Never-ending sewage from Tijuana

The city of Tijuana is the gift that keeps on giving and in this case it’s the continual release of contaminated runoff and untreated sewage that never stops finding its way to the Tijuana River. The most recent story is of an approximately 14.5 million gallon spill of raw sewage that was apparently caused by a dead body that caused trash to clog up a pump station [11]. How the body got there nobody knows! The area turned into a crime scene and the banks at the pump station were temporarily raised to stop the flow of fecal matter. What’s even better about the story is a reference to a plan presented by San Diego officials to solve the problem that requires between $400 million and $1.5 billion in U.S. federal funding to clean up Tijuana’s waste water [10]. There is so much to unpack from the small number of stories that I’ve cited below (yes, this is but a small sampling) but it’s fairly apparent that the United States has spent plenty of money on this issue over a timeframe of decades. I’m not really convinced that throwing more money at Mexico will fix the problem if they themselves aren’t willing to fix basic infrastructure issues.

Quite a large number of people lost their minds when the San Ysidro port of entry was closed for a measly six hours, just think about how six days might get a little bit more action from the source of the sewage problem? Perhaps the U.S. could raise tariffs on all Mexican goods by a few percent each month until Mexico takes substantive action? Or we could just give some people more money and hope that sewage treatment equipment is maintained and operated properly and that city planning is competently performed in Tijuana. I also have to wonder, why aren’t any Congressional Democrats screaming and shrieking about all of the rare wildlife being suffocated by tons of fecal matter and trash [7]? I guess that I just shouldn’t think about it. This problem of uncontrolled sewage flows from Mexico warrants a much longer post to explain in more excruciating detail (or a thesis) but for now I’ll just leave some video, photos, and links embedded below. There’s really nothing joyful to take away from this post but I do hope that it was informative and piqued your interest on this subject. That’s all for now…

Here’s a short anthology of stories relating to Tijuana’s never-ending deposit of shit into the Tijuana River:

  1. San Diego Reader – Shocking facts and horrifying history of Tijuana sewage (November 1988)
  2. The Washington Post – POLLUTION UNDER SCRUTINY AT U.S.-MEXICAN BORDER (October 1989)
  3. Los Angeles Times – State Aid Promised for Border Sewage Problem : Sanitation: Wilson says $900,000 will be used to treat polluted Tijuana River water in San Diego’s municipal sewer system. (March 1991)
  4. The San Diego Union Tribune – Ocean currents mean sewage pollution potential persists (January 2011)
  5. Surfrider Foundation – Tijuana River: The Largest Sewage Spill We’ve Ever Seen (March 2017)
  6. Fox News – Mexican sewage routinely fouling San Diego beaches, ocean waters (March 2017)
  7. The Coronado Times – Marine Life Mortality and Pollution Levels in Oceans (June 2017)
  8. The San Diego Union Tribune – Where does the contaminated Tijuana water flow? Depends on the swell (March 2018)
  9. ABC News 10 – San Diego leaders present $400 million plan to solve Mexican sewage problem (September 2019)
  10. Fox News – Dead body trapped in Tijuana pump station causes 14.5M gallons of raw sewage to spill into San Diego, officials say (October 2019)
  11. ABC News 10 – Trapped body causes 14.5 million gallons of Tijuana sewage to leak into US (October 2019)

Tijuana River Plume Tracker

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Hell’s Revenge

Hell’s Revenge is a difficult trail in the Sand Flats Recreation Area near Moab, UT. A truck that passes through this trail should have 33″ tires, one locker, some skid plates, and good suspension articulation. Some of the hardest obstacles have bypasses or may be avoided but you should be prepared for a hardcore trail (especially if it has just rained).  I opted not to drive my truck on this trail and went for a long hike. It’s a nice perspective and I wanted to walk a little of my 4,000 mile road trip. Enjoy the photos and find the rest of them on the dedicated page!

Trail Location:

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Fins & Things

Fins and Things is a difficult trail in the beautiful area around Moab, UT that everyone should pass through once in their life. This area is very visually amazing and stunning! My dash camera decided to stop properly working shortly before arriving in the area so I only drove through the western portions of the trail. After that I just took some photos and videos of other drivers surmounting some of the obstacles. A truck with 4×4, good ground clearance, and decent tires should be able to make it through this trail. Be ready to scrape your trailer hitch and get used to having a fun time seeing over the hood of your truck if you drive a full-size. A day-trip pass for the Sand Flats Recreation Area is $5. Enjoy the photos and be sure to look for the rest of them on the dedicated trail page!

Trail Location:

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Culp Valley Road

Culp Valley Road is an easy trail with no significant obstacles to note that any truck with some ground clearance should be able to pass through. The western end of this trail starts in Ranchita at Old Wilson Valley Road and heads east where it ends at S-22. This road passes through the transition zone between the mountains (~4000 ft) and desert floor near Borrego Springs. According to Google Maps this road doesn’t exist but if you’re going out to this area you should really have some good maps (if you’re frugal like me) or a SD card loaded up with some trail data for your Lowrance GPS unit (if you’re a big spender). The eastern edge of this trail passes through the Paroli Homestead (of which not much remains), a long abandoned ranch that a family was able to eek out a survival on for a few years. Enjoy the photos and videos and look for the rest of them here on the dedicated page!

Western starting location

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Culp Valley Cultural Preserve (PDF)

A Cahuilla Village in the Boulders of an Upland Valley

 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg explains…

I just noticed this story about an interview of Justice Ruth Ginsborg Ginsburg did with NPR’s Nina Totenberg where she explained why she stayed on the Supreme Court for as long as she has. Justice Ginsburg’s answer to Nina Totenburg is just exceptional:

It has been suggested by more than one commentator, including some law professors, that I should’ve stepped down during President Obama’s second term. When that suggestion is made I ask the question: Who do you think the president could nominate that could get through the Republican Senate that you would prefer to have on the court than me?

So, it was nothing but politics and she probably thought that President Trump never had a chance of winning. Justices Sotamayor and Kagan got a few Republican (nine and five respectively) Senators to support their confirmation so I believe that she could have easily retired a few years before the 2016 election. Perhaps she thought that she was “on the right side of history” and didn’t have to expect to cling on to the bench until at least 2020 (or the likelihood of 2024 after slow Joe Biden gaffes up the next election).

In another gem from this interview Justice Ginsburg states that the Supreme Court being in session helps her physical troubles go away:

This latest has been my fourth cancer bout,” she said. “And I found each time that when I’m active, I’m much better than if I’m just lying about and feeling sorry for myself. It’s necessary — a necessity — to get up and go. It’s stimulating. And somehow, in all of these appearances I’ve had since the end of August, whatever my temporary disability is, it stops, and I’m OK for the time of the event.

The Democrats and the media routinely mock President Trump’s fitness for office and faculties but I’m fairly certain that a man who can campaign and be as active as he is probably has a lot fewer health ailments than Justice Ginsburg. He also hasn’t had four bouts of cancer…

Jewish Telegraphic Agency – Ruth Bader Ginsburg on why she did not retire during Obama’s term

CNBC – Ruth Bader Ginsburg fires back against critics who say she should have retired under Obama: ‘Who would you prefer on the court?’

The Hill – Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future

A few of the more interesting comments from The Hill article:

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Wow, people are seriously offering up their organs and years of life just so the bad orange man can’t nominate someone else:

I guess that there aren’t enough aborted fetuses to sustain Justice Ginsburg…

Cedar Creek Road

Cedar Creek Road is a trail of easy difficulty that a 2WD truck with some ground clearance should easily pass through in dry conditions. There are no hard obstacles on this trail, just wonderful views of the canyon and an easy-going drive that is close to San Diego with little risk of vehicle damage. There are also numerous hiking trails in the area for when you just need a nice, long walk outside. This trail is very picture heavy so be sure to enjoy all of the photos here on the dedicated page!

This is where the southern end of the trail starts, even though it does not show up on Google Maps. Cedar Creek Road heads north from the junction at Three Sisters Falls trailhead.

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A Vegan LoLsuit…

A funny and depressing story that has been making it’s way around the world concerns a vegan woman, Cilla Carden, in Australia who felt the need to sue her neighbors for cooking meat and having some kids that play basketball. Where is there to go with this story? Where to even start? How does this woman deal with life? What does she do when passing some crows eating roadkill? On the upside at least the Supreme Court of Western Australia threw out her room temperature IQ lawsuit. To quote Ms. Carden: “It’s been devastating, it’s been turmoil, it’s been unrest, I haven’t been able to sleep,” Well, it looks as though she’ll just have to deal with it.

It seems that some people that still have their sense of humor intact came up with a Fakebook group called “Community BBQ for Cilla Carden” with the following mission statement: “Cilla Carden has a problem with her neighbors cooking meat on their BBQ, because she’s a vegan. Recently taking them to the Supreme Court!” and “Don’t let Cilla destroy a good old Aussie tradition, join us for a community BBQ in protest of her actions, and help Cilla Carden GET SOME PORK ON HER FORK.” I tried searching for the Fakebook group page but was unable to access it though it is still the top search result. Thousands of people responded to the nascent plan and since Ms. Carden couldn’t take being the butt of a joke pulled out the lawyer card again. In the words of Mr. Hammond (who I’m certain is ecstatic about his litigious client): “Any person who seeks to attend Ms Carden’s property on Saturday October 19, 2019 or at any other time in relation to this event or matter will be referred to the WA Police on the ground of trespass,

I actually didn’t realize how many exceptional stories there are about the exceptional behaviors of these “animal rights activists” types and I may have to type up a few more blog posts about this later. For now I’ll leave you some story links and a few of the more interesting comments.

BBC News – Australian woman sues neighbours over barbecue use

Fox News – BBQ protest near home of vegan who complained about neighbors grilling fish canned over legal threats

News Corp. Australia – Perth vegan’s lawyer hits out at ‘nasty’ comments as plans for community BBQ protest scrapped

9 News Perth – Perth vegan demands neighbour stop cooking barbecues

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White Mountain

White Mountain is a trail of moderate difficulty that a 4×4 truck with decent tires should be able to navigate. No obstacle is terribly difficult but there are lots of tough rocks of which a few demand careful tire placement. For much of the trail the brush is very tight or there is a steep cliff to one (or both sides) which may make it very fun to deal with opposing traffic. It would be wise to stop your vehicle at an open spot when you get a chance and take a quick look to see if any other trucks are heading your way. For this trip I was a passenger (for once) and just got to enjoy the scenery a little more than I usually do. I also had a great chance to take more photos than normal, enjoy the rest of the photos and videos here on the complete page!

White Mountain location:

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Espinosa Trail

The Espinosa Trail is a path of moderate difficulty that will be hard on your truck’s paint job and is harder yet on full-size trucks. No single obstacle really stands out, just lots of moderately sized rocks and hinderances that are more difficult in wide and long vehicles. The Espinosa Trail is located in the Corral Canyon OHV area approximately 50 miles east of San Diego and is conveniently located just south of I-8. For those who are more adventurous and have capable rigs there are the two difficult trails known as Bronco Peak and Sidewinder for your enjoyment. Enough of my written description of this wonderful trail though, enjoy the photos and videos and find all of them here on the full page!

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The price of siphoning gas…

Another day passes and another tragedy happens. In the case of a tanker explosion in Tanzania though the deaths of at least 62 people were easily avoidable. Here’s a tidbit from the Fox News story:

Witnesses told the Associated Press that a crowd had gathered around the fuel tanker after it was involved in an accident early Saturday. People then rushed to try to siphon fuel, but the tanker burst into flames.

tanzania-3-AP

Another insightful piece of the article:

People getting killed in explosions while stealing fuel from incapacitated tankers are fairly frequent in East Africa, though the Saturday explosion is among the deadliest in Tanzania. Those stealing the fuel usually sell it to motorists for cheap.

Apparently the explosion happened in a rather busy part of the town of Morogoro which may explain why there were so many injured however the first thought in my mind when I think of a gasoline tanker leaking near me is to get away. I wonder what’s going through the mind of someone standing next to a geyser of fuel to collect some and make a few bucks?

tanzania-2-AP

I saw this story out of Tanzania and it reminded me of a similar case out of Mexico that involved a pipeline explosion. In January of this year at least 96 people were killed near Tlahuelilpan, Mexico as they were trying to collect gas from an illegally tapped pipeline. I’ll be quoting a few bits from the Los Angeles Times story below, starting with a concerned father:

‘I came here in the night looking for my son, walking through charred bodies lying on the ground,’ said Martin Francisco Trejo Hernandez, 55. ‘Some people were still alive, screaming in pain, screaming for help. I never imagined I would see such a sight.’

It seems that shortly after the pipeline failed it was swarmed by hundreds of people with jerry cans, buckets, and barrels:

Soon, as many as 800 people had converged on the site to gather gasoline, which gushed like a geyser from the ruptured pipeline more than 20 feet into the air, Luis Cresencio Sandoval, Mexico’s defense secretary, told reporters Saturday.

It’s really amazing how much static electricity can be built up in your clothing or other objects that don’t conduct well (easily over 20,000V in dry conditions) so it’s really no surprise that as hundreds of people were getting some gas from pipeline fountain that eventually something went boom. You can see this in the video but here’s another bit from the L.A. Times:

Videos taken before the blast showed soldiers standing around the scene who did not appear to make efforts to disperse the mob.

Cresencio, the defense secretary, sought to justify the military’s actions, saying the small number of soldiers had been unable to deter a sometimes “aggressive” crowd.

It seems that a lot of the criminal element in Mexico is moving from drugs to mining and petroleum and the incident I mentioned above is just one of the most recent and deadly and certainly not an aberration:

I’m glad that I’m not so desperate as one who is willing to be drenched in gasoline to sell to people who actually have cars. Even if I was destitute, I believe that I might try a few other things first. I’m glad that I’m an American and pray that my country never turns into a Mexico or Tanzania…

I’ll embed a few notable comments from the Fox News article before signing off for the night:

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Fox News – Tanker truck in Tanzania explodes as people siphon fuel, at least 62 killed

Los Angeles Times – Mexico’s president vows to ‘eradicate’ gas theft amid the horror of pipeline explosion