For whatever we might have said about the economy that sounded flippant, we apologize profusely. We were right about one thing – your opinion about the economy depends on where you live.
As we drove through the Klamath Basin we were stunned by the desolation of the small towns – Merrill, Malin, Tulelake, even Klamath Falls, the center of the 2001 crisis at the headgates, was looking dilapidated.
We looked at the local paper, which had an ironic headline: Too Much Water? That’s ironic, because the entire reason for shutting off the farmers’ water was due to allegations by bureaucrats and environmentalists that the farmers were taking too much water and hurting suckers – known as trash fish and poisoned out of local lakes until the environmentalists helped local tribes discover their sacred fish.
It is heartbreaking to see the remaining large, prosperous farms throughout the Basin, knowing how many suicides and distressed farm sales have occurred in the past ten years.
However, don’t think farmers have given up. In spite of a plan known as the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement – the last two words chosen for the name of the plan seem curiously sarcastic – the war continues and some new warriors are joining the battle. All we can say is, don’t believe what you read in the MSM.
The next leg of our trip was from KFalls to Tonopah. Booorrrrrinnng, punctuated with moments of sheer terror as we crossed the mountain ranges – some places were higher than 8,000 ft. The roads were good, but mostly empty except going past Reno.
Tonopah is another city devastated by economic problems. We have no doubt that environmentalists have been behind some of the loss of natural resource extraction industries – they have been shutting down mines for decades. In Tonopah, it shows.
Surprisingly (not!), the remaining mining operations are being done by big companies. In a nutshell, the reason for the survival of the big operations is mainly because it takes big bucks to follow all the regulations that farmers and miners are required to follow.
This is common across almost all industries, except restaurants. In spite of the high failure rate noted by one of our commenters, people just refuse to give up hope.
In fact, we just had one of the most delicious, traditional meatloaf sandwiches we’ve ever had for dinner tonight served by the new owner of the Sidewinder Restaurant herself. We feel honored.