In the summer of 1967 I left the sedate streets of New England lined with brick buildings and traveled across the North American continent, headed for California, with its bright blue skies, to take up the post of assistant professor at Stanford University. My mode of transportation was a Volvo, what was then considered the safest automobile. It was a time when Japanese cars were still not considered reliable on the highways. Counting on my annual salary as assistant professor, which was an increase several times over from my stipend as a graduate student research assistant, I spent money to buy a new car. But this was a bit lacking in foresight, as I later found it a burden to pay off the monthly car loan. Driving about 500 miles a day, I enjoyed taking about a week to cross the country. On an upward slope in the Colorado mountains, the car’s engine conked out, perhaps due to lack of oxygen, and it was a thrill to restart the engine by rolling the car backwards downhill.