Here is how New York looked through my front window yesterday at 3:51am, when I was packing to fly and drive from JFK to LAX to Santa Barbara:
I shoveled a path to the street four times: the first three through light and fluffy snow, and the fourth through rain, slush and a ridge of myucch scraped in front of the driveway by a plow. By the time we got to JFK, all the pretty snow was thick gray slush. It was a good time to get the hell out. Fortunately, @United got us onto the first flight of the day to LAX . (We had been booked on a later flight. To see the crunch we missed, run the FlightAware MiseryMap for JFK, and watch 2 February.)
The flight to LAX was quick for a westbound one (which flies against the wind): a little over five hours. For half the country, the scene below was mostly white. This one…
… of the ridge country between Beaver Dam Lake and Columbus, Wisconsin, said far more about snow than the white alone suggested. Those corrugated hills are grooves scraped onto the the landscape by the Wisconsin Glacial Episode, during which a local lobe of the Laurentide ice sheet crept steadily northeast to southwest, finally melting into lakes and rivers only about ten thousand years ago — a mere blink in geologic time.
A few minutes later came the snow-covered Mississippi, skirting Prairie du Chein, on the Wisconsin-Iowa border:
Then, a couple hours later, we flew straight across the Grand Canyon, which has a horizontal immensity one tends to miss when gawking at the canyon’s scenic climaxes from the ground. One of my favorite features there is the Uinkaret Volcanic Field, which poured a syrup of lava over the Canyon’s layer cake of 290-1700-year old rock. That happened about 70,000 years ago, and still looks fresh:
(BTW, two of the three pictures at that last link, in Wikipedia, are ones I shot on earlier trips. The third is by NASA.)
Gliding into LAX, we got a nice view of downtown…
… where the temperature was 76°.
When we got home to Santa Barbara it was about 70° and looked like this, out my home office door:
It wasn’t the prettiest sunset we’ve had here (this one I shot on 22 January was spectacular), but I’ve rarely seen a more welcome scenic bookend for a cross-country trip.