SEA TO SHINING SEA: Natural gas pipes and wells everywhere

Clouds were dropping into the Ohio hollows this morning when we left Uhrichsville. BY DENNIS FORNEY
July 23, 2013

DAY 70 - July 22, 2013 - It was overcast and spitting when we left Uhrichsville this morning. By 2 p.m. when we approached downtown Steubenville, the skies were darker, the rain much heavier, the streets slicker and the hills more challenging.

We passed a Sohio station coming into town.  Standard Oil of Ohio. John D. Rockefeller. Mass production and distribution of petroleum.  Powerful transportation.

The station looked retro and out of place compared to the sleek new stations we saw here and there. Out in the countryside we saw endless evidence of the natural gas boom.  A few oil well pumps scattered in the fields, but none of them moving with the characteristic up and down motion that makes them look like a cross between a preying mantis and a wood pecker.  Rusty.  The natural gas wellheads all freshly painted, capped and waiting.

East of Bowerston, on the Connoton Creek Trail, we passed a major natural gas installation under construction and more evidence of pipelines being buried.

The motels are filled with drillers, fitters and all kinds of other workers involved with developing and using our natural gas resources. A major shot in the arm for a part of the country slammed hard by the recession.

The question is, what are we going to do with all this energy? Export it? And what impact will all this piping and drilling and extraction have on Spaceship Earth?

Nature doesn't care.

52 miles between Uhrichsville and Steubenville.  Our total now 2,862 miles.  2,000 feet of ascent today.  We're back in the hills.  Still averaging between 10 and 11 miles per hour.

There's a Franciscan University here in Steubenville.  I like St. Francis of Assisi.  Will have to check out the campus.  And the Ohio River - flowing down from Pittsburgh - helps define Steubenville.  Haven't seen it yet but will take a gander.

Summer's ripening.  I see piles of wood stacked outside people's houses and start thinking of winter.  But between now and then, the golden months of the year: August, September and October.

Oh yeah, Bill told me Ohioans are known as Buckeyes.  I asked him why.  "Because they're nuts," he said.

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