Contrail, Central Valley, CA

April 29: The drive north from Los Angeles, through the big Central Valley was the first stretch of driving I really enjoyed on the trip. Heading into the nicely rounded hills that edge the valley on the west, I found myself thoroughly entranced by the simplest things -- such as a jet contrail in the blue sky. At points, I'd get out of the car just to be there, in the landscape. In the middle of nowhere, 5,000 miles from home, I was surprised to feel as profound a sense of belonging as I have anywhere.