11 years ago today, Day 70

Texas is a Very Large Place.  I drove almost 300 miles eleven years ago today, one of the longest single-day stretches on the entire trip.  “It certainly felt like it, mostly because it was one of the most monotonous days I’ve driven so far.  But I am only about two hours from New Mexico, so I did make a lot of progress.” 

I left the motel west of Fort Worth and headed out on U.S. 377.  “The land varied from being undulating to flat as a billiard table:”

Also, you wouldn’t know it from these photos, but, “I’ve never seen so many mesquite trees in my life.  No wonder Texans tout the wood for barbecuing.  They’re trying to get rid of the bloody things. 

“It was interesting to see how the land went from looking Southern to looking distinctly Southwestern. Gentle hills changed gradually to bluffs, and then to flattopped mesas.  The cactus got thicker.  And the land got drier and drier.  It’s sort of like the parts of Arizona and New Mexico where you’re driving endless miles to get somewhere like, say, the Grand Canyon, except in Texas there’s no bloody destination.  Just the miles.”

I stopped late in the morning in a town named Comanche to use their library’s computers.  I should have taken a picture of that library building, because it was a nifty cross between a standard Carnegie library and the Old West.  They’d had quite a time retrofitting computers into it, with wires strung all over the place, but their internet connection was one of the fastest of the trip.

I ate lunch in my last Southern cafeteria of the trip, which had terrific barbecue and cherry cobbler, but no fried okra, alas. 

About mid-afternoon I drove through San Angelo, which had been the setting for a romance novel I liked.  It was very obvious that the author of the romance novel either lived here or had visited here often enough to know the details, because the place looked exactly as I’d imagined it would.

And those were the highlights of the day.  I ended the day in the city of Big Spring, which wasn’t all that far from the twin cities of Midland/Odessa, where my father spent a fair amount of time on business during the year and a half we lived in Denver when I was a teenager.  He was a petroleum engineer, so it stands to reason, given how many grasshoppers I also saw that day:

Yes, I know that’s technically an oil rig.  I grew up calling them grasshoppers.