Earlier today, somewhere between the southern edge of the Texas Hill Country and San Antonio, my car's trip meter turned over to 6,300 miles — the mileage we've accumulated since we left Colorado on October 7. Still, I have more than 1,000 miles to go before returning to Colorado.
The Society of Environmental Journalists conference ended a week ago in Miami, and we learned from the conference's concluding sessions that Cuba (from whence I had planned to return today) plans to begin drilling oil in the Strait of Florida sometime in the next six weeks, and anthropogenic climate change-induced sea level rise threatens the very existence of South Florida over the coming century. The conference was full of such fun-filled news, including: USFS Chief Tom Tidwell: Drought-stricken Texas now has a 12-month fire season. NPS Chief Jon Jarvis: National parks are places where visitors can witness for themselves how anthropogenic climate change is affecting the environment and our national treasures.
The value of SEJ is immense, providing fodder for stories and freelance pitches for many months.
Since we left Miami about a week ago — on long trips, the significance of dates and days of the week diminishes, and I often forget what day it is — we hit Everglades National Park again, camped north of Tampa and followed the Gulf Coast from its lush, green shores in Florida to its hurricane-battered beaches in Texas. We passed through Tampa, Apalachicola, Panama City, the redneck resort hell hole of Destin, Pensacola, Biloxi, New Orleans, Morgan City, the oil-industrial shit pit of Port Arthur, the hurricane-battered Galveston Island and finally, San Antonio, where my parents live.