Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Road Trip Top Ten
I love road trips and because my dear old Mitz has 103K on it and the other car is fifteen years old we haven’t taken any for a year or so and I was looking forward to driving home from San Antonio last Thursday. The original plan was to spend the night in Amarillo but Wally and I rocked it home in eighteen hours. I didn’t have my camera with me which was probably a good thing because I would probably still be somewhere between Kerrville and Sweetwater taking pictures of cows and trees and old buildings and people. But trust me, there are places and things we saw which will be there and I’m hoping to talk TG into taking a few days off in April and making the trip with me. We’ll do it over two days so we can stop, look and snap.
Road Trip Discoveries:
1. I discovered a part of Texas I hadn’t seen before and love the brashness of the hills and scrub near Bourne. No wonder people are growing lavender and grapes, it looks like Provence. I know the people are nicer than the French.
2. I love Texans. I was pumping gas in Eden when all the sudden I heard someone say “Well Hello there!” I looked over and a guy in a cammo snow suit thing was grinning and speaking to me. At first I sort of bristled and then I remembered my manners and belted out a brisk good morning. I say belted because it was windier than Lubbock on an April afternoon and about as cold as Amarillo at midnight in November.
“Please tell me you aren’t here to hunt in the cold and wind!”
“Ah no, worse ‘n that I’m out feedin’ the cows”
“You don’t need to bring them in? ‘sposed to be in th’ teens tonight.” (remember my Texas accent returns the second I enter the state)
“They’ll be alright, ‘sides I’m feedin’ ‘em their favorite cotton seeds.”
“Mmmmm, you must grow tasty beef. Who you grow for?”
“Whoever ‘l buy ‘em.”
“I don’t envy you; hope you keep warm!”
“You have a real nice day young lady!”
Yeah, he earned points with the “young lady” because he was about my age.
Later, I wasn’t sure where to turn in Dumas and asked the young woman at the counter in the Taco Bell. She bellows out to everyone in the store: “Any y’all know where the turn off to Hartley is?” Four people looked up from their meals to offer directions and when we left they wished us a safe trip.
3. I like that the town signs display their populations. Eden is population 320 and mostly populated with llamas and pretty little goats along with thick groves of Pecan trees. Most of the business signs are in Spanish which tells me it’s become a migrant farm workers community during Pecan season. I hope they are treated well by the farmers and ranchers.
4. The huge wind farms north of Sweetwater are beautiful in their own 21st century elegance. The cows neither looked scared or anxious and the birds continued to fly around them. My state needs to pull the environmentalist’s heads out of their asses and build a few more of these farms. (I’m looking at you Huerfeno county).
5. Lubbock is still sad. The landscape to the south of the city can only be described as desperate and south of Lubbock county has a strung out meth head vibration to it. The scrub always looks dead no matter the season, the fields are unkempt and littered with left over cotton stalks and haphazard bits of equipment and debris. Going through Lubbock was hard because I didn’t leave Lubbock in 1987, it was more like I fled a refugee and driving through it called up all sorts of bad and wincingly painful memories. I’m just glad Wally was awake so I didn’t cry about it and instead pointed out places and shared astonishment over an oil derrick in the middle of the college campus.
6. The vib I get from Hill Country is similar to the one I feel in NoNM which is cool and inspiring. I plotted another novel early Thursday morning.
7. It’s freakin’ dark in the NE corner of New Mexico. If the moon had come up while we were there it probably would have scared us and for a few seconds channeled distant native Indian relatives in our fear the world had ended and the moon was a monster about to eat us. I turned New Age Space music on as we drove through the dark to add to the surreal factor. I resisted the urge to pull off the side of the road and turn off all the lights so I could experience the complete void of darkness. (I did that about ten years ago and it was exhilarating) It was like a drug trip without taking the drugs. Too bad it was -4 outside with a big wind blowing. Wally remembered years ago, I pulled off the road so we could get out and they saw the Milky Way for the first tme, an incredible site on that mesa. We agreed it was too bad the night was too cold to lay on the top of the car and watch the stars (we did that a couple of times when he was little, too).
8. On the subject of Wally: My metalhead banging son who has a taste for morose ballads possesses an irrational adoration for certain disco hits. I discovered this when “Funky Town” came on the radio and he shouted: “OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS!!! I LOVE THIS AS MUCH AS ‘SAFTEY DANCE!‘ IF I HEAR ‘ELECTRIC AVENUE I MIGHT HAVE MYSELF’! This uncharacteristic display of ebullence was followed with a confession: He and his best friend are known to publicly break into spontaneous dance if he hears Lady GaGa’s “Just Dance”. His BF has done this while in his Army uniform. That is just made of awesome and something I Must See. The Girl is also prone to spontaneous and public dancing. I love this sort of joy and frivolity. The world is short on spontaneous acts of joy and whimsy. We must all work on this as a global community. I believe this is where flash mobs come into play.
9. Wally struggles with the same sort of self saboutage I did as a young adult and it’s hard for me to watch him repeat my mistakes. I’m yearning for a way to fix him. We processed it for a long time. I hope I was able to help him without being to much of a harpy and too much of a friend.
10. I love traveling and if I didn’t have the boys and a dog we would probably live in our crack shack rent house or a tiny apartment so we could spend all our money on trips and adventures. Despite my wanderlust I am always happy to return to my house. It was great to walk in the door early Friday morning after a 900 mile day on the road and as I type this I am filled with a deep and abiding happiness to be home coupled with anticipation for our annual adventures in Mexico in a few short weeks.
Guess I need to start packing.