I learned that small southeastern Nebraskan towns, which the river moved away from, and the railroad failed to run through, often shrivel up and die.

I learned that hard work is excellent, that amazing family farms will last forever, that there’s not quite enough rain on the Great Plains, the wind blows too much, and winters are usually chilly.

I learned that East Coast Colonial architecture is attractive but often covers up an extremely stifling sort of unnecessary cultural stiffness.

In Lincoln Neb I learned that basic Christianity can do people good, promoting honest prayer and meditation, and promote good living.

I learned the perfect weather in Palo Alto (or Palta Alta, as my sweet mother used to say) for decades has encouraged smart people to freely think, to have a genuinely good time, invent a lot of really cool stuff, and possibly save the world. Enlightened people may eventually reverse America’s terrible techno environmental warpath.

In Del Mar, I learned that by driving small electric cars we can avoid a sure oily hell on earth.

In Willits I learned the weather is good if you get above the 2300 foot summer fog level.

In Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, thousands of people spend their whole lives riding around, not knowing what they’re doing, just going through the motions (the weather’s good there also).

I’ve learned that traveling is fun, that US Hwy 50 across Central Nevada is a lovely lonely highway, that Kentucky freeways are beautifully fringed with forests, that locust trees in Western North Carolina don’t rot and make excellent firewood, similar to West Coast Madrone trees.

I’ve also learned that for animated creatures, our world loves quadra-peds: most of us bigger buggers have four appendages (along with Fords and Chevys). Everyone’s used to the arms and legs deal. Birds have excelled beautifully with their set of wings and clawed feet. Even fish often have two sets of fins.

And I’ve learned that people don’t mind a lowered standard of living, because it’s more honorable to live on a little money that a lot.