Thursday, November 10, 2005

CROSSING TEXAS

So we've left the Dallas area, and are staying the night in
Anson, TX, just north of Abilene. We're still practically in central Texas. It reminds me of Laura Ingalls Wilder's description of crossing the great prairie in a covered wagon: "The prairie formed a great circle, and all around it was the sky, and in the middle was their wagon. All day long the horses walked and walked, trying to walk out of the circle, but all day they were still exactly in the middle of it." That's not word for word, but it's close. Texas is a w-i-d-e state to cross. Laura was not in Texas when she made the observation about the horses; maybe Kansas. I forget exactly.

I went running after we set up "camp" (we plugged in our electricity and connected water and sewer, and TV/internet satellite, but haven't gotten out any of the things that have been secured away for travel). We don't call what we do "camping" but for just an overnight stay, the term is good enough.

Anyway, the road seemed flat but wasn't...prairie has swells, and, again as Laura observed, "It was flat, but it wasn't flat." That is the only way to describe prairie. She hit the nail on the head. So I ran over a couple miles of gentle rolling swells, and back again, for just under an hour, 5.6 miles. I felt like a block of concrete. Maybe from sitting in the truck all day. Journey barked at cows grazing in the scrub bushes. Maybe she thought they would be fun to chase, like deer. On the two-lane Interstate 180, there was very little traffic, and nice wide paved shoulders. It was great for running, temperature 61*F. I still don't know how I'm going to manage a marathon in 2 months.

There is a cotton-milling facility next to our campground. Cotton grows alongside the roads in great fields of rough, twiggy little bushes, poufing in fluffy white gobs about 2 inches across. Little balls of it lie all along the shoulders of the road where they've blown off bushes or maybe farm machines. I've never seen cotton growing before, and I've certainly never seen it being milled (ginned?) A conveyor hoists the raw cotton way up high in the air and dumps it into a hopper, and cotton fluff comes out the bottom, free of seeds. The air is filled with cotton lint. I think you can get some kind of pulmonary disease from breathing it all the time... something like black lung, only white lung. I'll have to look it up. Or not. I'm only staying overnight.

Tomorrow we should finish crossing Texas and land just across the New Mexico border, near Carlsbad, where we'll pick up mail, and we'll stay a few days, hoping to go to the Caverns, and Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

5 comments:

Mica said...

Very descriptive! I haven't spent too much time in the "hill country" of Texas but I've heard its beautiful.

nancytoby said...

THIS is exactly why I'm so glad you started a blog! You paint wonderful word pictures. I love to travel and see the diversity of our world, but I can only occasionally see different vistas like you describe now for a while.... I'll be thinking of you the next week as the girls and I RV from Virginia to Michigan!

tri-mama said...

Hey, you're doing Chang's in January--so am I! Verticle Man and Commodore are going as well-send me an email and I'll keep you posted on some of our training activities we have planned-it would be fun to meet.

I love LIW books-that is a great picture of their travel-minus the satelite tv hook up :)

PuddyRat said...

Texas is one VERY BIG state! I crossed it once, from Beaumont in one corner to El Paso in the other. It was HUGE. And when done in one fell swoop, rather boring. The way you are doing it is much nicer. You actually get to ENJOY the trip. Not like me when I had to race across it in a car.

Oh, and the Arizona course is flat. Very flat. You might come across one or two inclines, but there are NO HILLS (even if that is what the locals might call them). Trust me. They aren't hills.

Karol Cabbiness said...

Nice description, I grew up in Anson, TX. The cotton millling facility is the cotton gin. My dad works there.