Road trip!


Later this afternoon I will shut down my computers in San Francisco, and I’ll pretty much be out of the loop until I get to North Carolina. I will start the drive across the country on Sunday, Jan. 27, with a one-day stop in Sacramento.

While I’m in the Jeep, I’ll be using my ham radio GPS locator. A GPS device in the Jeep is attached to a 50-watt transceiver on the 145Mhz amateur band. Every five minutes it will transmit my location, altitude, speed, and heading. If I am in range of the right kind of amateur radio relay station, then the data will be gated to an Internet database and can be found here:

Where’s David?

The link should start working when I start the trip on Jan. 27. It may not work at all times. If I’m out of radio range, I may appear to stay in the same spot for a while, then I’ll suddenly reappear several hundred miles farther on. That’s normal.

I’ll resume blogging around Feb. 7.

New bike routes in Stokes

Winston-Salem Journal

I’m sure a lot of the locals don’t much like outsiders bicycling through the county, but just consider how much nicer it is to have flocks of bicycists rather than flocks of bulldozers. The two modes of economic development are mutually exclusive.

4 bike routes get N.C. recognition
Stokes County hopes to have state signs up along roads by late spring, manager says
By Lisa Boone-Wood
Winston-Salem Journal
Friday, January 18, 2008

Drivers in Stokes County will soon be reminded to share the road with bicyclists on some of the twisting curves of narrow two-lane highways throughout the county.

County officials have completed work with the N.C. Department of Transportation for officially designated bicycle routes in Stokes, hoping to increase safety for bicyclists and drivers.

It’s difficult to think about cycling on a dreary winter day such as yesterday, but better weather will be here soon enough. County Manager Bryan Steen said he hopes that share-the-road bicycle route signs provided by the DOT will be posted before the end of this fiscal year in late spring.

Bike routes in the county have already been informally established, Steen said. The formal routes will help the county’s economic development by drawing visitors to the area and will also improve safety for bicyclists, he said.

“We have a lot of bicyclists that are interested in the county,” Steen said. “We have a beautiful area here. We have a great interest in all parts of economic development and view this as another element as an economic development strategy.”

The Web site of the DOT’s Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation lists about 30 cities and counties across the state as having designated bicycle routes.

The routes are developed with the help of city or county officials and experienced cyclists, said Tom Norman, the director of the division. The division tries to make sure that residents and visitors can safely walk and bicycle in the state.

Marc Allred, a rural planner for the Northwest Piedmont Council of Governments who reviewed and sent the bicycle-route plans for Stokes to be approved by the DOT, said that bike plans are becoming more common in rural counties in North Carolina.

“A lot of bikers like to ride out in the rural areas because it’s more scenic, so the counties have gotten together to show bikers which way to go,” Allred said.

What should we do about too many deer?

Winston-Salem Journal

Why are there too many deer in the suburbs?

It’s not just because there are too few natural predators and because it’s dangerous for hunters to shoot deer in the suburbs. It’s also because there’s more for deer to eat in the suburbs.

In an old-growth forest, there’s very little new growth for deer to eat. Logging creates a feast for deer, because the sunlight can reach the ground and all kinds of new growth springs up. If you cut down the woods to make new suburbs, the deer love it.

The Winston-Salem Journal has a story this morning on hunters using bows, including crossbows, to hunt deer in Elkin. Sorry, but it’s difficult to post links to stories in the Winston-Salem Journal because the Journal has a primitive web site without a decent system for permalinks.

The fact missing from the Journal’s story is that suburbanization causes the deer population to grow, because suburbanization clears ground for deer’s favorite foods.

As for what we should do about deer overpopulation, other than to stop building suburbs, I don’t know. Deer overpopulation certainly is real. Feasting by the fauna is very hard on the flora, and we need all the flora we can get these days. After I’m situated in Stokes County, I hope to understand the deer situation better.