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Somewhere between Louisiana and Texas, we’re heading west along the coast to Houston. The landscape is greens and browns, houses on stilts and distant offshore rigs.

We’re well below deck now, in the engine room of America. Passing through a town called Cameron. This is oil country. This is where the energy comes from. It stinks.

The flames off the coast come from oil refineries. The smell they make fills our rental truck, pinches my nose and pokes my eyes.

The romance of dusty American roads is burnt up in the refining process and we’re tired. We find a motel, nestled between an artfully lit industrial plant and an artfully lit Capitol One Bank.

The people living here give up so much. Fresh, clean air. Unobscured natural beauty. The rig workers get sick, the families get sick too. I wonder if they know what they’re giving up. If they think it’s a worthwhile cause. Oil martyrs in a stinking town.

This is a sad, horrible place. I’ll be glad to leave.