on strike and so left to climb the hill near Mike and Kim’s house, and then descended into Truckee. We thought we knew where we were going (always fatal) and so went wrong. Eventually we got on the right road as the sun came out. Then we followed the Truckee river valley which gently went upwards. The Truckee river is the only river to flow out of Lake Tahoe, and it is a pretty small river for that. Half way up the valley we found the bike path and so left Highway 89 (which had good shoulders but was busy with lots of traffic). The sun was warm, there was hardly a cloud in the sky and this was a relatively short day of less than 50 miles. Bliss.
Lake Tahoe started for us at Tahoe City and we then followed the bike path/road around the edge of this stunningly beautiful lake to South Lake Tahoe. I could describe the scenery but the photos do more justice to the beauty of the landscape. Suffice to say it was spectacular.
Shortly before we got to the campsite we crossed a bridge where thousands of kakonee salmon were visible, just sitting in the water. They had reached the point in the cycle where they spawn and then die. It was fascinating to watch this vast number of fish who were almost stationery in the river.
Then we reached the campground at Camp Richardson. We ambled into town for food and then cooked, and are now writing this before a roaring fire. There is still no break in the impass for the US government but no one seems to care too much.
We shall have to see how this works out in the long run but opinion is deeply divided. Until I came to the US I had not appreciated how much genuine hatred there is for Obama. It is not simple racism but I cannot divorce the fact that no other “liberal” has attracted this type of vilification. The contrast is that the black middle class have perhpas been permitted for the first time to come of age into mainstream society. This is the backdrop to the present crisis and it is none too edifying for the opponents of teh Affordable Care Act.
Opinion is divided but those who already hate Obama will support the GOP, but it seems that the majority do not. I hope and suspect the Republicans will be the big time losers from this debacle.