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Jun 1, 2017

If you drive for about two hours South of Wenatchee, you come to a city called Yakima. It is another place that carries the name of the Native American Indian tribe that used to dominate that area. The journey to this city can go two ways: one is a mountain pass that is full of forest; another is a long, dry journey that seems to never end. I used both highways two weeks ago to take my daughter to a soccer tournament. Approaching Yakima, there is a wide stretch of dry land that is covered in sage brush, the bushes that grow in very dry areas. We stopped to use the bathrooms, and as I pulled up in the car, and parked in a spot that overlooked the valley, I realized that there was a sign right in front of the car that said, 'Watch for rattlesnakes.' It was like a scene out of a film, as the sun was going down to the right of the sign, and the shadows on the land were long. "We wouldn't find a sign like that in England!" I said to my daughter. The heat of Spring brings the snakes out from hibernation, and they lay around trying to get warm. They're everywhere. It makes me shiver to consider how many there are in that area.   

After the tournament, I chose the other highway to go home. This one goes over nothing but(1) dry land for miles. The land stretches out to the horizon and there is not a tree in sight. Hidden away, however, in one area is the Columbia River, but its water makes no impact on the land, as it is not used for farming there. There is no one. Some huge bridges, a metal statue of wild horses on a hill, and spectacular sunsets are what you find here, and of course the snakes. If you are not used to dry areas, it makes quite an impact on you. It would be easy to think that(2) nothing anywhere nearby could grow. That is actually not true; the Yakima valley is irrigated and very productive with large quantities of hay, grapes, hops, and fruit. I can only imagine, though, how the first farmers who irrigated this area had to battle to take the land from the snakes. 1. 'Nothing but..' is a very useful addition to a sentence. 

a. In the Spring, you see nothing but purple and yellow flowers in the hills.

b. I tried to have a discussion with him, but I heard nothing but negative,negative from his mouth.

c. If you don't look after your health now, you'll have nothing but problems later on.

2. 'It would be easy to think that ...' is another useful phrase to insert into a conversation to show off your fluency.

a. It would be easy to think that she doesn't know much, but if you start talking to her, you quickly realize how informed she is.

b. It would be easy to think that deserts have no wild life, but when you look closely you understand that some deserts are teeming with life.